Jealousy Toward Younger Siblings

Many children feel jealousy toward younger siblings at some point in their childhood. It's a common reaction to the arrival of a new baby.
Jealousy Toward Younger Siblings

Last update: 02 August, 2022

Many children experience jealousy toward younger siblings at some point in their childhood. It’s a common reaction to the arrival of a little brother or sister in the family. Parents have to be aware that it’s a temporary and reasonable crisis. We can’t let it become a problem that affects the siblings in the future.

Badly treated jealousy can affect a child’s character and make them envious or selfish. That’s why it’s important to follow some recommendations so that your children don’t suffer jealousy of their little brothers and that they’re reasonable.

An older brother who feels left out.

Advice for parents before the birth of a younger sibling

Many times, before the arrival of a younger sibling, the older child may feel displaced. It’s a natural reaction that, if we control it, is sure not to become a problem. That’s why we recommend the following guidelines for healing older siblings who experience jealousy toward younger siblings:

  • A good idea is to involve them in the birth of their little sibling before their birth. You have to explain to them the advantages of having a sibling who will love them very much all their life. At this moment, for them, the new sibling is an intruder who’s going to arrive at their house. Surely, at some point, they’ll think that they’re taking away the attention of their parents. You have to convince your child that this will never happen and that you love them as much as before.
  • You can involve older siblings by asking their opinion about the decoration of their future sibling’s room or by telling them that their little brother or sister can hear them through their mother’s navel. If they talk to the baby from time to time in this way, they’ll surely establish a communication bond between the two of them. Although it seems silly, it will help your child to see that their sibling already exists and to normalize them in their daily life.
  • Specialists recommend that parents be the first to give the news to their children that they’re going to have a little brother or sister. Children will take it worse if they find out from a family member or friend. You have to sit down with them for a while and explain the situation and the changes it will bring to the whole family. That yes, without dramatizing and explaining that you’re going to continue loving them the same as always.

The little sibling is already born

When the child’s born, it’s important for older siblings to the hospital whenever possible to see their new baby brother or sister. In the hospital, a good idea is to have a little gift prepared for them from the baby. The father will have to try to be very attentive toward older siblings during these days in the hospital and take them to visit and meet their sibling. And the mother will have to give them all her understanding and affection so that they don’t think that she loves them any less than before the baby was born.

When you leave the hospital, you have to express the joy you feel about being together again. Surely, older siblings will have missed you if they’ve been with grandparents or other relatives or friends. Surely they’ll want to tell you everything they’ve experienced over those days. Your children need security and stability.

A little girl changing a baby's diaper.

Jealousy toward younger siblings

Even so, all older children experience jealousy toward younger siblings at some time or another and the only thing you can do is try to spend as much time with them as possible. You have to try to get them involved at different moments, such as diaper changes, giving the baby their pacifier, or giving them a bottle. It’s also a good idea when giving them a bottle to let them, for example, hold the baby under your supervision or sing them a lullaby at night to put them to sleep.

You must try to continue maintaining the family routine you had before the birth of the child as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to dedicate time exclusively to your older kids by taking them to the park, the cinema, or some other leisure activity they used to enjoy before. You have to try to participate in their games, do activities with them, talk to them, or read them a story every night.

Usually, kids overcome their jealousy toward younger siblings with time. Parents have to be vigilant because it can lead to sibling rivalry in the future. But don’t worry because it’s a normal phase, and in a few months, your child will surely have overcome it.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.