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Jealous older sibling

dreamer_dachsie

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Dec 16, 2007
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My toddler, Hunter, is 2.5 and having a hard time with the changes in our family since we brought home his younger brother, Ryder, three months ago. I won't go into all the details, but he is feeling very jealous and has been aggressive to Ryder; he bit him once and pulls at him and pokes him hard. Today he said, "I don't like Ryder I want him to go away." :blackeye:

I am an only child so have no experience with this sort if thing first hand. It breaks my heart. I know that at the core is Hunter's sadness at not having me all to himself. I am trying to spend as much time with him as I can, but I have a newborn and we all know how time consuming they are for a nursing mother. His father is wonderful and they are very bonded, but there is not substitute for mom. To top it off, when Hunter is feeling hurt or angry because I cannot be there for him that instant, he pushes me away and doesn't want me around. I feel horribly guilty about not being able to give Hunter what he needs. On the other hand, I need to protect Ryder and we need to teach Hunter that he cannot behave that way to his brother. And on the third hand I am frankly exhausted. I need a third hand.

Anyone else with stories to share? Tips? Jokes? I need a little assurance that this is normal and it will pass. Hunter is a very loving boy but he is really struggling now and it is really breaking my heart.
 

pancake

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Dreamer, you are probably already onto this but do you have "protected Hunter-only time" at the moment? It could just be 30 minutes or an hour every day which is especially set aside for the two of you, with dad on Ryder duty. You could read, play, do whatever it is that Hunter wants to do, but he will come to understand that that is HIS time and that it's non-negotiable. It won't help all the time, but it does tend to help. What you are describing is really common (and totally normal - I have parents ask me about it all the time), and he will adjust in his own way over time but little things like that might help him through. Make sure that you have set your non-negotiable limits on his behaviour too - ie. you've figured out what little things to let go, and what requires a reprimand - and don't budge on those.

(NB I am not a mother, so feel free to ignore me! But I am a paediatrician and mother-to-be :) )
 

Jennifer W

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I am (and have) an only child, but even with my very limited knowledge here, I suspect this is 100% completely normal. Heck, I'd be a little bit suspicious of the kid who didn't feel this way and let it be known. I think that's the one who would grow up to work quietly in his garden shed on the development of a new type of atomic weapon, for example... :bigsmile:

His whole wide world has just changed - nothing will ever be the same again and he probably knows that (or is just hoping it's a blip and it will be back to normal asap). That has got to take some adjustment - I know this is really easy for me to say, but I'd give it time. I have a feeling that if you force the issue, you'll risk prolonging the adjustment period.

My mother still pokes at her sister at every chance (they are both over 70) so I can't even promise it will end...
 

Skippy123

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Jennifer W|1317377942|3029534 said:
I am (and have) an only child, but even with my very limited knowledge here, I suspect this is 100% completely normal. Heck, I'd be a little bit suspicious of the kid who didn't feel this way and let it be known. .
Yes!!! Completely normal! In fact I was 2 yrs older than my sis and did some naughty things since I wanted the attention. I use to babysit the CUTEST little girl and then she had a baby brother and would do not so cute things. She would put qtips up her brothers nose or act sweet and do something mean. I think if I remember correctly the parents would give her time with them alone to do fun stuff each day and also talk about how she is the bigger sister and how important the role is to the whole family. hang in there momma
 

Logan Sapphire

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Still going through it in the Logan Sapphire household...

I need to finish eating (had a rough night here- picked up a stove-to-oven skillet, forgetting it had been in oven and had to go to the ER), but will write in a little while.
 

Tacori E-ring

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Completely normal. Look in your old textbooks under Alder. Hunter was dethroned and that's tough. I think you are doing all you can by spending extra alone time with him. Once Hunter knows Ryder isn't going anywhere I am sure he will adjust. Unfortunately there is not much you can do to "force" a connection.

ETA: I would look to see if you can take a filial class. A play therapist teaches you to do some basic play therapy with your own child. I did this with Tessa and it is a bonding experience that she thrived off of. That would give you and Ryder some special play time and reassure him that he is still an important part of your life.
 

DivaDiamond007

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James was also 2.5 when Grace was born and he's pretty good with her (now) for the most part. He can get really mean when he wants my attention NOW though. Once I was doing something for Grace and James wanted some milk. I asked him to please wait until I was done and he went over and hit Grace right in the face :evil: Needless to say, James was scolded and sent to time out. He also does the act sweet but do mean things routine. So frustrating sometimes! I just try to remind myself that his world changed forever the day she came home and now he can't have mommy and daddy all to himself and that must be a shock to the system. He's not a very mature now-three-year-old either so I don't think that helps the situation. I feel like it will get better as James gets older and as Grace becomes more social.
 

janlwf

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My son was 3 1/2 when my daughter was born. When he said "ahhh, I wanted a baby brother" I knew I was in trouble...I highly recommend the book called "Siblings without rivalry" because it does have many insights. One of ones I learned when my daughter was still a baby was to say that my hands were busy right now, not that Mommy was busy or that your sister was hungry. I *think* it might have helped because one day my son asked if I could get new hands cause my other ones were always busy...too cute! :lol:
 

lliang_chi

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Jan, OMG your son is such a cutie that he asked if you can get new hands. :) Maybe Daddy's hands won't be as busy and he can ask Daddy. :Up_to_something:
 

nfowife

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As the other's said it's completely normal. Jut wait until Ryder is crawling and can get to whatever Hunter is playing with. Fun times :naughty:

I didn't have a ton of problems or jealousy until the crawling began with #2 but one thing I did do that I think helped was have a special tub of toys that I decorated (did this before #2 arrived....hope you can find time!) and labeled "Allison's Fun Box". In it I put a bunch of small toys, like a set of old keys, a calculator, a play phone, some animal figurines, you could put in some cars, a few neat books (they have some neat board books now that look like vehicles and have wheels so when they are velcro'ed shut they are like vehicles), etc. You could even gift wrap them. And then I only let her play with them when I was sitting and nursing.
Don't be afraid to turn on the boob tube :tongue: either....when you've got 2 young kids you do what you've gotta do and as you know, this phase won't last forever. Soon your boys will be best friends :) . As I type this my 9 month old is napping and her 4 and 6 year old brother/sister are upstairs and have been playing together for an hour :).
 

somethingshiny

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I haven't met a kid who didn't have a jealousy issue when the younger one came along. My mom couldn't leave me alone with my older brother for years! JT was 4.5 when Lily was born. We went through a pretty rough patch. Every night, JT and I have "cuddle time." For 30-45 mins we read books and chat and cuddle in his room. Lily can only come in for prayers but not for stories. I always tell him how special he is to me and the reasons why. I let him know what a lucky girl Lily is to have gotten JT for a big brother. We decided right from the beginning that we wouldn't do the "oh, you're the big brother and you have all this responsibility" thing. He's taken the initiative on his own and only to the extent that he's comfortable with. Now, Lily is 14 months, and JT loves her dearly. He kisses her before he goes to school and hugs her as soon as he gets home. He tells her he missed her and talks about his day with her.
 

monarch64

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I'm sorry to hear that Hunter is struggling with sharing you, Dreamer! I think a lot of kids go through that. I am not a parent yet, so have no words of wisdom to offer but I have known other families who've gone through this and it seems to be one of those phases in life that isn't very comfortable but eventually improves.

My brother was almost 4 years old when I came into the world. He absolutely loved having a little sister, continually helped our mother change my diapers, give me bottles, feed me, pull me around in a wagon, etc. He has doted on me most of my life, actually. My mother and her sisters, on the other hand, did not get along well at all (all three of them!) and my father and his brother have been super competitive with each other their entire lives. Being a sibling is just hard work sometimes, like any human relationship. You will get through this, Dreamer. :wavey:
 

diamondseeker2006

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Oh, this is so normal that it would be abnormal NOT to happen! I am sure you are doing all the right things! It is just hard to see the jealousy in the older child, but they eventually adjust. But this is why they say never, ever leave an infant in the room even for a minute with a young sibling without an adult present!
 

iheartscience

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diamondseeker2006|1317526438|3030962 said:
Oh, this is so normal that it would be abnormal NOT to happen! I am sure you are doing all the right things! It is just hard to see the jealousy in the older child, but they eventually adjust. But this is why they say never, ever leave an infant in the room even for a minute with a young sibling without an adult present!
My mom says my older sister was extremely jealous when my oldest brother came along, and she used to poke him with diaper pins when my mom wasn't in the room!

My older sister went through this with her older daughter. She had her second when the oldest was over 4, so my niece was VERY used to being #1! She made sure to have special one on one time with the oldest daughter, and my BIL paid a ton of attention to the oldest, too. My brothers went through the same thing with their oldest kids as well. Good luck-I think they all just get over it eventually!
 

Pandora II

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Dreamer, I found it very hard when my parents had my sister - I was the eldest and was 20 months old when she was born. I hated her on sight, I fed her dog biscuits and glass christmas tree decorations. I ran away from home and was found over a mile away by a neighbour - on being returned I demanded that we 'find Susie another nice mummy and another nice daddy.'

Unfortunately our relationship has never been great - she resented me for being the eldest and I disliked her existence (then got landed with another 2 siblings who I get on much better with :bigsmile: ) we had nothing in common but our parents and were very different personalities - today we maintain a civil neutrality!

It is a very normal response and in the vast majority of cases everything calms down and the kids become good friends later on.

There are some good books out there and I think the idea of having dedicated Hunter time with you is a great one. It's very easy for a child of that age to feel that you obviously don't love them or think they are good enough if you have had to have another one!

Good luck!

I hate to think what D would do if I was to present her with a sibling right now :-o (So not happening!)
 

gardengloves

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Dreamer,

Going down memory lane .... I think it should ease up for you as Ryder moves out of the early infant stage and begins responding to his big brother with spontaneous smiles, giggles and reaching out, attempts to follow him around. I'm a bit rusty, but once they leave the very early infant stage, my second born would light up with any interaction with her big brother, the laughter between the two of them was infectious, that helped the older (2 year old toddler) to feel he had a special place and status in the new family. It was a whole new role for him, the big brother, child in charge! Before three months she would just follow him with her eyes- – If I recall, the transition happened when my youngest reached around 5-6 months, my older began to realize that his younger sibling was a great play asset, not just a sleeping, nursing baby who took all mommy's time. Hunter will realize his special status as older brother, and feel more included. Next year this time, they will team up!

Several suggested some quality just mom and Hunter time, which is a great idea and I am sure you do that , but also see if you can have Hunter help out with some caretaking activities – helping Ryder take a bath, sing a song he learned in school, show him a picture book – make it a fun thing he has an important part to play.
 

swingirl

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Just a thought of what worked for me---when we brought baby brother home I made sure I never said that I couldn't do something because of baby brother. I said I was busy and would play/read/help in a certain amount of time. But I left out any mention of the baby as an excuse. "I am busy but will read to you in 15 minutes."

Something in me made me see that my unavailability is because I am choosing to do something else, not because another kid is around.

I also found it easy to nurse and read a book at the same time. I used the front pack a lot so I could have my hands available to do activities. I had a major C-section and could not pick up my DD for quite a while but it eventually got easier.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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Thanks everyone, I appreciate the thoughts.

For better or worse, most times I think better, Hunter is still in daycare right now so his routine has not been changed as much as it would be were he at home with Ryder and I. I try to spend time one on one with him, but admit I am not doing it as much as I should. I am frankly exhausted and he is, frankly, at a very difficult age. And he has taken to only wanting Daddy and avoiding me at times, which is hurtful even though I know it is nothing personal, not really. Anyways, I am going to try to make more effort to have a dedicated time with him, maybe right after dinner or something.

It is just time of changes in our home for everyone, and we are all having "growing pains". Hunter is potty training (all weekend with no accidents! :bigsmile: ) and that is tiring for us all. Hunter is also a *very* independent and stubborn little dude, and we are struggling to adjust our ways of interacting to adapt to this new emerging individual who is at times much more than we can handle, especially being tired. Being a parent is hard . work. and so much harder with two kids than one kid it is not even funny. |Ryder is a piece of cake -- smooshy cute lovable cake -- thank goodness or I don't know what we would do.

Anyways, I need to drag my sorry butt to bed. All the fun starts again for the day in... oh... two hours when Ryder wakes to feed.
 

somethingshiny

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Being a parent is hard work. And, yes, two is SOO much more work than 1. I remember when I was preggo with Lily, my brother told me what changes we were in for. I really thought he just couldn't handle it and I could. I vividly remember thinking, "that'll never happen to us." Surprise!! It is such a huge change, every piece of your life is changed. You're doing the right thing just by letting Hunter be himself. I know it's hard to feel like your child couldn't care less if you are there, but you know in your heart he really really cares that you're there. You're doing a great job! It just takes some time for the new edges to smooth out.
 

lliang_chi

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Dreamer, I'm glad Hunter has more good days then bad. I can only imagine how much of an adjustment it is for him and how much it's tough on you when he pushes you away. I have no suggestions, but just wanted to say, "HUGS". To me it sounds like special Hunter time will probably help with his adjustment. Hooray for Hunter doing so well with potty training though! :appl:



And in general I wanted to poll the group, and hopefully some other folks can chime in. Do you think that older siblings are harder adjust because they're 2+ years old? They're older, more developed, been aware of their surroundings a little longer, etc?

Example: I have a brother that's 15 months older than me and my twin sister. My mom said he was very helpful, would bring her clean diapers, give us our bottle, tell her when we were crying etc. My thoughts are maybe it's because he was still a baby (just over 1YO) so he *just* started being aware of his surroundings when we were born. Thoughts?

I'm just curious because we're expecting #1 now, and I never really had a plan, per se, for #2. My mom liked having us so close together, but she also doesn't know the difference. So I'm trying to figure out if it's best to have them both close together or spread it apart a little.

Sorry the threadjack, Dreamer....

~LC
 

dreamer_dachsie

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No threadjack, its all related LC!

I will say, Hunter also does all those helpful things. And kisses Ryder and loves to make him laugh. And also bites and hits him. Toddlers are so changable. They cry hysterically then within a microsecond they laugh hysterically. Totally unpredictable.

I have also noticed that our paretns -- the grandparents -- don't remember anything accurately ;))

I have no clue if a smaller age difference makes it easier. Somehow I doubt it. But having not done it I cannot compare!
 

Logan Sapphire

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I really will write a thoughtful response (in training all bloody week), but in our experience, with 2 that are 22 months apart, a smaller age difference hasn't helped at all. In fact, I think it might've been worse, at least for us. We have a lot of shoving the other out of parents' laps, crying to be held when the other is being held, grabbing from each other, shoving, elbowing, hitting, and biting. My son, who is 18 months old, has become increasingly jealous of his 3 year old sister, so for us, having both kids insanely jealous of the other has been a new challenge for sure.

I do hear from time to time about parents who are sooooo sure their oldest will not be jealous; my hats off to them!
 

dreamer_dachsie

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I had a feeling Hunter would be jealous, and said as much to my husband but he seemed to think he would not be :halo:
 

Laila619

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Oh, I'm sorry Dreamer! It sounds rough, but I'm sure Hunter will adjust. The boys will probably be the best of friends when they get older. Gah, this is really making me rethink my desire for baby number 2 so soon though. :errrr: It sounds like sooo much work and chaos.
 

dreamer_dachsie

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Laila619|1317679635|3032369 said:
Oh, I'm sorry Dreamer! It sounds rough, but I'm sure Hunter will adjust. The boys will probably be the best of friends when they get older. Gah, this is really making me rethink my desire for baby number 2 so soon though. :errrr: It sounds like sooo much work and chaos.
We have found the transition to two kids more of an unheaval than the transition to one ;)) You think the kid takes over your life now, with two, they are literally so time consuming that your kids do become everything! Yes, of course, there are rewards and it is wonderful and all of that :tongue: But I don't want to sugar coat it. It is challenging.
 

Pandora II

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Liiang - from what I have seen within my own and DH's very large families (I'm the eldest of 4 and he is the 2nd of 4 plus very large numbers of cousins, aunts, uncles etc) and from friends, I am firmly convinced that a larger gap is better. If we decide to have another then we will start TTC when Daisy is 5. Although I will be 42 then which carries it's own risks.

There are 5 years between me and my brother and we played together a lot as kids and are still close today. My best friend has 5 years between her daughter and son and it has worked very well. I wouldn't want a much greater than 5 year gap - there are 14 years between me and my youngest sister - as it becomes too inter-generational and the older child has more of an an uncle/aunt role.

I feel that by 5, the child has a good idea of who they are as a person, they are also going to school and doing Big Kid things and hopefully very secure in their relationship with their parents. There just doesn't seem to be the same level of jealousy.

You also don't get the inverted jealousy from the younger child who gets cross because they can't do what the older one does. With a 5 year gap there is sufficient distance between the two for it to be too big a gap for the younger to continually attempt to get one over. My sister was constantly angry because I was 'less responsible but still got to be the oldest' as if being the eldest has some kind of prize attached to it.

Anyway, these are just my musings on the subject and obviously coloured by my own experiences.
 

somethingshiny

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RE: age gap. My brother and I are 19 months apart and absolutely despised one another. I have a sis who is 6 yrs younger than me and at first I liked her, then not so much, then I did again. I have a sis who is 10 yrs younger and I've always adored her.

I don't think age gaps can be generalized really. I think it depends on the circumstances and personalities involved.
 

gardengloves

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Brace yourself, my dear... it gets better.. Soon the two will be running rings around you and DH, but I promise you, these are the sweetest priceless years... so enjoy every moment - it goes by fast . Bond, they will! Thirty years later my kids call me Rerun because I like to watch old movies over and over, and their father is called The Engineer because he can't seem to fix anything.. I haven't figured out the knick name for my new husband, but I am sure he has one! Come to think of it - it's The Remark- because he always has a snide comment on everything-- but it's all in great love and goodness knows we have our own pet names for the kids which shall not be mentioned.
 

Logan Sapphire

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Dreamer, just echoing what others have said, I think it's perfectly 100% normal that Hunter is feeling so jealous and I think it's good to admit to yourself that you simply can not be and give 100% for both kids at the same time. I know with perfect certainty that 2 kids are our limit b/c I feel so torn, both physically and emotionally, between 2 kids as it is, that I can't imagine having more and feeling even more torn.

It's odd to see these older ones in the role of "big" brother or sister because they really are still babies themselves, right? I think it also can be just a stage a 2 year old goes through, regardless of whether they have a younger sibling or not (if that helps alleviate any of your guilt). I remember picking up my daughter from daycare before her brother was born and if other kids approached me, she would push them away and yell, "My mommy, my mommy." Other kids did the same, as well.

My daughter, in the past, has said stuff like how she doesn't want my son to come places with us and other exclusionary stuff. We will validate some of the stuff if it makes sense, but now as he's getting older, we can't use the he's a baby excuse much anymore ;)) They do seem like they're getting along better these days, though I suspect some of it is a show on DD's part for us. DD's jealousy would manifest itself in literally acting like a baby (still does sometimes) with babytalk, etc., wanting/crying to be held when she would see me hold DS, and other stuff. Fortunately she never acted out physically towards DS. Now with both kids, things have to be EXACTLY the same btwn them or they complain. DD is more attached to my husband and DS is more attached to me. If he sees her sitting with me or on me or being held by me, he will come over and try to push her out of my lap or tug on me to get me down to his level and say "UP" very insistently. I think (and hope) it's just something time will heal but I do think the advent of his walking has taken the jealousy on both their parts to a different level.

And btw, totally agree with you on the 2 kids is way harder than 1 assessment. I know a lot of people who don't agree with that, but for us, it means you are always on. With 1, you could relax if that kid was with the other parent but not so with 2, at least when they're this young. Before you could ask if the other parent wanted to change the diaper or get up with a crying kid, but now it's more like whose diaper do you want to change or which kid do you want to get up with while they're both crying. And it's rare to enjoy a calm meal b/c you always have to sit with one butt cheek off your chair. Plus, our daughter is very docile and easygoing and our son is totally the opposite. We were lulled into complacency thinking he would be the same...ha!

Anyway, good luck. Let me know if you have any tips for me too...

Here are a few pics that kind of chronicle their relationship. Her expression in the hospital pic is priceless.

Holding hands.jpg

C pushes D.jpg

CmeetsD-1.jpg
 

taovandel

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Mar 22, 2008
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LC: We had our children fairly close together (18 months apart) andwe haven't seen any jealousy from our son. But I know another mom on here that had her kids nearly the same distance apart and her older one wanted nothing to do with the new baby until recently...so not sure if spacing them out really matters.
 
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