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SIBLING JEALOUSLY
 

It is very commonly seen that the arrival of a new sibling in the family, sibling rivalry creeps in the older child. This is so, because rivalry is the natural outcome when two people compete for the same prize - in this case, the attention and love of parents. You can minimize the competition, and thus the rivalry, by being sure to show love and appreciation for each child the way he or she is never comparing any of the siblings.

Some suggestions for Sibling Preparation :

1.

Start preparing  your  older  child  for  the  arrival of new sibling when you know that you are pregnant. Certain quotes from parent to child such as

*

Would you like to have a brother or sister like the other kids in your class.

*

We are going  to have  a new baby  darling, because  we thought it would be nice for you to have a little brother or sister.

*

If we have our baby, it will belong to all three of us and we will look after it together.

*

I shall really need my big boy/girl now, to help me to look after the tiny new baby.

* Of course, I shall not love you any less. We all love each other.
* You are going to soon be a Big Brother/Sister.
2.

Don't let Pregnancy get in the way. Don't make Pregnancy the excuse to get away from attending to your older child. Pregnant women tend to get irritable and tired and start snapping at the child or start making excuses to pick up the baby because of the advancing pregnancy, which should be avoided.

3.

Encourage independence in your older child.As new babies are time consuming, it would be a good idea for the mothers to loosen the apron strings much in advance, teaching their older children to be less dependent on them. Encourage them to be more independent and play more on their own. Allow them to get a closer to their father or grandparents. This should be done very subtlely, as the older child should not feel that the new baby has stolen her Mummy.

4.

Make any lifestyle changes well in advance.Especially like putting the older child to sleep in a separate bed, or making the father giving bath to the child or grand-parents dropping the child to school.

5.

Say goodbye before you leave for the hospital, Even if you have to make the child to do so. It is better for him to face your departure than one fine morning to wake up and see you are gone. Reassure him before leaving and tell him that you will come home with his new brother or sister.

6.

Allow him to see his new brother/sister in the hospital and reassure him that the new baby belongs to him, and make him feel the importance of being the elder brother or sister

7.

Let him participate in opening the gifts that are given to the little baby.

8.

After the baby comes home, continue telling bedtime stories or attending to his feeds.

9.

Giving him the importance of being the elder brother or sister, by making him do small events for the little baby as picking up a rattle to entertain the small baby or picking up the feeding bottle.


Manifestations of Sibling Rivalry.

1.

Sine children are openly hostile to the new sibling which is manifested as picking the new baby, hitting the baby when your back is turned.

2.

Some will manifest the rivalry in a subtle way by remaining quiet, and refusing the feeds till the mother feeds him.

3.

The child may start with temper tantrums in order to get the parental affection.

4.

The child getting aggressive as a result of parental neglect. Aggressive children are usually bullies, physically and verbally attacking children smaller than them.


Management of Sibling Rivalry.

While you should view the disagreements between your children as normal and natural, you can help keep the skirmishes from escalating into all out battles with certain diplomatic maneuvers.

1.

Don't play favourites. Comparing your children or favouring one over the other will only increase the resentment, intensify the fighting and possibly lead to life-long problems in their relationship.

2.

Lead the way.

Your relationship with your spouse is a significant model for your children's' interactions with each other and with orders. Avoid the down and dirty squabbles in front of your children.

3.

Minimize the stress. Excessive stress in the home no matter the source - can cause sparks to fly in every direction, including from sibling to sibling.

4.

Be respectful. Do with your children what you would have them do with each other. Children who are treated with considerations, and whose possession and privacy are respected are more likely to extend the same courtesy to others - even occasionally to their siblings.

5.

Validate their feelings. Listen to all their complaints and feelings (even if they may seem overblown or irrational) with an objective and sympathetic ear. Even listen to his negative emotions (like "He is so stupid or that picture is my bad brother") without judging. This way your child will be relieved not only of the bad feelings but of the fear that you will be angry at him for feeling angry at his sibling.

6.

Don't accept the unacceptable actions. Make it clear that it is not okay to hit, bite, kick or physically abuse a sibling. Repeatedly remind your children that things usually work out better when you try to settle with words or ideas instead of gists.

7.

Don't instill guilt. Berating your child with "How can you fight with your brother" not only won't make the angry feelings go away, it could actually intensify them.

8.

Understand their position. An older child feels at a disadvantage in a sibling relationship, because he is expected to be an adult and give in. Recognize that it is not fair to expect your older child to act on adult when relating to his toddler sibling and be sure that his seniority grants him plenty of benefits as well as responsibilities.

9.

Set & enforce limits on behaviour. Make it clear to both your children and enforce them consistently that hitting, biting and pushing or grabbing will not be allowed.

10.

Don't rush to mediate but do mediate when necessary. Don't step in until they are about to come to physical blows. It is best to allow them to work out on solving disagreements by themselves.

11.

Don't judge. When stepping between dueling siblings be careful not to assign blame, which will only increase tension. Remain as impartial as possible.

 

CASE STUDY

Past History
Anubhav, a five year old child showed the below mentioned traits when his younger sister was born. He had real reason to feel that the newcomer in the family scene was threatening the love and attention from his mother. Verbal preparations made by the parents before the new baby was born were of little use in preventing the development of jealousy in Anubhav. Now maternal actions had changed for Anubhav. He lacked friends in his neighborhood and spent most of his time at home after school. He could not bear to see his mother so busy at home. Anubhav started showing negative and attention seeking behaviour. He would throw spoons and dishes and his toys to make a huge noise. This in turn would get his mother more angry and she would beat him up.

Treatment
Anubhav and his parents visited the child guidance clinic. During counselling sessions, the counsellor explained to the mother, to take some time each day to spend exclusively with the older child. The counsellor asked the mother to be consistent in disciplinary actions, to avoid nagging the child with continuous "don'ts" and to avoid making comparisons between the child and the infant.

It was explained to the parents to maintain a happy home environment, in which Anubhav was also given responsibility to look after the infant and make him feel important. Anubhav did well during the course of time. Love and encourage-ment was made consistent from both sides, school and home.


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