Need help with Cousin Rivalry - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 1 Old 07-19-2005, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a neice who will be 4 next month and a 1 year old son. My neice is an only child and my DS is my first so I don't have much experience with preschoolers. I have read many of the book from the GD book list, but I haven't really had any opportunities to use the tools yet as my DS is still pretty young for discipline. So I am hoping you experienced mamas and papas can give me some perspective on some issues we have been having lately.

Here is the problem: I have been giving my neice lots of focused attention and trying out some Playful Parenting tools with her over the last few weeks while we are visiting my family. But she gets extreamly jealous when we have to stop playing because my DS needs my attention. I know this is completely normal and that sibling rivalry can occur with cousins or friends, in addtion to brothers and sisters. The main problem is that my neice will complain that she never gets a turn and that my DS always gets a turn and that it is not fair, even if I had been playing with just her for over an hour.

I have tried to mirror back her emotions by saying, "You look upset, You want me all to yourself, You wish the baby didn't need my help, You wish he wasn't here." or "Wouldn't it be fun if we could go swimming all day, What if we could live in the pool, and sleep here and everything, that would be fun!" Then I sometimes ask her to think of a solution which would satisfy everyones needs. She usually wants someone else to watch the baby so that we can keep on playing, which works sometimes but that isn't always possible or fair to my other family members.

Another problem is when my DS touches her, while she is laying down ( he loves to wrestle and lay on bodies) she really over reacts and screams that he is hurting her (it sounds like he is torturing her), even if he is barely touching her or if she even thinks is touching her when he's not.

She also is very possessive of toys and is constantly taking toys away from my DS saying either they are hers or they are too dangerous for him to play with (even if they are not).

This has started carrying over into other playmates. For example when I took her and my DS to the park this morning she met a little boy, but started pouting because while they were racing she didn't win every time.

I have tried using Playful Parenting to address the issue of it's not fair, by acting like a baby and begging for my turn while she played the authority and told me to wait my turn. We have also made a game out of racing, where she always beats me. I am not sure what results I am looking for from these play activities, but she enjoys them nonetheless.

My family members who care for her naturally use some GD tools such as focused attention, but they also give swats, use threats, punishment and shaming to get her to behave. They always ask my advice on how to use GD to help her get through some behaviors, but I don't really have the experience yet to offer advice, just the book knowledge. Also some ot the techniques I try backfire. I wonder if this is to be expected or if it is a result of the parenting techniques she has already been exposed to (for example if she were raised GD from birth would the techniques work).

Any thought on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

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