Sibling jealousy - Mothering Forums
The Childhood Years > Sibling jealousy
Muddymum's Avatar Muddymum 10:09 AM 11-01-2012

I am new to this forum and have joined  in need of some moral support from mums who have been ther, done that and come out the other side ....


I have a 5 year old boy who i have brought up with attachment parenting principles, co sleeping, long term breastfeeding, lots of carrying, playing together etc ...... although i went away from what felt right for ten months and went to full time work when he was 1 .... i shortly after became pregnant and had a daughter when he was 21 months ,


we have our good days when they play together  but his moods and emotions recently are getting more challenging and he admits that he often feels like he wishes he was the only one ..... he uses negative behavioural ways to get my attention. my daughter not 3 wants more and more of my attention having been quite laid back and easy going and giving ... she is developing some stubborn / persistant ways that really wind my son up and they end up being so feisty with each other


i am home schooling them .....


I am feeling trashed ..... Daddy works hard ...... the other members of my family are very busy ...... mummy helpers are few and far between ,,,,,, i know i need to be on top of things and well in myself to be a good mum ..... i am sure my expectations of myself are too high


i have read the siblings without rivalry book and try to let them sort out their arguments with my help as they are young and i am sure don't always know how to .... but my son doesn't seem to want to try!!!


 but to be honest i am in a phase where i am totally and utterly fed up with it and have recently told them so and all my patient, loving, positive mothering wasy seem to have slumped into tired, low, fedupand grumpy mum who doesn't like my way at the moment. I just wonder how to go back without making things worse ...... i fought with my sister .... my mum with her brother ..... i just wish i could have a big enough set of arms tobe able to help them to respect and understand each other even if they don't end up being friends ...... it's funny ...... that was my naive reason for having a second child!!!


sorry it is long and thanks ..... actually if anyone knows of a counsellor who supports my way of parenting who really understands i would love to speak with them


Many thanks

SweetSilver's Avatar SweetSilver 10:34 AM 11-01-2012

I'm not sure how helpful I can be, except to let you know that there are others out here in situations just like yours.


My oldest is nearly 8 now, and she still has trouble with her 6yo sister since day 2.  The trouble began when we brought the baby home, intensified when dd2 was old enough to get into toys to the point that literally nothing got done in the house if I was home alone because I was having to play bodyguard.  And yes, dd2 did become more needy around "not 3".  They get around more by themselves, often are potty training, those last molars popping through making life so difficult, mama gone more often.  


For my oldest, everything I gave was never enough.  To this day she hates sharing and the fights between the girls can be intense.  I don't let fighting go without input from me, unless the fighting sounds reasonable enough (which does happen sometimes).  Siblings Without Rivalry helped, but not perfectly.  We don't compare, we work our way through demands of "evenness" and "fairness".  Still, some days it can be crazy.


And, oh yes, we homeschool as well.


It is good that your son can articulate his feelings.  My daughter has those same feelings.  The first step for us is simply to make sure that when they are feeling angry and jealous and ornery that they learn to not Break The Rules.  No name calling, hitting kicking, no put downs, etc.  I try to point out to them when they are getting in those moods when just about anything sets them off.  


It was a revelation to me when I realized what they were saying was that I loved one or the other of them more because I paid attention to them.  My actions were, to them, sending a statement of preference, even if I feel like I really don't play favorites (have I mentioned how "everything" still isn't enough?)


One major difficulty in our house is dd1's need for private space, but she doesn't want to be alone.  I've tried to see things from her POV, and be her advocate when she does her best to ask dd2 to back off and stop interrupting.  It can be overwhelming for a kid to feel like the situation is all theirs to handle without help.  A minute of my time helping dd1 convince dd2 that her rambunctious game needs to be farther away, or to not interrupt, goes a long way towards convincing dd1 that I am indeed available to help when she needs me, that her feelings and requests are valid.  That I love her.


We're learning.  Things are better.  Instead of focussing on "fixing" the jealousy, we are working on what to do when they are feeling it.  We learn respect, we learn to identify when we are feeling triggery and grumpy (and to ask for stories *before* you smack your sister and piss me off!)  af.gif


To get back to the "getting nothing done", things are better now, a bit.  Not perfect.  Far, far from perfect.  But better. 

RavenStar's Avatar RavenStar 12:40 AM 11-02-2012

Hi Muddymum,

My friend and I have been talking about sibling issues and attachment parenting too.  Sometimes it's hard to find the balance when the second child arrives.  Our girls are 3 1/2 years apart and that was still a big adjustment for DD.  She was thrilled to have a baby sister at first.  But once she realized that I needed to focus more energy on this tiny baby and less on her, she was angry and hurt.  She is still working it out.  She loves her sister and still tells me she wishes it was just us, with no little sister.  She has been able to talk about it more and even though I try to show her love, attention, have special mama time, she still sometimes says she feels I love her sister more.  I wonder if she'll always feel that way.  I hope not.


I think, in general, siblings have challenges.  They argue, fight, hurt each other sometimes and then other times they play, laugh and have fun.  We try to talk things out as much as possible.  If someone really hurts someone else, I try to comfort the hurt one first and then talk to the one who did the hurting.  For the younger child, I try to keep my words simple, such as "Look at sister's face?  She's really sad.  Biting hurts.  We only bite food, not people."  Sometimes I have the child take a break in another room or on the couch, just to put some space between them.


We also talk about what to do when we feel really angry.  Usually, we'll do this at a later time when everyone is calm and can listen.  I'll ask them what we can do....we can take a deep breath and count to five, we can stomp our feet, we can walk away or come get mom or dad.  I also try to give the younger one words to use.  She often bites, scratches, pinches or hits when she gets angry (she's 3).  I'll remind her to say "Stop", if someone is making her angry or doing something she doesn't like or give her other words that are specific for the situation.


Some things work sometimes and not other times.  The biting bothers me the most.  Overall, it really makes me sad and angry when they hurt one another.  I love them both and I don't want either of them to get hurt.


Some other things that might help....

Do you get one on one time with each child?  Like taking a walk together or some other way to connect with you separately from his/her sibling?  Doing this can really help.


Do you have anyone who can watch the kids for even an hour or so, so you can have some time with a friend or time to yourself to do something you enjoy?  Self care is so important.  I homeschool as well and I know how hard it is to find a balance between time with the children, time with my partner, time with friends and time alone.  All are important, especially to help us be the mom that we want to be. 


Do you belong to a playgroup or a homeschool group to get support from other like-minded parents?


All the best to you.

Muddymum's Avatar Muddymum 02:23 PM 11-03-2012

Thanks so much for your long and thought through replies .... so lovely to hear your thoughts and stories .... yes todayimangaed to get a sleep with one of them!! and indeed after a bad middle of the week ... having time to post here ,have a good cry and sleep i am feeling more positive .... i will write more replies tomorrwo .... ijust want you to know i have seen your and am grateful cheers muddymum


ps Raven star you don't say how old your kids are now??

RavenStar's Avatar RavenStar 09:10 PM 11-03-2012

Glad you are feeling better, Muddymum.  My girls are 3 and 6 1/2.

Muddymum's Avatar Muddymum 12:13 PM 11-13-2012

i would still love to hear others stories ..... I did feel better when I realised we were all suffering with a virus which came out shortly after I posted ... i was too tired to see the bigger picture and the kids were poorly underneath and unable to be reasonable ........ thanks for the replies so far ..... i will re read them soon so i can post again .... thanks for the suppoirt