Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

When I was pregnant with Samara, I had no idea how Ari would react once she came along. I'd heard stories of older children becoming jealous of their new younger sibling, but I didn't know if that would happen in my house or not. Typical me, I dove head first into having a second child without thinking about what might transpire.

At first, Ari was excited about having a younger sister. When Samara was a newborn, Ari was a big helper. He would comfort her when she cried, help me throw away her dirty diapers and sing her lullabies to help her go to sleep.

He did display some jealousy as well, but I wasn't shocked by it, because (as I said) I've heard that older siblings typically become jealous when a new baby enters the household.

When I say Ari was jealous, I mean he would get upset and start acting out when I nursed Samara. If Wil was holding Samara, Ari would demand his attention at that very moment.

But once Ari got used to the idea that Samara was here to stay, his demands for attention at inopportune moments subsided, and he accepted that Samara ate and pooped a lot, and (much of the time) he had to wait for her needs to be satisfied before he could get what he needed from mom or dad.

Now that Samara is mobile and more of a person, Ari is more jealous than ever.

He gets upset whenever I pay any attention to Samara. He becomes enraged when she tries to play with his cars or any of his other toys. I try to get him to share with her, but he screams:
"MY CARS!" or "MY TOYS!"

Now, don't get me wrong, it's not all bad. He's not jealous all the time. He gives her plenty of affection, and they do play together.

It's just that I catch him being mean to her in some way, and it's really hard to referee between them. Especially when he's trying to hit her with a giant stick. Oy gavolt! Can't we all just get along?

I know this is a common scenario, I just don't know what the hell to do about it. My brother and I must have gone through it, we are (after all) four years apart.

Help me out, folks! How do I get these kids to get along? I want to keep the peace in this house.


  1. I have zero wisdom to impart on this topic, since Lilah is currently an only child. But I have a feeling this will be a running theme for a very long time...

    I recall kicking my sister in the boobs when I was 11 and she was 17 - before I knew how much that could hurt! Our sibling rivalry didn't disappear until she went away to college and I grew up a bit. When she got back, we were the best of friends.

  2. I think it never goes away. I am constantly breaking up fights and i HATE it!! This is a common scenario: Menucha and Mendel are "playing", she plays too rough and he ends up crying. I remind her that she needs to act her age since she is 4 years older than him. An hour later, the same thing happens. The other common scenario is that Mendel can't leave Kineret alone, he has to tease her, or look at her and make faces, or take away what she was playing with. It is really, really frustrating and I hate being a referee. Usually I end up separating them into different rooms. When we had the hurricane I told Mendel he had to stay upstairs when Kineret was downstairs and vice versa. When he asked why I told him it was because he couldn't leave her alone when he was in the same room as her. I don't know if he really gets it, but there is only so much screeching I can take.

  3. I think that must be the hardest part. I only have one but I'm hardcore about allowing all friends full access to his toys and things. I'm so worried he'll be a precious ONLY child. I guess over time, Samara will get super tough and Ari will always know hoe to share (whether he likes ot or not!) Good luck.

  4. Right now, it's going to be difficult. He realizes that she's younger and still can't defend herself, yet she's able to get into his stuff. Since he's older, she'll probably be passive. Once she hits a year, year and a half, and becomes a bit more aggressive, it'll get worse AND better. When they fight, you'll want to knock their heads together, but he'll also have a built in playmate. Girls being girls, (and being a 2nd) she'll probably talk earlier. She'll realize quickly how to make her wants and needs known verbally, and also learn to tattle much earlier. It'll drive you bonkers when it gets to that point, but you'll glow when you see him defend her from other kids who are being mean to her, when they pretend together, and when you have 20 minutes of peace and quiet because they're just plain playing nicely.


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