Jealousy

Samantha - posted on 05/22/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I have two daughters, 21 months and 4 months. I am having a terrible time with jealousy in my 21 month old. Every time I pick up the baby, she gets very upset and starts screaming. This often escalates into tantrums. I always go to her, as her if this is how she wants to behave, then remove her from the situation. I feel horrible because I feel like most of my time with her is spent dealing with tantrums. I try to include her in everything I do with the baby from diaper changes, to getting dressed, to nursing. My husband rarely has any of these problems with her. He always tells me she acts the way I do so I pay attention to her. I know he has always had more patience for just about everything in life, but I do try my very hardest. I do think part of the problem is she does not talk yet, just a few barely understandable words. She does sign, but when she gets frustrated, signing goes out the window and whining and screaming take over. Does anyone have any ideas how I can handle this more effectively? Thank you!

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Christy - posted on 05/22/2011

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Samantha,
I understand how difficult it is with two little ones. Your oldest use to get all your attention and now has figured out that her screaming gets you to put the baby down. She's old enough to put her in training. Teach her what behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable. I had to teach my boys that they could share my lap and we would practice sitting together and playing together.

It is critical to deal with your oldest's negative emotions when they start and keep your own emotions in check while you teach her what is appropriate and what is not. I highly recommend the book, "Parenting with love and logic." There's one specifically about toddlers. Check to see if your library has it on audio book.

It's important to practice the behavior you want from her in a good situation. Do activities with her when the focus is on her, but the baby is beside you, not in your arms. Find things you can do with her while you're feeding the baby. For example, if you're nursing or giving the baby a bottle, you can read her a story. So then she knows it's story time if you're feeding the baby, which tells her she's just as important.

When she throws a tantrum, remove her from the situation, or remove yourself from the situation. She is doing it for attention and if you're not there, then she's not getting attention. When my daughter was that age, I would pick her up and take her to her bedroom to throw her tantrum. I would tell her, "It's okay to cry, but you need to cry in your room. You can come out when you're done." It took a few months, but she started running to her room when she was upset. It was AWESOME! And she would tell our guests the rule that if you're gonna cry, y ou have to go to your room!

Plan for the next few years to be "training" and she will be a very well behaved child! It most certainly won't help overnight. The hardest part is keeping your own emotions under control and working with her before her emotions are out of control. I know this is difficult, I also know it can be done! This is why a mom's job is the hardest job around.

Katherine - posted on 05/22/2011

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1. Teach him how to interact

Your first goal is to protect the baby. Your second, to teach your older child how to interact properly. You can teach your toddler how to play with the baby in the same way you teach him anything else. Talk to him, demonstrate, guide and encourage. Until you feel confident that you've achieved your second goal, however, do not leave the children alone together. If you see your toddler about to get rough, pick up the baby and distract the older sibling with a song, a toy, an activity or a snack. This action protects the baby while helping you avoid a constant string of "Nos," which could encourage the aggressive behavior.

2. Teach soft touches

Teach your toddler how to give the baby a back rub. Tell him how this kind of touching calms the baby and praise the older child for a job well done. This teaches him how to be physical with the baby in a positive way. Your toddler will be watching as you handle the baby and learning from your actions, so you are his most important teacher.

3. Act quickly

Every time you see your child act roughly with the baby, respond quickly. You might firmly announce, "No hitting, time out." Place the child in a time-out chair and say, "You can get up when you can use your hands in the right way." Allow him to get right up if he wants–as long as he is careful and gentle with the baby. This isn't punishment, it's just helping him learn that rough actions aren't permitted.

4. Praise your toddler often

Whenever you see your older child touching the baby gently, make a positive comment. Make a big fuss about the important "older brother." Hug and kiss him and tell him how proud you are.

5. Don't blame everything on the new baby

Be careful not to say things like: "We can't go to the park because the baby's sleeping;" "Be quiet, you'll wake the baby;" or "After I change the baby I'll help you." At this point, your child would just as soon sell the baby! Instead, use alternate reasons. "My hands are busy now;" "We'll go after lunch;" "I'll help you in three minutes."

6. Be supportive

Acknowledge your toddler's unspoken feelings, by saying things like, "Things sure have changed with the new baby here. It's going to take us all some time to get used to this." Keep your comments mild and general. Don't say, "I bet you hate the new baby." Instead, say, "It must be hard to have Mommy spending so much time with the baby." When your child knows that you understand his feelings, he'll have less need to act up to get your attention.

7. Give extra love

Increase your little demonstrations of love for your child. Say extra I love yous, increase your daily dose of hugs and find time to read a book or play a game. Temporary regressions or behavior problems are normal, and can be eased with an extra dose of time and attention.

8. Involve your toddler

Teach the older sibling how to be helpful with the baby or how to entertain the baby. Let your toddler open the baby gifts and use the camera to take pictures of the baby. Teach him how to put the baby's socks on. Let him sprinkle the powder. Praise and encourage whenever possible.

9. Make each feel special

Avoid comparing siblings, even about seemingly innocent topics such as birth weight, when each first crawled or walked, or who had more hair-children can interpret these comments as criticisms.

10. Take a deep breath and be calm.

This is a time of adjustment for everyone in the family. Reduce outside activities, relax your housekeeping standards and focus on your current priority–adjusting to your new family size.

Jamie - posted on 05/22/2011

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Do you have a big girl day I know the baby is young and still needs you,can daddy handle baby for two hrs so you two can go out or play without baby, go for lunch, read, swimming etc.
Just suggestions

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