How to deal with jealousy between brothers?

Updated on 12/13/2022 by Dr. Iratxe Lopez. clinical psychologist

The jealousy between brothers They are habitual and normal when a new member comes into the family. In general, with shared care, the little one adapts to a new reality, but this is not always the case. Sometimes this feeling can be sustained over time among all brothers to become mutual. Jealousy can provoke inappropriate behavior, disrupt harmony in the family, and even determine personality from children to adulthood. Also, of course, to cause suffering in children.

1. Why does jealousy arise between siblings?

The most common is that the older brother is jealous of the younger brother. It is the so-called Dethroned Prince Syndrome. It happens when, after several years of enjoying your parents’ undivided attention, you suddenly have to share that love with a new baby. But it can also be the younger brother who is jealous of the older one, or it can be mutual. This occurs when one or both children They perceive that they are treated differently what they consider unfair. When this happens, it’s easy to spot a relationship based on competitiveness which could become very confrontational over time.

All people can experience jealousy as they usually are the expression of the fear of losing a caregiver. In children, who are more dependent and vulnerable, this fear of abandonment is more intense, and to calm this worry they seek attention in a variety of ways. Therefore, we can understand that jealousy between siblings is normal but essential at certain moments properly managed to foster a good relationship and make children feel safe. Jealousy and sibling rivalries are more serious than just a fight between children. It may be the germ of Problems with low self-esteem, anxiety and depression in adolescence and adulthood.

why did you ruin my life is a familiar question for anyone who has witnessed the outrage and confusion of a firstborn during the process of bringing a newborn into the family.

Terry Apter

2. How do you prepare the child for the birth of a brother?

The arrival of a baby can be a difficult time for the boy or girl in the family, so you must do it prepare it as the mother is pregnant. That means you have to talk to him about the process, adapt the information to his age and explain it everything that the birth will mean and the changes it will bring to family life. Of course, you also have to know that the little one will not always be a baby and the day will come when he can be Playmates and great friends.

Another very important aspect is the work on Strengthen affective bonds and dedicate valuable time to her. In addition to calming their worries, this offers the child much more security will not perceive the baby as a possible threat. At the same time, you need to build enough trust for him to be able to do this express your doubts and communicate openly when you’re feeling down. Likewise, the child needs to be involved in the preparations so that they can look forward to the arrival of their sibling while also feeling important and beginning to develop a sense of responsibility towards the baby.

It’s convenient too Promote empathy in the child, since it is a skill that is not developed in childhood. A small child does not understand what it means to be a baby who is totally dependent on his parents, so adults must teach him to put himself in his place. This can be done by showing him photos of you when he was just born and in need of constant feeding and care. If you understand the situation well, you will be much better able to handle any jealous feelings that may arise later, especially if you have done so the security of her parents’ unconditional love.

Do you want to know how to educate based on a respectful upbringing? In this post I will explain to you what the basic principles of attachment training are.

3. Signs that a child is jealous

jealousy, as we have seen, can be adaptive or become pathological. The first are temporary and appear in a new situation in which the child becomes alert to protect its resources. The pathological ones are maladaptive, prolonged in time and they cause discomfort to those affected and to the environment. They can manifest themselves in many different ways, but the most common signs can be listed as follows:

  • Rebellious and disobedient or indifferent behavior.
  • Aggressive attitude towards brother or other people.
  • behaviors regressivei.e. infantilized speech, enuresis, etc.
  • Depressive symptoms: sensitivity, isolation, trouble sleeping, lack of communication, distrust.
  • Unhealthy eating habits. You may stop eating or eat anxiously.
  • school failure.
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4. How do you prevent jealousy between brothers?

Much is said that everyone must be treated equally to avoid jealousy between siblings. However, it’s not that simple. Actually, the ideal know the specifics of each child in order to adequately meet their needs independently of each other. It’s more about fairness than equality. In fact, treating some of them equally may be unfair and even encourage jealousy. These are some aspects to consider to avoid conflict and rivalry:

  • Don’t make comparisons. Sometimes adults tend to make comparisons with intent promote good behavior; however, it can be very harmful. Every child is unique, with their own personality, pace of learning, aspirations and emotional needs. Compare them or put labels even if they are not malicious, It can affect the self-esteem of the above and sow the seed of a grudge that can grow great.
  • Respect the spaces. In the apartment you have to set rules for a good coexistence. This implies that every child has their privacy and personal space, and their own toys and materials. Many of the arguments between siblings are over possessions or intrusion into one another’s space.
  • Validate your emotions. When a child has an outburst of jealousy, you must understand, support, and accept that emotion and never scold them by calling them envious or jealous. The emotions of the little one should not be judgedbut you must understand them and help him deal with them.
  • Don’t leave him in the background. The arrival of a baby requires a lot of time and constant attention, but that shouldn’t crowd out the older sibling who still needs adults. when the child feels that valuable things like affection or attention are withdrawn, can easily be triggered jealousy. If the little one needs help or company at a difficult moment, for example when the baby is being fed or bathed, it is better to let them participate in the moment, talk to them or suggest an alternative task until you can be with them him.

5. How to deal with jealousy between siblings when they are children

Sometimes, even though everything has been done to prevent this, jealousy between siblings arises. You have to understand that it’s a normal process, but feeling jealous is uncomfortable, true It’s not a bad or negative emotion. It is part of a shift in which the child must learn to share the most important people in their life at this moment.

Encouraging them to express themselves and respect their emotional experiences can be a good way to deal with jealousy without it becoming overwhelming. Sometimes children are jealous for legitimate reasonsand in this case it is convenient for adults to review the treatment with each of their children and think about what may fail.

When a child is jealous, it craves love, and therefore it is advisable to give them individual attention. That means spending time alone together, at least a few minutes a day. Separate schedules can also be made on one day during the week. This is very positive for improve the link and to better understand the needs of a small person developing.

What if there is a quarrel or conflict between them? Acting during these times is difficult but crucial to prevent resentment and jealousy from developing. Ideally, adults act as guides, moderators or referees, without taking sides or judging, reminding them of the house rules, suggesting alternatives or encouraging dialogue so that they are the ones to solve the problem. In any case, when jealousy worsens and is constantly present in the sibling relationship, it may be necessary to consult a child psychologist.

Do you want to improve the relationship with your children? In this post, I give you three exercises to improve family relationships, increase the positive aspects of your children, and strengthen your bonds.

how to deal with jealousy between siblings

6. Bibliographic References

  1. Apter, T (2008). The Sister Knot: Why We Fight, Why We Are Jealous, And Why We Will Absolutely Love Each Other. WW Norton & Co.
  2. Kolak, A & Volling, B (2011). Sibling jealousy in early childhood: Longitudinal relationships on the quality of sibling relationships. Infant and child development, 20th(2). 213-226.
  3. Volling B, McElwain N & Miller A (2002). Emotion regulation in context: The jealousy complex between young siblings and their relationships to childhood and familial traits. Child development, 73(2):581-600.

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