Toddler Jealousy – Now What?

Toddler Jealousy - Now What?

This is a rare moment of peaceful interaction.

I knew that we’d have some changes in life as Eudora became more mobile. We’d have to get used to having a tiny person who puts things in her mouth. One thing that I did not anticipate was an unbelievable increase in toddler jealousy.

Norton has always had issues with his baby sister. Granted, the birth and homecoming wasn’t exactly what we’d had in mind.  Our plans for a VBAC didn’t work out.  The husband was so sick with a stomach flu that he couldn’t come get us. My mother-in-law had to pick us up.  I was also starting to come down with that same stomach flu.  In short, Norton ended up spending five days at his grandparents’ house.  It was the longest that he’d ever been away from us.  Then he finds that little baby sleeping in his old room and riding in his old car seat.  Toddler jealousy was pretty rough for that first little while.

For a couple of months, we kind of reached a sort of uneasy truce.  Norton had stopped napping altogether.  Eudora was still taking two naps a day.  We usually had our Mommy and Norton time while Eudora took a nap.  Then all at once, Eudora started crawling and dropped a nap.

That was was the end of the truce.  Norton was no longer able to just ignore her.  Oh, he’d try, but Eudora would commit the intolerable acts of touching his toys and petting his puppies.  That was what caused the resurgence of toddler jealousy.  At first, it was manageable.  He’d snatch a toy from her.  Maybe he’d push her if she touched something of his.  It was always dealt with swiftly.

The more mobile Eudora got, the worse the toddler jealousy issues got.  Now I can’t turn my back for a second.  Even going from the living room into the kitchen to get a bottle is enough time for toddler jealousy to rear its ugly head.  He’ll push her or hit her.  Eudora is no angel, either.  She will pre-emptively scream like he’s killing her because he brushes up against her or even looks at her.

I’m completely at my wit’s end.  I can’t get anything done.  My house is in shambles.  I have to try to minimize bathroom breaks even.  And him telling her “no no” when she does anything (including climb on me or play with her own toys) is getting beyond old.  Sending him to his room for timeouts has no effect.

Have you ever had to manage toddler jealousy?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. I would try and have some one on one time with each kid. My parents did that for us and I loved it. It made each of us have a special bond with them that the others didn’t. I make sure to date night with my son once a week. Usually it’s just the two of us at the park or we run errands together. But he loves having his one on one time. Just a thought! Good luck!

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  2. I’m not much help because I have an only child, but I really like Amanda’s advice. One on one time should make both kids feel like they’re getting their fair share of attention.

  3. I’ve gone through that with each new child added to the family. My tips are try to do one on one time with the older ones, make the older ones into SPECIAL helpers, and emphasize when the other one gets to do a special activity because he IS OLDER! Good luck

  4. I wish I knew what to tell you. I only have one child, so this is not something that I had to deal with much. I wish you luck, though.

    Dawn

  5. I wish I had advice for you, but I don’t. I am pretty much in the same boat. My girls are 19 months apart and the older one, 2.5, has had a hard time adjusting since the little one became mobile. I think it’s slowly getting better, though. I’ll be sure to come back and read the other advice you get!

  6. I am really sorry your going through this. I wish I could help but I didn’t have this problem. Sorry

  7. I have the same problem but I am lucky that my toddler sleeps in longer so I spend that time with my 4 year old who is jealous of his younger brother for taking his place. When we take my 4 year old to pre-k (he is only there for 2.5 hrs – that’s the school he goes to idea of half day) I spend time with my toddler until he naps and then I get some me time. Any change in schedule and we are back to jealous times. I hope it gets better soon.

  8. Similar things are happening in my house! It doesn’t look like it’s going to get better soon either. I believe my older one needs to feel more love from me. One on one time, more hugs and kisses would probably help.

  9. I haven’t had to deal with this so much, my kids are 20 months apart, but my daughter adores her baby brother, that’s usually the problem.

    Have you tried getting Norton some toys that only he can play with? Or even really making a big deal out of when he is being really good with her or even when he’s playing by himself? Or maybe when the baby is crying, just let her cry for an extra minute (this sounds so mean, only when it isn’t anything major!) if you are spending time with him so he doesn’t see it as just dropping everything for the baby?

    Good luck! i wish you the best! My little guy is going to be crawling within a few weeks if my guess is correct, so we will see how Maggie reacts to that, but so far, she loves to share her toys with him.

    • We’ve tried things like praising lots when he’s nice to her. I also do things like try to spend some time with just the two of us building train track layouts in his room, etc. Hopefully Maggie continues to love to share with your little guy!

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