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Help with my toddler's jealousy

(16 Posts)
PrinceCorum Mon 03-Aug-09 10:41:35

Hi there. I'm a Dad posting here and asking for advice. My 2 year old is getting really jealous of our new 3-week old (both boys). What is really getting my wife down is that he's showing this by showing favouritism towards me and rejecting his Mum. Thus, he won't easily eat his meals if Mum is at the table, creates a big fuss for Mum when getting washed and dressed and is constantly asking for "Dada". I really feel for my wife as she was previously so close to our toddler, who is otherwise a lovely, really affectionate child. Please share your tips and guidance as my wife is feeling hurt and rejected and is frightened of losing her relationship with our toddler.

saintmaybe Mon 03-Aug-09 10:53:42

Your wife is an adult. I'd concentrate on your 2 year old's feelings tbh.

PrinceCorum Mon 03-Aug-09 11:07:14

Yes, thanks for that hmm Funny enough I was aware that my wife is an adult but nevertheless she has feelings, like most adults do...

So any tips for getting my 2 year old through the jealousy phase ?

socrosstonight Mon 03-Aug-09 15:40:43

The jealousy thing is really hard isn't it? My daughter has still never forgiven me for having a son! (And he's now four to her six) Is there any way you could take the baby out and let your wife have some alone time with your son? Or is that impossible because of BF?

kingfix Mon 03-Aug-09 15:50:29

ugh we're in the same boat here, although our eldest (DD) is older. Some things that have helped a bit: asking all visitors to make a big fuss of DD and letting her 'introduce' the baby when she wants to, keeping her routine as normal as possible, getting her to help with the baby e.g choosing clothes, getting a nappy etc. I whole heartily second the idea of finding a way for the mother to spend some time alone withthe older child for both their sakes. I make a point of doing DD's bath, story and bed routine every night with husband holding the (sometimes wailing) baby downstairs. We also have a good book called 'big sister now' which shows in a fairly light hearted way how touhg it can be to be a toddler ina house with a new baby, DD loved it and I think was relieved to be able to show that she wasn't completely happy with the new situation.
On the other hand, my wise friend, who has 4 children, says it just takes time, whatever you do...

hattyyellow Mon 03-Aug-09 15:52:42

It's very hard, you have my sympathy. I had my third daughter when my older daughters were 3. They were incredibly jealous. I can only think of the following that we tried which may sound obvious:

- I tried as much as possible to have brief periods of time with the older kids. Even if DD was very grotty, my husband would whisk her away for a walk so the others couldn't hear her screaming while I read them a story quickly etc. If she'd been fed/nappied etc then it wasn't going to damage her to have her dad cuddling her for 5 minutes and I think the older toddlers really appreciated brief mummy moments. Plus it kind of "shares the blame" between both parents - it's not always mum with baby and dad with other toddler. - remember that it will get easier. I got our baby into a gentle routine which meant that I knew/could promise approximate times to spend with older toddlers. While she had her morning sleep etc, I would go and tell stories/help them with colouring etc. -Get out of the house as much as possible. The older ones were so much more distracted by being taken out and it made the jealously a million times better. Plus the baby slept much better when we were out so I could concentrate on older kids while she napped in pram/carseat. Everything seems worse when you are cooped up at home! Its fantastic that you are so understanding. Having a jealous older child can be really painful and I battled major feelings of guilt, which is made much worse by the tiredness and hormonal upheaval of having a new baby. Remember that he will settle down and accept the changes to his life. My twins found it so so hard to accept a new baby and started every morning being cross with me and her - after a bad night I used to feel really down about it. Now at 7 months, they will still occasionally get cross but they have really accepted her and will bring her toys/ put the sunblind up on her babyseat - all the things I thought would never ever happen. Hope things settle down for you soon.

MooMooMama Mon 03-Aug-09 15:58:03

I haven't had to deal with the jealousy thing personally (no brothers or sister for DS yet) but friends of mine have tried to be as inclusive as possible with the older child when another comes along. Maybe try to ask your older son to help his Mummy by getting her things which his younger brother needs (new nappy? a toy?) - if he's totally not listening to your wife, you may need to get involved with this at first. Then, when he does it, just stress how helpful he's been and what a grown up boy he is...hope that helps!

posieparkerinChina Mon 03-Aug-09 16:03:57

I think you should make a real fuss of dc1 and make this special daddy bonding time, your wife is too busy with a newborn and although may have moments of not liking being second place this is brilliant for your older dc. Your wife should (perhaps when not so hormonal) be delighted that dc1 can now ask for Daddy. The first time they ask for daddy over you (IE when it happened to me) is terrible but it gets easier. dc2 is important and deserves all the attention your wife can give. Understandably but undeniably I think your wife is being a little selfish.

Stigaloid Mon 03-Aug-09 16:05:30

Congrats on your newborn. no advice but watching intently as DC 2 due December. However my son already favours daddy over me and always rejects me for DH if there is a choice so not sure there will be much difference in our household!

posieparkerinChina Mon 03-Aug-09 16:05:37

Your child is not jealous, btw, I think he just feels pushed out and so is focussing on someone who doesn't have a new baby, ie you. Jealousy comes later on when the new baby is more of a person.

roseability Mon 03-Aug-09 17:43:13

gosh I am going through the same thing!

DS aged 3 and DD 7 weeks. These feelings are not selfish as some people have said on this thread (a little insensitively I feel) but quite normal. Any change is hard for everyone involved and there will naturally be a time of mourning for the things that have been lost through change e.g. the time when it was just the two of you and you could focus solely on firstborn. Naturally with that comes some guilt.

Of course the child's feelings come first but as th OP said adults have feelings too. To feel sad about firstborn's jealousy is just being a caring and sensitive mother.

I personally am sick of all the comments about focusing on firstborn and leaving baby to cry so that I can do this. The new baby is important too! It is a very hard balancing act but natural that newborn needs mummy lots and therefore toddler spends more time with daddy

posieparkerinChina Tue 04-Aug-09 02:46:15

All of my children have really benefited from having time with Daddy, until the next baby comes along the natural order of things in my house is that Mummy is number one. Sad but true. So it's wonderful when Daddy takes charge and I hear cries of "Daddy, Daddy" all day.

Perhaps t make your wife feel better you could have a few times when you have special tea together and ds1 makes a fuss of Mummy and vice versa??

kingfix Tue 04-Aug-09 09:08:58

I don't think it's about leaving the newborn to cry: when he needs a feed, which only I can do, then he has a feed and the toddler has to wait. But at other times, if daddy is there, then he can do the cudlling and pacing up and down and burping and all the other things. I think you can fall into a pattern of the mother doing all the baby things and the father doing all the older child things, but it can be nice to swap around.

babaaa Tue 04-Aug-09 09:27:41

I went throught same thing - had ds and dd 21 months apart -the things that helped me is that i fed dd and once a week went out of the house atearly teatime when dh home with ds - we just when to sainsburys for a special tea together and had one of those childrens luncthbox things -which feels v exiting to a young child - that way he had my individed attention and a treat.Also i got a baby sling and when she was asleep in -it as it tends to send them asleep -when we were out for walks ds forgot she was there so we wd be in park for couple hours chatting and pushing on swings etc.Even tho we did this he was jealous- he poked her too hard sometimes etc and looked sad - and id did feel guilty so maybe your wife could accept this and not feel alone as the guilt is a common experience i promise.I also think that amongst the joy of new baby she may be feeling a sense of loss at loss of the exclusive relationship between her and ist baby- i think that is perfectly normal but maybe not oft talked about ? eg last few weeks of the pregnancy i was so looking forward to birth and arrival of dd but at same time wd have real feeling of sadness as looked at dd sometimes ,as i knew that it would never be just us again and i had to let go off that special relationship( YES for something wonderful but still v real feeling )I think simple stratagies can work along side feeling it ok to feel whatyou feel.All the bset to you and yours x

PrinceCorum Tue 04-Aug-09 09:53:58

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to share their experience and wisdom smile

This is made a little harder by the fact that newborn is breast-fed and really cluster feeding at the moment so the chances for Mum to go out without him and spend some quality time with our 2 year-old are very limited - I'm happy to help facilitate my wife having more time with our toddler in every way I can but I can't help with BF !

Thanks also, to those Mums who appreciate that the Mum's feelings count as well. My wife has reasonably severe post-natal blues and this semi-rejection/favouritism by our toddler is adding to it.

Keep the advice and your shared experiences coming, and thanks again from this Dad !

posieparkerinChina Tue 04-Aug-09 13:23:23

Perhaps you need to give a little more support to your wife (not that you're not) in a different way. Keep telling her how special and important she is, make a collage of photos and let ds1 stick them, keep dealing with ds1, not really fair to push him toward her if he doesn't want to, make sure she gets enough rest. Perhaps remind her of the cluster feeds etc with ds1 and how this is ds2's turn and it won't last. DS2 needs her and she's the only one right now that can give him what he needs.

Remind her that he's only two and that you're happy to give her space with ds2 not taking ds1, if you see what I mean. If she's very baby blues there's probably not a lot you ca say, what about the health visitor? Mine have been really super so give yours a try. If not then perhaps talk to one of her friends or female relatives that can get through to her.

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