Jealous of newborn sibling?

Three months ago we had a new baby. My daughter appears to be very fond of her baby brother and does not mistreat him, but is starting to become a very, very difficult child. She does not listen, has tantrums at the drop of a hat and no longer plays well with other children. She is starting preschool next week and that I will be returning to work in one month. I am wondering if this is her acting out jealousy of the new baby, early four's behavior or a combination of the two.


Your daughter's behavior is a very commonly seen case of sibling rivalry! It is good that she'll be starting school at about the same time you go back to work. School will be a good place for her to enjoy herself.

What you can do to help make your daughter feel a bit better about the new baby (and help improve her behavior) is fairly simple. You can reassure her that her feelings of jealousy are NORMAL. Your child -- and every child -- has these feelings. Yes, it's okay to be angry that there's a baby around. (Although it is not okay to hurt the baby.) Babies take up a lot of Mommy's time,and they're no fun to play with since they can't really do anything yet.

Your child will begin to understand that it's okay for her to have her own feelings of jealousy and resentment. Then, they won't need to come out in the form of tantrums.

At the same time, tell your daughter that you love her just as much as you ever did. Try to find some time to spend just with her alone, and call it "big girl time."

Eventually, as your baby grows, your firstborn will see all the reasons to love him or her. This is especially true because the older child is always the baby's favorite person! Until then, it's your eldest who needs the reassurance.

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