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Sibling rivalry/jealousy

How do you handle it? Everyday my baby wakes up in the morning has his bottle and is then happily playing with his toys on the floor until my older son (3 1/2) wakes up and takes away whatever the baby is playing with. Baby cries. I try to reason with 3 1/2 yr old to give the toy back, go through the whole sharing talk, 3 1/2 yr screams no, no, no, mine, mine, mine. I end up yelling at 3 1/2 yr old and then feel horrible about yelling. Repeat, repeat, repeat....suggestions?

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:28 AM on Apr. 29, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (10)
  • geesh this is tough mama. as they are so close together and 3 1/2 is hard to reason with i am thinking...well is there anyway you can spend specific time with just the 3 yr old? each day so that way there is a reward in place. The stealing the toys and yelling mine mine, well here there would be a time out for that. # is old enough to understand sharing and just plain old being nice to others. dont give up, keep teaching the basics of be nice to others and it will be ok. I know its frustrating, hang in there.

    Answer by Bearsjen at 10:31 AM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • OP here - Thanks. Yes I've tried the time outs and that doesn't seem to do the trick. I really do wish I could spend more alone time with my older son but my husband travels often on business so I probably don't do that as often as I should. Maybe I will look into getting a babysitter to do that. Good idea.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:35 AM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • My son will be 3 next month, my daughter will be 5months old next month. At dd's birth son was only 2.5. We made sure to include him in everything (except the actual birth) and that he got PLENTY of alone time with both parents as well as family time. Does the baby still take naps? I always take advantage of dd sleeping to spend time with ds. Whether its to snuggle up and watch cartoons, play 'school', or drive his cars. Well all was fine, until ds wanted the baby's pacifier (he hasn't had one since 6mo) I explained to him that it was for babies, not big boys. If he wanted to be a baby, he could choose (I always try to give him a choice)... But being a baby meant that he couldn't have his big boy toys, couldn't walk the dog, couldn't run and play, couldn't sleep in his big boy bed , help make cookies, etc Needless to say after about ten minutes of saying No, babies can't blow bubbles, no babies can't drive monster trucks cont

    Answer by momma_marian at 10:58 AM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • You can't reason with a 3 year old. Can you reason with any male? You don't need alone time, that could make things worse. Your 3 year old may resent the baby for being around because he wants you for himself. See how that could make it worse?

    Here is a great article about how to say no in different ways that work, how to get your child to cooperate. It's a famous, very good article.

    Punishments like time outs don't work with most kids and they never teach good behavior.


    Answer by Gailll at 11:00 AM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • The situation has gotten to the point where neither of you are behaving your selves (you are yelling). You can't expect him to behave if you aren't. A good first book for parenting toddlers is Love & Limits. It's problem solving based and by Elizabeth Crary. Here is her website and a very nice parenting chart to print out for your fridge.


    Answer by Gailll at 11:00 AM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • maybe first thing in the morning it could be the big boys job to pick a perfect toy for the baby?maybe let him do that several times throughout the day? i have been pretty lucky with bringing new babies into our house so far, but i worry about each one, because you never really know!
    good luck to you mama!

    Answer by happy2bmom25 at 11:04 AM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • He decided really quick that he wanted to be a big boy... As far as being mean I would do a time out. If a three-four minute time out doesn't work, if he's still being mean, then I sit him on his bed. No toys, no t.v., nothing in time-out. My son really hates these timeouts bc he can see all his toys, but can't play with them. If the bed doesn't work, then I usually make him take a nap. Being mean isn't tolerated- at all. Period. The sooner you get that across the better. I also had a problem with my son staying in timeout. I now strap him in the high chair, which he can't get out of. I let ds see and play with the baby's toys, BUT he HAS to wait until she's done playing with them. We share our toys. End of story. With a few exceptions ofcourse... Like the teething ring, I just explained that we have to try to keep it clean, and he's too big for the bumbo chair, etc Try to stay calm- I know it's hard! Good luck Momma

    Answer by momma_marian at 11:06 AM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • OP - Thanks everyone! Lots of good suggestions here!

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:32 AM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • first there is no reasoning with a 3 1/2 yr old but you can just take it away and give it back to the baby and remove the 3 1/2 away from the baby quickly then give him/her something to play with and stay there until he has lost interest in the babys toy. and you don't even have to yell just do it quick and he/she won't know what's going on. it may be worth a try I'm just saying.Good Luck

    Answer by mom1T2Ldh at 12:49 PM on Apr. 29, 2010

  • It is hard to help in this but i will try.I used to do time outs and reason with him.About how to play and try to give him special time with the baby.To try to get him to be big brother i would get him to help with things for the baby then let him know for sharing his time he gets extra time to play or something he likes to do with you.Because my boys are older(20,23)they still have to go thru i would hire a babysitter for the baby and spend one on one time with them each so noone was left out.We had special days to go shopping and days to go to the worked as long as we talked to each other about what was so up setting them,we still talk today that same way.

    Answer by miklu at 1:25 PM on Apr. 29, 2010

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