sibling rivalry

Sibling Rivalry: Toddler and Preschooler

Laura Markham's picture

QUESTION

My son will be 4 years old in July. Over the last few weeks he has really become difficult to handle.

He fights me on almost all issues from what he is going to eat to what he wants to wear for the day. Usually I give him choices on things so that he doesn't feel powerless but it doesn't seem to matter. He seems to want to argue with everything I say these days.

First-Born Jealousy

He "plays" with the baby in the only ways he knows how. He plays catch. You yell at him for throwing toys at the baby. He plays hide-and-seek. You screech that he's trying to suffocate the baby with the blanket. He gives the kid a hug, and you explode in fury. Is it any wonder that your toddler is confused? How can you smooth things out?

Reducing Sibling Rivalry

Our siblings are usually the people we know longest in this life, but it's striking how many people have distant, even hostile relations with their brothers and sisters. Family tensions related to sibling rivalries wear on parents individually, and sometimes can challenge their marriage so it's important to tackle them in steady, systematic ways.