At 4 your child has the ability to sit down for maybe 20-25 mins at most at a time. That too for an average child. This can be 10 mins for active kids and 30 mins for some. So he/she will need more frequent breaks than the 10 year old. Also the 4 year old is more distractible. So when you teach the older one this one will feel bored. Is there some way you can include an activity during the study time? Like if 4 year old is bored when you teach the 10 year old, he/she can draw/ make blocks/ play with slime or play doh, till you give her/ him attention.
7 and 3 are both very young ages. Though you probably think your elder is one is old enough, he is not. 7 year olds are still self-centred, they are just learning that the world does not revolve around them, and it is hard on their ego. Having a toddler in the house who actually gets to be the centre of everyone’s attention makes it harder still. Let me share the common needs of children. If we can find ways to meet the needs of the elder child, their relationship is way sweeter.
Your 10 year old probably needs your one-on-one time. This is a common thing we parents tend to overlook. But both kids need individual time with their mother, especially at this age. I literally recommend making 2 Mommy and Me slots- one for each child. It is hard to schedule in. So if you can’t put it in daily then have 1 hour on 3 days of the week for one kid and 1 hour on other 3 days for other. This is SACROSANCT meaning even if the other kid is crying / hungry etc you can’t give them attention. You have to pay ‘full’ attention to this one child only. As though they were your only child for that one hour. This is an incredibly healing process for the child and you.
At 14 and 10 they both have developed their personalities and also settled into a form of relationship with the other sibling. So what you have to do is actually re-establish a different kind of relationship. This is not easy. You may feel that they are always yelling but they may be quite comfortable in that style of relationship. So first you have to make sure they feel a need to have a closer bond. Once they feel the need then you can give them tools to do so. A common interest is a great way to build bonds. If they both love the same thing then spending time on the same activity, like swimming, dancing, badminton, treks, movies is a great way.
Also, share stories of your love and fights with your siblings with them. Let them realise that the fights are just on surface and how much fun they can have together. Including banding together against you. Your stories will inspire them to fill a gap they have. Again, reduce causes for jealousy. Nothing spoils a relationship than feeling jealous.
10 year old screaming is probably a cry for help. She is probably frustrated. So it is all coming out when the younger is not at fault. But deep-seated the hurt or frustration started at a different time. Maybe even when the younger one was born and you did not have the stamina to look after the older one. So talk to her about how hard it is to have a younger brother. Yes, agree with her. Respect her feelings. Validate them. Acknowledge that sometimes parents don’t see the other ones mistakes and we get scolded for mistakes of younger one. Share your own stories from childhood. If you don’t remember, make some up.
Let her see that it is okay to feel the way she is feeling. It is okay to be frustrated sometimes and she will come out of it. Use techniques for releasing frustrations like let her rip paper, draw with black, punch a pillow etc. All the while be understanding. Her life is hard, because she went from being the centre of attention to the older one.
As you can see, a baby/ toddler in the household really shakes things up for the child who naturally has need for predictability, control and attention which is why the exercise becomes very important of finding ways to meet your older child’s needs without losing all your hair.
Why does the elder one get scolded more? Do you have higher expectations from him? Then let him know. Clarify in calm and loving tones that you would like to see such and such behaviour from him. Make it clear that he cannot compare himself to the younger one and get away with irresponsible behaviour. Also remind him that he too was 8 once and got away with a lot more. The 8 year old will also be 13 one day and will be expected to be mature.
At 4 your child has the ability to sit down for maybe 20-25 mins at most at a time. That too for an average child. This can be 10 mins for active kids and 30 mins for some. So he/she will need more frequent breaks than the 8 year old. Also the 4 year old is more distractible. So when you teach the older one this one will feel bored. Is there some way you can include an activity during the study time? Like if the 4 year old is bored when you teach the 8 year old, he/she can draw/ make blocks/ play with slime or playdoh till you give her/ him attention.
If your 4 year old is throwing things in anger, you have to train him on what is acceptable and unacceptable when expressing anger. Give your baby acceptable ways of expressing anger- like paper tearing, drawing, punching pillows, or even jumping, skipping, etc. Also tell him what is not acceptable. Tell him we make certain behaviours unacceptable because it keeps everyone safe. If everyone was allowed to throw things when angry then he and others can get hurt. So everyone agrees on how not to be angry. He will slowly learn impulse control, if you guide him. Else will continue to do what he is doing.
Your message reminded me of the dialogue in 3 idiots- ham fail ho to bura lagta hai. Lekin apne friend top kare to bahut bura lagta hai. You did the right thing in sharing that envy is a natural human emotion. It truly is. At 10 she probably does not get the concept of becoming better or self growth. At 10 it is wonderful that she has a safe space at home where she can openly express feelings which are typically considered “not nice” and therefore “unacceptable”. You are doing a great job of parenting is she openly expresses her feelings. Having said that, do you notice any other expression of this envy? Any self harming behaviour? Any blocking behaviour towards her sister? Basically is there an unhealthy behaviour which is coming from this feeling? If yes then we have to deal with it. If no then you can just acknowledge and validate her feelings and be glad she expresses herself in words and does not sabotage her sister. No further action items. Finally, do check in on your older one- how does she feel about this? Also, How does she feel about the younger one’s successes? You need to have a pulse on her feelings about this
Garima Gupta is a parenting expert. She is a psychologist and happiness coach by profession. She has been coaching clients for 12 years based on holistic techniques including mindfulness, Tapping technique, Presence oriented Psychotherapy, Shadow- to- gold, etc. Garima Gupta holds special expertise in psychology related to kids and teens as well as the role of mind and physical health.
Garima Gupta is the award winning author of several books, one of them being the 2019 International Book Award in Health. She is a Parenting Expert on Momspresso- India’s largest parenting portal. Garima Gupta is a permanent member of Indian psychiatric society sex-مترجم افلام-سك as well as New Zealand Association of Positive Psychology. She has received the 2018 Orange Flower Award Finalist by Women’s Web and the 2018 Readers’ Favourite 5 star among others.
Garima Gupta – Reduce Sibling Rivalry In Your Home will be the topic where she will be taking the session at 5To15 event.