Older Children and a New Baby--Sibling Rivalry

Read about being a mom of 12. Our 'Supermom' shares her wise parenting advice.

Jealousy rears its ugly head

You've brought the baby home and at first everything seems rosy. Your family gathers around you and the baby, happy to have you back and oohing and ahhing over the baby. Soon enough, however, no matter how old your older children might be, jealousy is sure to rear its hideous head. There are things you can do to help your older child through this rough time of transition. There are other things you must avoid doing at all costs.

Common Sense


  • Ask your child to participate in caring for the baby, but don't push things too far. You don't want him to feel like a servant. Use your common sense as a guideline. If he seems eager to help, let him have a hand in the baby's care. The minute you sense he's less than thrilled, give him some space to be uninvolved.
  • Find time to be alone with your older child. It's hard to find a way to be alone with your child if you nurse, but there are ways and means. For example, you can play a board game such as Monopoly in the living room while your baby takes a nap. Try not to focus on your child, but rather allow him time to feel comfortable just being with you. That's the key to helping him to open up to you about his feelings.
  • Tell him you love him no matter what. Be patient when his behavior is not appropriate, but let him hear how you feel in a manner that is calm yet firm.


  • It's important not to give your child the impression that he has a choice in the matter: don't ask him if he'd like a new sibling.
  • Be truthful. Don't mislead your child into thinking he will have an instant best buddy. In fact, your child will see the baby as more of an annoyance than as a friend for quite some time.