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Parenting Predicaments

Predicament:

My son is 4 1/2 years old. His younger brother is 2 1/2. From the time his brother was born, until now, he has been loving, giving, and caring. Like all siblings sharing has not always come as easy. In the last few weeks he has made comments that I pay more attention to his brother. I have evaluated it and even though my husband and I think he is wrong...I have tried to spend more one on one time with him. He has become very quiet, withdrawn, and when ever we ask what is wrong he has a sad look and just shrugs and says nothing. The other day I heard him playing and he was dialoging that a toy needed to be sad to get attention and that that toy had just had a baby brother. He treats his brother as well as ever and he truly loves him and I just find it hard to believe that after 2 1/2 years that he is really insecure about his brothers attention getting. Is this just a way to manipulate me into paying more attention, a phase, a way of growing emotionally or what????Help please. I have prayed about it and hopefully you are the answer God has given me.

Lisa

Response

Sounds like lots of good old fashion sibling stuff going on. Nothing you mentioned is out of the norm. I found myself focusing in more on you than on what your son is going through. This is what I heard:

1. You gave your son the benefit of the doubt and discussed whether you give your other son more attention.

2. You have been willing to spend more one on one time with your older son in response to what he is presenting you with.

3. You are attentive to aspects of his play.

All good signs of an intuned, related, reflective and responsive parent. This is what your children need more than anything to grow into emotionally healthy adults.

Not to say that this is a non-issue. Help your son continue to put his feelings into words and use play as a forum for processing his experience of the world. Give him reassurance that you have enough love for both of them. Explain to him that young children sometimes need more help from grown-ups as they cannot do some of the things that "big boys" can do.

Lastly, when there is such an age difference between children, sometimes such feelings can emerge if one child begins school while the younger child get to "reap the rewards" of being home with Mommy. This then becomes one of the issues to include in your chats with your son.

Best wishes and many peaceful blessings!!!

Response by David E. Smith, CSW- Resident therapist

About The Author

"Parenting Predicaments" is a forum on the Alternative Parenting web-site where parents can submit their concerns on their child's behavior and development. Visit the site that is dedicated to living naturally at http://www.AlternativeParenting.com.

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