Sibling Rivalry

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Sibling Rivalry

Query: 
I have two toddlers K'AH. Almost 4 yr old and 2 and half yr old. 4 yr old is a lot more demanding than 2 yr old. Often at home he needs constant supervision and constant interaction or he begins to act up. i find it very difficult to give much attention to the 2 n half yr old who is happy to get on with it and play alone. My husband comes home towards the end of the day. He too has a difficult time spending any alone time with the younger one as the older one always wants to be around him as he has not seen his father all day. How can I give both children attentino without making my older toddler feel left out, alone etc becase he is the type of child that will feel jelous and begin to act up in varies ways. Also, he is always doing something that needs time outs or talks etc which is also taking up all my time with my younger one and its always a negative situation. thanks.
Reply: 
Often, we, parents find that it is easier to give in to the more demanding child, and allow the 'easier' child to just manage. We get less stressed because we do not have to deal with whining and tantrums; and the less difficult child somehow just finds his way with an understanding smile. The problem is that the demanding child will not grow any less demanding because we are always giving in to his tantrums and desires. He is not growing kinder, more tolerant, or learning to share time/people/things in his life. And so we create a pattern that often remains till adulthood of giving in and feeling resentful or tense around one child while knowing that the easy going child is more pleasant to be around. We even tend to build a better relationship with the easier child, communicate more freely, and enjoy his presence while the other child cannot understand why we do not spend more time with him. You must break the pattern sooner rather then later. The reason he is acting out is he would rather get negative attention than no attention at all. You must ease him into understanding that you are family and part of being a family is spending time together. Find some enjoyable outings or projects that both children can do together. Even baking a mix together can be a good activity with each adding an ingredient . The main thing is that they learn how to live together instead of trying to work against each other throughout life. You can take your older child with you on some solo outings, or give him some special time before he goes to sleep at night-but only if he behaves and acts respectfully and kindly with his sibling. Explain to him that you will give him this special time if he can be a 'mizvah boy'-and be specific as to what you expect . best wishes for continued nachas, slovie
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