Jealousy between siblings: understanding the dethroned child

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Joe Dispenza
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Jealousy between siblings: understanding the dethroned child

Last update: December 15, 2017

Sibling jealousy is relatively common and normal in childhood. Suddenly, out of the blue, one of them is no longer the king of the house. He now turns out that he has to share the throne with someone who seems to require more attention, someone who attracts a lot more glances and smiles. Someone with whom he will begin to confront ...


This situation in which the child no longer occupies the place he liked so much, in which he felt so safe, ends up creating fears.. Fear of losing a privileged place. A place where everyone looked at him, protected him ... They loved him. Now it seems that this love (already fully consolidated and secure) is threatened.


The mind of the dethroned child thinks something like “I'm not important to my parents anymore! I have to do something. I too want to receive the attention he / she is receiving! ”. It is at this point that those endless battles will begin to attract the attention it previously received. An attention that he will now have to share.

When the birth of a brother is a catastrophe for the firstborn

Frustration and helplessness go hand in hand with our dethroned child. They whisper messages of fear and sometimes a little catastrophic. They all have to do with survival. Messages in which the child is no longer corresponded. He is no longer worthy to receive the love he once received. Now it seems that it is necessary to compete for this love. Something must be done to regain the same level of care and attention that it previously received effortlessly.


Typically this sibling jealousy will disappear as the child grows. The problem arises when this rationally logical jealousy is prolonged and intensified over time.


In this case, other variables intervene that must be contemplated. Often, in fact, we end up giving more attention to the jealous child, but this is not enough for him. Somehow, it's as if he has found a way to get away with it and receive some "privileges" that he otherwise wouldn't get so easily.

It is important to understand that each case is unique and has its own idiosyncrasies. Some children have a certain predisposition to jealousy. And there are children in whom these episodes of anger (towards the new brother) only develop with this new situation, but there are births that trigger a series of emotional disturbances in the parents ... Each family and its specific circumstances are unique.

Understanding the origin of sibling jealousy will help us understand our baby better

Since each case is unique, the origin of these sibling jealousies will have to be investigated. This may have to do with the child's personality or the affective style of the parents. Furthermore, jealousy between siblings can be caused by the emotional moment (in the family) in which the new birth has arrived, etc.

Once we understand where the suffering of our dethroned child comes from, we can better understand it and take action. The child needs us to be able to empathize with him. His emotions about him are equally worthy and deserving of respect, regardless of how old he is. However, we cannot allow these emotions to generate more suffering and family chaos than they should.


The episodes of anger and rage against the little brother must be punished, as well as the positive behaviors shown by our child must be approved. Any behavior of cooperation, trust and self-confidence should be recognized, appreciated and reinforced. Since, to a large extent, that is just what the child asks silently. Feel safe and have confidence in yourself and your environment.


Creating an emotionally stable environment for the child is part of the solution

Very changing and unstable environments end up creating more chaos in the child's emotional development. Therefore, as far as possible, we must generate a healthy environment in which our little one feels secure in the affection of the parents towards him. In most cases, children learn by imitation.


For this reason, it is very important to instill in our child some values ​​that he can extrapolate in his interactions. Values ​​such as solidarity or joy for the good of others. Rather than perceiving the achievements of his peers with anger and envy, perceiving them as something that does not affect his safety will help him see reality in another color. Less gray, cleaner and healthier for her emotional development. Thus avoiding the emergence of jealousies between brothers.

It will be difficult for the child to rejoice for the sake of his brother if he sees that his parents adopt attitudes of rejection towards the results, as well as to welcome the good news of his peers if he constantly clashes with the comparison with the brother.


The child will feel safer in an environment where positive actions are valuedrather than an environment in which his mistakes are constantly pointed out. This would be a "positive" education, in which we applaud healthy behaviors and in which we try to eliminate those that are less adaptive and generate more disorder.

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