Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Sibling Rivalry
Be prepared for a variety of reactions from your older child when a
newborn joins your family. It is normal for an older child to feel jealous and
displaced when you have another baby. The older sibling may go back to
thumb-sucking, abandon potty training, or display other similar behaviors.
These acts are children's unconscious efforts to take attention away from the newborn and
focus it back on themselves.
Plan for and respond to sibling rivalry before your baby is born
with these tips:
After your baby is born, try some of the following suggestions:
In time and given the right encouragement, your older child will
learn how to deal with his or her feelings toward a new baby sister or brother,
to share, to feel responsible for other family members, and to get along with
Older children have an intense need to measure up at home and get positive feedback
from their parents. Often conflict arises because children feel they are competing with their siblings for this attention.
Be sensitive to these often subtle struggles between siblings. And avoid comparing your children to each other.
If there is a war going on between the siblings in your house, don't be discouraged. Dealing with this conflict often
serves as a useful training exercise in which siblings gain real-life experience in overcoming problems.
Like much of parenting, responding to sibling rivalry involves walking a fine line. In this case, parents might allow
siblings to work out problems on their own, while also making sure that one sibling is not taking advantage of the other.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - PediatricsSpecialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
Current as of:
September 9, 2014
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.