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My middle child is 5 and struggling with feeling left out. His older brother, 8, finds him annoying and often chooses not to play with him. He has become very whiny.
Like all children they crave attention and compete for the focus of both parents and siblings. As the middle child there is obvioulsy a younger probably less "demanding" option for your 8 year old. Encouraging activities that all three can be involved with but working at their own developmental level is crucial. Painting together, building blocks and fun games that allow the 8 year old to be "boss" but the 5 year old to enjoy and learn will help. Whining is really a call for attention and needs to be addressed with a combination of facilitating cooperative group play and time to play by themselves. Giving each child small group fun activities can encourage independance and help them be less dependant on you and "brother" Surfing the web for small "activities" for group and individuals will help. Simply fixing the "whining" with a short term answer will keep the whining coming. Good Luck and build your arsenal of fun little activities.
Posted On 2007-11-08 11:20:08
These ages can be a challenge as the 8 year old is not yet old enough to understand how he is affecting his brother. Children of all ages (as well as adults for that matter) have an innate need to be accepted by others. This is especially tough on young kids as they do not have the emotional maturity to work through it or see it for what it really is. If the 5 year old is in school or pre-school, I would recommend some play dates with one of his classmates and not let the 8 year old interfere in the beginning as he will naturally feel some jealousy. I have 2 boys (ages 10 and 8) and I have seen how the oldest feels upstaged when the youngest has friends over. The whining seems like it is related to not being accepted by his older brother. You mention the 5 year old is a middle child so he sees there is a younger sibling who is the "baby" of the family and he probably feels the "baby" gets all the attention especially when he/she whines or cries. This is his way of getting some attention. Along with having him spend time with some friends his own age, I would also recommend trying to boost his confidence by explaining that he is the "big brother" to your youngest child and show how a big brother should act. This could also have a nice impact on the 8 year old. Good luck.
Posted On 2007-11-07 13:12:50
I would start by sharing a wonderful book, You're All My Favorites, by Sam McBratney. During those times when your older son does not want to play with his brother, you might find a "special" job for your five year old to do with you (or alone). ("It's good that Tommy has something else to do because Mommy needs just one helper right now, and I know you are just the person I need to help me . . .") Another strategy would be arranging playdates for your middle son with a special friend. Sometimes when we have several children, the need to invite friends to play is not so obvious. Also, you might sign your middle child up for a sport or activity that his older brother does not play - it will be his alone, and strengthen his sense of importance as well as providing friends that are his alone. Maybe Mommy and or Daddy could arrange a special outing with the middle child, during which he has your undivided attention. An occasional family game night will encourage your sons to have fun together. These are just a few suggestions that should reinforce for your son that he is special and important. As these feelings are strengthened, his whining will lessen, and his older brother will appreciate his younger sibling more.
Posted On 2007-11-05 20:43:32