/Jealous 3 Year Old

Jealous 3 Year Old

Dear Sara,

We have just added a beautiful set of twin girls to our family.We tried to prepare our three year old son for their arrival but he is very unhappy with the new babies and has tried to hit them on more than one occasion. He gets irritated when they cry and tells us to take them back. He has always been somewhat aggressive to to other children and we are fearful for the babies. How should we handle this?
-Mark and Ellen

Dear Mark and Ellen,

Try to see this from your son’s perspective. He has been the main focus of attention for all of his three years of life. Even though you have tried to prepare him for the twins’ arrival, this has got to be a big adjustment for him. New babies take up a lot of time and attention and this is multiplied by two.

The first thing to think about is making sure the new babies are safe. Three year olds can be very creative in getting into things. You can put up a safety gate to the babies room and keep your son away from them except when one of you is there to supervise.

Let your son see that you still think he is important to you but also try to include him in whatever way you can when you care for the twins. At his age, it will be difficult to let him help but give him lots of praise when he does things that are helpful. He should adjust fairly quickly to the new family composition. Always praise him for being the “big brother.”