4 year old daughter ignores and is mean to my 1 year old nephew - FamilyEducation
4 year old daughter ignores and is mean to my 1 year old nephew
01/14/2014 at 22:05 PM

Hi everyone, FIrst time posting…

Ok, here are the details. My sister and I are extremely close and are identical twins. I had my DD 4 years ago and my sister was/is a big part of her life. They were very close to the point where my DD would prefer to be held or with my sister over myself or my husband. My sister is also my baby sitter. She has been watching my daughter for about a year.

Well in December of last year my sister had a baby. She has to bring her son with her when she baby site my daughter(4) and my son(15mos) Over the last few months my sister has complained numerous times that my daughter doesn't like her son or ignores him, or is mean to him. She actually showed me a video of her completely ignoring him as he walked over to her the other day. My DD acted like he wash't even there. My sister said Ella he wants to say hi, and she kept her head down and kept coloring. I take this as being mean and I don't like it. It's very upsetting to me and my sister.

My husband thinks we are over reacting and that, she's jealous. He thinks that since she's not acting out verbally or aggressively that, it's really not a huge issue. He says my sister was huge part of her life and now she's sharing her attention and she doesn't like it and this is how she is communicating her jealousy. Please help with any advice. Is this normal? Is she being mean, or is it just jealousy???

Additional notes: I had my second baby in September of last year too, but she shows nothing but love for him

I have heard this sort of thing often and it's definitely jealousy. However, just because we can explain the behavior doesn't mean it's acceptable. Both you and your sister should be having conversations about how it's OK to feel jealous but it's not OK to be mean. Setting up some one on one time (maybe you watch the baby for an hour once a week while your sister takes your daughter to the park or for icecream or just sits down in a separate area and does a puzzle with her) will probably make a huge difference. At 4 your daughter likely either can't truly verbalize her feelings or if she can, feels shame for being jealous despite her outer demeanor. She needs to hear that her feelings are normal but that part of growing up is learning to control our feelings and thinking about how her baby cousin and aunt are feeling.

I guess I shouldn't say DEFINITELY jealousy - but sure sounds like it from what you've described.