Saturday, December 13, 2008

What do you say when she says....

So we were having a quiet morning when someone e-mailed us more pics of the snow in Louisiana. As we were viewing the pics, Lily grabbed Graeme and yanked his arm a few times. He was excitedly pointing to the pictures and it was "blocking" her view. She automatically went to the "naughty spot" for grabbing him (things that hurt self or someone else result in an automatic timeout in our house). You would have thought we had beat her for all the screaming that resulted. Then, as she is "doing her time", I hear, "I don't like my brother. I want to send him back to China." This is the second time this week that we have heard something similar and I just want to be sure that I handle it appropriately. I did assure her that he was part of our family for forever and that there was nothing he would ever do or she would ever do that would ever cause us to "send them back to China". We thought that she handled the adoption of her brother so well and there seemed to be no jealousy until recently. HELP....need advice! (Elizabeth, I know you warned me that she would feel this way. What will make it better?)


redmaryjanes said...

The jealousy is very normal. Zachary was fine at first with Tyler, but went through years of jealousy and even to this day doesn't show Tyler the kindness that I wish he would.
Tyler went through a year or so of tough transition when Eli was born because he had been the baby for 8 years.
From what I hear from so many other moms it's something we wish wasn't there but is really hard to 'fix'.
I would cry over Tyler's broken heart because of Zach's harsh words to him. I would always send Zach to his room for being mean, but it never took the jealousy away.
Hopefully your two can work through it and form a loving and supportive bond. I wish I could be more help, but my boys are just starting to have a warmer relationship and they are both teens.

Cupcakes and Hairbows said...

Probably pretty normal sibling jealousy response. When our 2nd daughter was born, her big 3 year old sister "hid" her and told me that Baby Lauren left. She literally put the baby behind a chair in the family room. She wanted her to go back to the hospital!

We have friends who's little boy also hid his new brother under a bed and told his my that Baby Zack went back to Lawrenceville (the town in which he was born) -- so it's natural for the child to feel replaced when the newness wears off and want to "return" the new kid -- whether he/she came from a hospital or China or the next town!

Hope this helps! ~ Nice to "meet" you on the AM chat!

waitingarms said...


"Met" you on Saturday's chat. We had a discussion on jealousy with my 4 year old's pediatrician during his well baby check up when we told the pediatrician of our adoption plans. I am in no way implying that you do not spend time as much time with Lily as you did before Graeme came home. I just copied from my blog our pediatrician's opinion.

He advised that most times when a new child comes into the home, parents tend to attribute the older child's acting out to jealousy of the new sibling. However, he told us that jealousy requires abstract thinking and a child has not yet mastered this skill. A child acts out to get attention because he or she understands that mom and dad are not spending the same amount of time with them as before. It would require abstract thinking to connect the arrival of the new child to the less attention the child is getting and then going the next step to squarely place the blame on the new state of affairs on the new child. A child knows that they will get attention, though negative if they are mean to the new child. He said it would be the same as a parent spending a lot of time planning a family reunion. When the child acts out to get mom or dad's attention, the parent instinctively knows that the child is acting out because mom and dad are spending less time with them, because they are on the phone more. The parents never say the child is jealous of family reunions! He advised that the parents spend time trying to solve a problem that does not exist—“jealousy of the new child” instead of trying to solve the actual problem--carving out time to spend with the older child and reassuring the child of mom and dad’s love for them.

I am not sure if this helps. Have a nice weekend.

debi said...

Well, I don't have adopted children (but I raised 4 and now have 2 grandchildren)...and they always wanted their sibling to go back (in this case the hospital), maybe it is just a "normal" feeling that all children have regardless of rather they are adopted or not. I think that shows just how "comfortable" she is with her family and her new brother. I would just "hug" her and tell her you understand how she must be feeling, because we all at sometime feel that way about our siblings and that is part of being a family and loving...(as any human, we all need to have our feelings validated regardless of them being right or wrong), and do as you told one goes anywhere! :)


zsjmom said...

Hi Margaret,
Julia hasn't been outright telling us to send Wyatt back to China, but she clearly feels like he has the upper hand in getting our attention. I just reassure her that she has not been replaced. I use those words, "you have not been replaced!" I then remind her that we do not love her any less, and every once in a while when I think she has truly had enough, I take her out for some one on one time with Mom.

Kristy said...

i think what you are doing is just what you should be doing. I would not make a "big deal" out of it because then she is going to do it more often because of the attention she gets when she does it. This too shall pass. The jealousy is perfectly normal.

Love, Kristy

Frippery said...

Sibling "jealousy" of a new baby is normal whether the children are adopted or not. The "baby" now has to share attention with the new "baby". We would all be a bit worried about losing mom and dad's attention. Just do what you have been doing and it will all work out fine. We all would like peace and harmony in our children but as a mom whose babies are now 17 and 21 and have grown into charming young people, I can tell you it wasn't always sweetness and light. All kids have their moments. Thanks for the sweet comment on my blog. Pam