5-6 YEARS OLD
Your younger child is an Instagram star and your older one is jealous. Could your social media habits be the reason? DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON wants you to reflect on these questions.
Could your social media habits be the reason that your kid is jealous of her younger brother?
Your two-year-old child gets a lot of attention from you because he’s turning out to be quite a star on Instagram – everyone says he’s so adorable.
He is more charming than your older girl, and has even been getting product endorsements. Now your ve-year-old is jealous, complaining that you prefer him to her.
You assure her that’s not true, but you are troubled by her allegation, and you don’t want this to spoil her relationship with her little brother. Ask yourself the following questions:
Why do I post so many more pictures and videos of my two-year-old on Instagram, than I do of my older child?
Consider the possibility that there is some foundation to your kid’s jealousy – in other words, maybe you do think he is more attractive and photogenic than his sibling, and that’s why his photos appear more frequently.
However, actions always have consequences. In this case, it looks like the increased attention you give to your toddler has a negative impact on your older child’s self-esteem.
Is it possible that I prefer my two-year-old to my ve-year-old?
Your older child may think that her brother is your favourite, and that posting so many images of him on Instagram proves this.
Maybe she is right, even though you are reluctant to admit that. Sometimes we can’t help ourselves from favouring one child over the other at a specific stage, often because we feel a particularly strong emotional connection with them at that point. But if you do have a favourite, don’t let it show.
How hard do I try to make my ve-year-old feel special in other ways?
Treating both children fairly doesn’t meaning treating them both the same. After all, each child is different, with their own distinctive interests, personality and skills.
However, since all those Instagram postings make your toddler the centre of attention, try to nd different ways to make his big sister feel special, too. Both of your kids need to feel valued, and that can be achieved using different strategies for each of them.
Do I have photographs of both my children on show at home?
You shouldn’t be surprised at your kindergartener’s outburst of jealousy if her lack of presence on Instagram is mirrored by a lack of her photographs on display at home. Have a look around.
Make sure that there is a reasonable balance of photos of her and of her brother – she may only be five, but she is smart enough to know if there is an imbalance in favour of your toddler. Also, fill some of those pictures frames with photos of your children together.
When, and how often, do I put my toddler’s images on Instagram?
It’s one thing to spend time on this activity when both children are tucked in bed, fast asleep and oblivious to the world. That’s your private time, in which you can do whatever you want.
It’s quite a different thing to spend time updating Instagram with new images of your toddler when your ve-year-old sits beside you or when she wants you to play a game with her instead. Jealousy intensifies when she feels she has to compete with her brother for your attention.
Do I have to use Instagram so frequently?
Think about your motives for using social media to promote photos of your toddler. You may say it is parental pride, yet there are lots of ways to feel proud of your children without using such a public forum.
If displaying your tot’s photos on social media makes your older child feel unhappy and jealous, maybe you should post less frequently (or not at all). Positive family relationships are more important than public approval.
It’s one thing to spend time on this activity when they are asleep. It’s quite a different thing to update Instagram with new images of your toddler when your ve-year-old sits beside you or when she wants you to play a game with her instead.