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.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

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.

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