The age 1.5 – 2.5 years old is usually the time when a child chooses a “one and only” person (most often it is their mother) and wants to cling to that person.
Exactly at this age, children get familiar with “possessiveness” regarding toys and this also makes kids jealous. A child that was once a generous kid might start refusing to let anyone else touch its toys.
What causes such behavior?
Mother is a safe space for a kid. By the age of 3, a child sees the mother as an inseparable part of itself. For this reason, when a child sees anyone or anything capture their mother’s attention, the child views this as an intrusion in its personal space.
By the age of 3, a child starts to separate itself from its mother, realizing they are their own personality. When one problem disappears, the other emerges on the horizon – manipulations. It can be daunting dealing with a jealous kid. But a mother may unconsciously encourage this behavior as she likes the attention.
If the mother indulges the child by encouraging a kid’s “jealousy” towards her, a child will start using it as a tool to get what it wants. Commonly, a child is jealous because the mother pays lots of attention to the father.
- encourage jealousy, even if it flatters you! Do not push away people (especially your husband) just because a child wants it. Any sign of compliance on your part will seem like approval to a kid. In the future, a child will use these tactics with other people as well;
- shame or punish a child in any way;
- ignore aggression or a child’s tears.
What could help:
- distract a kid, pay attention to a little one and calm it down (for example, play with it for some time, etc.) by making a child understand that it is valuable and loved. Afterward, talk through with a kid its emotions and help a little one figure out what to do, “You don’t want us to hug,” “you are jealous of your mother, and of course she is yours, and I am yours, too. I am your father. Mommy and I both love you so much!”;
- do something together more often (cooking, going for a walk, playing, dressing a Christmas tree, cleaning the house, hug your child, etc.);
- hug your child. Drag a child into your hugs! Tell a little one, “We love you!” and “Come here! Let’s hug mommy together!” Mother and father should start kissing and hugging a kid before it starts striving for the mother’s attention.
Even if initially a child is pushing their father away, it will stop with time and let him in on its game. A kid must get used to the fact that both mother and father are playing with it. The more you three play together, the weaker the jealousy will become.
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