Like most toddlers, my baby boy has tantrums several times a day. Being the caring big sister that she is, my 6-year-old daughter tries her best to console him, distract him, or make him laugh. But, as tantrums go, the majority of the time baby boy wants nothing to do with her efforts. My girl is quickly finding out that sometimes babies are just grumpy and you have to let them be.
It’s hard for her to see her baby brother crying. I can see that her maternal instinct kicks in along with her need to help and resolve the issue. This is something she inherited from me. But, as hard as it is, I am forced to tell her that she needs to leave him alone and let him get through it on his own. There’s just no point in having her pushed aside by him because he’s in the middle of a tantrum and acting irrational.
I remind her that sometimes she too feels grumpy and doesn’t want to be bothered. “It’s nothing against you, sweetie. He’s just upset, but he’ll come around,” I say. And, he does. Then, they’re perfectly happy together again…until the next tantrum episode.
Though it took her a bit, she is slowly learning to leave him alone when he starts a tantrum or when he’s just grumpy in general. She waits for him to come to her and occupies herself when he’s upset. I try to give her extra attention too in that moment because just like her, I leave him alone during his tantrums and wait for him to get over it.
The dynamics of a brother and sister relationship are interesting. I enjoy watching them interact with each other and feel for her when he rejects her help. Even better, though, is seeing them “make up” after he’s done being grumpy. Like any good relationship, they simply pick up where they left off.
How do you help older siblings feel better about baby being grumpy?