My son behaves perfectly well at school and in the presence of others, but at home, he throws tantrums, talks rudely, and behaves badly. He bullies his little brother and screams while he sleeps. I want this situation to improve. D.K, New Delhi
The fact that he has a younger sibling may be influencing your elder sons behaviour. Children find it hard to suppress jealousy, which could be aroused when the younger sibling is cuddled, fussed over, or even fed. This sentiment could manifest itself as angry, rude behaviour. Make sure the whole family pays adequate attention to your older child, and avoid showing excessive affection to the little one in front of him.
Another reason for his bad behaviour could be that he believes its the only way to get your attention. If you ignore your child while he is behaving well, and turn to him only when hes ill-behaved, youll have to break out of that habit. You need to make your elder son aware that he will get your attention for good behaviour, not only for bad.
Your son has discerned that to be accepted outside the home, he needs to be well-behaved. React positively to good behaviour at home by taking extra measures to compliment and reward it. Your reward could be a hug or an extra few minutes spent listening to your elder child.
Do children grow out of sibling rivalry?
While sibling rivalry is common and natural, its not something to be ignored. Parents cant assume that children will automatically grow out of it.
Deep-seated resentment and jealousy could well extend into adulthood, affectiing relationships in the family. There are many case histories of adult brothers and sisters fighting over property, business, and other issues.
So while most children do grow out of sibling rivalry there is a need to make an effort to help them by ensuring that neither of the siblings feels the other is being given unequal attention or affection, or that one gets all the praise.
Parents and the extended family can help the elder child feel loved and wanted after a new arrival in the family. Older children also need parental love, support and affection.