Sibling rivalry – baby vs. big bro


actually touching here

When I considered the challenges of having two children I thought about the sleepless nights, the extra laundry, the noise, the squabbles. Of course I thought about the jealousy too but I totally underestimated just how much this would affect our family.

Whilst I was pregnant with S I read F books on having a new baby. We talked about it a lot but its hard to say how things actually translate in the mind of a 2.5 year old who, thus far, has had the world revolve around him.

So when the actual day came for the two of them to meet Seth did the courteous thing of buying his big bro a shiny new fire engine. F eyed him suspiciously but was bloody happy with his new toy – everything was good.

Day 3 was when it all started to go wrong (about the time he figured this baby was here to stay after his repeated requests for him to go back to hospital were denied), nearly 6 months later they have only marginally improved.

At worst he won’t look or talk to his brother, he moans constantly when I am feeding him, if S so much brushes against his leg he claims ‘Mummy he kicked me’, he shouts loudly next to the pram or cot whenever I try to get Seth so sleep and hovers a foot over him asking ‘Shall i jump on his head’? To this day they have never had a little hug or cuddle, any happy photo I have of the both of them is well timed positioning on a good day.

People said give it a couple of weeks he’ll get used to him – he didn’t. They said wait till he’s smiling then they can interact – he won’t. They said wait till S can move – but whoa betide he try and grab one of F’s toys! Now he is semi shuffling about i can only see it getting worse.

However there are some positives, the stand off means i can leave them alone together whilst i go to the loo! I have no worries my toddler will try and pick up my baby or suffocate him with a well meaning hug. Every cloud and all.

Also i must admit there is also the occasional show of affection – a couple of weeks ago Seth hit his head on the coffee table whilst rolling about and Felix was distraught. He cried real tears calling ‘My S, i don’t want him to be hurt’. Whenever we pick F up from pre-school and the other children gather round the buggy to get a glimpse he will proudly claim ‘That’s MY baby’. So deep down i do think he loves him.

The difficult thing is that most of my friends have siblings that adore each other – has anyone had these type of problems?! Is there anything i can do? Help!


would you like an elbow in the face?


P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)


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12 thoughts on “Sibling rivalry – baby vs. big bro

  1. Mum in a Hurry (@mum_in_a_hurry)

    I can sympathise here. While my son does clearly love his sister, the bickering is almost unbearable at times. We had very difficult times when my daughter was first born – where my son was just INCREDIBLY naughty and really didn’t like the fact that there was a new baby, but as she got older it DID get a bit better. But now that they are nearly 5 and nearly 3, the problem is generally bickering – often instigated by my son. I’m sure it will get better in time. You said yourself, that there are good signs that he loves his little brother…. Hang in there. x

  2. HonestMum

    Totally relate as my eldest son is often rough with baby Alexander and I’m tired of telling him to stop pushing and hitting him! At the start he adored him but I think as soon as he realised he was sticking around and sharing mine and my husband’s attention, the envy set in. It’s normal and not a same gender thing either as apparently I was the same with my little brother. Soon enough though he became my best friend and I’m sure the same will happen with ours (crosses fingers) x

  3. Dawn Frazier

    I have 5 year old twins who argue about anything and everything, constantly. One of their teachers told me that it was good for them to have this rivalry as it would make them stronger as adults. That doesn’t help my nerves at the moment though!

  4. Katie @mummydaddyme

    Oh bless him, that must be hard, but like you said I am sure deep down he loves him and they will be firm friends when they are older. It’s such a thing to happen to them, it must rock their tiny worlds a little!
    I am one of those Annoying people whose children adore each other, but I reckon they are getting it all out their system now so they can bicker when they are older. Or worse when they are teenagers! X

    1. hurrahforgin

      I hope so!! Glad your two get on well – I think girls tend to deal with it better as they have that maternal element in them. Felix is a very typical boy only interested in thinks with wheels or sirens :) x

  5. Mummy Hearts You

    Totally sympathise here! I have the same battle here.. Moo is such a loving caring little girl, but then there is that resentment towards her brother which brings out such a jealous side to her. The whole toy sharing thing is just unbearable at the moment and I find myself counting to 10 a lot of the time. They can play lovely together one minute but then all hell can break loose and Moo will declare she hates her brother..

    Moo remembers the day we bought Thor home 2 years ago, and will recite it back to me, she will tell me all the little details of where he was and where his basket was and even what he was wearing! she has a memory of a sponge! I am positive she will hold this against me one day ;)

      1. Mummy Hearts You

        She used to start the conversation of as “remember when you bought him home” I don’t think she was entirely happy about it! Haha

        I think now Thor can do more things, she can boss him around, it has got better but it’s still hard when she gets a bit stressy with him for no reason.

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