Clingy kids
This 7-year old wants to be picked up like a baby. What's a mother to do?
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This mother is at her wits end and doesn't know how to deal with her 7 year old anymore.

A clingy child

I have 2 daughters (one is 7 and the baby is 2). I am finding that the older one is very jealous of the affection shown to the little one by myself and other family members. She often complains that I don't pick her up and play with her the way I do with baby. I have tried to explain to her that when she was a baby it was the exact same with her. It doesn't help that I am recently divorced and whenever she visit her Dad she gets spoilt rotten and comes home only to want to go back.
- Unathi

Expert Advice
This is very difficult. Your older daughter has been the eldest for 5 years - and has had all the attention. It is very normal for her to feel the way she does. It is so important that you show that you do understand her feelings. Instead of telling her that you also picked her up, try first saying that you can understand how hard it is for her when she sees the baby getting all the attention.And then go on to be firm regarding the fact that she is 7 and just cant be picked up like the baby is!! Give her plenty of attention when she is not demanding it. Make sure that you have special time alone with her and tell her how much you enjoy being with your big daughter.

Also watch what family members do - sometimes they may unintentionally give the baby too much attention - you need to be aware of this - and make sure that the older one is noticed too. However, while trying to be switched on to the way she feels, you do need to be firm re unacceptable behaviour. You can say "I can see you feel left out, but we do not behave that way when we feel sad" - then give her some suggestions re how she should behave.
Good luck!
Anne Cawood

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