How to Handle a 1-Year-Old's Relationship with the Family

During the ages of 1 to 2, toddlers are very self-centered, which can be challenging for their siblings. Toddlers not only consume a lot of your time and energy but also intentionally encroach on their siblings' "territory" and belongings. When siblings try to push them away, toddlers may respond by throwing tantrums. Even if older siblings are tolerant and fond of the baby, they might occasionally show hostile feelings towards them now.

Strengthening boundaries for toddlers to protect older siblings' personal space and spending more time with the older children can help them get along better. Regardless of age, children crave your love and attention. Whether they're getting ready for a kindergarten field trip, completing second-grade science homework, preparing for high school soccer tryouts, or worrying about their senior prom, they need you just as much as toddlers do.

If a toddler has a new sibling, competition can become even more intense (see "Sibling Rivalry"). Normal feelings of jealousy can intensify due to their self-centeredness, and they may not have the rationality to handle this jealousy. Their jealousy typically won't turn into outright anger towards the newborn but may manifest as resentment and dissatisfaction towards you because they feel they're not getting the attention they deserve. If they do something right (like playing quietly), but you don't give them enough attention, they might engage in mischievous behavior like pulling your buttons without any hesitation. Toddlers don't understand the concept of "negative attention" – they see all attention as good. Sometimes, they'd rather have you angry with them than be ignored.

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