What To Do When Your Older Child Is Being Aggressive With A New Sibling

It is not uncommon for an older child, especially when that older child is a toddler, to become somewhat aggressive with a new sibling. In some cases, this may just be the sort of aggressive play that the older child typically engages in. In other cases, it may be malicious, and the older child may actually be trying to lash out against the new sibling.

Knowing what is causing your older child to be aggressive with a new sibling is the first step in knowing what to do. If it is a matter of rough play, for example, you may be able to explain to your child, in a simple and matter-of-fact way, that the new sibling is delicate. She needs to be treated gently. Explain that even something like shaking the new sibling can cause a lot of pain to the new sibling. Often, this sort of talk is all that is needed for your older child to stop being aggressive with a new sibling.

If the older child is indeed trying to physically harm the new sibling, the situation can be more difficult. You may find that the older child cannot be left unsupervised around the new sibling. The older child may actually become physically violent, hitting, kicking, or biting the new sibling. When this happens, it is important not only that you supervise the children, but that you separate the older child from the new sibling if you believe that the new sibling is in any danger.

Aggression that occurs on a very frequent basis, or that is more than very mild is of great concern. You should consider professional assistance, such as therapy or counseling, for a child that is becoming physically aggressive with a new sibling. Your baby’s health and safety concerns are extremely important, and aggression by an older child should not go unnoticed or unaddressed.


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