My daughter is 2 years old, she is girl. My son 11 years old is my step son, he is obviously raised by both, his mom and his dad (my partner). I have noticed recently, that he is jealous of my and his dad daughter. My daughter is my first born child and I have different approach to her, I see this too. I am more of a mom now, that I have my own child and my mom instincts than I had when my step son was her age. Have any one had any experience with this kind of situation?

1 Answer 1


Talk Openly to Your Step-Son

If your step-son is 11, I think you can have a rather direct and honest approach about this problem. It's fine to acknowledge mistakes or difficulties with an 11yo, they don't see you as an all-powerful super-hero anymore.

I'd recommend you have a 1:1 discussion with your step-son to clear the air, and highlight the positives.

Acknowledge His Feelings

Your step-son is jealous. Consequences and actions resulting of that can be bad, but feeling jealous in itself is just a symptom and a reaction. Acknowledge that you've noticed, and acknowledge that he's entitled to feel this way.

Explain Why Things Are the Way They Are

Your step-son is not your daughter.

Highlight the Differences

  • They are 9 years apart.
  • You had them at different times.
    • Society is different than 9 years ago.
    • You are different than 9 years ago. Your parenting experience is different, you're older, etc...
    • Your situation is different than 9 years ago. Your location might have changed, your finances, your schedule and work/life balance...
  • Your step-son is different. They don't recall what it was like to be 2yo, so they can't know how people treated them at 2. Clarify that what you do with the 2yo, while maybe different than with him, is normal. Make that a positive and explain that it gives your step-son a chance to see what it was like to be 2yo.

Highlight the Similarities

  • You have room in your heart for both of them.
  • They both are your top priorities.

Make Him Part of the Process

Give him a sense of ownership and responsibility. It shouldn't be all there is and be careful it doesn't put too much pressure on him. But letting him know that, as an older member of the household, he's also partly responsible to take care (and most importantly support) his sister. Careful that he doesn't then feel entitled to boss her around, though.

Sure, that also emphasizes the differences, and it may feel like taking care of his sister is a chore. But chores and responsibilities can come with reward, and make sure to quality time in your schedule to spend with him as a reward for his good brotherly behavior.

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