At the age of four, relationships with siblings can be turbulent. A child is old enough to be a nuisance to older siblings and can be selfish, rough, and impatient with younger siblings. Quarrels and physical fights over toys and possessions are common, as are complaints about fairness: “He’s got more than me!”
A five-year-old child is usually good with younger brothers and sisters. Girls, especially, can be protective and kind toward younger members of the family, and are helpful rather than domineering. Having said this, a five-year-old is still too young to be responsible for younger siblings; although a child may take on a caring role while an adult id present, he may resort to testing when left alone with a brother or sister. Five-year-olds usually interact well with older siblings, sometimes adopting a baby role in domestic play.
REJECTION: Although it is unusual, some parents emotionally reject their children, and this can express itself in criticism and unfavorable comparisons with siblings.
The consequences of parental rejection can be acute. Signs of profound insecurity in a rejected child can be as follows:
- Excessive fear or shyness
- Crying a lot
- Aggressiveness and tantrums
- Jealousy and attention-seeking
- Excessive clinging to mother, thumb-sucking, or masturbation
- Bedwetting or soiling
- Physical tics
- Bullying, stealing, or lying
- Cruelty to animals