Many years ago I worked with a young child whose mother had just had a new baby. The mother brought her son to me because the son was suffering with a bad back and needed some help. And so with my Alexander Technique hat on I set about trying to find out what the trouble could be.
We worked together for a couple of months and from the start the little boy leapt around the room and rolled on the floor giggling very happily. He didn’t appear to have a bad back but every time I asked him to rate his pain on a scale of 1 to 10 he would invariably say his pain was high, normally a 7 or 8.
After a while his mother would stay in the car and the little boy would come in by himself. He told me his back had been much better but his baby brother had hit him and it was really bad again.
So it set me thinking, could this little boy be jealous of his baby brother?
After all for 6 years he had been the apple of his parent’s eye, all the attention had been on him and then this little usurper comes along.
Jealousy is a normal response; it is not wrong, it is after all what he feels. It is only when jealousy might lead to envy and destructive behaviour might creep in with all its potential problems.
So I went outside with my pupil and asked to have a quiet word with Mum. I mentioned my thinking, and lo and behold the next week, the pain level in the little boy was down to a 2.
Clearly what had happened was the mother had thought about the attention or the need for it, and had changed something in the way she responded to her son, and his back pain had all but disappeared.
We all need to know we are loved and the attention seeking whilst harmless at this stage could have resulted in later years as something more serious, i.e. he could learn that the only way he could get attention/love was to be ill.
Sibling rivalry is common, and very normal, and if it can be recognised in all its guises then the situation will never get to the point of becoming pathological in either child and hopefully each child will grow up secure in the knowledge that they are special and that they are loved.

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