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Talking about Jealousy

Jane is talking to a counsellor about a jealousy problem between her two daughters...

Counsellor: How can I help you today?

Jane: Well, we have two daughters and the little one is just six months old and the other one

is four years old. Our older daughter’s behaviour is getting worse day by day. She’s very

jealous of the baby and she openly tells us that she feels that we love the baby more than


Counsellor: OK. I can assure that it’s very common for an older sibling to feel jealous when

a new baby arrives because their world is turned upside down!

Jane: We’ve tried everything to make her feel loved and included... but I’m starting to lose

my patience...

Counsellor: You need to focus on two things: protecting your baby and teaching your older

daughter how to interact with her new sister. You can do this in the same way you would you

teach her anything else - talk to her about what you’re doing, demonstrate things, guide her,

and always praise and encourage her.

Jane: So, you think involving her more will make things better?

Counsellor: Yes! If you see her touching the baby gently, praise her! Make a big fuss about

the important ‘big sister’. Hug and kiss her often too and tell her how proud you are of her.

Jane: I do praise her a lot and when I do, she is more relaxed… Although, it has been very

stressful in our house with the new baby…

Counsellor: Yes, adjusting to life with a new baby can be difficult and stressful for everyone.

Now, you need to focus on acknowledging your daughter’s feelings, by saying things such as:

“Things have really changed with the new baby being here” and “It’s going to take us all

some time to get used to this.” Try to keep your comments positive and general. When she

knows you understand, she won’t feel the need to compete for your attention.

Jane: OK, this is something I could do better...

Counsellor: Also, try to be more affectionate than usual with your older daughter – Tell her

you love her more, give her more hugs, and set aside time each day to read a book or play a

game. Temporary regressions or behavioural problems are completely normal when a new

sibling comes along, and they can be eased with plenty of love and attention.

Jane: Thank you for your advice - hopefully, it helps…

Cups of Coffee
Talking about Jealousy


Phrasal verb
Example sentence
To let down someone

To make someone disappointed when you have not fulfilled a promise.

She promised that she would be there but she let me down.

To break down

1.  To become very upset.

2.  When something stops working

1.  She broke down when she opened her results.

2.  The lift broke down.

To bring somebody/something down

1.  To make someone lose their powerful position.

2. To make something end.

1.  He brought his boss down by exposing personal emails.

2.  The rise in export prices could bring the hospitality industry down.

To bottle something up

To refuse to talk about things when someone is worried or upset.

After his father passed away, he bottled his emotions up and wouldn’t talk to anyone.

To get something across

To make someone believe or understand something

He tried to get his point across but his manager wouldn’t listen.

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