It's great that your children love you and depend on you, but sometimes this can be to the exclusion of everyone else--even their father or other siblings! This is often caused by insecurity, which can manifest itself in terms of overdependence and jealousy. When your child is insecure of the love you have for her, she can start feeling jealous when she sees you displaying affection toward other people. She may have the unrealistic expectation that she wants this only for herself.
Don't worry too much, though. Insecurity and jealousy are very natural reactions. As preschool children are often in touch with their feelings, they may display these with little hesitation. They may throw tantrums, show aggression, and exhibit hurting behaviors. Some may identify with the person they are jealous of (e.g., imitate the behaviors of a new baby who sleeps in a crib).
In terms of your own feelings, your frustration over her extreme reactions is just as normal. However, your exasperation can easily translate to disapproval and withdrawing your affection whenever she shows this insecurity. And it's possible that, the more you castigate her, the louder her tantrums get. If this is so, then she may be throwing these tantrums to try to get what she wants: reassurance that you also love her.
Click through the gallery below for tips on how to reassure your child so she feels less jealous and more secure.
For more articles on dealing with issues your child may be experiencing, check out the following:
(First published as “Clashing Spouses” in June 2009, under the “Keep It Real” column in the Good Housekeeping Philippines Good Family section. Adapted for use in Female Network.)