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Why is my niece so sensitive?

Q: My elder niece is 4 years old and the younger one is 6 months old. The elder one has always been a sensitive and gentle child, especially towards her mother. She speaks very softly. Once my sister accidentally closed the car-door with her hand in it and she started crying, and then my sister also. Seeing this my niece stopped crying and said "its ok, I won't cry, so please stop crying". If we go out leaving her at home, she calls my sister and says that I am missing you. This was when she was just 3 years old. We found it very strange for a little girl to say such emotional things. Now that she has a little sister, she gets really cranky if not given attention even for 30 minutes. She says things like, I feel like crying and cries most of the time. She also complains when the younger niece does not react to her. Also, if the younger one is not eating and to distract her if my sister tells the elder one to share her toy, she starts crying. I understand its sibling rivalry and the need for attention, but is it normal for someone this young to be this sensitive? Why does she feel so insecure?

A:Children are quite different from each other. They are not made in one mould. Some are more sensitive, others quite tough. It is not unusual for children of 4 years to be very attached to their mother. It is also a common observation that when a new baby arrives, the older one has to share her mother's time and resents the new arrival. 30 minutes can feel like quite a long time to a 4 year old. Including the four year old in activities and conversations will be a good idea.


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