Exciting News! You are going to have another baby!
As a second-time parent you probably have a lot of emotions about having another child. You are not alone, your number one child is going to have a lot of thoughts, feelings and emotions about becoming a sibling. Those emotions for your child might be happy, excited, scared, or even angry. How can you prevent sibling rivalry?
Wikipedia defines #sibling rivalry as:
Sibling rivalry is a type of competition or animosity among siblings, whether blood related or not.
I heard one pediatrician say that if you have two or more children in a family, you have sibling rivalry.
Child number one might be excited about becoming the “Big Brother” or the “Big Sister”. At the same time child number one might be confused about what this is going to mean in his/her life.
Will mom and dad still love me?
Do I have to share my toys or my room or my bed?
Will mom and dad still play with me?
How long will this baby stay?
My two-year old daughter went on a “hunger strike”, refusing to eat when her brother was 3 weeks old and she finally understood that he was not leaving.
Another daughter, at age five, said about our new baby, “I don’t get what the big deal is about babies. Why does everyone want to see the baby?”
Sometimes our children do not know how to deal with the confusing feelings they are experiencing. They love that little baby, but the baby also feels like competition.
It is a huge adjustment for child number one. We cannot shield or protect our children from having strong feelings and emotions. Our children are going to have conflicting feelings about their sibling for the rest of their life. There will be times of great love for their sibling and there will be times of jealousy, resentment and competition. It is part of being a sibling.
Our job as parents is to teach our children how to deal with those feelings and emotions. Yes, we want our children to love each other, but we need to acknowledge and not be afraid of their feelings about their sibling – positive or negative.
As parents, we set the tone for the siblings. Do not encourage competition between siblings. Do not compare your children. Each child is unique from the other. Emphasize that your whole family is a team. Each member is important to make the team function well. Express how proud you are of the older child and what they can do.
Teach number one child to embrace being older and the benefits that come with being older. An older child has the privilege of “big kid” toys, being a “helper”, having a special activity or game with mom and/or dad.
Reassure your child of your love. As it has been said, parents don’t divide their love; they multiply it. Tell your child that you have enough love for each of your children and will love child number one always. Don’t forget to give lots of hugs and kisses.
Sibling relationships teach important skills for dealing with people throughout life. Siblings learn how to deal with someone they don’t agree with, how to share with others and how to wait your turn while someone else has their needs met. Siblings learn that other people have feelings and wants and needs. Sibling relationships are a great place for children to learn to love, care for and stand up for each other.
If you need help putting siblings into the same room or transferring a child from the crib to a bed, contact me for a 15-minute “Get Acquainted” call to discuss how I can help you.