While everyone is celebrating the news of your pregnancy or the arrival of the new baby, your firstborn could be getting ready to throw the biggest and longest fit in history. Someone might just not be ready to let go of their pride of place in the home.
Before the newborn arrives, your firstborn is used to being the centre of attention. They can play just about any game with you, but once the bump gets in the way, you might have to take it back a notch. This lowered interaction might not go down too well with your child. As things start to change, feelings of jealousy may arise and you might notice your child regressing back to their ‘babyish’ behaviour. Though this behaviour may be worrying, it is perfectly normal; this is their way of expressing their feelings of frustration and confusion about their role in your life and their place in the family.
Calm down, try to be more understanding, and do not punish your child because it will make them feel more resentment towards the baby. If you see your child pinching the baby, sit them down and explain why they aren’t allowed to hurt the baby and that they should tell you how they feel. This will encourage your child to open up to you and feel comforted. When you respond with patience and understanding, your child will start to feel secure and they will know that by welcoming the newborn baby home, they aren’t giving up their place in the family.
Tips to help your child accept their big sister/brother role and prevent (some) sibling rivalry:
- Sit down with your child and go through their baby pictures. This way they will know that they too had the same attention and care that the new baby is getting.
- Spend some time alone with your first child on regular basis so that they don’t feel the need to compete for your attention.
- Focus on your child’s strengths. Don’t make comparisons between your children because it will only lead to further competition.
- Guide your child through difficult emotions; acknowledge and talk them through feelings of anger, jealousy and resentment.
- Be an impartial parent. Taking sides and solving their fights for them isn’t going to teach your children how to sort out their arguments.
- One for all and all for one. Put your children on the same boat, for example: “Either you take turns in playing the game or I’ll take it away for the rest of the day or week.” Then follow through!
See A Video Of Kids Not-So-Happy About Pregnancy Announcement: