Helping Older Siblings Adjust to New Baby Sister/Brother
Helping Big Brother/Sister Adjust
I was in one of those party supply stores the other day and I noticed these special buttons that can be worn by young children who are getting a new baby sister or brother. The buttons read, “I’m The Big Brother (or Sister).” I love these and recommend them often to parents who will be adding a new addition to the family. It’s so easy for adults to get lost in the commotion of the new baby and it’s easy for the older sibling to get lost in the new child’s shadow. To avoid having the first-born feeling replaced and resentful, do what the button says and help them feel special with the baby. Ask her to help you give the baby a bath, sing a song to sooth the infant, or allow him to help dress his new baby brother.
A child is constantly searching for their place in the family and when a new addition comes home, they can easily feel as if they’ve been dethroned and begin acting out in very challenging ways. Some parents have seen their older child reverting back to being a baby to try and regain her lost seat by suddenly acting helpless, crying more often, or wetting her pants. When parents take the time to help the child gain a newer position in the family, less challenging behaviors will follow. It’s also important to create “dates” with the older child away from the baby.
Hilltown Families list of Weekly Suggested Events offer some great tips for those dates to reconnect with your first born or older child.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill is the author of the award-winning parenting book series, Love, Limits, & Lessons: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Cooperative Kids (in English and in Spanish) and the executive producer and host of the public access television show Creating Cooperative Kids. He is a Western Mass native and grew up in the Northampton area. As a member of the American Psychological Association and the North American Society for Adlerian Psychology, Bill provides parent coaching and keynote presentations to parent and professional audiences across the country. He sits on the board of the Network Against Domestic Abuse, the Resource Advisory Committee for Attachment Parenting International, and the management team of the Springfield Parent Academy. Bill’s practical experience comes as a father of 3 grown children, a grandfather of two, and a stepdad to three, and resides in the area with his loving wife Elizabeth and teen step daughter Olivia. You can learn more about Bill and his work at www.CooperativeKids.com.
Great point Susan. This will definitely help them to “fit in” and find their place more effectively in the family. Thanks for taking time to comment.
When children are spaced far apart (5+ years), it is especially important to discuss the changes and let them “in” on the preparations too! They have the ability to consider the “pros and cons” of the new family dynamic in advance that most kids do not.