An advertisement for a popular brand of baby food showed a little girl feeling insecure and jealous when she finds out that her mother is having a second child. As the father and mother prepare for the coming of the child, the little girl questions whether she will still be loved the same way. Later she is shown coming back from school and her little brother coming to greet her. It ends by saying, “from one, we went to two; but mummy’s love is still the same”. She realised the truth, but most children do not and spend their lives thinking the younger child took away half the love that they were to get. This pain is never imaginary and it is often brushed aside by parents who do not know how to eradicate such feelings of jealousy in a child. Luckily, there are ways to positively get rid of it, instead of blaming the child for imagining stuff. Here’s what to do when the first child experiences jealousy after the arrival of the second child.
Handling Sibling Rivalry After The Birth Of Second Child
Here is what you must do to help your first child through such periods of jealousy due to the arrival of the new child.
Sense Of Belonging
Give the first child a sense of belonging when it comes to accepting the new child – make them feel that the baby will not only be your second child but also his/her little brother or sister. Make them feel proud and responsible for being the older sibling rather than jealous of the attention that the new child will get. Tell them how the baby would grow up to be a constant playmate and would keep them constant company. When your first child feels a sense of belonging towards the baby, he or she will actually look forward to the coming of the child.
It is important to involve your first child in what is being done as the preparation for the arrival of the new child. This is important as it fosters a feeling of responsibility in the first child and will help him/her grow up to be a well informed and responsible older sibling. Make him/her do little things like set up the crib or let her/him choose the dresses for the baby when you go shopping. Your child has to feel that he or she will continue to be a part of your life even when the baby comes along. It is not because of the coming of the child that most children feel jealous but because they are thrust with responsibilities but never given the right to make decisions. They are expected to grow up on the one hand and yet treated as children. Such children grow up confused and disrespectful towards their roles as older siblings.
Set Time Aside
Set some time aside that you will spend only with your older child. Take time out to help her/him with homework or ask your husband to devote some time to play with him/her like you earlier used to do so that he or she does not feel like everything will change after the coming of the new child. The first child should feel that the new child will, if at all, only add to the love that the family shares and not put an abrupt end to the ‘us’ time that you, your child and your husband share. The child should still be told bedtime stories, helped with homework, and the family should still eat together.
There should be no change in the way the older child lives and he or she should not be expected to make too many adjustments or compromises. It is not easy for children to have to adjust too much and it is quite wrong of parents to expect such a thing from them.