Okay, you are having another child and regardless of the age of your first child there is the concern about how they will react to having to share their parents.
You can say that you aren’t worries about how the older child(ren) will react, but it is there in the back of your mind. Will they get along? Will they be friends? How will they play together? Will they try to hurt each other? What can I do to prepare the older children for the younger ones arrival?
Unfortunately, there isn’t much that you can do to completely prepare your older children for the arrival of the younger ones, but you can be prepared for some of the challenges that can arise.
Challenges that we are always told about include:
These don’t always show themselves directly upon the arrival of the new person, but can manifest themselves throughout the first few years of life with the new child.
The following is my experience with my two kids.
We are lucky that our oldest child was very excited to have a sibling. He was accepting as soon as we announced to him that he was getting a sibling. His biggest problem was that it would be a brother and not a sister.
However, as they have grown together things are not always happy between the two of them.
Our youngest is now 19 months old and has from day one been told how cute he is. Everything he does is looked upon as cute by outsiders who don’t see that what they say to one child is taken a different way by the other.
Our first child is struggling with the fact that his brother is able to do things that are seen as cute, but when he does them they are not. He is trying to find his place where people appreciate his antics too. He is jealous of the type of attention his little brother is getting as it is not the same as what he is now getting.
We saw some of this when our youngest was first born, but were able to change the behaviour before it got out of hand. So far we haven’t seen any hatred between the two.
My advice is to be aware of the behavioural changes. There are ways to make sure to include your older children so that they are not feeling left out, or like they are no longer important.
Make sure that you are spending time with the older child. Explain what is happening to your family frequently. I am a firm proponent that you need to communicate with not only your children, but your partner when there are challenges that are to be faced. Yes, children don’t always understand or even remember the conversations, but it will help you to bring into perspective what is happening and give you time to reflect.
Family life is challenging. It is full of twists, turns and hurdles. Not always fun either, but I wouldn’t trade what I have for the alternative.