How to avoid sibling rivalry
A new baby in the family may be a cause for celebration, but it can also lead to sibling rivalry.
Sibling rivalry is when brothers and sisters grow jealous and competitive of one another, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. It often starts just before or immediately after the birth of a second child. Older siblings may become emotional or even violent. In some cases, they might even act like a baby, or regress, by wetting themselves or asking for a bottle.
- Talk with your child about the baby prior to delivery. It’s important that the news of your pregnancy comes from you.
- Once the baby arrives, spend quality time with the older child alone. A few minutes can mean a lot.
- Find small gifts that you can give your child to congratulate them on being a new big brother or sister. This will help them feel included when visitors bring gifts for the baby.
- Have the older child help with the baby. Pushing the stroller and dressing are a couple of ways they can be involved.
- Provide positive reinforcement. Be sure to make a big deal about how great of a big sibling your child is.
AAP suggests that if children start to get emotional, listen to them and acknowledge their feelings. If they begin to regress, allow the behaviors the parent finds acceptable, but praise them for more mature behavior.
“Every child reacts differently to a new sibling,” says Dr. Kane. “I advise parents to be prepared for anything.”
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