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Sibling Reactions to the new addition

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

For the first 20 weeks of this pregnancy, ds was excited about the coming baby. And now, starting this week, he's talking fairly evil thoughts about not wanting me to have a baby, and about various ways that would 'hurt' a new baby. 


He's 3.5, so I'm trying not to put too much meaning into it, but it's hurtful to hear and really breaks my heart. He's old enough that I think he's figured out that he'll not be my only child...and that he'll have to share me and essentially lose a lot of the time and attention he's always had from dh and I. We never wanted to have another child in order to give him a sibling...I really dislike that frame of thought because I do think an only child has advantages that a family with multiple children simply can't provide. But at the same time, dh and I have wanted to experience a second child and made the decision to add to our family after giving ds a few years of quality time with just us. What I mean by all that, is that I don't expect him to like this baby from the get-go. I do think he knows what's up, and I think it's only fair to not be thrilled about it. lol But, the fact that he's thinking of 'hurting' the baby is concerning to me.


And by hurting the baby, it's not anything definite...it's more like, he's telling me something and then spins this crazy story about how he'll send naked pigs (we just read a book about naked pigs. lol) into my belly. I'll laugh about that and say something like, That's silly. And he'll embellish the story by adding that the pigs are going into my belly in order to hurt the baby. To which I'm not sure how to respond. I don't want to push this baby on him...and I think it's GOOD to get this out in the open now rather than when I have a little one in arms, but idk. Anyone have advice? Or experiencing something similar?


Just some background, we've been reading lots of picture books about siblings and babies and how babies develop, but I always read one of those books (which he likes) and follow it up with a normal picture book that has nothing to do with babies. We do talk about the baby a lot, and he likes to talk about how he can teach the baby something or show it something or maybe ways he can help, but I make sure not to bring this stuff up myself. If he and I are talking about the baby it's because he's brought it up himself. I'm knitting for the baby, and he's excited about that...along with anytime I buy something for the baby. So, essentially he's happy about it 90% of the time and says something totally heartbreaking and a bit 'evil' (lol) the other 10% of the time we talk about it. But still...

post #2 of 7

IDK, it sounds like a pretty normal reaction to me.  At first DS did not want us to have a new baby, but now he's pretty excited about it.  Still, he's been a bit more physically agressive with me lately and always asks if he's hurting the baby too.  Not necessarily in a mean way, more playful and rough and a little out of hand at times. I think it's part of processing his feelings about becoming an older sibling though. I think it's probably a slightly different variation on what your DS is doing.  They are about the same age.


Mostly, he talks about "my baby" all. the. time.  He's really taking ownership of this baby so to speak.  It's not Mama's or Daddy's. It is his.  I think that's probably a good thing but DH worries that he's going to want to carry the baby around by himself and try to do more than he's physically able with the baby.  I've been trying to expose him to other young babies (not hard...in our fairly small apartment building we have 3 new babies) recently and folks are always commenting  on how he's really gentle and caring with younger children so that makes me feel encouraged.


He loves my knitting for the baby and shopping for the baby preparing his room and closet to share with the baby too.  He's also has been getting up every morning and asking "Is my baby here yet?" which I find to be really funny.  He's going to have a very long summer waiting for this baby.    We talk a lot about that baby having mama milk just like he did and about how we have to be very gentle with a new baby.


Do you have any books you have read with your DS that you especially like on the subject?  I think some books would really help him to process the subject.  He's obsessed with the booklet on pregnancy that my midwives gave me.  It does have really nice pictures of what the baby looks like at various weeks and he likes that a lot.

post #3 of 7

Hey Pregnova - I understand why you would feel uneasy to hear your son talk like that, but like OakTree, I wouldn't be overly concerned about about it. If it were my child, I might try to ask him directly about how he's feeling about the baby and just see what he says, see if he's able to articulate any of his fears. Maybe try to reassure him that it's okay to feel jealous of the baby or worried that you won't be able to pay attention to him and perhaps try telling him that if he starts to feel lonely or left out that he can come tell you he needs a special hug or whatever way he has of letting you know what's going on. 


I remember a number of years ago watching another mother interact with her two little girls. The older one was having a lot of trouble accepting the new one, and she'd push or pinch the little one. This mother saw what was going on and said, "Sweetie, do you need some attention?" and had her come over and sit in her lap so she could give her a hug. And then she made a point of saying, "If you need attention, come tell me. You don't need to hurt your sister." I was pretty impressed with the way she handled that. Maybe some version of this idea could work for your son so that he feels validated but knows it's not okay to hurt his sibling.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

Yeah...we've talked about it a lot. Mostly I think he does know it would be bad to hurt the baby, and that it's just a way of releasing some stress right now, but I just wanted to hear what others were experiencing or thought.


I think he also has some idea that he'll be expected to 'help' with the baby or take care of it beyond what he offers or voluntarily wants to do no matter how much I tell him that's not the case. So perhaps it will all even out once he sees for himself that there won't be any expectation beyond not hurting the baby. lol

post #5 of 7

My DS is three and will be 3.5 when the baby arrives. In the beginning when he was just learning about the pregnancy, he would say things like "just throw the baby in the trash" and such, which of course bothered me. Also, I weaned him on his third b-day and I think he was processing some unhappy feelings about that at the time. Slowly he has come around to being more excited about the new arrival. But it may switch back again, and I'm sure the first few months are hard for every young sibling regardless of how they are before the arrival.


If you're interested in any specific titles, we often read Waiting for baby (a very short, simple board book) and Sophie and the new baby, which is a longer picture book, delving more into the unhappy feelings siblings might experience, and also contains lovely pictures of mama nursing the newborn (it is important to me that DS understands the new baby will receive mama milk just as he did). He also likes the Little Critter book The new baby.

post #6 of 7

I think it's normal too. DD didn't seem excited or too happy about a baby at first. She told me "the sign says you can't have a baby. So you can't". And she also used to try to mush my belly - knowing that it hurt me and could hurt the baby. She would ask me if she was hurting the baby after she did it, in her way that I know she was hpping the answer was yes. And she used to talk a bit about how she was going to hurt the baby. I think just with time passing and her getting a bit more comfortable with the idea and also hearing from us about how fragile babies are etc - and also having the midwife explain to her why she can't mush my tummy - her talk and actions have changed. Now she tells me out of the blue how she isn't going to poke the baby or hurt the baby - that she's just going to poke Daddy. LOL. So anyway, all normal. I agree with what someone else said about trying to get him to talk about his fears. Maybe ask are you sad about the baby coming or something along those lines and see what he says for why. My daughter said she was afraid the baby was going to knock all her books down when I asked her. But she seemed pretty worried about it. 


With the helping, could you play it up as his special job? But explain very clearly that he doesn't have to? 


We also talked about how during all the nursing times, M can come snuggle mommy still and still have special time with mommy. 



post #7 of 7

Yeah Pregnova, I know what you mean. I'm worried about my 2 year old. She is very possesive of me and if my older child sits by me or I hug him she hollars and will try to move him out of the way. She likes to point out "babies" in the grocery store or whatever but I have the feeling she's reallllly going to dislike our new baby.

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