2 1/2-year-old acting out b/c of baby - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 01-20-2010, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Calling any moms who have BTDT... my 2 1/2-year-old daughter, who was initially thrilled by the news of an impending new brother, seems to be acting out. She's super-clingy, cries when I leave her at morning preschool (she didn't before), talks about how SHE'S a baby (and then pretends to be a baby), won't sleep by herself in her bed, has stopped completely with her potty training, talks about how she wants to "hurt" me (she doesn't actually do it, but says she wants to scratch, poke, hit, etc., and this is only directed at me -- not her dad, teachers, kids).

I thought maybe it was just normal toddler stuff, but I've been talking with other mamas and her teachers and also reading about how little kids sometimes get insecure about what a new baby might do to their lives. She will be 35 months when her brother is born.

I'm wondering what other mamas have done/are doing to prep their little ones for their new siblings?
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#2 of 5 Old 01-20-2010, 03:06 PM
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This is NOT fun, but it is totally normal. Not that it makes you feel much better.

Here's my advice:
Acknowledge as little as possible of the "bad" behavior. If she gets cuddles and the reaction of "omg don't do that" she is getting attention, which will reinforce her behavior. I used to tell my son "what? I can't hear you when you use that whiny voice...what? Where did that big boy voice go?" or "if you are going to hit me, I'm going to walk away." (even if it's two feet it reinforces that you are not going to give extra attention brought on by mean behavior)

Bottom line, she's worried she will be lost in the midst of another kid in the house. At least this has always been the case with my kiddos. As things get more real (baby items showing up, belly growing, etc) she is freaking out a bit. I would make it a point to give her some special dates with just you doing big girl things totally unrelated to the baby-and try not to talk about baby at all during those times, make it all about her. Be sure she has her own space (even just her room, or part of a room) that is the things she likes that are big girl things. I have to be careful not to let my baby things consume all the rooms in the house.

Look for and give her tons of praise for being a big girl. Catch her doing any type of "good" behavior and point it out and give her attention for that kind of behavior.

Make plans and stick to them to give her special attention after baby arrives. Let her know there are others that will help with baby so you can still have your big girl times together.

Point out things that babies can't do that she can...stay up later, play at the park, skip the second nap, etc. She will become aware of the value of being a big kid.

Hit the library, there are tons of big sibling books that are awesome...perhaps someone here can give specific titles...but even ones that just acknowledge her feelings are wonderful!

Patience is key-and expect relapses after baby arrives.

sorry I'm typing this very quickly as our lights are flickering in a naughty storm and i don't want my computer to die! lol-

in short if I can say nothing else...it will pass mama...all of my kids, even the ones that didn't talk to me for two weeks after they realized we were keeping the baby...they all got over it and are normal happy (for the most part ) siblings now.

Midwife. Mama to five. Love is still the greatest.
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#3 of 5 Old 01-20-2010, 03:30 PM
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My 2 1/2 yr old DD has been doing some of the same things, OP! Especially wanting to pretend she's a baby. For that one, I just play along. I swaddle her, cradle her, rock her, etc. I do also try to point out the things babies can't do, but big girls can. Our potty-ing has just been barely limping along as it is... so I'm just letting her set the pace with it and trying not to be pushy or impatient.

Mom to retired nursling Lily (6/22/07) and wife to my wonderful DH since 3/19/05
Baby Aerick is here! Born at 40+6 on 5/16/10
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#4 of 5 Old 01-20-2010, 05:29 PM
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Do you have the option of going to a sibling class? We went to one when we were expecting #2 and it seemed to help.

Like it was mentioned earlier, the library is also full of books about becoming an older brother/sister. If I am remembering correctly the Mr. Rogers book about expecting a new baby addresses a lot of jealousy issues in a very kind way. He also shows a mother nursing baby

The world can feel very out of control for little ones when a big chance is impending. Offerring a lot of cuddle or one-on-one time and making everything possible into a choice can help. I would often give my oldest the choice between two outfits, a choice between two vegetables for dinner, ask if she'd rather read a book or play a game with mommy, etc. They were just little ways of me showing that she still matters and I value what she is feeling/wanting.

I hope you find something that works for you

Naomi, mama to Faith (12/03) and Hannah (12/06) and Kai, a homebirth.jpg waterbirth.jpg on 5/15/10
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#5 of 5 Old 01-22-2010, 01:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Ah, thank you all -- I knew this would be the best place to ask! These are excellent suggestions and I've already seen some improvement (I've started talking about how big girls get all these benefits and can do all these cool things -- like blow bubbles -- and babies can't, for example). Today she had no problems at preschool and we had a great afternoon together, with only mild drama.

It helps to know that you guys have been there, too -- and SURVIVED! I know it's a process. It's amazing to think about what these little ones know/think about/pick up -- they're so very smart. Thanks again!
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