First-born sons have grown accustomed to being the center of attention and may find it difficult to move on to the role of older sibling . In a way, children only seek to claim the same attention that was given to them before and now they have to share. It is an adaptation phase.
But if the response to jealousy is exaggerated or prolonged in time, it can end up generating feelings of resentment between children and deteriorating relationships in the family. In any case, there are ways to facilitate the process of integrating the new baby into the family and curb the problems related to jealousy .
The jealousy of the older brother: how does your son live it?
All children feel jealous when a new member of the family arrives , it is not only normal but also beneficial, the adaptive process that involves adjusting to the new situation, makes them grow and mature. Jealousy is a normal feeling as long as it is lived within limits .
Your older child must understand the new family situation
Sometimes displaced children change their behavior . They may have tantrums for no reason, or bother the baby with somewhat "aggressive" displays of affection. They want to be a baby again (regression phase). They defy authority, have loss of appetite, and have sleep disturbances. They are hypersensitive and cry for no apparent reason. Sometimes they resume behaviors that are already out of date, pacifier, diaper … All these demonstrations are related to the need to attract attention .
How to prepare for the arrival of the new brother
One of the best ways to help the firstborn is to prepare him from pregnancy . In this way you will be able to assume the change that is going to take place in your life in advance. Tell him that you are pregnant, if the children are less than three years old it is convenient to wait until the changes in your belly are noticeable. Involve him in the preparations for his arrival, so that he sees that his opinion as an older brother is important. Create a positive expectation in him. Tell him how he is growing, teach him ultrasound scans, put his hand on your stomach and have "talks" between siblings .
When there is little left for the birth, explain that you will be missing a few days and tell him who will take care of him . Let him practice with a doll, so he will learn to hold it and can help you explain how to touch him. There are books that illustrate the arrival of a brother with positive messages. Prepare him for the downside. Use everyday situations to teach him about the baby, that he cries and that he needs help to eat … he has to understand that he will not immediately be a playmate. It is important that you understand the negatives as well as the positives so that you are not a disappointment .
Once at home
When you get home for the first time, it is convenient that it is the father who takes the brother, so that the mother can hug her first-born and introduce them properly . Let them bond when the baby arrives. Monitor the interaction between the two and let him know how fragile the baby is. If he feels that the baby is something that only parents can touch, you will create resentment in him .
Use positive praise to reward her for her responsible and loving behavior towards the baby . Encourage him to express his feelings. If he asks you when will we return it ?, explain patiently that he is part of the family and that you understand that he feels displaced. Also tell him about the positive aspects of his arrival .
If he is very effusive with the baby and makes him cry, do not berate him , ask him to help you calm him down. If he returns to previous stages already overcome, how to ask for the pacifier again, grant it, he just wants to attract attention and check that his parents also allow him things, he will strengthen his confidence, and he will soon abandon that attitude .
It encourages emotional communication, through gestures and words , so that they feel that their parents’ love has not been lost, because they love both equally. Ask him for help in caring for the baby, that he notices that he participates but that he does not see it as an obligation .
Other tips to tone down your jealousy
Create a special space for the firstborn, so that he maintains his individuality . Encourage their social life with other children their age. Dedicate a specific time just for him, in which he is the center, doing what he likes. It is essential to establish a balance in the treatment of the different siblings so that there is no preferential treatment towards any of them.
Jealousy between siblings is very common
Ask visitors to ask for him first instead of going straight to see the newborn and to bring him some little detail (some stickers, some paintings …) . It increases the playtime of the whole family, it is a good method to strengthen ties between siblings. Maintain the routines of the older brother, bath time, food, school, park … it will give him security. Remind him of the advantages and privileges of being the older brother: how to go to bed later or do "older things . "
Do not be afraid of the jealousy of the older brother, these feelings help him to mature, teach him to share and reinforce his self-confidence. No need to worry the sibling relationship has its own developmental cycle. If the family climate is stable and if the subject is approached with patience, specific jealousy is usually overcome and does not present major problems .