Sibling Rivalry Starts Early

Cynthia Dermody
5

My son started acting out the day he first met his baby sister at the hospital. He was not pleased. He became moody, beligerant, and uncooperative almost immediately.

It was obvious he was jealous and did it for attention, because for a toddler, attention equals love. He wanted to be sure that love wasn't going to get all sucked up by this crinkly little thing in my arms.

Every toddler reacts to a new sibling differently. Some accept it with open arms, but more often they turn envious. Some even act this way before the baby comes, as in the case of ConnorsMom03, who's expecting a girl in the fall. Her 2 year old son is morphing back into a infant.

She tells the gals in Advice for Moms:

"He'll go around saying, "Mommy, hold me,"  "Goo goo, gaa gaa," "I'm a baby boy." He wants a lot of attention.  At first I thought it was cute, but it is getting old now. I just want him to act like himself now so that when the baby comes he is acting like the big brother and not a second baby."

Here's how other moms suggested she deal with her toddler's reaction to becoming a big brother:

-- Let him help you set up the baby's room or clothes.

-- Ask him to draw pictures to hang in the baby's room.

-- Try saying "OUR baby" ... "When OUR baby comes home ..." That way he feels like it's his baby too, he's part of it.

-- When you have a baby shower, try to get him something special too so he doesn't think the baby gets it all. When my son was born, I also bought my daughter a stuffed animal and told her her brother got it for her because he loves her so much.

-- Buy him a baby doll. Sometimes kids get TOO into helping and cause problems. This way he can take care of his own baby.

How did your toddler react to the news of a new baby in the house? How did you convince her that you still loved her just as much as before?

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