Sibling Rivalry With Newborn
Expect some natural jealousy when you bring home a new brother or sister. Most children under 3 years of age prefer to be the only child. Here are some thoughts:
- First: Give your older child the extra attention he is asking for. Give him lots of hugs scattered throughout the day. If he demands to be held while you are feeding the baby, try to include him. At least talk to him while you are busy with the baby.
- Second: Encourage your child to play with the new baby in your presence. Allow him to hold the baby, but only while sitting and preferably in a chair with side arms. Emphasize how much the baby likes him.
- Third: Accept regressive behavior such as thumb sucking or clinging. Your child needs to do this temporarily.
- Fourth: If your child behaves aggressively toward the baby, intervene promptly and give your child a time-out for a few minutes. Do not spank your child. If you hit him, he will eventually try to do the same to the baby. On the positive side, when he starts using the phrase "my baby," you're out of the woods.
If you need more help with sibling rivalry, talk to your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages