How To Prepare a Sibling For a New Baby

Being Pregnant, Bringing Home a New Baby Can Cause Insecurity for Older Child

Toddler kissing newborn baby
Robin Reeder / Reeder Studios, Llc/Photolibrary/Getty Images

It is quite common for a sibling who is used to having parents all to himself to begin to exhibit some ugly, and sometimes downright frightening, behavior that is most likely due to severe anxiety about the new baby. Sometimes, the acting out is targeted to the pregnant mom. Oftentimes, a child may become overly-attached and attentive to parents before a new baby's arrival, only to act out in unexpected and inappropriate ways after the baby is born.

It is understandable that a child may exhibit concerns and fears about a new arrival, especially if changes are made in his own life to accommodate the pending birth. Changing beds or rooms may be stressful and unsettling for a young child. Parents should talk to their child regularly about what a new baby will mean in terms of their family lifestyle, render loving child discipline tactics, and provide extra reassurance that they will always be loved and cared for. At the same time, aggression, tantrums and other bad behaviors must be stopped at once.

Acting out in such a way of hitting or kicking, screaming, defiance, or running away from instructions requires immediate child discipline intervention. A child cannot be allowed to continue these inappropriate behaviors, which could put a pregnant mom or newborn, at risk for safety. Consistent and firm routines and discipline is a must coupled with reassurance of love.

Parents too often let older kids get away with inappropriate and even threatening actions because they are concerned with a child's emotions. Rather, by rendering consistent and firm discipline, a child learns that you mean business and will not tolerate such behaviors targeted to you or the new baby.

After a child has spent sufficient time separated from the situation or in a time out, you should then reintroduce a child to his typical environment after you have had a loving and reassuring talk that also includes what behavior is expected. Always offer a loving hug, so that your child knows that your love is not tied to his behavior, but that he will certainly be disciplined consistently for acting out.

Updated by Jill Ceder

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