University of Illinois Extension
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When a New Sibling Arrives

Many parents have great difficulty in feeling confident in their ability to give sufficient care and love to each of their children. Even though you've looked forward to expanding your family, and you feel that your children will benefit from learning to care for another and may develop close ties over the years, you may still fear that you may do something that will set them against each other for life.

Rivalry is the need to best your opponent and get for yourself what appears to be a limited supply of something precious. Sibling Rivalry is the natural, normal competition between brothers and sisters for their parents' love and affection, and it exists in every family to some degree.

What can you, as a parent, do to help your older child accept the birth of a new sibling?

  1. Tell your child that you are expecting a new baby.
  2. Involve your child in the preparations for the baby.
  3. Include your child in the baby's arrival. Enroll him/her in the special big-bother-and-big-sister classes at your hospital.
  4. Let him/her help with the baby, doing what he/she wants to do.
  5. Save time for the older child. Your older child will feel that you're always busy with the baby and he'll be jealous of the baby. So arrange a time when you can be totally alone with your older child to do what he/she wants to do.
  6. Involve your older child in outside activities that don't involve the baby or you. This will help him\her learn how to separate and feel comfortable without you.
Whatever your older child's age, his/her world is going to change when you bring the new baby home. The above suggestions may help to make that change go more smoothly for your family.