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Thread: Sibling Rivalry
February 17th, 2014 02:14 PM #1
If you have more than one child, how did your first adjust to having a new brother or sister? Were they a proud big sib or were there jealousy issues? Did you see any clues about how #1 would behave before #2 came along?
My first LO will be 2 in the spring. I think we might be ready to start TTC for #2 after her birthday. But, I'm kind of concerned about how she'll react to a new baby, especially having to share Mommy. She's not great about not having my undivided attention, but she has gotten better (and I realize it's going to be a year+ before another baby actually appears on the scene, so she'll probably be even better by then). She also has kind of a weird relationship with her dad, and I sometimes wonder if it doesn't have something to do with her not wanting to share my attention with him. She acts like I'm the only one who can take care of her, and gets mad if Daddy tries to do something she wants Mommy to do (even stupid little things like read her book or zip her coat - if she wanted me to do it, it has to be me or she'll have a fit). I'm hoping we'll see some sign of her readiness to have a little sibling, but I also worry letting her be an only child too long will just make things worse.Mommy to...Maura Lucille and "Baby Patrick" due April 8th!
If we have another...
Seamus or Brigid
February 17th, 2014 02:40 PM #3Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
Take this with a grain of salt, because I have no personal experience with this. I just have a two year old and watch a five month old baby a couple of days a week. My son does very well with this, but it is hard on him having to share my attention. Two is just a very challenging age. What helps is to give him little jobs, like, "please go and get me the baby's pacifier," or "can you please play peek-a-boo with the baby? He thinks you are so funny."
I would do two things in your situation: 1) see if you can babysit for a friend's baby occasionally, so that you can see how your daughter does sharing your attention with a baby. It will give her some good practice and also you will rack up awesome friend karma points.
2) leave your daughter in your husband's sole care a few times a week- even if you just run out for coffee or go to the grocery store.
3) When both of you are around, have him do stuff for her even if she pitches a fit about it. If she asks for you, just say, "no, honey, daddy is really good at buttoning coats/fixing cereal/whatever it is." Tell her that it is okay if she needs to be upset about it. Let her have the fit. It's better to work through the fits now than when you are trying to nurse a new baby.
I will just say that among our friends with multiple kids, two to two and a half seems like the hardest age gap. I really think that any gap can work, but this is just a really rough time for most kids and then they suddenly have to share their parents (and it does seem sudden to them, even if you spend the whole pregnancy talking about it.) Among our friends who have three year or more age gaps, it has been an easier transition. A three year old or older child can talk about his feelings more and that helps a lot. They are also more independent, and that helps.
Our friends with less than two year age gaps say that they do not remember the first several months of the second baby's life, but that they also didn't deal with rivalry since the first kid was too young to remember life without the younger sibling.
February 17th, 2014 05:25 PM #5
Thanks for responding!
1) None of my friends have little-little babies, we all kind of ended up pregnant and giving birth within 6 months of each other, so our kids are all roughly the same age. Still, I think you're right, if I was babysitting it would be a different dynamic than a play date. She's seen me play with other babies, but never really hold them/change them/feed them/etc.
2) I do leave them alone together about 1x per week. I have a teaching license, so I substitute teach when my husband has days off during the week to earn a little extra money. He says she does fine when I'm not there. I don't know if she just doesn't have high expectations for him or what, but apparently she's pretty independent when it's just the two of them. After she calms down about me leaving, she pretty much looks at books or plays with toys in her room by herself and lets him know when she's hungry. Not that she never plays independently when I'm home, but she's more likely to be unhappy if I'm not in the same room.
3) I totally do this. Same phrasing and everything. I haven't seen any improvement in the behavior yet, but I mean she is almost 2, so I know she probably can't help it at this age. She's still learning to understand and control her emotions. We joke about her being very advanced for her age, already acting like she's in her "terrible twos". It just kind of makes me sad, though. She'll cry and scream "no, no, no!" about Daddy doing _____ for her, like it's torture or something. It would hurt my feelings if she did that to me, and she does it to him all the time. People always ask if she's a "Daddy's girl", like all little girls are supposed to be crazy about their dads, and she's just not and I don't know why.Mommy to...Maura Lucille and "Baby Patrick" due April 8th!
If we have another...
Seamus or Brigid
February 17th, 2014 06:23 PM #7Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
Well, 2 year old are just nuts a lot of the time. Maybe this is just her way of exerting control? My son is really into that, he wants us to stand in a particular place or sing or stop singing- he just wants to be in charge.
Is your husband upset by it? Maybe he could try "crying" or showing her or telling her that he is upset? Some kids are really sympathetic at that age, others aren't.
For what it's worth, 18 months was much worse than 2 has been so far. He is now 27 months. He is still a nutcase, but it got much easier around 24 months, oddly. I am not sure why, but in our son's case he wasn't talking at 18 months and now he is- just being able to communicate more has helped. Anyhow, I hope that this holds true for you and that your daughter is easier at 2 than she is now!
February 18th, 2014 12:35 AM #9Senior Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2013
My daughter turned 2 in January and I am hoping to get pregnant soon. It is kind of rough because she can't really understand pregnancy, we talk about how fun a baby would be & the idea of a brother or sister & she seems into it, but she does like to dominate my attentions! She does the same thing where only Mama can hold her hand and Papa just won't do. I think that naturally the first baby bond to the father gets stronger when the second baby is born. I've seen it with all of my friends & it seems to stick. I don't think the "Daddy's Girl" stereotype needs to fit. My daughter obviously loves her father, but I don't think of her as a Daddy's Girl. I'm a stay at home mom & I nursed for a long while so she is fairly attached to me. I think for us, I will emphasize what a big girl she is and try to encourage her to do things independently. I think the 2.5-3 year age gap is great for kids as they get older. So close, yet they will have some autonomy in school. My sister is much younger & we were never compared to each other or competitive and I hope to keep that up with my family.