trouble transitioning...

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-1999
trouble transitioning...
Tue, 07-03-2007 - 1:46pm

i have an almost 5 year old son from a previous marriage that lives with me and my husband but sees his father every other weekend. that's the "easy" part.
my husband and i just had a baby who is now 7 weeks old. since the baby has come, my oldest son is having a horrible time adjusting. he loves his brother, you can see it. but he also tries to (subconsiously??) smother him while "hugging" him. i don't want to punish him for that because i feel it will only breed more resentment towards this new baby who is taking away his attention. my oldest has always been the center of everybody's attention. now there are less people around (we moved, my mom died, and now dad has cancer and isn't around much) and this new baby eating up the attention he used to get at home. he just told his father (he's away this weekend) that "at mommy's house everyone is mean to me and not to the baby". this broke my heart.... i will admit, i've been short fused and very overtired. but i always try to make time for my oldest. but i don't let his behavior slide, especially when he is acting out.
my husband and i have tried to talk to him about it, offer one on one time when we can, i've called on some other family members to spend time with him, and i've even gotten books to read to him about being the older brother and the changes babies bring.

i feel awful that my son is hurting so much and i don't know what to do to help him. it's been very stressful around here because my husband has been working 12+ hours a day lately due to a family situation that came up. (thankfully it is almost over... a few more days!!) so it's just me and the boys, with lack of sleep, little to no assistance, no parents of our own to count on (mine and hubby's are dead xcept my dad who is sick). i know my frustration at my oldest son's behavior is not helping his situation at all. what can i do to help him get through this? him saying "at mommy's house everyone is mean to me and not to the baby" is a step for him in getting out his feelings. now what can i do to ease it?

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-04-2004
Wed, 07-04-2007 - 3:45pm
Sorry to hear that things are rough right now! Keep doing what you are doing as far as giving your oldest some time with you alone. As far as the hugging thing I would not leave your oldest in the room with baby by him self as a precaution. It is probably just a time thing and DS will get use to baby soon. Emphasize that he is the big brother and keep pumping him up. Try to use praise when you see DS do the right thing or something for the babby. Have ds help with the baby by getting a diaper and wipes. after that say what a good big brother you are. I am sure things will turn around soon.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2003
Thu, 07-05-2007 - 4:34pm

I agree. Unfortunately, this will probably take some time for ds to get through, but it will eventually get better.

In addition to giving older ds personal time when possible, you might also make it a point to try to observe and comment on every positive thing he does, including projecting how this behavior makes others feel and how this behavior will benefit him when he's older. For example, when he holds the baby, you can say something like, "You hold your brother so gently, I bet he feels really safe in your arms. When you grow up you're going to be a great daddy because you show so much love." Or, "Thank you for talking quietly around your brother. Loud noises scare him. You make me feel so proud of what a thoughtful brother you are."

Another thing I did when my 2nd child was born was to make comments to the baby -- within earshot of the older sibling -- that would make the older sibling feel special. If I was putting the baby down for a nap, I'd say something like, "Okay baby, you have to take a nap now, so mommy can spend time with your older sibling. It's time for just mommy and sibling now." I was already putting the baby down for a nap, but by making it SOUND as if I was pushing baby away, the older sibling felt like they weren't the only one getting pushed around. I did the same thing when I was putting baby down in the swing or chair or even if I was wearing the baby ("you have to go in the sling, so I can play with brother, too"). My kids really liked feeling like I was pushing away the baby for them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 07-18-2007 - 10:16am

OH MY GOODNESS do you have a lot on your plate!!!!!

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