New sibling jealousy: how I helped my son accept his new brother

My name is Lama. I am a proud mother of two wonderful boys: Aiden who is three and a half years old and Daniel who is six months old. Motherhood has been the most challenging and rewarding experience I have ever had. It has given me strength that I never imagined I could one day possess, a strength that is much needed to handle sibling rivalry.

“It’s not until you become a mother that your judgment slowly turns into compassion and understanding” – Erma Bombeck

My firstborn is currently showing a bit of jealousy towards his baby brother. He’s obviously mad at me for disrupting the predictable flow of his life with a new contender for my attention. In hindsight, before Dani entered our family, Aiden was told that he would have a wonderful little brother to play with, and that it would be much fun. Then Dani was born, and Aiden started playing with the baby in the only ways he knows how. It goes like this, he plays catch, so I yell at him for throwing toys at the baby, then he gives him a hug, and I admonish him to be more careful. It’s no wonder Aiden was confused.

For a few days after I gave birth to Dani, Aiden tried to adjust to the fact that a new family member had come on the scene. He started acting out. It’s not that I did not expect it. From my mother’s stories I have learned that I was jealous when my sister was born, and I read a lot about sibling jealousy before my due date with my second child. I thought I was ready for this phase, but it is way harder than what it seemed to be.

I understood what he was going through; experiencing a new emotion, a feeling he never had before. Welcoming a new baby to the family and dealing with the older sibling’s jealousy is a tricky situation to handle.

I came back home 24 hours after my delivery to be with Aiden, I knew he wouldn’t sleep if mommy was away, he has also just started KG1, a couple of days later I decided to start dropping him to school and picking him up, so he doesn’t feel left out. Playing with him one-on-one when his baby brother is napping, everything seemed under control. I needed to prove to him that mommy will not love him any less now that she has another baby to take care of. Boosting his confidence and his trust in me was one of my priorities.

As the days passed, things didn’t feel the same with Aiden. It was like he’s a different boy; even though I was trying my best to make him feel special (and, not to mention, feeling guilty for not spending as much time with Dani as I did with him). If I call Aiden, he responds after the fourth or fifth time, he kisses his brother roughly whenever I am breastfeeding him. I tried involving him in Dani’s daily showers, diaper change, tucking him in. I started to feel that Aiden’s aggression is increasing, and it pained me whenever I was strict with him because I knew he’s trying to express a new feeling that he’s experiencing.

There was a slight improvement but it still wasn’t enough. Until a couple of weeks ago, I saw a sponsored ad on Facebook by Jaleesa about an WhatsApp group where toddlers’ parents discuss education, health, and other topics regarding their little ones, sharing concerns, stories, and successes.

I joined the group and I asked if anyone has gone through the same phase I currently am experiencing, knowing that any advice could help.

Jaleesa’s co-founder Angela was the first to reply sharing an article from Baby Center, then other parents started sharing their thoughts and experiences. A couple of more moms said that they are also going through this phase and promised that it shall pass. It seemed that I was doing everything I could and there wasn’t much left to do. Aiden will eventually adapt at his own pace; it was me who was impatient, wanting him to do it as soon as possible. Seeing him teased and provoked by his helpless infant brother was hurting me. I was reminded in talking to other parens that everything we are going through is just a phase, and it shall pass.

As Linda Wooten said, “Being a mother is learning about the strengths you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you never knew existed.” I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Editor’s note: Jaleesa welcomes parents to join support groups on WhatsApp for parents of infants, toddlers, and older children. We’d love to see you there! Click the links to join our communities.

Source: jaleesa blog

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