Kate Middleton’s expecting!

The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her second child

With the announcement that Kate Middleton is expecting her second child this morning, their son Prince George will soon be sharing the spotlight with another sibling. An only child has the parents all to themselves and with the arrival of a new baby can often feel left out and sometimes less favoured. They can show this in negative behaviour so what can a parent do?

How do we deal best with the arrival of a new baby?

What are the things you can do to smooth the transition for your child when a new baby comes home? I told my child about my pregnancy at the same time as I announced it publicly to ensure that they did not hear it from someone else and feel left out. I brought my child to the doctors so they were able to listen to the baby’s heartbeat and felt involved all along.

Throughout the pregnancy use opportunities to involve your child with preparations.  Shopping for baby supplies and allowing her to choose between product choices ensures she ‘buys into the idea’. Also it makes her feel responsible, competent and valued.

Before the birth

In addition, there are excellent baby books on the market that prepare your child for the changes that the new baby brings. However, nothing is better than talking on a 1 to 1 and being honest that the early days will be busy and that they will feel put out but you will do your best to make special time for them and need their help.

I know visitors kindly remembered to bring a gift for my child rather than the new baby which was very welcome and I did the same for friends.

Think about how your child must feel

If your child becomes challenging think about how they must feel. So many times parents come seeking support with a child whose behaviour has become challenging. They say they have a younger sibling or baby who is ‘a dream’. They confess they have got into a ‘negative cycle’ of reprimanding and correcting as the older child’s behaviour gets worse. Troubled behaviour comes from inner turmoil ‘Mum prefers him/her to me’.

All behaviour has a reason

When I ask parents how they think the troubling child feels they often say ‘I think they are jealous of the other sibling’. So Name Their Feeling.

‘You don’t like the baby. You are angry at him as it used to be just you and me. Do you feel I have no time for you? You wish you were the only one. You wish you had me all to yourself. You get angry when you see me fuss with him. You want me to be with you. I cannot let you hit the baby, but when you feel like that, you can come and tell me, and I will make time for you. You can tell me when you feel left out’.

Sibling Rivalry is cured with 1:1 time

If you want to understand what sibling rivalry feels like; think how you would feel if your husband came home and said that he loved you so much; he decided he was getting another partner just like you; but not to worry as you would both be best friends. You can never treat each child equally; but you can treat them uniquely.

Compassion is the number 1 response

Sibling rivalry is a real issue that every parent has to deal with, however there are things you can do to reduce the incidence of it. What is the child’s feeling? A feeling of not being loved enough usually, therefore what is the solution? A ‘one on one’ with your child reassures them of your love and their value. Sometimes, we interact less with our challenging child and more with another less challenging child, thereby reinforcing insecurities.

If she is acting out to get your attention (negative attention is better than no attention) ignore the misbehaviour and instead catch her being good at other times as all behaviour reinforces. Children love being praised and will do more when they are praised.

When your child deserves your love the least, they need it the most.

How much 1:1 time is needed?

Spend eight minutes of undistracted time with her daily. That is all it takes for a child to feel loved and valued and the more you notice them, the less attention they seek. Conflict is a necessary part of family life and where relationships are good it serves to deepen family wellbeing, so let’s respond to this cry for help.

Reducing Sibling Rivalry – Never take sides or compare them

How do you respond as parents when there is rivalry between siblings?  Get in control of your response and remain calm. Allow them to say how they feel and respond in the  way that they need. When you do that they feel heard, respected and loved and conflicts reduce.

  • Never ever compare as an act of comparison is an act of rejection
  • Never take sides – ‘how can you sort this out so you are both happy?’

Ignore attention seeking behaviour, instead give positive attention later on

Eight minutes of undistracted 1 on 1 time ensures a child feel’s loved. Often the elder child needs an entitlement for responsibility shown. Remember to show Kindess and compassion for elder child at this time