Sibling Rilvary - When the New Baby Arrives
Sibling rivalry is no laughing matter. Children from the same family can treat each other as cruelly as classmates in a schoolyard, and the result can damage them well into adulthood. Many articles about parenting discuss the interactions needed between a new baby and its siblings-how to introduce the new baby, making sure the other children are involved with the care, and feelings of jealousy. So will this one-with the focus on stopping sibling rivalry before it starts. After all, it's not really "rivalry" if the second child is an infant and can't fight back.
If the new baby is the second child, the oldest is replaced as an only child who is used to having your world revolve around them. It's only natural for them to not want to give up the limelight; however they usually love the new baby, too. The result is confusion which presents as jealousy. The older child will often act out by saying hateful words (if they can talk, otherwise they pinch a lot) or by behaving in unhealthy ways in order to bring the attention of the parents back to them. After all, negative attention is better than none. This is not rivalry; it is abuse and needs to be curbed before the child turns into a mean kid. Read about child development stages for siblings, join a support group, and let your child play with other kids who have new baby brothers and sisters.
Active and new parenting workshops will teach you how to spend an equal amount of time with both children. For the sake of simplicity we will say that there are only two children in the household, (it is often easier for siblings to accept a new baby when there are more siblings-they can continue to play together) and this is your first experience with a sibling situation. You will learn to let the older child stay up a little longer than the baby so you can read to them privately and how to let them help with the new baby.
Sometimes the older child will emulate the baby, reverting back to infant like behavior. This is fine, it's to be expected to some degree, so do not shame them by telling them not to behave like a baby or to act their age. This stage will pass; if you give them a touch of responsibility with the baby and praise them, the entire situation will smooth out much sooner. You can find articles about parenting all over the internet, and Parent's Magazine is a wonderful resource to learn more about how to stop sibling rivalry before it happens.