How to prevent sibling rivalry and help your toddler accept the new baby
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My elder son just turned two years, and we had another baby boy who is three months now. In the beginning, my older one always hugged and kissed his brother but now sibling rivalry is in force. Whenever he can, he tries to hit the new baby. Although my husband and I try to give him full attention as much as we can, he becomes impossible at times. Secondly, since the birth of my younger one, the two-year-old will not eat. He will just drink milk. Why is this and what should we do?
The expert answers:
Welcome to the challenging world of sibling rivalry! Your two year old suddenly looked so big and grown-up when you brought that tiny baby home from the hospital, but your son is still a baby himself! He was used to lots of cuddling and undivided attention. Mama's lap was his personal paradise. Now he has to share and, frankly, he is too little to really understand sharing.
He also is just beginning to learn to use his words to tell his mom and dad what he needs and how he is feeling. This is why he is acting out.
First and foremost, he cannot be allowed to hurt your helpless newborn, no matter how angry or displaced he may feel. You should never leave him alone with the baby. You should not expect him to be overjoyed about the baby's arrival or the changes that a new member of the family has brought to your home.
To help your toddler accept a new sibling, he needs to be shown that there are definite advantages to being a "big boy." Make the special effort to fix toddler-friendly food. Explain that the baby will not get to taste these special treats, just him.
You are probably thinking about starting toilet training since two children in diapers is quite a challenge and expense. Hold off on this process until your son shows definite interest and expresses the willingness to use the toilet. Your son may be too interested now in not losing the attention a wet or soiled diaper automatically brings.
Difficult as things are now, remember that this close difference in age will mean many wonderful opportunities for a close relationship as your sons grow up. The time will come all too quickly when your sons will be grown men and lifetime best friends!