A little brother comes: how to adapt the change in the firstborn

Although jealousy can be highlighted after the birth of the baby, it can also appear at times when it reaches important milestones in its development, which makes its competence more evident. They usually disappear at the time, when the child proves that sharing the love of their parents does not mean their end.

If the information he handles is scarce, he can misinterpret reality. For example, "mom and dad prefer the baby because it is smaller", so "if I return to behave as before, everything will revolve around me and I will be your favorite again". This erroneous reasoning can lead to negative emotional and behavioral reactions, even regressive ones.

Although he may be conscious or unconscious, usually the dethroned prince seeks to regain the center of attention. They can arise both before and after pregnancy. Although this alteration is mainly confined to the family context, it can also be generalized to others such as the school.

Ideas for the adaptation of the firstborn before the arrival of a little brother

To avoid these experiences, it is convenient to keep the firstborn informed of the different changes, especially in the following moments:

- During pregnancy
The choice of time to inform you of the news is personal, being advisable that you have time to get used to the idea. Explain where the babies come from or do activities with him (such as letting him stroke Mommy's belly, thinking of names for the baby, interacting with other babies, helping with preparations, reading stories about the new role, seeing pictures of when he was it was small) can make it easier to understand. It is important that you know all the consequences of having a brother: you will be able to share experiences, later - never immediately - you will be able to play with him, you will be able to sleep accompanied.

- The day of childbirth
Before your arrival, it is important to tell you who is going to take care of you while you are in the hospital. It is advisable to plan your (intimate) visit to the newborn in the hospital, a fact that will reinforce the family union and its own space in said structure. It is preferable that the mother no longer carries ways in her arms, so that they do not impress her. During the days before and after the birth, it is convenient to maintain your daily routine, as well as to respect your spaces and belongings.

- When you get home
Your understanding of the baby's basic needs will help you adjust your expectations about your arrival, as well as understanding that you need different care. Involving him in the care of the baby (such as learning songs to sleep him, helping to bathe him or entertain him) will not only prevent him from developing feelings of exclusion or resentment against him, but will favor a positive interaction between the two. The times when the baby is calm or sleeping can be an ideal time to spend time with him. It is advisable to reinforce the responsible behavior of "elder brother" and to extinguish those aimed at attracting attention.

The explanations must be clear, firm and simple, adapted to their language according to age and degree of maturity.

How to help you accept your little brother?

- Keep him informed of the changes.
- Favors a progressive transition.
- Observe, listen, validate and encourage the expression of their feelings.
- Make him participate in the new situation, letting him help or make decisions.
- Encourages your interaction with the baby.
- Dedicate daily time alone.
- Give him time to adapt, do not force him.

Accept the feelings expressed by your child, either through the word or other manifestations. Try to understand what motivates them, probably the fear and anxiety that the change generates. After acceptance, the interaction with your new sibling will benefit you in your future interpersonal relationship.

How does jealousy between siblings affect parents?

The scene of two brothers fighting is a source of tension also for parents. It is important that you stay united, that you make no distinctions in the time and attention devoted, and that you show your affection to both children equally. Being aware of the differences between them usually helps to adequately respond to their needs and to avoid possible and undesirable comparisons. Regardless of our age or autonomy, we all need the care of our parents.

Irene Alustiza Quintana

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