If you are expecting a new baby in a blended family, there may be some mixed feelings from all members of the family for different reasons. And what do you do if a stepchild is jealous of a new baby?
To help a stepchild with feelings of jealousy over a new baby, don’t make the baby the center of attention. Make it a point to spend one-on-one time with the stepchild so they continue to feel special. Encourage bonding between the stepchild and the new baby by allowing them to hold the baby.
There are several more things to take into consideration when helping your stepchild deal with feelings of jealousy of a new baby. We will explore those in this article.
When a Stepchild Is Jealous of New Baby
Bringing a new baby into your family will elicit emotions in every stepfamily member, just as a new pregnancy would in any family.
When it comes to having your own child, especially if it is your first, you will feel a degree of anticipation that you have never felt before (usually peppered with some fears and anxieties).
The children of your spouse will, of course, have their own reactions to the new baby.
Of course, you hope that your stepchildren are just as delighted and excited to welcome this new person into your stepfamily as you are.
But keep in mind that adding a new child into any family is bound to cause jealousy, and bringing one into a stepfamily will be no different.
Children may be ecstatic, but they may be concerned about how much time and attention a new baby would take away from them.
It might be difficult for older children to witness a parent fall in love with a baby and find them so charming.
The youngest in the family suddenly appears “older” and more challenging, while the new baby receives all of the love and attention.
Here are some things to expect when welcoming a new baby into your stepfamily, as well as suggestions for dealing with your partner’s and stepchildren’s responses.
When the new baby is born, your stepchildren will feel their own emotions. They will frequently cope with parental allegiance ties, the dread of losing a parent again, and a loss of status in the home.
Though most children go through at least one of these emotions when a new baby is born, there are things you can do to comfort your stepchildren.
When a parent remarries, children are sometimes torn between their biological parent and their stepparent in terms of loyalty.
They may overhear their mother’s unhappiness at not being able to have another child with their father, or their mother may be envious of your marriage to their father.
Your stepchildren may now believe that their father will have a new baby to keep him company while they are away, but their mother will be alone when they visit you.
They could even appreciate or adore the baby, but feel bad about it because they can’t talk about it at their other house because they don’t want to hurt their mother’s feelings!
You and your spouse should both be aware and sympathetic to the various dynamics that the children are experiencing. Encourage your stepchildren to talk to you and your partner about it.
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When he started dating you, they had to deal with yet another loss. As a result, it stands to reason that these worries may resurface in the form of dad loving the new baby more than he loves them.
When they are in your house, these worries may cause them to become more territorial for a period, clinging closer to their father.
This is a natural reaction since they cannot comprehend their underlying anxieties.
Because children think in black-and-white terms, both you and your partner must help them realize that there is enough room in your home to love everyone and that they will not lose anything simply because the baby is there.
When a new baby arrives, children are concerned about losing their status. In their first household, a child may have been the youngest or the only child.
We all get used to our roles in our families of origin (think of your position in your family). Some children may preserve their status in one family while gaining a new one in another.
This shift in position from one home to another takes some getting used to, and we don’t all respond well to change. Allow time for the youngsters to acclimate.
Many will respond to adults in their life with love, compassion, and understanding.
With the arrival of the newborn, you may also observe that your younger stepchild regresses to an earlier stage. This generally comes as a shock to parents, yet it happens frequently.
Your spouse can help the children adjust by telling them tales of when they were born and how he and their mother felt about them at the same time.
While the stepchildren are going through these changes in their family structure, it’s critical to make them feel understood.
To allay any anxieties that your stepchildren have been removed from their father’s home, let them know that they are still special to you.
It’s natural for your youngster to be envious of the new baby. In fact, I doubt there has ever been a youngster who has not felt envious of a new sibling.
Make your child the hero in your baby’s eyes (and in her own eyes.) Call your older child over to snuggle with you and the infant when you have a quiet time.
Make sure all other children are occupied; this should be done independently for each child. Tell the infant that you’d want to introduce Big Sister, a lovely young lady whom you hope Baby will emulate.
Make a list of all the excellent qualities you admire in Big Sister that Baby will learn about.
Don’t make the infant the center of attention. Save your fawning over the infant for when you’re alone.
Keep in closeness with your older child. Spend as much alone time as possible with each youngster every day.
Allow another adult to hold the infant while you snuggle with your toddler or preschooler when another adult is present. If your hands are full, communicate with your older children using your voice.
Invite your older children over for reading a book while you’re feeding the infant. They will eagerly anticipate those moments.
Bonding: Let your older child sit and cradle the baby, assisting her with his head support.
According to bonding specialists, newborns’ heads emit pheromones, which cause us to fall in love and feel protective when we inhale them.
The more your elder child snuggles with the new sibling, the greater their bond will be.
Never leave a baby unattended with a toddler or preschooler. Little ones can’t be expected to be able to manage their jealous feelings, and the risks are simply too high to risk it.
Keep an eye on things. If at all possible, refrain from reprimanding your youngster. If you feel him being harsh, get the infant away from him as soon as possible.
Your child will undoubtedly put you to the test to see whether you still love her. Maintain a smooth and warm connection with her by avoiding power struggles and reducing disputes.
Stick to your customary boundaries, which will make her feel safe, such as bedtime or no hitting, and stick to them with compassion.
This is not the moment to tell your older child that he or she has to grow up. Delayed toilet training by requiring her to give up her bottle or pacifier, for example.
If she needs your reassurance more frequently at night and you can’t get to her because of the baby, make sure Dad consoles her and puts her back to sleep.
Expect a reversal. Allow her to be a baby as much as she wants without feeling guilty. Give her a lot of additional attention and affection.
Assure each of your children that they continue to play an essential part in the household. Remind them of all the beautiful aspects of themselves and how they contribute to the family.
Assist your child in understanding why she is still an essential member of the family. Talk about how essential each family member is in their own unique manner and how they contribute to the family.
For the family to be whole, each member is required.
Be prepared for heartbreak. Your older child needs to mourn the loss of his exclusive relationship with you, as well as his status as the only child, and your undivided attention.
Reframe your perception of him if he’s whining and irritable. Your youngster is in distress. He is bereft. He can’t articulate his dissatisfaction, and he isn’t dissatisfied for the reasons he believes.
However, he requires your assistance to recover. So hug him and sympathize with him when he appears needy or whining.
Over time and by considering the above key points, your stepchildren are bound to eventually realize that a new baby is no threat to them and is instead a little blessing.