New Baby Means Sibling Regression
The one thing I had no idea I was going to have to deal with, in such a big way!No one talks about how a new baby means the future sibling goes through sibling regression and when you’re going through it it can be so overwhelming! It has probably been the hardest and most surprising thing I’ve had to deal with during this pregnancy.
I thought a five-six year gap would be good… after all my son was out of diapers, he could walk, communicate, and he was entering kindergarten… so I didn’t think much about how affected he would be about having a sibling. Sure, he had expressed his desire for a baby sister–and NOT a baby brother “Because we already have one of those, a boy,I’m the boy.” Smart kid I thought– doesn’t want to share the spotlight!
So when I knew we were having a baby and when I knew it was a girl I was a bit relieved. I thought (mistakenly) that he would be overjoyed and that there wouldn’t be many issues.
I didn’t realize how wrong I was until I started noticing real signs of regression. Small things that if you didn’t think about them critically you’d think he was just being bratty or having a bad day.
Some the the ways it’s manifested itself:
SLEEP. The biggest one has been him climbing into bed with us. He has done so every single night since he discovered he was going to be a big brother… first we would walk him back to his bed- then for a while we got annoyed (pissed off if I’m being honest)…now we’ve learned to accept it. Because we are too tired to get angry and clearly that doesn’t help anyone– so one of us leaves the bed and ends up sleeping in his room.
WANTING TO BE A BABY, OR… “CAN I DO THAT TOO?” First he wanted me to rock him like a baby. He also wants to know if he can do things that his baby sister will do… “Can I sleep in your room too?” We said no, and he said “pero toda mi familia va a dormir en un cuarto y yo estoy solo en el otro cuarto” (“But the whole family is going to sleep in one room and I’m the only one alone in the other room.”) with big tears in his eyes. He is already feeling left out and the baby isn’t even here yet!! I couldn’t help but think, “Lord what are we going to do??”
SCHOOL. Turns out becoming a big brother and starting kindergarten in a new “big kid” school can be a big deal.
EXPRESSING HIS FEELINGS. He tells us he is concerned, which we are happy about, at least he is not keeping it inside (maybe he is, when he has the occasional meltdown). He says:
“I’m worried about being a big brother.”
“I’m not ready to be a big brother.”
“When mommies and daddies have babies then they don’t have time for anyone else, for the other kids.”
It’s been a time of highs and lows for us, he can get extremely excited, or have meltdowns and we have been dealing with it the best we can, but we decided to get professional help. We asked my dear friend Lina from Stop Parenting Alone about his behavior and if this was normal. I’m lucky to belong to her group of online parenting support. The expert advice has really helped us understand our son better. This is what Lina had to say about his behavior:
What do you think of Lina’s answers? The truth is, when I saw this video, I cried… I felt better but I was so overwhelmed. Of course as a parent, I know I will love both my kids, and he will always be my baby boy, and I hate that he has all these feelings (though I understand it’s normal to have them) I wish he wasn’t so anxious about having a sibling!