ASK MOM: Boy is jealous of baby brother, breaks mom’s heart
by Mary Follin and Erika Guerrero
Read more ASK MOM in Fredericksburg Parent & Family
THE PROBLEM: My 9 yo son is jealous of his new baby brother, who is only a month old. I know this is common, but I’m worried about him, and I don’t know what to do. He’s a sweet, sensitive boy, and ever since the baby was born, he’s become somewhat angry, saying mean things about his brother, things like: “He can’t come in my room—ever.” The other day he told me he “hated me,” which about broke my heart. (He would never have said anything like that before.) I had high hopes that these two would love each other for life, and now I can’t see that happening.
MARY SAYS: Adjusting to a new baby can be tough on everybody, including you. I applaud you for addressing this issue now, even though you’re most likely exhausted. You have plenty of time to make changes as your children grow and get to know one another, but it’s a good idea to lay a foundation for a strong bond as soon as the little one arrives.
This tiny intruder has rocked your older son’s world, and he doesn’t know what to do about it. Thus, the acting out. Don’t worry about the extreme nature of his behavior; he’ll soon adjust to sharing you with somebody else. What you want to do now is help him adjust in a way that’s healthy for him and your new baby.
There’s a lot you can do about this, Mom, but you’ll need to channel every ounce of patience and energy you have—two resources that are probably running low right now!
Let’s make it easy on you and simplify the next steps:
By implementing these small changes, you will see your older son begin to engage in a more positive way. Rather than focusing on what he’s lost, he’ll begin to see what he’s gained—a brother, a friend, and a lifelong bond with another human being, one of life’s most precious gifts.
ERIKA SAYS: Don’t be discouraged, mama! Your son has been an only child for the last nine years, and now he has to share his mama, get to know his baby brother, and figure out his new role as a big brother. There's a lot going on here!
Even though you’ve had nine months to prepare, for your oldest son, it's only been a month. I can assure you, he’s still adjusting to this quick and big transition. Here are some suggestions that might help things go more smoothly for your older son:
Don’t lose hope! And please extend lots of grace; not all relationships take off fast. Some are built over time but can become the sweetest. Try some of these suggestions, and I have no doubt your son will come around.
ASK MOM offers parents two perspectives on today’s child-rearing issues—one from a mom with grown children (Mary), the other from a mom raising a small child (Erika). If you’re looking for creative solutions, or your mom isn’t around to ask, drop in!
If you have a question for Mary and Erika, we’d love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org
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ABOUT MARY FOLLIN
Mary is the author of TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ and ETHYR, winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award and the Gertrude Warner Book Award. She is mom to two grown sons and enjoys sharing her more seasoned perspective with parents of younger children.
ABOUT Erika Guerrero
Erika Guerrero is a freelance hair and makeup artist, Erika K. Beauty, single-mama to one amazing boy, and author of She’s Not Shaken, a blog offering hope and encouragement to women in all walks of life.
ABOUT Suzanne Johnson
Suzanne Johnson, mother of five children and grandmother of eight, is an illustrator, book cover designer, and author of the Realms of Edenocht series.
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