When a second child arrives: He is the first child. The only. The center of all your attention. However, now a baby will come, making him pass from the status of the single child to that of elder child. How best to prepare him for this little revolution? Elements of response with Elisabeth Darchis, clinical psychologist, couple therapist and family therapist.
When a second child arrives: Do you want a little brother or a little sister?
Your first child is two, three, four. The desire to expand the family is getting stronger and stronger. If some parents keep this desire secret until it happens, others will be tempted to share it with their child. To involve him fully in the final decision. However, if one can ask the elder what he wishes, it is not to him that the last word comes. “We can exchange about desire, but we must not give the child the impression that it is he who chooses,” warns Elizabeth Darchis. Everyone remains in his place. A yes or no is structuring for the child; To let him decide between yes or no would, on the contrary, be burdened with a heavy responsibility.
Neither too early nor too late
Nausea, fatigue, sometimes even a small bulging belly: the first signs of pregnancy settle down. When to share with her elder this pregnancy? “Everything depends on the age of the child, its character,” explains Elizabeth Darchis. However, also, parents, and their will to announce more or less early the news to the entourage. However, it is best to wait for the first ultrasound to be sure that the baby is okay. To a young child for whom long months may seem an eternity, we can wait a little longer. Unless he feels that “something” is happening. “To tell him that he is mistaken would be harmful and disrupt his relationship to reality,” warns the psychologist. Moreover, when the time comes, do not announce the news between two doors. “You have to choose a time when everyone is available to answer questions or appease fears,” says the psychologist.
What word to use to announce the news? There is no magic formula, but a state of mind to remember: positive. “You have to give your child the happiness of having a brother or sister, the wealth of having a sibling,” says the psychologist. Then, words will flow naturally to announce this “good” news – not to justify or apologize, as a parent, for having a second child. For the child, a veritable “sponge,” it is usual to say, risks to feel the anguish – that of the parents – lurking under this type of discourse.
This does not exclude, of course, reassuring his child of his love. “But no need to add if it does not show any concern – it would imply that the baby represents a danger,” says Elizabeth Darchis.
Regress to adapt better
While the belly of the mother is rounded, the elder regresses. Claim this bottle rejected so proudly a few months ago. Poised in bed, endangering cleanliness acquired at the cost of many efforts. Moreover, connects the whims from morning to night … Should we worry about this withdrawal in development? “On the contrary,” reassured Elizabeth Darchis. Regression is a good sign. She says the child is getting ready. It is receding to better jump. Besides, what does the pregnant woman do when she eats strawberries? The father taking a few pounds? Are the grandparents taking out their photo albums? They regress too. “The whole group is preparing to accommodate a baby that will function primitively. Regression is a sign of the rearrangement of places and preparation for growth, “analyzes the psychologist.
Jealousy, a natural reaction
“Pose the baby!”.” It is my mother! Like regression, jealousy is a natural reaction in this process of welcoming a new baby, says Elizabeth Darchis: “Jealousy is a good sign, it means that the child realizes that a new organization is starting in place .” If the parents are not too anxious, this jealousy will disappear naturally. However, risks persisting if the parents embarrass themselves of precautions to “protect” the elder. For example, avoiding looking after the baby in front of him. This type of attitude only reinforces the child in danger posed by the baby.
Parental love, infinite love
“I feel like I am betraying my daughter. I am afraid I will not have enough time for her, “worries Ingrid, eight months pregnant. “Sometimes parents confuse the sharing of love and the sharing of time. However, parental love does not share like a cake! A large heart is built for each child, and in no case, hearts are divided, “insists Elizabeth Darchis. Moreover, it is a very nice thing to teach your elder to share your time. ” But to convey this message to his child, it is necessary to be persuaded of it. The state of mind of the parents depends in large part on the reaction of the elder. Being convinced that giving a brother or sister to his child is a gift seems to be the underlying assumption to serenely prepare the entire family, not just the elder, to welcome a new child.