The Scenario:Your three-year-old child has suddenly become very difficult in the weeks after you came home from the hospital with a new baby sister. He ignores your commands, laughs when punished, and has had numerous potty “accidents.” You’re wondering if the new sibling has created a three-year-old monster. Will his behavior improve on its own or should you intervene now?
The Solution: The birth of a sibling—as with any major event in a child’s life—can throw the older child into a tizzy. Regressions are a typical response and will pass with gentle encouragement and consistency on your part. First, don’t reassure him with words but actions as to his place in the family. With everyone oohing and aahing over the baby, he’s feeling a bit left out.
Start by setting aside some time just for him each day. Ask for his help in sorting clothes. While you’re feeding the baby, sing some songs with him or read him a story. As much as you can, ignore his attitude and work on correcting his behaviors.
Remind him that he knows how to use the toilet but has forgotten. Show him how to clean up after his “on purposes” and rinse out his underwear. Be matter of fact but firm, and he should return to his usual self in a few weeks.
Excerpted from Ending Sibling Rivalry: Moving Your Kids From War to Peace, available now. Posted with permission of Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City.