It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.
1) Being a parent and getting used to have another baby/child is a process. There are no hard and fast rules. Sometimes parents can get overwhelmed by too much advice and information – they can forget how to just be with their children and to trust their instincts. Take things moment by moment. Accept that mistakes will get made. It is a PROCESS and there is no such thing as a PERFECT PARENT. Rather it is important that parents/caregivers are GOOD ENOUGH. “‘Good enough’ parents protect and comfort their babies, play with, praise and enjoy them. They also sometimes ‘get it wrong’” (Joyce, 2005:5). What is most important is the ability to repair and try again as opposed to getting it right all the time.
2) Involve the older child in the pregnancy and after the birth of the baby – encouraging them to be a part of the new baby’s world. For example, helping them choose clothes and toys, letting them go to the hospital after baby is born, help push the pram, bath and feed the baby. In terms of giving the older child their own baby toy parents need to:
a) Check if this is their need or the need of their child. For example if the older child does not want a baby to pretend with then it should not be forced.
b) The toy should not be used as a way of minimizing or pushing away the older child’s difficult feelings
3) In term’s of giving a gift from the baby – I am not sure if that is necessary as the baby cannot really give the gift. Maybe something from parents themselves may be more appropriate? Importantly, feelings should not be sugar coated and the older child having negative feelings is normal and appropriate – the baby too will have to manage at a later stage the experience of having an older brother or sister. Dorman and Dorman (2002) suggest that setting up a daily routine – children thrive on consistency as it creates a sense of safety and order – in which the older child will has special time with parents without any distraction. This will provide time in which the parent(s) can talk to and listen to the brother or sister about how they are etc.
SOME DEVELOPMENTAL GUIDELINES
2 year old (Miller, 2004):
3 year old (Emanuel, 2005):
gender they would prefer – a 3 year old may find the wait hard to manage. HOWEVER whatever decision made a child’s imagination will be stimulated on hearing the news that they will having a baby brother or sister.
SIBLING RIVALRY – Between the age of three and four Caplan and Caplan (1983) argue that sibling rivalry can be the most physical and open – such as breaking or hiding the siblings toys, as well as tattling, fighting or teasing.
4-5 year old (Maroni, 2007):
birth to six. Dorling Kindersley Limited, London.
BSocSc (Psych) (UKZN); MSSC (Industrial Psych) (UKZN)
MA (Counselling Psychology) (Wits)
Pr No: 0372633
HPCSA No: PS 0110825
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