I wanted to bring up a few quick responses for your consideration to some of the questions generated by our review of Chapter Four – “Kids Versus Kids” from the book, “Love and Anger: The Parental Dilemma.”
Regarding Sibling Rivalry:
I have written some back posts regarding sibling rivalry in general. My two favorites are here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/07/21/summertime-bickering/ and this one: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/04/09/sibling-fighting/
Two books I like about sibling relationships are “ Loving Each One Best” by Nancy Samalin and “Siblings Without Rivalry” by Faber and Mazlish.
One thing I always consider in the equation of sibling rivalry is how to foster time and a good relationship between siblings, and the idea of restitution.
What sibling challenges are you coping with right now? Leave me a comment and I will try to address it in a future post!
Regarding Having A New Baby In The House:
I have seen things go one of two ways after a new baby enters the home: either the children are exceedingly mellow, sleepy and happy to nest alongside with mama, OR the energy is just out of control crazy antics and everything is ramped up. I personally always felt like took time for the "adrenaline rush" of having a new baby in the house to settle down, especially if family was visiting and also depending upon how things were going with the new infant. Sometimes once extended family left, the energy seemed to calm down a bit. I would love to hear your experiences and what the energy in your home was like after having a new baby in the house! How did you handle it?
At any rate, I think there are a few other things to consider with the older child. It can be really important to tie the older sibling of the family to your partner or other family member who can really take this child and hold them steady through work, being outside, showing how to be helpful…Really reigning that child in with jobs and as steady a rhythm as one can as all of you get settled in.
If that is not possible, then the other thing I would suggest is the “relaxed” approach. Dial everything down and really spend the time at home with bits of crafting, baking, reading and being outside digging in the soil (newborns can nap outside!). Plan to work in small increments, and keep things as mellow as possible for at least three months and then slowly add life back in. I find this approach can work very well for mothers who do not have a partner or spouse about who can be a big help and who do not have other family available.
Many mothers wonder about older siblings who hit or are otherwise rough with a baby. I think in this case, prevention is key. A child younger than age 7 cannot be left alone with a baby period. I highly suggest baby wearing as an important way to get through these periods. One must always be thinking, if I put the baby down on the floor to wiggle and such, where is my two or three year old going to be? What job can I give that two or three year old to channel their energy into something productive and kind? Am I giving this two, three or four year old enough work, enough physical activity? Am I able to give this two, three or four year old my attention, my arms, carry them? Two, three and four year olds are very little as well and need your arms and lap and such too! Tandem nursing, baby wearing either the baby or the older child or both at the same time, co-sleeping, holding the baby and also holding the older child at the same time, smiling, hugging, laughing, working together to do things for the home and the baby, are all ways that mothers have coped with having a new baby and a slightly older child together.
I also wrote back posts about going from one child to two children, try this really popular one that seemed to speak to a lot of mothers: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/07/27/even-more-about-transitioning-the-only-child-to-older-sibling/
Hope some of these thoughts are helpful; take what resonates with you! You are the expert on your own family!