Helping teens deal with a new sibling

As more and more women opt to have children later in life, the issue of older siblings having to adjust with babies is gaining momentum. A lot of parents are clueless about how to introduce the idea of mom and dad having another baby to their teens. You would be mistaken to think that since your teen is old enough to get the hang of the idea, they will also learn to deal with it or have no issues or insecurities about a toddler new sibling. So make the necessary adjustments and prepare to handle the situation at hand, a new baby after all is a life changing decision not just for you, but for the entire family.

More to Expect

Psychologist, Dr. Daniel Klien from the Child and Family Solutions Center advises parents to expect the unexpected when preparing older siblings for a new baby. The teenager can react in a number of ways, from excitement, to disbelief to shock. All you can do is tell them of this major change well in advance so they have ample time to muse over the idea of a new baby. Make sure you don’t react negatively or too emotionally if they are not as happy about this addition as you are. Remember, that while you are seeing a new child, your teen might be seeing a competitor, so before you take their stance personally, look at the situation for their perspective as well.

Embracing Them Again

However, if you are one of the lucky ones, who’s teen is excited about  the new addition in the family, it is still a tricky situation to balance. Don’t assume that they are “with” you on this no matter how happy or excited they seem.

Start spending more exclusive time with your teen, to help reassure them that baby or no baby; they are still and always will be your number one priority.  Build on your relationship now so you can fall back on it when the baby finally arrives.

Make Them Part of It

Another great way of making the elder teen fell confident and secure in this situation is to include them in this situation. Don’t just dump the “new baby” news on them, invite them to make preparations for the new arrival as well. Request them to help you plan and decorate the nursery, go shopping with them for baby stuff.

However, never make the mistake of assuming you have a readymade babysitter at home now. Your teen might take it as an invasion into not just their space but independence as well.

Facing The World

A lot of times, news of a new baby might be welcomed by your teen, till they think of what their friends would say about it. The fear of being ridiculed by friends can be a challenging bridge for teens to cross. It is after all, a realization that your parents are sexual people. Talking about this is the best you can do. The more open your communication is with your teen, the better the chances of this becoming a celebration of new life and less about “how could you do this to me?”.

Another very important thing to remember is that, all these things need to be done well in advance and not till its too late. Make sure you take your teen into confidence as soon as you get the happy news yourself. Letting them jump to conclusions after your baby bump starts showing, makes it a decision forced upon them, rather than a new shared with them.

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