My five-year-old nephew made a drawing of his ideal happy family. His mother was in red, father in black, he in his favourite blue and one tiny stick figurine in pink, at which he pointed and showed to my mother and told her that she was “my little sister".
He was eagerly waiting for his little sister to come into this world after a month. How she will run, she will play, and throw a ball to him he told everything to my mother. He showed all the drawings he made about them playing together and how excited he was to finally meet his “little sister”.
This was my sister’s second experience as a mother but for my nephew, it will be the first time his mother's attention will be diverted. One who is delightfully called “my little sister” will get most of the attention of his precious mother. She will need help in everything like feeding, bathing, cleaning, sleeping etc.
This little boy of 5 years had spent the last 4-5 months thinking that “my little sister” will into this world and start playing, dancing, eating just like he does.
However, he didn’t expect his mother would play with her too, love her too. Now he has a rival. Who will break his perfect world and capture everything which earlier belonged to him? Poor soul, lonely, so young, with no communication skills to express his anxiety, insecurity and tension starts showing behavioural problems.
A little slip of patience, a little scolding, a small comparison can make this kid insecure and more volatile. Situation is confusing not only for the firstborn but also for parents. Suddenly their happy kid whose eyes were bright and melted their heart now is all gloomy, devil's tears are running down his cheeks and his lips are shouting- 'I don’t like you, I hate you, and you don’t love me' kind of statements.
Firstborns find it difficult to share as the whole world once belonged to them. With the arrival of siblings, their territories are attacked, their respective assets are sabotaged, they are cornered by a little rival whose wails are stronger than his tantrums and loud shouting.
The only way to handle this situation is through communication. Your little child can’t ask you questions and share his woes. You will have to do that for him. You can’t expect him to mature in a day but you can positively teach him what family means and how 'together' can be fun. You can make your elder child a play helper, making him an active part of the new baby's life.
My nephew was happy to be fed by my mom before he became a cranky attention seeker and stopped studying, feeding, bathing and eating on his own.
It’s a reminder from your child that you haven’t loved him like you used to. My mother advised my sister and her husband to spend some alone time with my nephew regularly and it really helped him a lot. Due to new responsibilities parents are unable to spend the same amount of time, giving the same attention to the elder child. Remember, all he is asking for is the same love you gave him before!
They want their parents to shower them with love, kisses and hugs. Making sure that your show of love and affection is in equal measures for both the children, will help increase their respective self-esteem and also improve the bond between the siblings. It will also help them understand the feeling of belonging together. Their jealousy will diminish in some time and they will learn to live with shared love and laughter.
Writer: Sneha Srivastava
(The author is a poet, nature lover, travel photographer, and travel writer. She gets extremely excited at the sight of monuments, or while meeting local people, trying local delicacies and taking a walk in nature)