My son Tyler is 30months old and was an amazing baby and so far a great, well behaved toddler. Well until I brought home his new baby brother 7 weeks ago.
Tyler has now turned into a child I don't even recognize! He's having terrible tantrums, complete melt-downs, throwing things, spitting and has even tried to hit his brother, and if his brother is sleeping he will do anything possible to wake him up. Which has made it so I hardly ever get to put the baby down, which is making Tyler's jealousy worse.
Does anyone have some suggestions for making this easier for him, and me? I've done everything I can think of, I've made a huge effort to spend 1on1 time, walks, special projects, extra book reading, and praise, but nothing seems to be helping. Instead of spending time together as a family, he's spending most of his time alone in time out.
I'm the oldest of 11, I work as a Family Support Specialist and I even teach parenting classes, and I'm exhausted, frustrated, and out of ideas, I need help, please!!!
I would say that its just a stage of jealousy because he was used to getting all the attention and now with the new baby he doesn't get all the attention. Also he may be acting up just to get the extra attention. Whenever he throws temper tantrums I would ignore them and show him that he's not going to get attention that way. If you put him in time out for temper tantrums he's just going to probably keep throwing them because it attracts your attention. Also to make him less jealous when your with the baby maybe you can ask if he would like to help. Such as when your changing the babies diaper maybe ask him if he wants to get you some wipes or hand you the diaper. That way he feels that he is being helpful and getting your attention at the same time. If you use a bottle with the baby maybe you could ask if he wants to help feed the baby by holding the bottle. In that way you have family time and he gets attention at the same time. Maybe if he's helping he'll feel less left out.
Thank you so much!
My daughter was 5 when our twin boys were born... she turned into a monster as well! The jealousy was so bad she started acting out in school, it really had an impact on everything... and she was suuuch an angel prior to everything! What really helped was I got her involved as much as possible with helping me daily with the babies. I asked her to help me pick out their clothes, she helped me feed them, she 'kept an eye on them' while I ran to the bathroom, helped me push the stroller, grabbed me the diapers/wipes, helped w/ bath time, etc. I thanked her endlessly for the big help she always was... anytime she acted out, I made very little fuss about it- for example, if she had a tantrum I would just say "you are going to your room (or time out) b/c of your trantrum... you can come out when you are done and can be good"... and that was it, I was very direct about what she did wrong, gave little emotion about it, and then went on... but for the good or helpful behavior I made HUGE fusses over. She began to realize tantrums, acting out, bad behavior, etc. got little attention, while the good and helpful behavior got all sorts of positive feedback. Also, I am sure those around you or visitors make a fuss about the new baby... so, during any chance you get- introduce or express to others what a very well-bahaved and helpful little boy you have, especially to those who awe over the baby. Kids notice when babies get more attention from others (especially w/ havings twins, soooo many people approached me making such a big deal about them w/ my daughter right there... I quickly grabbed her to my side and said "and here is their amazing big sister who is my big helper!!".... and she would get the biggest smile ever!). Anyway, another important thing I do is every night we have special one on one time together when the babies go to sleep... whether it's a movie, painting our nails, reading a book, talking about what she did at school, etc... it's just 'our time' w/ no babies allowed... and she loooves it. With time your son will understand he is now sharing his mommy, it's just something that takes time... but w/ a few of the things I mentioned it may help transition things better. Hope this helps :)
Thank you for sharing your experience and giving some useful suggestions. Both you and misspenguin had some good advice and I've already started implementing them with my son. He does get so proud when he is praised for helping, but I've taken it a step further and have been SUPER bragging about him to others around us. I was on the phone with his Gram, and I went on and on about how much he's helped and he's such a good big boy, while in ear shot of him. It was so cute, he said "Mama, you talkin bout me?" I said "Oh yes, I'm telling Gram how much I need your help!" He was beside himself with pride, and we had a tantrum free evening. We even had to include the baby in story/bedtime because he was fussy and surprisingly, Tyler welcomed his brother into our special time and asked if we could read to him again tomorrow! I'm sure this isn't the end of this phase, but it was awesome to get a glimpse of my sweet boy again! Thanks for your help, it feels good to know I'm not alone!