Imagine, the life of a first born. They are the centre of attention, pampered by friends and relatives. They are a darling of the grandparents, and the sole heir to the throne. Life’s good!
However, one day you decide to them you a sibling. You’ve done little to consult them if they really need one. There’s a sudden dip in attention from the adults as soon as the new baby arrives. Mum has been in the hospital for a while and they weren’t allowed to be near her. Now, the new baby takes all the attention and time with the mother.
It’s only natural that the older kid may feel like an outcast. Kids are too small to understand what’s happening during the mum’s pregnancy and that can bring resentment issues.
A lot of adults do not realise this and can make this difference obvious for the older child. That’s why you need to be helping older siblings cope with the new baby.
Sadly, a stranger didn’t get the memo and managed to do exactly this.
Stranger Lacks Basic Etiquette
Image Source: Pexels
Sharing her story on Reddit, user ZoSo1303 posted that a random stranger decided it was okay to belittle her nine-year-old girl by comparing her with the four-and-a-half month sibling.
In her post, the Redditor wrote that the family was having a late father’s day celebration dinner when a woman walked into the restaurant and started gushing over the baby. The mum didn’t think much of it as people do tend to do that when they see babies.
However, that’s not where the woman stopped as she should have. As the mum describes, the lady “made a point to compare the two kids by pointing at the baby and saying ‘right age,’ then pointing at my daughter and saying ‘wrong age,’ then repeating herself to really make sure the message sunk in.”
The lady implied that the older sibling wasn’t “cute” anymore and that she must be problematic since this is the age when kids pester with the “why” as a response to everything.
Clearly, the mum wasn’t happy with this unnecessary comparison and to the woman that the older sibling was nothing like she described. The mum stood up for her daughter appreciating her qualities of being independent that made her easier to take care of compared to a newborn.
Stranger did not know how to read the room
Not sure if just ignorant or plain rude, the stranger still didn’t read the room. She went on to say, “Oh, so your parents have a built-in babysitter!” REALLY?”
In a rant that followed, the Redditor wrote, ” She is as much my child as her baby brother, and she will never, ever be treated as somehow less than just because of her order of birth or her gender. She will never be burdened with taking care of a child that we chose to have unless one day when she’s old enough she decides she wants to babysit, in which case we will absolutely pay her for her time.”
Netizens Applaud Mum For Standing Up For Her Daughter
The Reddit post has gone viral since it was first posted garnering over 2000 likes and well over 230 comments. Netizens appreciated that the mum managed to give it back to the stranger while also calling out the sheer audacity of some.
One user wrote, “There are so, so many literally insane people who have no idea how to interact with society. I’m so sorry you and your family had to deal with that.”
Another Redditor commented, “What is it about kids that makes complete strangers so emboldened to share their dumb opinions?”
One user had by far the best comeback to the whole incident, she wrote, “I would have pointed to myself and said right age, pointed at her wrong age..okay that’s what I would have liked to think I had done.”
Redditors share their personal experiences
One user wrote, “My daughter wasn’t even three years old when people started telling her “Oooh you’re going to take such good care of that baby!” On the drive home from the hospital, she started crying because she didn’t know how to take care of a baby and she wasn’t strong enough to open the refrigerator to get milk. It was the sweetest saddest thing.”
Another wrote, “I was 13 when my sisters (twins) were born. EVERYONE commented that I was a built in babysitter. That pissed me off to no end. And they were absolutely right. It was great birth control, though. Thank you for shooting that down in front of your daughter.”
One Redditor shared a completely weird story, “My parents adopted a baby when I was 13. We went to the store and I was pushing the stroller when a lady gave me the strangest look and asked me how old my baby was. What happened to your daughter was worse by far. And people suck.”
5 Ways You Should Be Helping Older Siblings Cope With The New Baby
Here’s how you can be helping older siblings cope with the new baby in these five ways:
Image source: iStock
Your first step when having a second child is to prepare the firstborn. You can always be in control when you are the one telling them about what’s happening.
This not only is about the fact that there will be another child in the house but also about you being unavailable for some time during the childbirth and postpartum period.
For the child, it can be discomforting to not have their mum around all of a sudden. Instead, speak to them beforehand and prepare them for the baby’s arrival. Get them exciting about the whole process and they will take it positively.
2. Teach them how to handle the new baby
It’s important to teach your child how to handle the baby. Kids may get too excited and can hurt the baby in the process, albeit unknowingly.
Teach them about soft touches and praise them when they do it right. Also, teach them about how to interact with the baby in the same way as to how they’d do it with a stranger. This will take time and it will be a while before they get it right. So, please be patient.
3. Lead by example
Children learn from what they see. So set an example by demonstrating things to your older child.
This includes handling the baby, what precautions to take, and the things that they should not do. Demonstrate everything and do not leave things to assumption.
4. Distract when necessary
Despite all your effort, kids may still act out and can be rough with the baby. Be stern when necessary even it means being louder than usual. At the same time, make an immediate effort to distract the child with another activity.
The last thing you want is resentment building up in your child’s little mind.
Even if they make mistakes, don’t be too harsh. Explain what they did wrong and ask them to try handling the baby again in your presence.
Image Source: Pexels
5. Be extra supportive
Having a second child can be a massive change in the house for the older child. Your absence and lack of attention make this process all the more difficult for them. So give extra love when you can.
Give out hugs every day, find time to spend with them separately when the baby is asleep. If your older sibling is around nine or 10 years, make sure to ask them about school and how things are going.
They crave your attention, so do balance it out from time to time. Also, be careful about what you to them. If there are things you can’t do because of the baby, do not be explicit about it.
Things like “We can’t step out because the baby is sleeping,” should be avoided. Instead, say “I’m busy right now, can we go later, please?” You do not want the child to feel that the baby is coming between them and you.
Kids do come around to loving their siblings after the initial period and form the strongest bonds. Helping older siblings cope with the new baby plays a big role in that. So don’t stress too much about how the relationship turn out to be.