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Preparing for a New Brother or Sister

Many adults believe that having siblings was one of the best parts of growing up. But, for kids, a brother or a sister can be a source of jealousy and there can be sibling rivalry issues that parents have to deal with. If your child is a young teen or tween, and the family is expecting a new baby, sibling rivalry may pose some challenges that the family will need to be aware of and address.

Move Over for the New Sibling

A tween or teen may believe that she is being pushed aside when a new brother or sister enters the picture. Tackling the issue may prevent future hard feelings and conflicts.

If your child is going to get a new brother or sister, consider these parenting tips:

  • Help your child mentally prepare for the new sibling. Listen to her fears, let her know you understand, and reassure her that you still love her.
  • Find ways that your child can help with the new sibling. Being involved may help her feel that the new baby is a part of her and may help create a bond between the children. You may even want to create a behavior chart with tasks your child can do to help and reward her for her efforts.
  • Expect that there will be some jealousy, but just focus on providing each child with love. It is important to still give some special alone time to your young teen, so she feels special and you have that bonding time with her.
  • Explain to your child what a big and important job it is to be an older brother or sister. Discuss what is involved, what makes for a good older sibling, and the types of responsibility that a new baby may bring about.
  • Praise your child for having a good attitude or helping with her sibling. Also, get her involved in preparing for and welcoming the new sibling as much as possible, so she feels as if she is an important part of the new event, rather than someone watching from the sideline.

Young teens may at first be a little thrown by the idea of a new sibling. It means that your attention will be divided. To foster a successful transition, parents need to focus on being positive, making it a good experience, and reminding everyone that when it comes to family, the more the merrier!