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Elder child started behaving abnormally after giving birth to a new born. What cure should be taken?

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Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 632 Questions
We recently had our second child. Our older son, XXXXXXX is 8 and a half years old. For a long time he wanted a brother or sister. He was extremely happy when we told him about the baby. The baby is now 3 months old, and a very high-need baby, but my husband and I are doing our best to spend as much time with XXXXXXX as possible. My mom stayed with us for the first 3 months after we had the baby, and she has a great relationship with her grandson. XXXXXXX does not show any sign of jealousy toward his baby brother, nor did he voice any concerns about him. However, for about a month now, in the evening, after he goes to bed, he cannot fall asleep and he keeps asking for both of us, repeatedly. We organized such that one of us can spend now at least one hour with him at bed time - read, talk, give him a massage, etc. But his sleep is only getting worse - he wakes up frequently, about 3 times per night, comes looking for us and says he cannot fall asleep. He got sick with a cold last week, I think partly because he is very tired, so now a stuffy nose adds to the problem. We keep reassuring him that our love for him did not change, that we're only growing new love for the baby, all three of us. He responds "I know, I know". He is great playing with the baby during the day. However, yesterday when he saw me picking the baby up he asked me "do you love him a lot?". I think he has a hard time adjusting to his new family, although he may not consciously know that. In general, he is a very warm, good-natured little boy, usually showing great empathy for his parents and peers at school. What should we do? (perhaps unrelated, XXXXXXX had two episodes of nosebleed at school during the last 8 days. He never had that before).
Posted Sun, 14 Apr 2013 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Sundar Gnanavel 30 minutes later
Thanks for your query. I understand your concern for your son. It is perfectly normal for a child to feel mildly jealous regarding the affection showered at a younger child who is bew born. Infact it is encouraging to note he us taking effort to get along with the child in terms if playing etc. It will require a bit if time to completely integrate the new born child into his perception of family that is niw composed if only himself and his parents.
I would encourage you to give more responsibilities to your son in terms of taking care of the newborn at least at a nominal sense. Also see to that you spend a reasonable period of time with your elder son as well. Your son given your description is unlikely to suffer from sibling rivalry disorder that is characterised by extreme jealousy towards the sibling. It is just a matter of time before things are completely cordial. You can also organise a meeting with a clinical psychologist so that ge might open and ventilate his hidden thoughts ir feelings if any though at this stage it might nit be necessary. Wish you happy parenting.
Dr Sundar
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