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Parenting: 'I'm pregnant and my child doesn't want a sibling...what can I do?'

On this week's 'Parenting' segment on the Moncrieff show, one listener sought advice on the fact ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.51 7 Aug 2021


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Parenting: 'I'm pregnant and m...

Parenting: 'I'm pregnant and my child doesn't want a sibling...what can I do?'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

14.51 7 Aug 2021


Share this article


On this week's 'Parenting' segment on the Moncrieff show, one listener sought advice on the fact that her child does not want a baby sibling.

Joanna Fortune, a psychotherapist specialising in child and adult psychotherapy, offered some guidance.

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Parenting: 'I'm pregnant and my child doesn't want a sibling...what can I do?'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

  

Listener question

I'm pregnant with my second child but my seven-year-old son says he doesn't want a sibling.

He was raised as an only child, I got pregnant with him when I was in my early 20s but didn't stay with his father - and he was never involved in raising him.

It has always been just the two of us, and my son is very much attached to me.

I've been married to my new partner for a few years now and my son gets along pretty easily with him.

But now that I'm pregnant, my son is worrying that I'll focus entirely on the new baby: he actively says he doesn't want a baby in the house, and he's not even sure if he'll be able to be in the same room.

How can I console my first born that my love and attention for him wouldn't lessen?

Joanna Fortune's advice

"What I'm thinking immediately is I wonder how this mum is feeling about having another baby?

"That it's not just the seven-year-old who's experiencing this monumental change to this dynamic they've had between them and this intense relationship.

"I think sometimes we worry, in having a second or subsequent child, that we couldn't possibly have as much love as we had for our first child... and it can bring up all of those feelings.

"And I think that transition from having one child to to second child is often overlooked with 'Ah sure look it'll be grand, get on with it'.

"But just attune to that yourself: how do you feel about it - are you feeling a bit nervous and worried?

"Because actually he's seven-year-old and he is your only child, this far... but she's also married a few years now.

"So you and your son have actually managed to adjust to bringing someone new into your circle, if you like, already - and it might be no harm to remind him of that".

Joanna says there is a practical way to help a child visualise this.

"The three of you stand in a circle holding hands, and then you all just take a step back out and you show how the circle got bigger.

"And now you can accommodate someone else coming in, but everyone still has their place.

"That can be a nice experiential way just to remind him he's not losing, he's gaining.

"And I'm not saying that's magic and he's going to feel 'Super, I'm delighted to have this baby' - but at the same time, your son doesn't get to make this call.

"No matter how he feels about it, this is not something that he gets to have a say in.

"And this whole 'I don't even know if I can be in the same room as the baby' is just so dramatic."

Joanna says the older child could stand in the doorway of the baby's room, taking a step in or out at a time of his own choosing.

"So you're acknowledging the hesitancy, but you're now feeing into it".

And she says it's important to let the seven-year-old talk.

"I do think it's important that you let him talk about what he's worried about, don't decide for him 'It's because he's thinking he won't have all of me'.

"Let him talk about what he thinks is going to happen, and how he thinks the family's going to change."

Main image image by Isa KARAKUS from Pixabay

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Joanna Fortune Moncrieff Parenting Pregnant Sibling

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