“Mom, don’t you love me anymore?” How to behave with an older child after the birth of a younger one?

When our first child is born, we still have no idea what awaits us. The first difficulties: breastfeeding, colic, sleepless nights, endless crying can plunge you into a real shock. Parents believe that the second one will be easier and simpler.

I’ll tell you from personal experience: when our second son Nikita was born in our family, we were sure that we were mentally prepared for anything and that caring for the baby in the first months would be the most labor-intensive.

Imagine my surprise when my eldest son Misha began to present “surprises”.

“Mom, don’t you love me anymore?” How to behave with an older child after the birth of a younger one, photo

How does the behavior of an older child change when a second one is born?

1. He forgot what he had been calmly doing on his own for a long time, and his mother was suddenly needed in all matters: feeding, dressing, bathing, putting to bed...

2. Became naughty. It's just absurd. We have never demanded unquestioning obedience, and we are allowed to say “no” to parents, but he began to go too far.

It has become very difficult to achieve a basic action (like “let’s go outside”). The only answer was: “No, no, no.”

3. I started getting sick more often. Three times a month. Of course, kindergarten was cancelled, and we all sat at home together, which was an additional burden and test for me.

4. I started to feel shy. He always had no problem approaching unfamiliar children or adults, starting to play and talk with them, greeting guests, reciting poems at a matinee.

After the birth of the youngest, in order to get to know other children, he began to call me, he never told me the verse, he greeted guests behind my back, clinging to my legs and clothes and repeating: “well, I’m a little shy.”

5. He also wanted boobs, just like his brother.

6. He became very whiny and got upset about everything.

7. He started biting his nails a lot.

“Mom, don’t you love me anymore?” How to behave with an older child after the birth of a younger one, photo

In some children, this manifests itself as a desire to please and to be overly correct and obedient.

Older children begin to think that even negative attention is better than no attention. After all, mom spends all day with this baby.

For mothers who are tired after pregnancy and childbirth, this is difficult to withstand. After all, they themselves are trying to get used to new conditions.

Some actions caused such a storm of feelings that it was difficult to restrain. And I had to remind myself: “You’re an adult, you’re in the know, this can’t be done.”

We needed to let the eldest understand that his parents love him, even if they spend less time. That he will always be our first child.

“Mom, don’t you love me anymore?” How to behave with an older child after the birth of a younger one, photo

Senior problems

What do the statistics say? More than half of American presidents were firstborn in large families. They were also numerous astronauts. The scary thing is that Hitler was the eldest child in the family. However, his manic desire for world leadership is unlikely to be connected only with his position in the family.

Psychological problems of the eldest child in the family arise only through the fault of the parents, who often make serious mistakes in their upbringing. After all, the firstborn is initially the center of the Universe for parents who devote all their time to him. An indulgent style of behavior ultimately results in the belief: “I am the navel of the Earth.”

Basic rules for the behavior of parents with their first child at the birth of their second

Allowing your child to talk badly about his brother or sister

For example, “I hate him,” “I will never be friends with him,” “I will not share with him,” “He annoys me.”

This is how he expresses his feelings. And judging by his spoiled behavior, he feels bad during this period.

“Mom, don’t you love me anymore?” How to behave with an older child after the birth of a younger one, photo

Help your child understand his feelings:

- "I understand you. You’re upset that you get less attention, that your mother is always busy with the baby.”

- “If I were you, I would feel the same. You’re offended, it seems like they’ve forgotten about you.”

- “They began to demand more from you.”

Voice his wishes out loud:

- “You don’t want her to live with us. You wish you could still be an only child."

- “You would like us to ask permission before giving your toys to your sister/brother.”

Learn to channel your anger in the right direction:

- “Don’t use force, tell your sister that you are not ready to share.”

- “You are furious, but try to explain yourself to your brother without insults.”

Tell us that when he was little, his parents also spent days and nights at his crib.

This is necessary because the little one doesn’t know how to do anything yet, and only mom and dad can take care of him.

“Mom, don’t you love me anymore?” How to behave with an older child after the birth of a younger one, photo

Once, when I was putting Misha to bed for an afternoon nap, he said to me: “Mom, I’m upset because you spend a lot of time on Nikita, then I think that you don’t love me”….

At that moment I wanted to cry myself.

If desired, involve in caring for the youngest

Attract, ask, but do not force. This makes the child meaningful and useful, and we all subconsciously strive for this.

Our Misha, for example, threw out used diapers and rocked his brother in the crib. Then he proudly said, “I’m generally an excellent assistant!”

There is an important point: if the age difference is small, you cannot leave them alone in the room.

No “look after your brother, I’m going to take a shower.” Especially for a long time. Remember: the eldest is still gripped by mixed feelings and has not yet understood whether it is good to have a brother. I have been told cases where children put a pillow on the head of babies while they were lying in the crib.

“Mom, don’t you love me anymore?” How to behave with an older child after the birth of a younger one, photo

Give time to your elders

Be with him alone: ​​play, read books, discuss business. Maybe not for long, but every day.

Warn relatives and friends about jealousy. And ask during meetings to moderate your enthusiasm and lisp a little in front of the younger one, and pay more attention to the older one.

By doing this you will save your older child from pain and take care of his feelings. You can even write instructions to grandparents.

Toy separation

From the moment the youngest appeared, all small toys were bought in duplicate. Two identical balls, flashlights, cars, and so on.

Toys are generally a very delicate thing for children. You cannot take toys from a child: these are his treasures, his currency.

Your actions shape his attitude towards money and set boundaries. If the older one has already outgrown some toys, they can be given to the younger one without a twinge of conscience. Others that both need will have to be shared, played together, changed.

“Mom, don’t you love me anymore?” How to behave with an older child after the birth of a younger one, photo

Small toys can be purchased in duplicate. This will save your nerves and the feelings of your children.

And I will end my advice with an exercise that is offered to parents at parenting trainings, so that they can imagine how the older child feels towards the younger one.


That your husband took a second wife. She's younger and prettier. He admires her endlessly and tells her how pretty she is.

He constantly sits next to her, although before he never left your side. He began to demand that you be more independent. He also asks you to share your cosmetics and clothes with her.....

This is enough for adults to at least somewhat understand the feelings of the older child and understand his behavior.

Older people are smarter than younger ones

Scientists from the University of Amsterdam answered the question why the eldest child in the family is smart, while the younger ones are slightly inferior to him in intelligence. 659 children took part in the study. Analyzing the results, the authors came to the conclusion that the mental abilities of children are directly proportional to the type of birth they were born into in their family. It turned out that parents pay more attention to their firstborns at an early stage of development, which in the future affects their IQ level. In addition, older children in the family often teach younger children, which also has a beneficial effect on their development and knowledge.

“I took him in my arms and started crying.”

In Chelyabinsk, Ksyusha and Seryozha came to the care center and received a list of children from the orphanage. They were ready to take two or three if it turned out that the child had brothers and sisters. “We were given a referral for a specific boy and told: look at him, if it doesn’t suit you, come back for another referral. We're like, okay. And then we entered the group, I saw Bogdan, took him in my arms and began to roar. I’m still crying now,” Ksyusha smiles through her tears. “It wasn’t like I took him and realized that this was the child I’d been waiting for all my life.” But I wouldn’t be able to give it back.” So with Seryozha they made their choice in less than ten seconds.

When Ksyusha and Seryozha arrived at the orphanage, Bogdan had no status (for adoption, the legal status of a child left without parental care is required). Bogdan is the fifth refusenik from his birth mother. She also has four daughters, all of whom are in foster care or adoption. Bogdan's mother abandoned him right in the maternity hospital. “She didn’t spend a single day with him, he was immediately sent to an orphanage, and he doesn’t have a strong connection with his mother. This option suited us because we initially did not want to put ourselves in a situation of choice if our mother returned. We wouldn’t want to choose between our selfishness and the fate of the child,” says Seryozha.

When Ksyusha and Seryozha told the orphanage staff that they were ready to take the child, representatives of the guardianship authorities said that Bogdan must first receive status. “We replied that we would not give up the child. We’ll take everything upon ourselves, but he won’t stay here alone for a month.”

Ksyusha, Seryozha and Bogdan Photo: Tatyana Timkova/Instagram.com/neverending_magic

So Ksyusha and Seryozha created a precedent. “It was July 2020, and the trial was scheduled for August. We decided that we would take Bogdan home and fly to the trial all together.” As a result, the couple achieved something that no one had ever done before in the Chelyabinsk District Court. “Usually the orphanage itself sues the natural parent to deprive them of parental rights. This lawsuit was supposed to be closed - and a new one related to our guardianship would open. But the court met us halfway: the orphanage and guardianship petitioned to join us in the trial as third parties. As a result, in addition to the claim for deprivation of parental rights, we put forward our demands as guardians, this allowed us to reduce the wait and take Bogdan home sooner,” says Seryozha. The couple treated the bureaucratic difficulties philosophically: “While we were going through all these courts, we began to better understand the full responsibility for the child.”

Before they finally took Bogdan, Seryozha and Ksyusha flew to him from Moscow to Chelyabinsk every week. They visited Chelyabinsk at least twice a week, depending on work and financial capabilities. “Now we know everything about Chelyabinsk, we’ve seen all the residential areas where orphanages are located,” the parents laugh.

To fly to Bogdan, Ksyusha and Seryozha took time off from work. On the second or third flight to see the boy, Seryozha told his superiors about the adoption, and at work they treated him with understanding. Ksyusha was also supported at work. “We could have taken maternity leave, because Bogdan was not one and a half years old, but since everyone at work was cooperative, there was no need,” she says. Having returned to Moscow with Bogdan, both parents took leave to spend three weeks with their son. “Sometimes we still had to work remotely, so we changed. Ksyusha worked for half a day, and I sat with Bogdan, half the day on the contrary. While he was sleeping on a walk, we opened our laptops right in the park and worked,” recalls Seryozha.

Ksyusha and Serezha took Bogdan in 2020, and since August 3 he has been living with the family. When Bogdan left the orphanage, he was eight months old. There was no special adaptation, because Bogdan was small and lived in a family-type orphanage, explains Ksyusha. In addition, he lived in a group where there were seven children from one month to three years old. “He interacted with other kids, and he also had experience of being attached to adults,” she says.

Bogdan has been at home for a year now. During this time, he turned from a “little zucchini,” as Ksyusha says, into “a whole person.” “Bogdan visited the Maldives, spent three weeks in South Africa, saw zebras, elephants, tigers,” his parents say. Ksyusha and Seryozha would like more children: “From an emotional point of view, it makes no difference to us whether the child is born or adopted. But we don’t promote anything, it’s everyone’s personal choice.”

How to avoid childhood resentment?

mom and children

Parents are most often to blame for its appearance, and unknowingly. They forget that before the birth of their second child they forgave the firstborn for what they are now punishing. Why? After all, the child has not changed - he is still the same age. However, parental perceptions have changed. It seems to them that their first-born is already an adult, and they expect serious behavior from him. The child is quite rightly offended by this, because he believes that he is loved less.

Follow the recommendations of psychologists:

  1. Let your firstborn be a baby sometimes. Do you know what it's like to be the eldest child in the family? If yes, then you probably remember how you were offended by your parents for demanding too much. Remember that "senior" does not mean "adult".
  2. Try to ensure that the child does not perceive the word “elder” in a negative way. Don’t shout: “You’re already big! How could you throw toys around the house? He will automatically associate adulthood with unpleasant emotions. It is better to praise him for some work done, noting that he is behaving like an adult.
  3. Try to pay more attention to your elder, hug and kiss more often. This will eliminate the possibility of childish resentment.

Don't burden your elder with responsibility

Many parents, considering their first-born to be already an adult and responsible, try to shift some of their responsibilities to him. On the one hand, the baby’s help may be perceived as a privilege if he provides the mother with some kind of symbolic help. After all, every child wants to feel like an adult and independent.

However, if the parents’ demands on the child are excessive, they simply exploit him. It is important for them to understand what load is acceptable for him. Catherine advises letting the firstborn do his own thing and asking him for help only in exceptional cases. It is preferable to ask an adult for a favor or do it yourself.

What kind of load would be excessive for a child? There is literature that provides clear criteria for each age. However, it is better to pay attention to the baby’s behavior and his reaction to the assigned tasks. For example, if you ask an older child under 6-7 years old to look after the baby so that he does not fall out of bed, the load on his child's psyche may be excessive.

Why is this happening?

First of all, you need to understand the reasons behind the tense relationship between the younger and older child.

The youngest takes a lot of the parents' attention, and this is quite difficult to bear. There are more specific grievances and complaints. And the reaction to the phrases from the list below may be too emotional.

You're the eldest!

It is understood that with age, in addition to the number of rights, the number of responsibilities also increases. The appearance of a younger brother/sister is an option when the emphasis is placed solely on responsibilities. At least the first-born will be firmly convinced of this. Take out the trash, you're the eldest, you have to help! Apologize to the kid, you are the eldest. Give in, he's younger than you! It’s especially difficult when “seniority” doesn’t allow you to take a walk half an hour longer or go to the cinema on your own.

He didn't do it on purpose!

A phrase that sounds like an obsessive accompaniment for the first few years. It was not on purpose that he turned the knight’s castle into ruins, which had been gathering for a week, on purpose, he did not deliberately paint his homework notebooks with paints, he did not deliberately cut up his favorite book with scissors. If the mother is tired and in no mood, someone who is not to blame will be blamed for spoiling the younger things: there is nothing left on the table, he didn’t put it back, he himself allowed him to take a look.

Watch him for half an hour!

“First a nanny, then a doll,” is a dubious option. No matter how old the “nanny” is. Especially if the request is, in fact, not a request at all, but quite an order, without options. Sit while mom is at the store, play while she prepares dinner, entertain her so she doesn’t cry. Can't you really be entrusted with the job?

How cute!

With the appearance of the youngest, all the attention of parents, relatives, and family friends switches to him. And any little thing is enough. He yawned - applause, cackled - general emotion, tore a book - a burst of delight. In the background, A's in mathematics, first places in swimming competitions, written poems suddenly lose their meaning - what do they care about a "dvyrbt" assembled from cubes! It is enough for the youngest to wake up to receive attention, for which the older child needs at least to become an Olympic champion.

Are you sorry?

A question that cannot be answered “yes”. This is a brother/sister, it is necessary to share, and an attempt to refuse is equivalent to a serious crime, leading to long lectures about the importance of generosity. In some cases - even to punishment.

It’s more offensive when things that are valuable to an older child fall into the “pathetic” category. Your favorite plush bunny, with whom you slept so pleasantly and comfortably as a child, a selection of magazines, even your favorite dress, which, even though it’s too small, you don’t want to give away. Never mind, after many years the youngest will have nephews and they will take revenge!

These are not all the difficulties that may arise in the process of raising two or more children.

"Victim" of inexperience

The first-born in the family always becomes a “victim” of parental inexperience, although over the years, with each subsequent child, parental competence, of course, grows. At the same time, the inexperience of young parents, as a rule, is combined with the desire to implement a certain ideal model in raising a child. While the eldest child remains the only one in the family, he is usually overloaded with parental attention, but this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, he gets a lot of work, he is developed, on the other hand, he has nowhere to escape from adults with their demands, which often turn out to be too high.

Article on the topic

Having a baby: how to behave to avoid quarrels

When a second child is born in a family, the first-born seems to be toppled from its pedestal. At the same time, the burden of parents’ negative attention often remains on him and even intensifies (after all, now he is already big, he must understand everything, and therefore no concessions, so adults mistakenly reason). At the same time, he is deprived of positive attention, because all manifestations of parental love are now directed to the newborn.

And then the older child has the “pleasure” of observing that his parents treat his brother or sister much more gently than he did at that age. It happens that it is really easier for parents with a younger child, but in front of an older child they feel guilty for their past mistakes, and this complicates communication.

But a child, even a big one, is unable to explain this otherwise than by dislike of himself. He considers himself rejected and abandoned. Hence all the problems of childhood jealousy. The task of a wise and loving parent is to be aware of the complex of these problems and look for ways to allow the older child to continue to feel loved and significant in the family.

Children's conflicts: how to reconcile the younger with the older?

More details

( 1 rating, average 4 out of 5 )
Did you like the article? Share with friends: