A Newborn and a 10 Year Old Acting Out

Updated on July 06, 2008
E.E. asks from Livermore, CA
25 answers

I have a six week old boy and a 10 year old girl. My 10 year old has had my undivided attention all of this time and we have had a great relationship. Shortly after I became pregnant she starting rejecting me and pushing me away. For example, she doesn't want any hugs or kisses anymore which is really hard for me because she has always been so snuggly. I know part of this is just her growing up so I did not make a big deal about it. Now that the baby is here I am sleep-deprived and have post-partum depression. I have become more short-tempered but only when she is being blatantly disrespectful or defiant. She never had problems like this before. She was very easy going and obedient. It seems like she is trying to get a rise out of me and then when I react-usually just by telling her what she is doing that is not okay and what I expect her to do-she gets this attitude that lasts and lingers and builds and turns into a big ugly monster even though it started out as a smaller issue. I feel like she is trying to upset me because she keeps behaving exactly how I ask her not to and has a major attitude problem most of the time. I am starting to feel angry at her which I know is not good but the times when she is not (what seems to be) seeking out negative attention are becoming very few and far between.

Then last night after I tucked her in she became very clingy and would not let my arm go. The baby was crying and hungry and she kept whining "don't leave me, mommy." It's like she wanted me to chose her over the baby. She knows that basic needs always come first. She pushes me away most of the time but then suddenly wants my undivided attention as soon as the baby is screaming and hungry.

I am out of patience. I know she needs some mommy time so I'm taking her to the movies tomorrow without the baby. But, at the same time I don't want to give her the idea that she will get rewarded by misbehaving. I am supposed to be getting rest and sleeping when the baby sleeps but I can't do that because my 10 year old is acting like a 2 year old.

Help? Anyone? I am so frustrated, tired, emotional, overwhelmed, and I feel guilty that my 10 year old doesn't have my undivided attention anymore.

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answers from Fresno on

At 10 she can understand that the baby can not take care of himself like she can so he needs you to do it for him. Explain to her that you did that for her when she was a baby and that you still love her just as much as before and she can help you with her little brother.

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answers from Modesto on

Hi E.!

I've been in this position, but with my step-daughter. She was "the princess" for years and received the most attention because of her creativity and zest for life, not to mention how beautiful she is.

Then.....along came a baby boy! Yes, she would "fight" to see if we would choose her over the baby, when it was obvious that the baby was screaming and needed my attention.

This is tough, let me tell you, because what can easily happen is resentment. Your daughter can easily begin to resent your new baby, and feel "hate" toward him for "ruining" her perfectly good life!

I had to try to NEVER interrupt her to go get me a diaper, because then it would "set her off". I'm sure you know what I mean. So, then I thought, I cannot do this for the next 10 years, I have got to try something!

I decided to have a "party" for her. I allowed her to invite about 6 of her friends. The party was a "Now I'm a Big Sister" Party. Every friend had to dress like a mom going out to a fancy party (That was fun in itself to see how these girls think their mom's dress). I set a "fancy" table with champagne glasses and all. I tried to make it as fancy as I could, and as decorated as I could.

All the games were like Baby Shower Games, except I tried to "target" the work a new mom has to deal with. Like multi-tasking, who can Microwave a bottle, get a glass of Lemonade, and take out the "Lasagna" the fastest? Time them so they can see how fast they can multi-task :o) The winner gets a prize. Another game was a SMELLY DIAPER game. I bought small candy bars, and microwaved each one in a baby diaper until it melted. Then I smushed them really good! I numbered each one with a Sharpie and they had to guess which candy bar was in the diapers :o) Funny game.

Anyway, after the party, we went on with our "normal" life. I still tried to be sensitive to her, as I always was. It was HER that had come around a little. It was actually amazing. By the time our son was 2, she was a VERY proud big sister, and very helpful.

It really is just climbing over this "first hill" with her. There are alot of emotions she's dealing with. Maybe it's time to celebrate HER. If you have photos of HER when she was an infant, it would be nice to share them with her. Talk about her Shower, and the things she would do as a baby. It might help, too.

Good Luck, E.. You're in a sensitive spot. I wish you the best with your little family.

Love, N.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

One thing I found worked really well with my two is saying "______" (insert older child's name) "I am going to nurse baby "______" (insert baby's name) now. What do you want to do while I am doing that, and what should you and I do afterward? Why don't you think about it for a few minutes, then tell me what you want to do."

This let my older daughter know that 1) I was noting that she would be left to her own devices but that I cared about what she would be doing while I was busy with baby and 2) After giving baby my undivided attention for a short while, I would do the same for her.

This has to be said ahead of time to be effective, though.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

Hi E.,

I agree with Clair K. It sounds like your 10-yr-old just needs to be reminded that you still love and care for her. For someone so young words may not be enough. You need to show her that she is not being replaced or forgotten. Have someone watch the baby while you spend some time with your daughter. Maybe the 2 of you could watch a movie, shop, or share an activity that she enjoys.

It is also important to include her while taking care of the baby so that she may develop a stronger bond with her sibling. Maybe you can let her wash bottles or help you give the baby a bath. When she does help you accomplish a task, share some words of encouragement so that she feels appreciated. I grew up with a single mom and I know how hard it is to gain a little attention with 2 younger siblings.

Finally, be easy on yourself. No one expects you to be supermom. Instead, try to get some much needed alone time by calling up friends or family that you trust to watch the children. Watch a movie. Go to a spa. Take a walk. Buy some hot shoes. Whatever gives you peace. Just remember that when you are stressed out, it will only reflect on how well you treat and talk to your children.

Good luck, and may God watch over you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

It sounds really challenging. A few ideas, have you tried praising her for every little even tiny thing she does that isn't acting out? It sounds like she just really wants attention and if you start giving her attention for the cooperative things she does she might gradually learn that there are other ways to get attention, like when she helps mom change a diaper etc.
Also, one on one time is probably really good idea, and she is old enough that you can talk to her and tell her that you are frustrated and want her help in figuring out ways for her to act more cooperatively with you. Sometimes if we just open up to children and tell them some of our feelings and ask how they are feeling ( basically, could ask her if she is scared that mommy is going to abandon her/not love her now that the little on is here, etc.) understand what she is feeling, and together become like a team in working it out together.
Believe it or not, most children really want to contribute and help out, they just don't know how to handle their own feelings and how to come up with solutions that incorporate everyone's needs. Just remember- she has needs too and so do you- both are really important, maybe together you can come up with a way so both are met.

good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Hi E.,

Congrats on the birth of your son. This is a time to be enjoying your new arrival and sorry to hear of your frustration. Your daughter is having a hard time accepting she isn't number one anymore. Her acting out is a way for her to be assured she will get attention from you, even if it means she gets herself in trouble and receives negaitive attention anyway she can get it.

My advise, include her in the care of your son. Helping you feed him, change him, bath him, even play with him. Always tell her she is still your number one and really try to explain to her that her brother at this stage in life needs attention, just like she did at his age.

Also suggest sitting down with her and talk with her. Show and speak with her about your concerns. Just talking to her will make her realize you do pay attention to her and truly concerned. Tell her you love her very much and realize how she feels.

Lastly, continue doing one night a week where you do something with her, without your son present. As much as you need your sleep at this time, you have two kids that do require your motherly love and attention. Heck, I have a tough time giving my husband attention because my 10 week old takes up A LOT of my time and mental energy, that i am lucky I have any energy left for my husband. So I feel you!

Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

This can be a difficult one especially because of her age most of the time they are overjoyed at 10 and become a little mother helping out tremendously with the baby. It sounds as though she doesn't feel that connected to the baby you could try to give her some important things to do for or with the baby. She also may need more family time from her father, grandparents etc. and maybe even hanging around her friends. I would focus on her positive keep her involved in her interests and let her know she will always be your little girl but it is time to be a big sister. And mom take care of yourself this is no time to exhaust yourself over an older child if it goes on to long you may need a family therepist she is afraid she is having to give up something big (YOU) because of the baby and we know that in order to have a healthy baby their little needs come first let her know it is her time to be helpful and grow up

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I'll keep this short because I know you know exactly what is going on ie: your daughter has had your undivided attention for 10 years and everyone involved needs to acknowledge that this is a hard transition for EVERYONE. Really I just want to share something someone shared with me when I was really struggling with this same issue. The baby will never remember that you let him cry for a little bit longer to give the older child what she needs at that moment, the older child will remember, so just attend to the older child (of course without neglecting the baby). This isn't to say reward her for misbehaving, that too must be addressed, but when she was extra clingy and just needed a few more hugs, perhaps the baby could have cried just a bit longer (I truly know how nearly impossible that is to do, I, like probably ever mother, have an EXTREMELY difficult time attending to anything else when my baby is crying). Hope this helps.



answers from San Francisco on

It sounds like, pardon me if I am wrong or sound a bit harsh, your daughter has been through a lot. I am guessing that she lost her father, at least in the home, and that the new baby is from another father? If so, that in itself is a lot to a little girl to deal with.

Additionally, she had 9 or 10 years alone with you. This is a huge adjustment for her.

My advice would be to stop the punishment all together for now. Use a sense of humor if you can. Tell her to come with you when the baby is crying and use her to help you even if it's to rub the baby's feet while you do whatever. (Even if she has to get out of bed for a minute when she's grabbing your arm and begging you). She is desperate. She really does feel that you are choosing the baby over her and that must be incredibly painful for her.

When you take her to the movies(great idea by the way and make it fun no matter how she acts) perhaps you could have a real good talk with her about this whole situation. Let her explain to you what is bothering her and don't defend your actions (in HAVING to attend to the baby because of his dependence etc). Just listen to her and accept what she's saying. Make some agreements about how she can communicate her needs better and ask her what would help her when she's feeling that way etc. Don't allow it to get negative at all. This is her night.

She'll need a lot more special time with you now and I can just imagine that it feels nearly impossible to achieve under your circumstances but us moms work wonders when our kid's well being is at hand.

I am happy to hear you are home schooling. We home schooled half of last year and it will give you loads of time together.That will be quite a challenge for you with a baby (it was hard enough for me without a baby!) but your daughter will probably really settle down with all that time and attention with you.

Did she skip a grade? She is so young to be entering junior high! (I will have the same problem and am considering home school for junior high too).

Good luck and don't forget to take care of you too! (I have no suggestions as to how to do that as I'm terrible at that myself but I do know the value of it!)

Take care E..



answers from Salinas on

Hello E.,
I have been having a similar problem with my daughters. There is a six-year difference in their ages. My youngest is now 15mo., and my oldest is now 7. I am kind of a no-nonsesnse mom. I am very attentive, but dont have patience for certain behavior. I have to remind my 7yr. old that she is 7, and not 2 sometimes. I tell her that her behavior would not be ok, but understandable if she were 2, at times. My solution has been (more recently, since the younger was a boobie girl, for lack of a better term. i.e. would not take a bottle and refused solids until about 10 mo.) to hand the younger one over to my husband as much as possible at night. Once the baby is down, big sis and I try to have at least 30 min of one-on-one time. It could be reading a book, watching her favorite show, playing a quick game of cards, whatever. She has had to understand that only Mommy could feed sister before... but we have been consistant with saying what behavior is unacceptable. We also try very hard to talk about our feelings. If she acts out, she has to tell us what her feelings are. We talk about productive ways to handle things. If she cannot give a reason for her behavior, and is simply choosing to behave badly, she looses priviledges, or gets a time-out. We stress to her that having feelings is absolutely okay, its how we choose to express them. We also remind her constantly that once little sister understands, like she does, she wont get away with bad behavior either. I have to say that I am very lucky to have two wonderful kids. Its a lot of work, and very frusterating at times, but the consistancy has definately paid off. Dont feel guilty... she is old enough to understand. How else do we learn patience? And REMEMBER... you are a great mom!!!



answers from San Francisco on

Hi there,
If you can read "Hold on to your kids"..... an excellent book about parental attachment.Towards the end there are great ideas for such as you are describing.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi E.,
First of all, I think you are doing an *amazing* job with both your children, especially being a single mom. You deserve much appreciation and respect!

I just have a few thoughts. One is, have you tried speaking directly with your 10 year old daughter about your thoughts about this new situation? By this, I mean, have you tried talking with her outside of a time when she is "acting out" or misbehaving? Making eye contact with her and as honestly as you can, let her know some of what you've told us in your post - you wish you could spend more time with her, you know she is brilliant and that your newborn has needs that must be met, too. Tell her that you will never leave her (because I don't think she's talking about just that particular moment when you are needing to nurse your baby). I don't know what happened with her other parent, but if there was a break-up with you and that person, she may be worried about losing you as her mother, too.

I think that sometimes children don't get a lot of information that they actually need - like parent's reassurance of what's actually happening. She is at no risk of having you love her less, of course! I think it will make a big difference to her to hear this. And you may need to say it more than once!

And it may be helpful to let her know that you need her help right now (to be able to tend to both your children's needs, you need to sleep well and not be overwhelmed). What I think would also help tremendously, is getting more support as a parent right now. You *do* have limited attention for your daughter because your youngest child needs you. Is there anyone else that can have some "playtime" with your daughter? Of course that person cannot replace you in your daughter's eyes, but she'll be getting some additional resource. That also frees up some more time with your son.

Lastly, I think going to the movies with your daughter is fine. Was that her idea? If not, ask her what she would like to do in one-on-one time with you. I'm sure she is longing to connect with you in a way that reassures her that you still love her and want her.

Best of luck to you and your family!



answers from Chico on

Hi E.,

You have received some really good "Mama advice". This is such a good forum. Here is some of my own experience in this area...

I remember being the 10 year old when my sister was born. I went through every stage of "pregnancy" with my mom. I was crushed when delivery time came and the hospital would not let me go with my Mom to see my sister born. My sister was five days old before I got to meet her (In those days Mamas and newborns were kept in the hospital for observation for five days). When it was time for them to come home, Daddy and I went to the hospital to pick them up, I waited in the car. When Mama and Sis were wheeled out in the chair Daddy handed my sister to me to hold while Mama got into the car. Mama said, "Hold your sister until we get home. Watch her head because her neck is not strong yet." That was it. This child was mine.

Once home, adjusting to the attention my new sister was getting was another story. The way I could get attention too was to be the one holding her when people came to visit. Mama always made me apart of my sister. "Your sister is hungry. "I'll put the bottle on to warm. Would you watch and test how hot it is, then bring it to me." "Your sister needs to be changed. Would you bring me a diaper." (Cloth in those days). "Mama is tired and would like to rest. Would you keep an eye on your sister for a little while." In other words, I was made an important part of everything about my sister.

Still, I needed ME attention. Daddy and Mama found things for me to do. Daddy bought an organ and started me in lessons. I didn't ever get better than mediocre, but my dad made me feel like Liberocee. I started skating lessons (and competed 6 years). My folks were there for every competition.

When you tuck your daughter into bed, then the baby starts to cry, and your daughter holds onto you saying, "do not go Mommy"... I don't think she is asking you to make a choice. I think she is asking, "What is MY place in all of this?"...

Teach her how important a big sister is. She sounds like the kind of young lady who will grow gracefully in to the roll.

My prayers are with you,



answers from San Francisco on

I am a SAHM too, my daughter is 3 and the baby is 3 months. We've had a few ups and downs but what helped us is I talk to Serene a lot about her feelings.

I always do needs first, which means if she asks for food and the baby starts crying I feed her first and visa versa. I try and make it all very fair to her. We talk about the baby and the fact that he needs more help than she does so we set up special time together as well. For example, when the baby was born I told her she could always have cuddle time with me if she wanted in the mornings by coming into bed with me and we'd sleep together - that way she gets something special the baby doesn't get and I get more sleep like I need. I also have said she can snuggle while I nurse (I use a nursing pillow so I can have a free arm to wrap around her). I offer to her to let her be as involved with the baby as she'd like- I don't pressure her but have simply said if she wants to do mommy things she can too. Some days she wants to do everything I do and other days she just likes to watch. I still have special things for just her like making dinner together. We bring the baby into the kitchen in a little chair so he can watch us (because a bored baby is a crying baby) and we talk about whatever she would like. I also do some things that are just for her, like putting on music and clapping while she dances (a big thing for her). We also have snuggle reading time too (where the baby sits on my lap while I read to her).

I know how hard it is to be running yourself ragged trying to do it all but just breath, this too shall pass and as my daughter has now taken to saying (form hearing it from me so much) "I can only do so much." Take your time, let go of the stuff that doesn't need to be done dishes can wait- heck buy paper plates for a while and save yourself the trouble.

I think the big sister party another member suggested is a great idea so she'll get an idea of what it means to be you. I would put up pictures of her when she was a baby, especially if you have any of you doing the mommy tasks so she can really see that she got this same attention from you.

Tell her you understand this is hard for her, that it's hard for you too, that no matter what you love her and that you both will get through this and ignore the bad behavior. A couple weeks ago I thought my daughter was over the whole thing and so I admit I wasn't paying as much attention to keeping her feeling supported and so my daughter got into my nail polish and dumped it on the floor, the first time it was only two bottles and it was clear she didn't really think about it but then later that day she did it again, this time with 12 bottles (and she did it in less than 5 minutes while I was doing dishes). This time I made her sit in the kitchen (she had it on herself too) and told her I was going to ignore her behavior because I didn't like it and I knew she did it to make me mad. She went nuts at first yelling and then she tried laughing, but as I cleaned I ignored her and by the time it was all done (took 30 minutes) I told her again that if she did bad things I would ignore her, that if she wants attention she needs to ask for it and I will give it and we haven't had a problem since.

You can try wearing the baby, with a Moby wrap (that's what I like) or one of those Bjorn carriers, something that frees your arms so you can be with your daughter (it also helps if he's a crier when he's awake). Right after the baby was born I was big on shared activities that required very little physical effort (like TV, reading, drawing, etc). Anyway hope some of this helps. *hugs* You're not alone.



answers from San Francisco on

I don't have any advice, but I hear your frustration and wanted to let you know I sympathize. I think taking your daughter to the movies is a good idea - maybe she can make a skit or puppet show for you to watch. If desired, you can help with costumes or set design. If she is involved in a project and knows you will be there to see it, she may feel less alone. I would also take time to read books aloud. It is something you can do while you are holding the baby, but doing for your older daughter. Your son won't care what you are reading, but your daughter will. Good luck.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi E.,
It sounds like you really have your hands full! First of all, if you haven't read 'Siblings Without Rivalry' by A. Faber, you should-- I'm a family therapist, and it's the best how-to book I've ever read for rasing multiple kids with your sanity intact-- I read it twice before I'd even had my second baby! Secondly, Faber doesn't address this, so I will-- stop feeling quilty. Your daughter was very lucky to get 'your undidvided attention' for 10 years. She's adjusting now, and that's hard, but it's not life-threatening.
Lastly, try to give consequences before she pushes you to lose your cool-- she's probably doing it to get a reaction out of you.
Best of luck!



answers from San Francisco on

I have an alomost 10 yr old girl and newly adopted a 7 yr old. My oldest, who begged for a sister turned into just what you described.I met once with a family therapist who said this age is the beginning of a separation process, not hormones yet, but her seeking her idenity from mom, but afraid at the same time. Then at this critical time her life -in her eyes I "replace" her thus causing her to act out. Understanding that she is going through a natural evolution which consists of big push aways and then wanting to be closer to mom has helped me be less upset with her behavior. The only way to find peace at home is to meet her needs of one on one time, going to the movies is great. She especially wants more tuck in time to talk at bedtime. Also give her special projects to be in charge of so she feels like the big sister, and can help you too. Ask her more questions like what do you think about xx or xx. Which should we do first, what is our next chore to get done- like she is more an equal partner that you depend on. And increase your physical closeness, hold her hand, brush her hair, lots of hugs - she is missing you very very much and she is showing her sadness thru anger in an effort to get any kind of attention she can. She justs want more mommy time. I have been in constant overload and way too much stress for 6 months now but really seeing things turning around. I still don't get enough sleep and then it's my fault for being on edge - sleep is key to family harmony - yours and theirs. Good luck. Single parenthood is really a challenge - but we figure it out.



answers from Sacramento on

Been there!! Please take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. :)

I find things go more smoothly when our 10 year-old is given more "Mommy Helper" status in the family. She enjoys the special attention, title, and responsibility. This way she doesn't feel like she's on equal-ground with the baby (because she's not). She reads to the baby, helps prepare dinner, and now helps with laundry and dishes. Of course, that comes with an allowance/incentives.

One thing we did recently was watch old video tapes ("home movies") when our oldest was little. WOW! Just hearing the way we talked to her when she was little...of course it's like the way we do with the baby (he's now a toddler). I let them know what it was like when my daughters were babies/toddlers and how they've grown. (We have 2 other daughters, age 7 and 5, but the challenges have been with my oldest. I think it's a first-born thing...at least in our case) Just utilize any time you can by addressing the needs of both. For example, when you're feeding the baby or taking him for a walk, have "girl talk" with your daughter.

Another huge improvement for me is trying not to react when my daughter "acts out." She feeds off my frustration, anger, disappointment, etc. We made a pact to "listen to ourselves" when talking with one another. And as long as you spell out the rewards/consequences, it will not seem to you or her that you are giving in to any misbehaving. An outing now is a great getaway, just make sure you have the time to TALK since the movies will be 1.5-2 hrs of not being able to do so.

When times are challenging, I tell myself that it won't be this way forever. And of course when times are harmonious, I tell myself that they won't be little forever. Everyone in your family is adjusting. So enjoy your beautiful children and good luck!



answers from San Francisco on

my main concern is for you! call all your friends, tell them you are in crisis and need any time they can spare; to talk to you, cuddle you, do some child care, bring a meal, flowers, a gift for you, etc. get a massage, wear your favorite colors, put flowers around, clean the house especially vacuum to get the old energy out so you can really rest. then everyone else will automatically feel better because you are the center of the wheel girlfriend.

A. m



answers from San Francisco on

Hi there!

It sounds like you're in a position that most would disagree is extremely hard. I'm sure you imagined your daughter would be as in love with the baby as you when he arrived....and i'm sure she is...in her own way. I could imagine how hard it's been for her to have you to herself for 9 whole years, and then another person "coming in" and "stealing" her mommy (plus all the attention and fuss a new baby brings from other family members too). It's got to be hard for a 9-10 year old to wrap their little mind around that. My suggestion is to TALK to her. I'm sure you're assuming what has been making her act this way, but if you haven't heard it directly from her, then that's all it is, is an assumption. She's very capable of being talked to like an adult....ask her her feelings and thoughts and what YOU can do that's within reasonable limits to make things better for her.Be sure to let her know how special she is to you and as your first child, she holds an extra special place in your heart for her, something not even her little brother can take away.
I've heard this alot before-the 2nd child is used to having an older sibling around, and is born with more of an instinct to share, because they more or less have to, and the 1st child is the one that has to learn to share the time, toys etc. As long as the basic needs of the baby are met-put the baby down, and spend more one on one time with your daughter. I think going to the movies is great, but it doesn't always have to be out of the house. Give her a time each day that's just hers (even if it needs to vary from day to day). I also noticed that you are going to home school her starting next year for Junior High. Now I in no way doubt your ability, but with the newness of the baby, I think it may be important for her to be out of the house and socialize with others, rather than constantly being around the home, which gives her more time to see the time spent with the baby, and being more inclined to act out. It'll be good for her to be around a school environment, especially at a time as detrimental as Junior High. I commend you for the job well done....as a single parent i'm sure it's not an easy job, but I wish the best for you. Please keep us informed! =)



answers from Redding on

Dear E.,
Wow. I really feel for you.
Since you are already taking your daughter to the movie, I would suggest going somewhere afterwards for a cup of hot chocolate and try to have a talk with her. Ask her to use her words. Tell her you have really noticed a change in her behavior and attitude and that it has not been a happy change. "Mirror" what she says to you, in other words, if she says she is feeling left out because of the new baby, say, "I hear you saying that you are feeling left out." Sometimes, just letting her know you hear her can make a big difference. If she clams up, you can't drag her feelings out of her, but you can calmly tell her that it is upsetting when she misbehaves and you know she wants to be a good girl and a good big sister. You do not love her any less, she is an important and special part of your family. The whole family has to work together so everyone can be happy. She is old enough to understand, Honey...Mommy loves you with all her heart, but you are going to need to be patient while I'm feeding the baby. The baby can't even talk, so he doesn't understand that he has to wait. Would you have wanted me to make you cry or be hungry because someone else wanted my attention more?
Hopefully, you can get her to have some empathy for the baby.
My daughter was the same age when my son came along and she was so happy and madly in love with him that I am lucky not to have had the same problem. He was HER baby!
I was in a very abusive marriage and it was like the 3 of us against the world. She snuggled as I nursed, I let her change the baby, let her pick out his clothes, they took baths together, she read to him. I don't know. I guess she just understood that she didn't need to compete with him. She was 10....she sure as heck didn't want to suck on my boobs. While he was sleeping, she and I did our own girl stuff. The 3 of us went everywhere together. We had picnics and play time and I tickled her just as much as I tickled the baby. It's funny. She's 22 now. (They are still extremely close). She's gone and he's here and he wants me to have a baby so he can have his own little brother or sister.
Sorry this got long, just let your daughter know she is not being replaced and she can catch more flies with honey, as the saying goes. You don't want her to have a bad attitude everytime life throws a curve ball she doesn't necessarily like. The other thing I was thinking is that you have to get a handle on it if you intend to homeschool her. There are pros and cons for homeschooling, but it's been my personal experience that children who are homeschooled may excel academically, but fall seriously behind in social interaction skills. Every child I have personally known who was homeschooled was not able to function outside of the structured family and home environment. They were unable to interact with other children their own age either because they were hermits, terrified of being at a birthday party or they had no clue as to how to stand in line and wait their turn or share a toy. It's a big world out there and it takes all kinds of people to make it go around.

Your attention does not have to be so divided. Take it from me. I have been a single mom since my son was a year old and you can manage to make both kids feel loved.

Best of blessings and wishes to you!



answers from San Francisco on

First of all, you have to get over your guilt and do not allow your guilt to become her excuse for acting out. It is probably very hard on her, but she has to learn that she is not the center of the universe, which I'm sure she thinks she is, which is understandable. It's just going to take her some time. My granddaughter would act out when her baby cousin would come to visit. I think she thought that everyone likes a baby, so she tried to act like a baby. needless to say, things a baby does are not always okay for an older child to do. For example, the baby pooped in the bathtub. when it was my granddaughter's turn to bathe, she popped in the tub as well. She's five! I had to sit her down and explain to her that it is not okay for her to act like the baby - she is not a baby and I don't want another baby in the house. I needed a big girl. You might try saying things to her like "I'm so glad I don't have two babies" and let her know you're glad she's older because it is nice to have someone to talk to, etc. Let her know she's not being replaced and you appreciate having an older child. Also, don't engage her in an argument. State what you want her to do and if she doesn't do it there is an immediate consequence. No argument - period. You don't want your baby to pick up on this disrespectful behavior so you need to nip it in the bud right away. Hang in there. I can only imagine how tired and frustrated you are. It will get better - it's just going to take some time for all to adjust.



answers from San Francisco on

Hi E..
Congratulations on your new baby! What you're going through sounds really tough, and you've already gotten some great advice. I agree that you should ask her to be more of a helper, which will help her feel more connected to the baby and give her more time with you. Just praise her little helps a lot. But I would also suggest reading some big sibling books to help her understand and express her feelings about all the changes she's going through, plus what you're going through. Some that helped us were A Pocket Full of Kisses, God Gave Us Two, You're All My Favorites, The New Baby...there are so many out there, I'm sure you can find some that will work for your family and situation. Another thing that might help is to get her involved in some summer activites with other kids her own age, like a sports team, dance,camp, etc. This will give her some "big girl" time and give you a break with just the baby.
Finally, if all else fails, explain to her that she is old enough to understand that the baby needs you too, and that you still love her, but she can't have all your attention. Your son is as important as she is, and while he can't understand why mommy isn't right there that minute tending to his needs, she can. This is a critical time for him right now and he deserves as much from you as she got. I hope that helps and that things get easier soon. Best of luck!



answers from San Francisco on

She is definately acting out because of the new baby. Make regular time with her to go out without the baby.

Talk to her and ask her how she feels. Be honest with her about how she's had you all to herself all this time and that it's a big adjustment for both of you. Tell her how you miss her snuggling and hugs and kisses.

A realy good heart-to-heart when things are calm will do wonders for your relationship.



answers from Sacramento on

Sibling rivalry is to be expected but your daughter may be feeling it more strongly because of her age. I've read that when kids reach puberty (and ten years old isn't considered early anymore) the part of the brain that feels emotion grows quickly, but the part of the brain that controls emotion with common sense doesn't develop any more until the early 20s. That means people feel everything more intensely in their teens than at any other time in their lives. Perhaps if you explain that to your daughter it might help her deal with her feelings, knowing they're out of proportion. But her need for your love and attention are still very real so praising her whenever you can and giving her as much Mom time as possible is a great idea, although it won't solve the problem completely.

I'm a grandmother and former teacher, so I've been through a lot.

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