BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)- News 4’s Teresa Weakley and her husband Joe will welcome their second child in late August. They have a 2-year-old daughter, Kathleen, who will be big sister to this baby boy, and so like many other parents, Teresa and Joe want to make sure the transition goes smoothly for their firstborn.
Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known psychologist, and best-selling author of more than 35 books, many of them on parenting. He says children are very aware that someone has encroached on their territory, and so it’s important for parents to play their cards right. Parents often explain to their first children that mommy will go to the hospital and come home with a special “present” for them, but when the first child sees how much attention this new baby receives, it may not feel like much of a gift. Dr. Leman says these are the seeds of sibling rivalry.
“The smart mom and dad say to a little 2 or 3-year-old toddler, ‘Honey you’re our big girl. You know your little brother? He can’t even walk. And you know how you take two naps a day? Baby has to take ten naps, can you count them? Baby can’t do anything. But you can help baby,’” said Dr. Leman. He says you should build a case that this new child is not going to take your first child off his prince, or her princess, throne.
Dr. Leman says there are a few things you can do before the baby comes home to prepare your first child. For example, explaining that there’s a baby in mommy’s belly, and letting them feel the baby kick. But he says it’s important not to overdo it, because that can be stressful for a child.
So what will your second child be like? Dr. Leman is the author of the best-selling book called “The Birth Order Book”, which details the differences in children based on their birth order. He explained, “You tell me what child number one is like, and I’ll describe number two for you. Chances are they are night and day different”.
If he’s correct, Teresa Weakley says that means her baby boy will probably be laid-back and an excellent sleeper. But perhaps that’s wishful thinking.
Dr. Leman will offer much more parenting advice on a range of topics throughout the year. You will see stories with him on News 4 Wakeup!, and you can also visit his website to learn more about his background.