While pregnancy is supposed to be a time of preparing for the new baby, children from a previous relationship can often be worried that they are being forced out by the new baby, or that their parents will not “love them as much” after the birth. One or both partners could also feel a range of emotions, whether it’s their first child or their third. There are a few things to consider before the birth.
Tell Your Ex Before The Kids Do
It’s only fair that you should be the one to tell your Ex about the pregnancy. Don’t leave it to the kids to blurt out.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re not friends anymore, you should be the one to tell your ex-partner; after all, their child is about to have a sibling, and what affects the child affects the parent. This will probably affect your Ex in some way but it’s only fair to let them know. Your former partner is bound to appreciate the honesty.
Biological Parents Tell The Kids
The kids need to be the first to know, and the best way to tell them is by having the biological parent sit down for one to one time with their children.
When you’re expecting, you need to tell the kids, no matter what other considerations you might have. If they are old enough to understand, the biological parent should take the children aside and talk about the situation honestly – they’re bound to have plenty of questions and/or objections and they should feel like it’s natural for them to voice these. This gives children time to get used to the idea of a new sibling, so they can come to terms with it without being overwhelmed.
Get Grandparents Involved
During this time, grandparents could help with your new responsibilities after pregnancy.
Many couples will form a strong relationship with their own parents as they rely on their support and experience with raising a child. It can be a great “neutral” area for children to bond together.
Grandparents play an important role before the birth too. They can seem less “scary” to talk to then mum or dad, as they are a layer removed but still trustworthy and as a result existing step children could turn to them when they want to discuss their own feelings and worries about their new sibling.
Involve Biological Kids
Getting your biological kids involved in looking after the baby is a good way to develop a bond between them and overcome any anxiety or jealousy they might have.
Once your baby is born, your children will probably relate to their new half-sibling just fine, feeling the same love/hate mixture they’d feel for any other brother or sister. Your kids are likely to be interested in the care of the baby, so depending on how old they are, involve them in looking after the baby. Show them how to feed and care for the baby, let them hold the baby and make sure they have an active role in the process.
Gifts For All
There are bound to be gifts arriving for the new baby, balance this with gifts and attention for the other children in your family. This can be done in ways convenient for all family members, for instance if an older child has a favorite meal, board game, or TV program, everyone can join in experiencing this.
Your new baby is bound to get plenty of attention from family and friends and will require a lot of things like new toys, clothes and attention – be sure to extend this generosity to your existing children so they don’t feel left out.
Be Aware Of Family
A new child is likely to affect each member of your family in a different way; it’s important to be aware of your family members during this change to support them.
The partner without any children from her previous relationship may start to feel resentment over the fact you are spending more time with your older children and not enough on your newest child, while your children could feel anxious and worked
Stepfamilies are becoming increasingly common, making up over 10% of all families in the UK – This figure may be much higher with over 38% of all cohabiting couples considered to be stepfamilies. This means that help is always on hand from charities like Oneplusone sharing quality advice to stepfamilies looking for guidance.
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Jean Liedloff is a a mum of two who focuses on helping parents through the arrival of a new born and helping build and strengthen family relationships.