I want you to imagine for a moment… Your partner tells you that he is bringing home a new wife to live in the family home. He tells you how exciting it’s going to be, and how much he’s looking forward to her arrival. He says you’ll need to help this new wife, and to share your things – your clothes and your room with her, and that he wants you to love her too. He reminds you that you are still special, but that there will be another special one there too! How would you feel? Most of us would be in disbelief, enraged, and feeling like we weren’t loved enough, or that we weren’t special enough.
Yet, isn’t this what we often expect of child number one, when we announce that’s there’s a new baby joining the family? As adults we struggle with the whole concept of a 2nd wife, yet we expect a 2/3/4 year old (with infinitely less mature social development) to understand, and ‘be nice’ to this new baby! It sounds unreasonable when expressed like that, doesn’t it? In some cases, the first few weeks may be a novelty for the first child, but then some reach a stage where they ask you to ‘send the baby back’!