Blended families have become a common occurrence these days. While some parents may have died, others might have gone through a divorce. Divorces with children in the picture accounted for about 47 percent of all granted divorces in 2014.
From these separations you could have some parents looking to find love elsewhere. If the relationship leads to marriage the children automatically become a part of the new family. Sometimes the couple decides to have another baby and it is allowed. Bringing that new child into the family is a little different this time.
You already have children from a previous relationship and sometimes both parties came with a child. There is a little discomfort and worry about the new arrangement. The kids are probably wondering what position they now take and whether this new arrangement threatens their previous position. A new addition to this equation can cause a lot of unwanted tension in the family and that isn’t a great way to join the world, now is it? Here is where parents need to learn to employ mechanisms that will keep the peace and avert any emotional chaos.
- Immediate family first
You have a whole nine months to let everyone know about the baby on the way (even though it will announce itself after a short while). If you plan on telling people before you begin showing, make sure you tell the people closest to you first. This refers to your husband and includes your children too.
Giving them first priority will make them feel special. This reduces the chances of feelings of competition with the unborn. They also become ‘expectant’! This should be done in good time and in an age-appropriate way too. Tell them what is happening and what they should expect so that they start preparing themselves for the changes. Address their worries and fears, no matter how small or insignificant they seem and reassure them that everything will be okay.
- Involve everyone in everything
Make sure that everyone plays a role during and after the pregnancy. You can start with feeling the baby kick, baby shopping and allow the kids to pick a few outfits for the baby (of course with guidance from you). Tag them along to a doctor’s appointment and have them listen to the baby’s heartbeat. They can even take turns massaging your feet or bringing you pillows to prop you up. Do the same even if you have one child.
Once the baby is born have the older kids help with the baby. Have them bring soap and diapers during bath time, pick out the day’s outfit and even watch the baby for short periods of time. Have them meet the baby as soon as possible to begin establishing a connection and relationship.
- Share the love
The other kid(s) may be older but they are still children. They still need your attention and love just like before. Give hugs, kisses, compliments, praise them and encourage them. Remind them that you love them as often as possible and take time out just to be alone with them. It could be 20 minutes of undisturbed playtime or even watching their favorite cartoon with them.
It’s definitely not easy but is doable. Don’t feel guilty about any changes that will come but be sure to let your child know about the new routines and to implement them gradually. Congratulate the older kids on being great siblings when they help with the baby so that they feel like an important part of the new arrangement. If you need any help ask for it so that nobody, including you, feels neglected or overwhelmed during this transition period.