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Tantrums Resulting From A New Sibling

lucy-crying A friend of mine recently had her second baby.  She is beautiful, calm, and quiet.

Baby’s older brother, Joe, is struggling.  He is nearly 3, and the family adjustments are taking their toll on him.  My friend shared with me how Joe tends to throw tantrums on a near-daily basis, taking out his frustrations on his dad (since dad is spending more time with Joe than usual).

Joe’s tantrums include yelling, throwing things, excessive crying, and to their dismay, biting.  My friend is understandably concerned.  Joe is a sweet boy.  She knows that this is most likely a phase – but it’s a difficult one to endure.  She said she’s been reading everything she can about how to handle tantrums, but she still finds herself at a loss sometimes.   I have suggested that they share the issue with their pediatrician, and I’ve tried to encourage her that Joe will eventually get used to their family’s new dynamics.

Here are some other resources on the topic of tantrums:

Have you dealt with this in your family?   Do you have any suggestions for how to survive this kind of adjustment?

11 Responses to Tantrums Resulting From A New Sibling

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Debbie P.
    April 17, 2009 @ 4:48 am

    The WebMD article was EXCELLENT. After many trials and unfortunately much error these were pretty much our exact conclusions. My little mantra that I spoke over and over to myself during these times was just, “Firm but loving, Debbie. Firm but loving”.

    This stage really WILL pass with time.

    One thing that seemed to have worked well with our child was to know his “love language”. Gary Chapman wrote a good book entitled, “The Five Love Languages of Children”. I learned that our son’s love language is QUALITY TIME. Others are WORDS OF AFFIRMATION, GIFTS, ACTS OF SERVICE and PHYSICAL TOUCH.

    Especially when we are going through a time of transition like a move or new baby we’ve tried to read that extra book he likes before bed or wrestle a few minutes longer and get his little tank filled up. It certainly does not eliminate the tantrums but has helped.

    btw love dave’s face in the background of the pic.

  • Comment by Dawn
    April 17, 2009 @ 5:45 am

    Your insight is really helpful. I love the idea of using the love language techniques with children – I don’t know why that hadn’t occurred to me more. I hope all is well for you & the fam as you settle in to YOUR new changes!!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Pamela Kramer
    April 17, 2009 @ 6:13 am

    Actually I do have a tip. Take the little guy out of the house for a while. There is nothing like Daddy and me time. They could go to the nearest park or even for a walk around the block. It works for us.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Christy
    April 17, 2009 @ 7:33 am

    Oh my goodness, have we dealt with that!!! Our son was 2.5 when our baby girl was born. At first, it wasn’t too bad, but once she started moving, say at around 7 months or so, Andrew turned into a terror! He’s so jealous and is constantly taking his frustrations and jealousy out on the baby and on me. I’ve tried taking him on Mommy-Son dates, giving him extra mommy time, etc, but nothing has really worked. He’s almost 4 now and I really do hope the end of this is somewhere in sight!! I’ll take any help I can get!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Harriet
    April 17, 2009 @ 8:02 am

    So glad that’s way behind me :)

  • Comment by Dawn
    April 17, 2009 @ 10:36 am

    Pamela, that is a good tip. Joe’s dad takes him out all the time. They do things constantly to make him feel special. I think my friend’s situation is similar to Christy’s – trying everything and still, the child is tantrum-y.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Natalie
    April 17, 2009 @ 11:34 am

    My son is about to turn 3 and we have a 6 month old. We have started doing the “Love Language” thing too. He is quality time..big time! Also, we figured out that Jackson likes for us to seem him do things on his own. When he feels like he is “a big boy” his whole attitude changes. It might be just where he is at, but it has also helped a lot with the adjustment to there being a baby in the house. That has been a HUGE help.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Amanda
    April 17, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

    This great into Dawn! I need to go check out those links. I thought Ace was only going to jealous when the baby came home not possibly 7 months later! That is why I love this site. I learn so much!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Deb
    April 17, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

    My biggest saving grace from tantrums is not letting myself get pulled in. I try to stay calm and be present (not ignore) but not respond to the tantrum.

    Once my youngest goes down the tantrum path, she is not going to give it up until she’s finished it. It’s almost like it takes on it’s own lifeform. There is nothing I can say or do that will calm her, I just have to ride it out with her.

    The funniest thing, is that all kids are different, and while one thing works for one, it doesn’t work for the next one…so I just keep trying.

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Smalltowngirl
    April 22, 2009 @ 9:14 pm

    I am dealing with this now too- I just had my 3rd baby and my middle child is having a hard time- but honestly I think he is more sad that his older sister is paying more attention to the baby than him….I remember when my 2nd was born having some issues with this as well….it just takes time to get used to a new member of the family!

  • Gravatar
    Comment by Lana33
    May 16, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

    I have a toddler who is almost 2.5 and doesnt talk much so I cant reason with him about this, not that you can reason with most toddlers. He was a very sweet boy, much better behaved than most kids until his sibling came. He hasnt laid a hand on his sib but everything sets him off now. Its so hard to ignore his tantrums when we know how nervous he is about our split attention. Has anyone gone through this with a toddler who has minimal language?

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