When a second child arrives

He is the first child. The only. The center of all your attention. But now a baby will arrive, making it pass from the status of single child to that of older child. How to best prepare it for this little revolution? Elements of answer with Elisabeth Darchis, clinical psychologist, therapist of couple and family therapist.

Julie Martory

Do you want a little brother or sister?

Your first child is two, three or four years old. The desire to enlarge the family is becoming stronger. If some parents keep this secret desire until it materializes, others will be tempted to share it with their child. Even, to involve him fully in the ultimate decision. But if we can ask the elder what he wants, it is not to him that the last word comes back. "We can exchange on the desire, but we must not give the child the impression that it is he who chooses, warns Elisabeth Darchis. Everyone stays in his place. A yes or no is structuring for the child; to let him decide between the yes or the no would be on the contrary overburden him with a heavy responsibility.

Neither too early nor too late

Nausea, tiredness, sometimes even a small rounded belly: the first signs of pregnancy are established. When to tell your elder about this pregnancy? "It depends on the age of the child, his character," explains Elisabeth Darchis. But also, parents, and their willingness to announce more or less early the news to the entourage. However, it is best to wait for the first ultrasound to be sure the baby is fine. A young child for whom long months can seem an eternity, we can wait a little longer. Except if he senses that "something" is happening. "To tell him he is wrong would be harmful and disrupt his relationship to reality," warns the psychologist. And when the time comes, do not announce the news between two doors. "We must choose a time when everyone is available to answer questions or to ease fears," says the psychologist.

A positive state of mind

What word to use to announce the news? There is no magic formula, but a state of mind to keep in mind: positive. "It is necessary to transmit to his child the happiness of having a brother or a sister, the wealth that is the fact of to have a sibling, "says the psychologist. Then the words will flow naturally to announce this "good" news - and not to justify or apologize, as a parent, for having a second child. Because the child, true "sponge" is used to say, risk of feeling the anxiety - that of the parents - lurking under this type of speech clearing.

That does not exclude, of course, reassuring your child of his love. "But needless to add if it does not show concern - it would imply that the baby is indeed a danger" says Elisabeth Darchis.


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