My son was 4 when our first daughter was born, and when we were trying to come up with a name for her, we obviously included my son in the process. We figured that there was going to be an adjustment period after she was born because Jack had been an only child for his entire life and we weren’t quite sure how eager he was going to be to share some of our attention with her, so we tried our best to get him involved and used to the idea as soon as we could, so we let him contribute to helping us name her baby sister.
However nothing could have prepared us for the extreme meltdown my son would have right after Sydney was born, it wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination. I think he thought that his sister was going to be born and be more like a toy than another human being that his mom and dad would have to spend every waking moment nurturing; because a few days after we brought her home, things with Jack changed drastically.
First he refused to go to school. He was in pre-k at the time and got it into his head that he was being dropped off at school while his new sister got to stay home and have fun. This went on for more than a month. Sometimes we’d get him to school, but most of the time he would scream, cry and throw huge tantrums or other times he would complain that he was sick. This went on for quite a while and we really didn’t know what to do. We’d drop him off in carpool and the teachers would have to rip him from us and force him into the school as he screamed and cried, which is the only way we got him to school, and honestly I couldn’t take it. My wife had to start taking him and eventually after a while he started going back to school without tears, but usually with us promising something to him as a reward; some of this recurred in Kindergarten, but not nearly as bad.
Then his behavior all around changed. He started hitting, literally attacking me like he was a ninja, and it hurt, and I took it because I knew that he was going through something he couldn’t really understand, or even know what was happening. Sure I disciplined him, but I really had to be careful with him because I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it. In fact one time I had to carry him out of Walmart with him on my shoulder as he kicked and punched me the while way out – not our best father/son moment.
(oh and for all of you parents are gonna spout something off like “that kid needs a beating” or “I would have spanked my kid” or something related to that sort of discipline, save it, I’m not interested in your theories.)
So after counseling and patience we figured out he was going through separation anxiety and with patience and time it went away and he was back to normal – but that was a very stressful time, and one day we will get a good laugh out of it, not yet though, not yet.
He’s 8 now and she’s 4 and they get along about 53% of the time. The rest of the time they fight and try their best to annoy each other, which for some reason seems fun for them even though that it always leads to me yelling at one of them, but they take their chances; risk vs reward and all that.
All that drama and turmoil that started when we had our baby girl and named her Sydney. I wonder what would have happened if we had named her what my son wanted to name her; Omlette. We might be in World War 3 right now.