Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Sibling Rivalry

I have worried for a while about how Ella will cope with the change in our family dynamic when baby arrives. She has been back and forth between really excited, wanting to be the grown up big sister and being less interested, almost regressing back to baby-hood herself.
I have thought all along that Lee is going to have a harder time of it than me but he has always disagreed. I am her Mum after all so he assumes she "loves me more" but he doesn't understand. To Ella she's never known anything other than a Mum and Dad and a Stepdad. He's as much her parent as I am. If anything it will be worse for her with him when baby comes along because he's her Stepdad. I don't think it's about her preferences I think she's a smart kid and right now she knows she's the closest thing he's got to a child but once the baby comes along that wont be the case anymore. If you were Ella would you not feel threatened by the arrival of a biological child? I liken it to a family that has adopted and goes on to have a child of their own, that adopted child is going to feel a completely different kind of jealousy and resentment.
Ella knows I am her Mum ans I am going to be Milo's Mum too but Lee is going to be this baby's real Dad and even at 6 she knows there's a difference.
I really don't know how to reassure her without making a big issue of it but have suggested that we each have an activity we do with Ella alone and then perhaps a film night once a week when the baby is in bed and she can stay up late. It's a very tricky situation for any family but possibly more complicated still for a "blended" family such as ours. I'm sure we will manage but I wanted to share my thoughts in the hope it would open a discussion among you who have an opinion or have even experienced a similar situation.
This evening Lee told me he finally believes I could be right about her jealousy focusing on him. Ella has always been very affectionate towards him and to anyone watching them together you can see how much she loves him but she's never been overly vocal about her feelings to him. Apparently while I was out of the room today and they were cuddling on the sofa, as they do, she turned to him and said "I like you". Given the amount of time we have been a family unit it may seem like a strange thing for her to say but I think the timing tells us she just wants to make sure he knows.
I've heard her say she loves him before but smart as she is we always suspect she is after something, on this occasion there were no follow up requests, just a spur of the moment expression of fondness.
I hope the solo to sibling transition is smooth. I know that my daughter is loving and kind natured, a big part of me thinks I have nothing to worry about, she will be a big help to us and the perfect big sister but she is still my baby and I want to do everything I can to ensure she feels loved and part of our new family.

Lee wrote a post about Step-parenting, you can see it here


  1. i am completley with you Khila. I think Ella is a lovely little girl, but ANYone in her situation will feel a little jelously and she may be a bit 'angry' because obviously a new born needs ALOT of attention. I think that you should take ella shopping once and a while, buy her some little treats, just you and her whilst the baby is with Lee, have some girly time, take her to the cinema, treat her to a Mcdonalds? and then maybe every saturday night let her and Lee watch a film together, let them bond whilst the baby is here, or even get Ella and Lee to make some cupcakes or a cake together, just some ideas :-) i i was Ella's age i think i would love that! all the best xxx

  2. I think once the babys born it all may be very overwhelming for her, I think its the case with all new siblings. There will be lots of fuss for Milo and thats good coz hes new and special too, but Ella may see all the fuss and presents and feel a little left out. Id suggest family members who arrive with baby gifts also bring a lil something for ella too (doesnt have to be expensive) and try involve her with the baby... so like asking her to go get you a nappy or something so she feels invloved and part of whats going on. Also you can buy t-shirts saying im the big sister... she may enjoy that. Ella is very bright and im sure Lees love for Ella will remain as strong so she will be fine. x x

  3. when my brother was born when i was about ella's age i loved him to death and wouldn't leave him alone!
    I am sure when he is born she will be so excited she wont be thinking about the rivalry.
    As long as Lee pays the same amount of attention to Ella as he does now with the new baby which I am sure he will I think she will be fine.
    I think the idea of him doing something with just her when the baby is in bed or something is a really good idea:)

  4. @sophielouise
    thanks for your suggestions.. I think seperate bonding time as well as family time is the way to go x
    I bought her a big sister tshirt and she loves it... she wore it for 3 days straight haha so she is excited I know that it's just I know she still wants to be favourite. I think she's torn, she can't wait for the baby to come but also kind of can haha.
    I'm hoping that will work.. fingers crossed! I was 5 when my little brother came along and I can't remember feeling jealous but I'm sure I had my moments.

  5. I know I'm a bit behind but I never read this blog before and was just scanning through and this made me laugh because in your vlog the other day, it was little Milo who was getting jealous of Ella! Made me smile! x


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