When a family welcomes a new member, change will occur in the life of the family as a whole. The family has to deal with everyday life in a new way. It may take some time to make adjustments and work out the growing pains in order to live together successfully.
To help your children accept change in the family structure it is important to allow them to participate in welcoming the new individual. Keep them involved and allow them to come up with acceptable and creative ways to help prepare for the new family member’s arrival.
Remind your children to think about what it may feel like to join a new family from the new family member’s perspective. If someone is feeling angry or jealous, it is time for a family meeting. Discussing the issues in a respectful manner and coming to some sort of compromise can keep the peace and allow everyone to feel empowered.
A great way to help guide children through the process of accepting change in the form of a new family member, is reading and discussing children’s literature relating to the subject. “How Meg changed Her Mind” by Ethel K Coffey is an ideal book to use as an opener for this type of dialogue. The book is about Meg, a dog who is feeling angry, sad and lonely. She believes her life is ruined due to the addition of a new family member. Her friend, Sabera the quail, gives her some helpful advice which leads her to look at things differently.
The arrival of a new sibling has its challenges. Each member of the family will need freedom to gradually adjust to the change in family dynamics. Encourage your children to build relationships by treating others with kindness and respect. Adjusting to change takes time. Have patience and allow your children to bond in their own way as they become more comfortable with each other.