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I Would Rather Die Than Have A Sibling

  • 4 min read

She ran into her room, slammed the door behind her and sulked.

There are no prizes for guessing that sibling rivalry begins with the impending arrival of a brother or sister.

When my friend’s daughter found out that she was going to have a baby brother, she reacted to the happy news very differently than expected. She ran into her room, slammed the door behind her and sulked. When she came out of the room a few minutes later, she said angrily and sadly, ‘I would rather die than have a brother.’

Then her mother said, ‘But my darling, that would make Daddy and I terribly sad. What would we do without you?’ Besides, she would now have a playmate.

Even more snotty than before, the five-year-old added, ‘If I were no longer there, it wouldn’t be so bad for Daddy and you. You’ll have a new child. You can take care of it and love it.’

It’s about inner development and empathy

When I heard this story, I was flabbergasted. Not only because of the content of what was said, but because of the eloquence of this little person. Impressive.

Whereas with our baby, it matters how big the head circumference is or whether he can walk, with the older children, it is much less about outwardly-visible development than about inner development.

Language and increasing empathy push motor skills into the background. With a five-year-old, the focus is on the development of the inner life: the feelings and desires.

My Mom-friend said that she still remembers her little one learning to crawl and taking her first steps, but as time went on, motor development took a back seat. It had much more to do with language development; the first words and then sentences. Her little one could already say whole sentences at the age of two. The paediatrician was impressed. But physical growth had become irrelevant and very slow. In fact, I read that if kids continued to grow as much as they did in the first year, they would be 20 metres tall by the time they were 18.

It’s good that she feels jealousy

Therefore, with children of about five years, it is about expectations. About emotions. About togetherness and the relationship between the parents and the child.

In the case of this five-year-old, she was able to speak her mind directly and make her anger known.

My friend says it’s good that she is already jealous and is dealing with this feeling, not least because the new addition will soon become part of her life and accompany her through it.

My friend says that her little daughter’s behaviour shows her that she is worried about her future, i.e. whether her mum will then have less time for her or whether she will have to share her toys.

Can we call him Nemo?

To involve her more in the upcoming happy event, my friend and her partner/husband decided they would make a list of names together. The little one would have a vote and could also decide what her brother’s name would be. Several fantasy names from her many books appeared on the list and were then deleted after a long discussion. ‘Nemo’, it was explained to her, is really only a fish’s name.

As a family, they also thought about what tasks she could take on. For example, whether she could imagine helping to change the nappy or whether she would be willing to free up a part of her room for the changing table.

Let’s see what happens when the little one arrives

The words: ‘I would rather die than have a brother’ have become new words. She now proudly tells her kindergarten classmates that she is having a baby brother, what she plans to do with him and that she is clearing out her play corner for the changing table.

There is no longer any sign of jealousy. Let’s see what happens when the little one arrives, because, at the moment, she’s still getting her parents’ full attention — so long as her mother manages to cope with nausea and fatigue in the first trimester of pregnancy.

But soon someone else will be vying for mum’s attention…

There’s more from Kristina, ‘Top Writer in Parenting‘ 👶 👇

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