My son is four years old. I recently told him I was pregnant. He is happy when I talk to him about it. However, since he found out he has been hateful and mean to everyone, throwing fits often. What do I do?
Ann Douglas answers:
You are wise to read between the lines when it comes to your son's behavior. He may be trying to mask his true feelings -- pretending to be excited about being a big brother because he thinks that's how he's supposed to feel when, in fact, he may actually be less than thrilled about the fact that there's a baby on the way.
The best way to deal with the situation is to give your son plenty of opportunities to express his true feelings. Talk about other kids you know who don't like their baby brothers, or maybe read a children's book that explores some of these themes.
The important thing is to let your son know that his feelings are perfectly normal and that he can talk to you about whatever it is he's feeling. He needs to know that you won't get upset or angry if he expresses his true feelings.
Of course, it's always possible that something else completely unrelated to your pregnancy is bothering him. Perhaps he's upset about a fight with another child on your street or he's frustrated because he's having trouble learning how to ride his new two-wheeler.
If you make a point of checking in
with your child a couple of times a day -- perhaps while the two of you are
setting the table for dinner or reading stories before bedtime -- you'll
start to get a pretty good idea of what's going on inside his head, and
you'll be able to help him to deal with whatever it is that's troubling him.