Sound Off! How Did Your First Child React to Getting a Sibling?

06/23/2009 at 09:00 AM ET
Celebrity Baby Blog Sound Off

Sibling rivalry is something every multi-child household has to face. With one child ruling the roost and then all of a sudden having to deal with a second (and third, and fourth…), things can sometimes get a little tense. But often, the situation can be funny, too!

Jack Black recently opened up about the reaction his son Samuel Jason, 3, initially had to little brother Thomas David, 13 months: wanting to get away, but ultimately realizing they could be playmates. Liev Schreiber said sons Alexander ‘Sasha’ Pete, 23 months, and Samuel Kai, 6 months, also got off to a rough start, but are warming up to each other, too.

With second babies on the way for Tom Brady and Matthew McConaughey, we wonder how their oldest children will react to their little siblings, as well.

So here’s your chance to Sound Off! Tell us how your first child reacted to his or her younger siblings.

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Showing 23 comments

sara on

Eric was only 22 months old when Alec was born & we’re blessed that Eric welcomed the baby & always wanted to “help out”. It was smooth sailing until now that baby is 15 months old! He grabs, he wants, he takes & the war over toys is one Eric’s not so happy about. Teaching them to share & play with one another is one bumpy ride! But the boys love one another, they hug, and that melts our hearts & makes us hope they’ll like each other all their lives!

christina on

She responded by telling us, “It’s time for that baby to go back to the hospital”. I also overheard her asking her grandma if she could stay there for awhile, because “that baby is still here”. They’re great friends now, but it was a little iffy at first!!

Lila on

My child won’t be getting a sibling, she will be a singleton sensation! She completed our family, and we love being able to really watch her grow up and focus on her needs instead of trying to divide our time and play referee. I always feel bad for kids when a baby comes along.

I was an only child and loved it! I had tons of friends and never felt lonely. My husband has a younger sister whom his parents blatantly show favoritism to. This has strained his relationship with them, while I am super close with both my parents.

Benigna Marko on

He was speechless. He absolutely took on the role of big brother and has since taken his role seriously. He even checks out who calls his sister.

Ashley on

My nephew who is almost 4 now, doted on his baby brother (now 1). He was the perfect little helper, and always wanted to be the one to play with the baby.

fnhdl on

Lila – I want to thank you so much for sharing your story! My husband and I recently welcomed a little girl, who we always intended to keep an only child. But, I was concerned that she would miss having a sibling, even though I, myself, am not close to my own brother. My husband was/is an only child and was never lonely, or strange, or any of the other negative stereotypes that surround only children. We do still intend for Lily to be an only child, and it is really encouraging to hear about happy adult onlies like yourself!

Kate on

I don’t have children, but after being an only child for 3 1/2 years (no cousins at that point, either), I was used to being the center of attention in my family, so it was hard to welcome my little brother! I took good care of him, and mothered him in a way that mirrored my mom’s care-taking, but have also heard many stories about how I tried to divert attention away from the new baby and back onto me. I’m sure lots of older siblings have gone through that, too!

Emily on

My son loved his younger brother. There is video of my oldest looking at his younger brother in the incubator and crying when the baby cried. When we got home though, my oldest kept throwing everything at me that he could. He never hurt the baby or said or did anything negatively to him, it was all towards me. My youngest saved my oldest son’s life. Within 6 months of adding the new baby, my oldest son went into remission from an intestinal illness he was suffering from. He still genetically has the illness but it has yet to come back since my baby was born and we are going on 7 years plus. I really think having a little brother gave my oldest the will to fight and something to live cause he saw the baby did not have to take medicine everyday. My oldest has since welcomed 3 other siblings from his father and has reacted positively and loved every one of his siblings.

suzy on

my 3 year old son is very loving towards his newborn baby brother but there are times when i’m sure he wishes it was only him. he always wants the baby with us, but at times tells me to “put him down”. We keep him very involved however, there are times when the baby’s needs to be taken care of and my older son demands attention at the same time. it can be tricky. they are both loved and having siblings is such an incredible blessing. i come from a large family and there is always a get together, party and good times for the most part!

Ellie on

My 2 year-old daughter is in love with her “cutie pie” 1 month old brother. She loves to read to him and sing songs to him. Of course, once he can get into her toys and other property, I’m sure her adoration will end!

jaQ on

my son was turning two the week we discovered his sibling was on the way. i told him very early on that he would be a big brother, even before i got the positive test, because we were just so sure about that month, and we were right. he had 7.5 months to adjust then. we didn’t know the gender, and he called my belly “brother” and would give hugs and kisses. then, his sister was born. unfortunately, we were at the hospital (home births for me, from now on!) and he was very upset. he did not want to meet his sister, didn’t want to hold her or be photographed with her until we went home. he’s been great with her ever since thouhg, and they’re just the best of friends. he is turning 6 nw, and for mother’s day, in school, he made a portrait of me. there was a necklace on me with a funny looking pendant. i don’t wear jewelry at all (allergic, and hate the feeling anyhow) and i asked what that was. he told me it was a baby seed, that he was ready for a brother. three days ago, on my birthday, we found out i’m expecting again. oh, he’ll be thrilled. :)

mizMolly on

My son loves being a big brother. We were very surprised that we have had no sibling rivalry (yet) or jealousy. He leaves toys for her in her crib, car seat and swing. She is 4 months now and he is always trying to get her to hold his cars. They are 25 months apart (he is 2 and a half). When she cries, he is concerned and wants me to go hold her…even if I am holding him. So far it has been great between them.

Sarah on

When we told my son that we were going to have another baby, he burst in to tears because he thought that meant we were getting rid of him. By the time our daughter was born, he was excited and just wanted to be with her all the time. Now that she is one month he is beginning to ask when we are taking her back, who she is going to go live with, and if he can have her toys. This will be interesting!

Gini on

At 3.5 my son was old enough to understand that his little sister was going to stay with us and throughout the pregnancy he voiced his aversion against the idea of getting a sibling, especially since it wasn’t going to be a boy. When our daughter was born he was extremely excited at first, then lost interest quickly and often tried to get the attention he needed when we were occupied with her – he still does. I don’t find this particularly annoying, since it helps me to attend to both my kids’ needs equally (I hope), which is difficult sometimes since they are in such different developmental stages and have such different temperaments. He has gotten more and more interested in her over the last few months (she is 8months old now) and loves to play with her and savours her admiration for him.
One thing struck me: My son was never the “cuddly” type, I had a hard time getting my cuddling demand met with him, but seeing his sister being cradled and cuddled seems to have set off his own interest in being cuddled, which I enjoy a lot.
I had a hard time deciding to have another baby because I myself was afraid of taking anything away from my firstborn. Seeing them now has changed my mind since they are so instinctively connected to each other. The plan was to stop after the second, but now I find myself thinking about a third – which btw is my son’s biggest wish.
My children’s relationship will evolve and change throughout their lives, and I hope they will end up in a good place together – which, I’m aware, won’t necessarily be the case.

Sam & Freya's Mum on

We have 3 years 4 mths between son and daughter and he was so excited while I was preg, prepared him that he was having a little sister, and when he first met her in the hospital, photos we have he’s over the moon. Have been lucky in that he fusses over her, helps out, even gets upset when she goes to bed, which we didn’t expect!, and always saying how much he loves her which is great. I wondered if the age gap helped him prepare/understand more what was going on, less tantrum-prone being nearly 3 1/2 years, but maybe it’s just the child too as some kids with less of an age gap can embrace it just as much as some older kids are anti a sibling appearing on the scene. Have no regrets and glad to have over 3 year gap for our sanity though. She gets her time while Sam’s out at Kindy 3 full days a week (perhaps called preschool in the US?), & now he’s coming up to 5, starting school in Sept, etc. He’s been better than expected, has his moments with sharing and taking toys of each other, but generally had no biting, hitting or real roughness (which we would discpline for of course) thankfully. He was glad to have the company as he loves other kids and have been told by Kindy teachers and others how he’s a sociable lad so has been pretty smooth and no real jealously. Fingers crossed it stays that way, lol…

Andrea_momof2 on

Thankfully, our daughter loved our son from the first moment. I honestly thought she would be extremely jealous and she wasn’t. Then again, I think it’s harder when they’re younger. My daughter was 3 and half when my son was born, so she was already going to preschool.

TayTay on

i was 2 when my little brother was born and from what my parents tell me i disliked having a little sibling then as much as i do now but i like having older sibs but that probaly cause of the 8 and 18 year age difference between me and my two older sibs

Sandrosmom on

My son welcomed his baby sister with joy last year. They each light up when they see eah other in the monring. They are almost three years apart. I was an only and hated it. I also was responsbile for my father’s funeral when he died 7 years ago (I was 27). My mom doesn’t speak English that well so I was in charge of everything. I know I will have to handle everything when she’s older as well. I have no siblings to share in the care or handle family affairs. It’s not easy. Sure, a kid gets a lot of attention when s/he is younger, but it’s VERY hard when the parents get older and there’s no one else to help care for the aging parents or provide emotional support.

Lila on

Sandrosmom, having a sibling won’t guarantee that you will have help when your parents get old. I have an older brother whom got married, moved away and doesn’t bother much with any of us. We were never close and we aren’t close now. I haven’t seen my nephews in over 2 years. My parents are getting older and he helps with nothing! But I am sure he will be around to collect his share when they pass. I find this to be true with a lot of my friends too- one kid does all the work while the others wait around like vultures!

I believe that whether or not you had a happy childhood has more to do with how your parents treated you, each other, finances, schooling, friends, etc. then whether or not you had a sibling.

We only have one child and aren’t planning on having more. I like the idea of a family of three and see nothing but a bright future for my son.

Kat on

when I had my 2nd, knowing they were going to be less than 2yrs, I was glad I’d prepared… from the moment we were comfortable telling people we were pregnant, the first person we told was our son… we told him that I had a baby in my tummy… but from the beginning, we didn’t talk about “the baby”, “my baby”, or “our baby”… no, we called it HIS baby… and once we found out the sex, HIS brother.

We talked to him as if he understood everything, though he obviously didn’t, but we talked to him about all the good parts… how it was going to make him a big brother, how special that was, and what that would mean…

From the moment we brought the new baby home, there was no problem… he was in awe of the new baby. Yes, we had to teach him to be gentle, as you do with any toddler, but he was eager to help, eager to take on his new role as big brother.

We poored on the praise for his good behavior, we made sure to keep some special time for him and me (his bath time was one of those times), and we tried to keep those first weeks when I was recovering as normal as possible. Like when he wanted ME to put him in his highchair, I did it, just did it differently… pulling a chair over, having him climb up, and then helping him climb from there to the highchair (because after just having a baby, you shouldn’t lift a toddler).

We kept his bedtime routines and everything else the same.

During the pregnancy, we had made sure to scale back the amount of one-on-one time he got from each of us… us sitting back more and reading while he was playing or holding a doll and explaining that when the baby came, we’d need to take time to take care of baby… and that he’d need to play on his own.

I really think that helped.

With my third, my oldest took it all in stride… my younger, though totally in love with his new sister, was also unsure… after all, he was the baby until then. I simply gave him extra attention, which also gave me the ability to let my oldest do what he wanted, which was help and earn all the praise and extra attention for doing so.

I let him play the baby when he needed to feel that, but also praised him and talked to him about how proud we were that he was getting to be big… just reinforcing that no matter how big he got, he would always be my baby.

Also, we did as we had done with our oldest, talking about how it was his and his brother’s baby sister, never saying it was our baby or my baby or his dad’s baby… we talked about how special HE was that he had a big brother and a little sister…

And when he wanted to make sure he could still be my baby, I’d tell him that even though he was a big brother, he was still my youngest boy… and so he was still my baby boy.

In those ways, while he showed jealousy, it was all in positive ways… asking for attention, wanting extra cuddles, to be held more, wanting to use his highchair again, wanting me to feed him (not hard… hold baby in one hand and feed him with the other, or let the 4yr old or my husband feed the baby… 4yr old with supervision, of course) instead of feeding himself.

He never took it out on the baby and instead would kiss her, sit and talk to her, and was very much a loving brother the whole time.

Chasity on

I recently gave birth to my third and fourth child (Easton and Taylor- both boys- now 1 month) and my daughters Carryna(6) and Autumn (3). The way Carryna reacted was expected because she was thrilled with the announcment and Autumn’s reaction was very unexpected because she loves being the center of attention and happy especially when we told her that she would have 2 little brothers she was jumping like crazy lol.

Nika on

There is 3.5 year gap between my daughter and son and i think that the gap between them is almost perfect.

Like others with around the same age gap have said, they’re old enough that you can talk to and prepare them (to a certain extent)for the arrival.

I always thought that when i had children, i would space them out between 2 & 3 years.
I had 2 girl cousins that i was very close too, who were 2.5 years apart and i always envied the relationship that they had (i have a brother but i am 5 and half years older than him.)
But now that i’ve had my son i think i would be a lot more stressed had the the gap been much less than 3 years.

I love the way that my children interact together, it just makes my heart melt!

I couldn’t possibly imagine choosing to have only one child.
My mother came from a family of 6 and my dad came from a family of 4, so i had plenty of cousins and even more friends.
But nothing compares to having a sibling in my opinion.

I still remember very vividly from around the age of four, asking my mother for a sibling persistantly (which i’m sure was fun for her!)
By the time my mother had my brother, i felt the age gap between us. He wasn’t old enough to play games with me and when he was, i was no longer interested in playing them which wasn’t nice for him.

I agree with you sandrosmom about having someone to share the responsibility of handling if a parent becomes ill or passes.

I remember my mother’s friend’s mother (!) was ill for many years and ended up in a home. Though the friend worked full time and was a single mother of a young child, she would drive the hour drive to see her mum every day and stay for a couple hours because the mother had no other visitors.

Sure it may not always work out that you have a close/or supportive sibling, but at least there is an option…

My mum and dad parted when i was around 8 years old and i remember xmases seemed so uneventful with just the three of us.
However, several years later my mother became guardian to my younger cousin and it made all the difference to the household!
There was always noise and banter which i loved and xmas became so much more fun!
She became the lttle sister that i never had (no offence bro!) and we became her surrogate big brother and sister.

One of my favourite films is soul food.
I love how the whole family gathers every sunday to eat sunday dinner and catch up.
To me, thats what family should be about…

Some people may prefer to focus on one child and a part of me can see the appeal in that as i did enjoy being able to devote myself to my daughter.
But i don’t think i have sacrificed anything for her by blessing her with a brother.

I find it comical that certain people try to put down people’s decisions to have more than one child with sentences like “My child won’t have to SHARE my love/Won’t have to compete/Can do extra curricular activities because he/she is the only child etc etc blah, blah, blah”

They seem to insinuate that they’re child is more priveledged due to being an only child…

It’s akin to the “natural birth vs c-section”

It makes no difference either way, though i do get a good laugh out of the sly insinuations… LMAO!

Carrie on

I’m expecting a little boy in 1 week. When my husband (of 4 years) and I told our 8 year old daughter Dilyn that she was going to be a big sister, she was excited and now she is helping with everything and she says that the baby Ryan Michael Joseph will be loved by her very much.

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