Q&A: New Baby and Older Sibling is Acting Out

CME WebsitesBehavior, Challenging Behavior

blockquote_bgMy niece just had another baby girl, and her other girl is 8 or 9 years old. We started to notice that she’s lying quite often and for no real reason. Is this normal?

It would not be uncommon for a child of 8 or 9 to be acting out or showing jealousy in various ways (such as by lying) when a new baby enters the home. Before the new baby came all the attention went to the 8 year old, now all of the sudden everyone’s attention, Mom’s and extended family is now focused on the new baby. Here are some ideas to help an older child adjust and cope with a new sibling:

  • Have some special ‘big sister’ gifts to give your child as friends and relatives start showing up with baby gifts, so your older child won’t feel left out.
  • Remind visitors to pay attention to your older child, and not just the baby.
  • Make sure the older child has some special, private space, and things of their own that they don’t have to share with the baby.
  • Give her special jobs that she can do to help the family and help with the baby’s care.
  • Let her participate in the baby’s care-baths, dressing, pushing the stroller, etc.
  • *Point out the benefits of being an older child, like choosing what to eat, being able to go the park and play, and having friends.

As for the lying, this is a comprehensive article on why young kids lie and ways to handle it.

You might also speak to the child’s teacher at school to see if she is lying or having other difficulties with school work or friends there and ask for ways to help handle this at home.