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jealous of new baby
I have a 6 year old son with mild autism. Recently gave birth to my second child. She is 2 months old now and her big brother is very jealous! He continualy lunges at me while I am holding her, I feel like a defensive line backer holding out my arm trying to protect the baby. If she is on the couch or on the bed he finds a way to fall or jump nearly on top of her. I am very worried and concerned if I turn my back and leave the baby unguarded he might body slam her, knock her off or harm her. I have caught him trying to cover her with a pillow while she is crying and I am rushing in from another room. Since he is autistic he has a hard time controling his impulses and expressing his feelings. When he wants to play with other children he usualy full body tackles them and as long as they are older it is not a problem. When they are younger than him they usualy get very afraid of him and dont want to play. I do make a special effort of spending time one on one with him daily, even greet him first thing when I get home before even looking at the baby. My husband also makes great efforts to spend time with him exclusively and his grandparents insist on showering him with gifts since the baby has come. I have no idea what else I can do to make him understand he is still my number one kid. Any advise would be very helpful.
Chantel, I had a similiar problem with my two boys when my second was born. My two children are both autistic as well. The oldest has Asperger's, and my youngest is a high functioning autistic. When the youngest was born, my oldest was in a head butting stage. He actually head butted my baby when I was feeding him one day. I reacted like a bad mother at that moment, and I have regretted it ever since as I hit my oldest in an instant. However, your mothering instincts kick in to protect the baby, and sometimes it is hard to recognize the threat in an instant. First, let me reassure you this too shall pass. Have you tried to distract him while you spend time with the baby? In a form that would make him feel comfortable, sensory fufilled, and rewarded? My children (and most autistic kids I have met) love video games. Could you provide him with a computer game, or Nintendo game, or Playstation game that might distract him? My yongest self stimulates (the hand flapping, hitting, etc. actions) the most when he is playing video games. It almost puts him in a trance, and it distracts him completely. Autistic children usually attach to one person immensely. My husband is that person for my youngest, and I am that person for my oldest. They don't like to share this person. That person becomes their property, a thing almost. You are apparently the "it" person for your child. Distraction is going to be key in order to get through this period. Reward him with your time, but when you cannot be there like he wants, give him another option that takes up his attention. As I said, video games have become that distraction for us. Lots of parents disagree with video games for children, but I assure you they do not have autistic children. Pick games that let them learn, as well as things they enjoy. My youngest enjoys mario brothers games. He has even memorized and drawn out every map on that game with crayons and printer paper. I think it helps his memory, intelligence, and his emotional senses. We provide other things for him as well as his brother, but dividing this time up so that each need is met is the most important thing right now. It will provide you relief as well as him. I hope this suggestion helps. It allows me to get my housework done and have time to myself when I really need it. Raising autistic kids isn't easy, but it is one you can manipulate and navigate to help you along this path. Also, make sure you join groups with other autistic parents. Sometimes they provide information that will help you along. Ipads have been proven and studied to help autistic childern to communicate and overcome sensory issues also. Perhaps, something your family can check into to.