Q: I have just given birth to my second son. Ever since I came home from the hospital, our 4-year-old has been acting strangely. He used to be cuddly and affectionate with me. Now he will hardly let me touch him. Why is this happening?
A: The emperor has been dethroned, so to speak. Your son was previously the only apple of your eye, but now that your attention is on your newborn, he feels rejected, abandoned and angry. Although he may act kindly to his little brother, he certainly doesn’t feel that way.
You, your husband and your son’s grandparents should plan to spend extra time alone with him. Indeed, the grandparents can be especially helpful here as they have the time to give him their undivided attention – something you cannot do with a newborn to care for. If your son receives this kind of attention from his family, he will feel loved and important, and will soon come to accept his younger brother. Above all, try not to get angry at him for this change in his behavior. He will soon return to the cuddly son you love.
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