Pinterest Hidden Image

What if the older sibling hates the new baby..?

A frustrating situation for sure, but also a common one! While you can’t force someone to like a person – feelings are feelings – there are some efficient, loving steps you can take to help your older child adapt to the new situation and slowly bond with their younger sibling.

sibling hates the new babyPin

Mom’s question:

What to do when the older sibling hates the new baby..?

I have a newborn baby and a 5-year-old, and my older son is violent and resents his brother. It feels like he hates his little brother! I would like my kids to grow up and be close. How can I enforce this?

What shall I do to make them bond?


How To Help Older Siblings When New Baby Arrives

Sibling Hates the New Baby – What’s Wrong?

Basically, you can’t force your kids to be close. Forcing is not about loving and caring, so the best thing you can do with your five-year-old is to help him feel loved and special.

When we come home with a new baby, all the attention suddenly shifts to the new arrival, and the older child is supposed just to accept it happily and even welcome it.

People come with presents for the baby; everyone admires the baby, and everyone cuddles the baby. It is no wonder your son is struggling to adjust.

If you think about it, your son has had you to himself for five years, and suddenly it seems to him that you have taken your love away, and all your attention is going to the new baby. He is learning that to get your attention, even if it is negative attention, he has to do something drastic, like hurting the baby.

The behavior doesn’t mean that the sibling hates the new baby as a person. But he or she may hate the new situation.

How to Help Siblings Bond

Here are things you can consider doing to improve the situation:

1. Change the Focus

You need to change the focus from telling him off to finding all the things your 5-year-old is good at or all the ways he is behaving well.

Punishments and telling him off will just reinforce his feelings of not being loved. So if you start to give him positive attention, he will no longer need to behave badly.

2. Verbal Expression is Fine and Important

It is important that he is not allowed to hurt the baby, but he must also have some time to say how he feels. Letting him say that he hates the baby is fine; he has to express it, and in time he will learn to love his new sibling.

You’ve had nine months of knowing a new baby was on its way; the concept for your son was just abstract, and the reality is much harder to get used to.

3. Include your son

Of course, you need to keep your baby safe until you can trust your five-year-old has learned how to handle a baby. Teach him how to hold the baby, how to change a nappy, how to talk to the baby, how to be gentle, all the time praising him for being such a lovely big brother.

4. Indirect Praise

When you are talking to the baby, tell the baby how lucky he/she is to have such a lovely big brother, all the things the baby will learn from having an older brother, and talk about your five-year-old in front of others as special and helpful.

Take any opportunity to emphasize his positive actions and minimize the focus on his bad behavior.

5. Special Time with Your Older Child

Try to make some special time with your older son on his own, when the baby is asleep, or when Dad has the new baby, and let him know he is special, he is important, and you love him.

Make sure you (and Dad) spend time with him each day, paying attention to his stories, questions, and games. In particular, praise him when he helps with the baby getting nappies or getting you a glass of water.

Make him feel important.

6. Tell Your Baby That You Don’t Have Time :-)

Often the older sibling will hear over and over again, “Not now, the baby needs this, or the baby needs that“.

To balance this, a great trick is to take the opportunity sometimes to tell your newborn (when your older child can hear it) “No, mom can’t carry you right now, because I want to do this or that with your brother“.

Preferably do this when your baby is content with being with dad or in the bouncer or something similar. This way, your son will feel he is the top priority, not the baby.

7. Ask Friends and Family to Give Attention to Your Son

Finally, if there are still friends and family yet to pay a visit to see your new baby, ask them to bring a small gift to your son too – for celebrating that he is now a big brother.

The Sibling Relationship Over Time

The fact that the older sibling hates the new baby is a situation that will pass.

The sibling relationship will grow as your 5 years old starts to feel loved and secure and your baby grows up. The older the younger child becomes, the easier it will be to find games they both can enjoy. Even at just a few months old, your 5-year-old can get a lot of love and appreciation from his younger brother if you help them play together.

Browse our baby development month-by-month articles here, for ideas on games to initiate where your older son can really interact with his younger brother.

Enjoy and love them both, and emphasize all the lovely special qualities and you can’t go wrong!


Feel free to share your thoughts, experiences, or tips by adding a comment below. Have you experienced that the older sibling hates the new baby too?

Leave a Reply