How do you know if your family is ready for another child?
Of course, child spacing and the number of children a family has is a highly personal decision, and depends on many different factors.
Only you know what is right for your family, and there are benefits and disadvantages to any age gap between children, as well as to any family size.
But I'm asked this question by moms in the context of the focus my work, the aim of which is to:
First of all, I don’t believe there’s an ideal age difference between children. But there are certain CONDITIONS that ideally are in a place before a new sibling is brought into a family.
Insuring that these conditions are met will limit or even eliminate any trauma from being caused to the older child(ren) and allow a relatively smooth transition for the whole family (mom or the primary caregiver in particular.)
In general, those conditions are:
And was told that by one that she really wished this message had been conveyed to her.
Hence this article for all parents considering adding another child to their family, who might feel the same way. You now have the info. :-)
The reason I feel strongly about parents doing the work before having a second child is that when we only have one child, it can be relatively easy to compensate for small chinks in:
1. their sense of self (such as sometimes not feeling worthy, feeling that something’s wrong with them, or that they don’t matter)
2. our relationship with them (sometimes not feeling like we’re on their side, feeling welcome, trusted, connected, loved or liked.)
But it becomes much harder when we have two children!
Our focus on a child other than them, our diminished availability, our increased tiredness and often irritability end up increasing the chink in our child’s sense of self and the quality of our relationship with them.
And this often starts a downward spiral of the child acting out their discomfort, the parent enjoying them less and being more irritated with them, the child’s sense of self and quality of the parent’s relationships with them diminishing, the child acting out even more as a result of that, and on and on…
This is one reason why the vast majority of the people who work with me do so because of issues with their oldest child (stay tuned for an article on this, describing my pretty extensive theory on this subject. You can sign up for my email list here.)
In detail, here’s what I tell moms I’d love for them to be experiencing before having a second child:
You’ll find that if you’ve achieved that, parenting your second child with likely be effortless.
You’ll experience what I call unconscious parenting (in the most positive of ways!) because you’ll know what you’re doing, will be tapped in to your instincts and won’t be in your head trying to think through everything like you did with your first.
And it’s very likely that your oldest child’s adjustment to a new sibling will be pretty smooth (though you can still expect some reactions and backsliding during the adaptation period.)
So if at all possible, do whatever it takes to get to the place I described for you!
It can be HARD WORK to get there, but it absolutely IS attainable and it’s so worth it!!
(You can check out the following articles for more on this: Is This Really Possible?!? One Family's Experience of Natural Parenting and Parenting Can Be Easy?!?)
And if you can’t get there on your own AND are committed to parenting peacefully and raising whole children, please get support (and ideally before having more children.)
I offer 2 effective parenting programs to support you in this: my Quick Start Program and my intensive and life transforming Clean Parenting™ Program. If you’re not clear on which is best suited for you, email me and I’ll help you determine it.
An interesting result of the Clean Parenting™ one (and unexpected to me!) is moms of one, who didn’t feel ready for or equipped to have a second child when starting it often feel ready and/or confident in their ability to parent 2 by the end of it, just two months later.
YOU ALREADY HAVE MULTIPLE CHILDREN?
If you already have multiple children and are recognizing yourself and your oldest child in some of what I’ve shared, please don’t despair.
It’s not too late.
It just takes a bit more work and focus to regain (or reach) a place of harmony, and to heal any damage your child might have experienced. (This is a significant part of the work I do with parents of multiple children in my Clean Parenting™ Program.)
But it definitely CAN be done!
For some initial guidance on what is needed to reach this place or harmony and help your child start to heal, request my free report The Almost Magical Formula for Surprising Ease and Harmony in Your Family While Fully Honoring Your Children’s Spirits and check out my article Two Keys to Resolving Behavior Issues.
I hope you’ve gained some valuable information and guidance from this article. I know the parenting ideal I describe can feel unattainable to some parents.
But it’s important to me to make it be known to those of you who are yearning for it that it IS possible to mostly consistently parent peacefully and to raise children who have an intact sense of self.
And, in the context of this article’s topic, to have an easy adjustment to a new sibling, which in my family was also followed by no real sibling rivalry and very infrequent fighting between my 3 girls.
So if some place in you recognizes the truth of what I’m speaking of, but you’re not yet living it in your family, I urge you to get support.
(You can read stories of many parents who have done the work and experienced the transformation in their families here.)
You and your children deserve to live this beautiful harmony!
Lots of love,
"I am writing this and crying because what your program as given me and my family is a gift from God/Source. The love I feel for my children and empathy I am able to gift them because of doing this work is miraculous to me. Before doing this I was trying so hard all the time and it was exhausting. I felt like I was failing a lot and there was love between us (an abundance even) but I couldn't feel it all the time because I was blocked by my own stuff that I didn't even know was there.
Doing this program step-by-step, reading the articles, answering the questions, implementing the tools all led me down the path, to the answer I didn't even know I needed to find. The source of my upset and the place where I disconnected from my son. I don't ever have to feel that again- the pain, the anguish, the hurt that was there when I didn't feel connected or loving towards him- now there is just PURE LOVE.
I am still crying- Thank you Eliane xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx"
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