A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Big Brother Shaun {Adjusting to Brotherhood}

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Big Brother Shaun {Adjusting to Brotherhood}

Since Finley's arrival, the most common question we hear is:

How is Shaun adjusting to being a big brother?

As you may recall, this was a bit of a concern for us when making the decision to grow our family. Change can be hard for any child...and even more so for children with Autism. A simple change such as a new route to school can be extremely upsetting to a child on the spectrum...and having a new sibling is a HUGE change. We had no idea how the change would affect him, or how he would act towards her. We took many steps to do our best to prepare him months in advance, in hopes that it would ease the transition a bit. So, how DID he react?

Initially, he was beyond excited...he came into the hospital with a huge grin on his face and a bounce in his step (literally). But, he was also quite calm for him and very careful around his baby sister. I think perhaps he was a bit nervous around her...this lasted for a few weeks. Now, he has gotten much more comfortable...and that's not necessarily a good thing! When she was just about two weeks old, I'd left them both in the living room- Finley in the sleeper, Shaun on the iPad- so that I could rinse out some diapers. As I stood at the sink, I heard Shaun, looked over and saw him standing there carrying his baby sister! I nearly had a heart attack. Thankfully, he was carrying her correctly and she wasn't hurt at all, but it scared the living daylights out of me regardless and we learned we had to be much more watchful! There have been a few more instances where he has tried to pick her up, or gotten a little rougher with her than we were comfortable with, but overall he seems to be doing better on that front...though we're still extremely careful!!

We knew that with such a big change, there was a good chance that we could see an increase in negative behaviors both at home and in school. Our biggest fear was aggression, as we'd seen in the past with significant changes...but we were pleasantly surprised to find that we didn't really have much of an issue with that like we expected. He's had a few rough days, of course, but really a lot better than we thought it would be...and his teacher agrees completely as well. What a relief!

As far as jealousy goes, we haven't really noticed too many issues. My husband actually has said that he seems to be more jealous of us than her...because we are able to hold her more than he is! Honestly, there are times when he's super excited she's there and wants to play with her all the time...and other times when he could truly care less it seems. He does care when she cries though. At times he tries to be helpful and lets me know that she is crying and needs me, or offers his finger to her to suck on...other times, he gets frustrated with the crying and has to cover his ears or use his noise blocking headphones. There have been a few instances when he's in particularly irritable moods where he has tried to cover her mouth as well...another reason we've had to watch him very carefully- but he seems to have learned now that this is absolutely not allowed and can hurt sister. Personally, I have felt that he seems to have gone back to wanting to be by himself all the time, but my husband pointed out that this is not so much a change in him. He has always preferred to be alone, I was just able to drag him out of that more when I wasn't nursing and having to split my attention between both of my babies...which makes sense.

Unfortunately, one big negative change we have seen is a regression in potty training. Before Finley's arrival, Shaun had been pretty well accident free for about a month- something we'd been working on for a LONG time (remember, he's now 6 years old) and seemed like it was never going to happen. After Finley arrived, he started having the occasional small accidents- but would usually stop himself and finish in the potty. Now, he's back to not caring at all and going in his pants all the time again. I cannot say 100% for sure that this actually has to do with Finley's arrival, BUT with the timing it seems fairly likely.

So overall, it's not been the smoothest transition by any means, but he could be doing a lot worse too. We have a lot to work on, but I know in time we will figure it all out. The most important thing is that he loves his baby sister more than anything, and I am beyond proud of what a great big brother he is becoming!!


  1. So sweet! Cutest little family ever!

  2. beautiful kids! love the big brother shirt.

    knickgirl_3 at yahoo dot com


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