Second Child: Does the Law of Diminishing Returns Apply to Having a Second Child?
Some say having a second child brings more happiness into the family, and others claim it's a recipe for doubled-up stress! Know what our experts have to say and what you can do to make sure each child is as nurtured as they should be!
If having your first child made you enormously happy, will having another one make you even happier? There are those who say that having a second child multiplied the joy, while there are those who say that the doubled-up stress of having a second child outweighed the joy. So, what’s the real deal?
The real deal is: with the preparation for the arrival of the second child, and the desire for a bigger family, you can celebrate and enjoy the arrival of the second child.
I inform parents that we need to adopt a positive attitude and desire for the second child, especially if unplanned. For things to be enjoyable, for both the parent and the newborn, unload whatever upset feelings you have. A number of parents can feel upset and not as excited as when the first born arrived – if the pregnancy was not planned. Talk to your doctor or a therapist about this situation. Non-acceptance of the second child can breed negativity in you and later on, between you and the baby.
The good news is that you are now a more experienced parent in breastfeeding, changing diapers, feeding, handling illness, and organizing your schedule. The adjustment will be in managing two kids. Look for a helping hand – be it your spouse, parents, in-laws, or even other relatives and friends.
To help you adjust, focus on providing the basic needs of the newborn (such as breastfeeding and bathing), then delegate other tasks (like burping, setting up the bath, cleaning up) to another person for at least the first 3 to 6 months. This is so you can equally divide your time between your first born and the newborn, as well as with your husband and yourself.
Everything else like home management and office work can be passed on to someone else in the meantime. Help your older child adjust to the newborn by setting aside time in the day for playing, reading, and bonding. Do not mention things like, “I cannot spend time with you since you have a sibling now.” Rather, you can rephrase this to, “Let us plan our time together at this time, then later I will make time for your sibling.” If the first born is aware of the scheduled time with mom, then we reduce the possibility of misbehavior from the first child. (Luckily, you can expect your newborn to be oftentimes asleep, which will make scheduling easier.)
Rafael, my eldest son, was followed by my second son, David, a year and a half later. So for the first 6 months of David, I hired a trusted yaya to care for him while I spent time with Rafael. I made sure to set aside regular time with Raf for reading, playing, and having meals together. I would then attend to Dav after spending time with Raf. Raf was happier to go with his yaya and play with the other kids in the townhouse while I spent time with Dav, feeding, reading a book, catching up on sleep. Self-care is very important at this point. Two kids can keep you up at night – so get as much sleep as you can. My parents and in-laws would come as scheduled to help out and allow me more time with my husband Allan, or time to myself.
Another blessing of having a second child is that the older one now has a playmate and a companion. It also became easier for Allan and I to leave for our dates or talks, knowing that Raf and Dav had each other. It was also very exciting and challenging to see the unfolding of the second child’s personality versus the first child. As the experts say, the second is usually the opposite of the first: one enjoys eating, while the other one prefers playing…one is orderly, while the other one likes to make a mess. And so on…the role of parents is to bring out the uniqueness of each child, and raise each one to be confident, caring and responsible. Today, Raf and Dav, in their 30’s are more like good friends than typical brothers.
So enjoy your second child as much as you enjoyed your first child. All of your children are lovable in their own unique way. And remember that each child is a blessing and gift to the family!
About The Expert
Maribel Sison Dionisio, MA, Family, Relationship & Marriage Expert
Maribel, a Relationship and Parenting Consultant for over 25 years has co-authored books, like “Helping our Children do Well in School, Growing up Wired” and “I’ve been Dating…now what?”. She was a contributor and the Parenting Expert of Wyeth’s Nurture Network from 2010 to 2018. Maribel is a regular Parenting Expert for various TV and radio programs, like Radyo Singko’s Relasyon and ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda. Maribel served as a Judge for the Jollibee Family Values Award.
In 2008, she set-up AMD Love Consultants for Families and Couples. She worked at the Center for Family Ministries and trained as an Imago Therapist of the Imago Relationships International, New York. Maribel and husband, Allan, are both graduates of the Family Ministry course, Ateneo de Manila. They prepare couples for marriage in the Discovery Weekend and are columnists for the Feast Magazine. They have co-authored two relationship books, Thinking of Marriage and Teen Crush. Allan and Maribel, happily married for 36 years, have 3 children, Rafael, David, and Angelica.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.