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Extrovert becoming introverted with birth of #2

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  • Extrovert becoming introverted with birth of #2

    My lovely, extroverted son Liam (26 mo) has become introverted since our second son Seamus was born a month ago. Liam loved visiting and playing with friends and seemed to need to play with them often. He and his friends wouldn't always play the nicest, always share well or always get along, but generally the times spent with friends were good and not too troublesome. In the past two weeks, and particularly in the past few days, he's had a very difficult time when we've had friends over -his closest friends and when we've been to playgroups.

    Today, we were at a playgroup with some new friends. A little boy arrived and every single toy he tried to touch, Liam starting crying about and yelling to the boy "MINE! NO!" I would help mediate and Liam would really cry -with tears and all. We'd calm down and resolve and a minute later, he'd do it again. I took him to a place no one was playing in and talked to him then let me be alone for a few to play by himself (when he gets too upset, he likes to be alone for a few once we've connected).

    Liam has been great with Seamus. He's very loving and affectionate, even protective of him. Liam's been a bit fussy here and there with our family, but nothing too out of the ordinary. When he's been very emotional, they've generally been more intense in the past two months, but not too bad.

    I can't tell if this is because of Seamus' arrival or just because Liam is two. I don't think I'll ever know for sure. I don't really think there is anything I can do other than just ride it out.

    Has anyone experienced this? Any thoughts?

  • #2

    I was hoping that someone else would answer this because I'm not sure if what I have to say will be too helpful. But, since no one else has answered, I'll give it a shot! (Or maybe a stab in the dark. )

    I'm going to guess that Liam's behaviour is new brother related but of course I could be wrong as it does also sound like very typical 2 year stuff. (And I bring up the new brother stuff a bit hesitantly as I remember when my #2 was born it seemed than any change in #1 was always blamed on the new arrival. He doesn't want to put on his jacket? Must be the new baby! What? His poop looks different? It MUST be because he has a new sister. He fell down the stairs? Well, clearly that's a result of his new, sibling-related, inner turmoil.)

    But, I digress. One of the things I learned with my two is that the older child can be very happy to have the sibling and very loving toward the sibling but still be having a problem adjusting. In our case my son was really happy to have a new sister but after a month or two started to develop what seemed like conflict with her. He would poke and push her and the more I told him not to, the more he did it and the more violent it became. And, to make a very long story short, I finally realized that he was not mad at her, he was mad at me. She was purely a way to get my attention. (Maybe this is obvious to others but I always anticipated him being angry with and resentful of her not me.) Because it was an issue with me that he was having, anything I did to try and mend his relationship with his sister was not effective in changing his behaviour towards her. It was only when I treated it as an issue between me and him that I could make any progress in fixing things.

    So, my only idea on the Liam situation is that maybe he is happy to have a brother but that he is having a problem with something that changed when his brother came along. In our case it was a change in the relationship with mom but it could also be a more situational type change. For instance, maybe he is happy to share his life/toys/love/mom with Seamus. But it's been a BIG emotional adjustment and he's all "shared-out". There's no emotional room left for sharing beyond his immediate family both with toys and affection.


    • #3
      This sounds like pretty typical behavior for a 2 year old. My son becomes possessive of his stuff when other toddlers come over to play, and I notice that his friends become possessive of their stuff when we're at their house. I've noticed that the toddlers tend to get along best on a neutral play area--like a park, and it seems that they have an easier time sharing. good luck!