Can I help my son come to terms with the new baby?

I am pregnant with my second child. My son is 13. His father and I are divorced; it was a bad marriage and my son was rejected by his father. Since the divorce, his father fades in and out of his life. My son is very angry about the new baby and told my new husband and me that he wants no part of it. Do I punish him or try another way to get him to be less negative and hateful? All of this really upsets my new husband, who was trying to encourage my son to be a part of the new baby/family.

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Pregnancy is a mystery to all men. Don't worry if he can't get excited. Let the new Dad get excited, and find age appropriate hobby or interests for your boy. He needs positive feedback too, as new big Bro.

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13 is a difficult age under the best of circumstances.  Maybe the best course of action is to just love them both and not force the issue.  Direct your efforts towards building a good life for your little family and let the rest follow naturally. 


Jan from

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Respect his decision.  Talk with him and tell him that you don't intend to exclude him, but there are going to be a number of things that revolve around the new baby as is normal when a child is born because they take up so much time and are helpless.  Tell him he is always welcome to help and participate, but that you won't force it on him, and in respecting his announcement, will try not to approach him or ask much of him in assistance, but that you'd certainly appreciate any he might have to offer if he changes his mind.  You'd love it if he would be more involved in the family as a whole, new baby included, but that you don't want to require it of him in respect for his stated position.

That being said, I think you have a problem being weak as a parent - please don't confuse 'weak' with 'bad' or 'incompetent'.  It is the only reason I offer this advice.  The fact that your son stepped up to say this, and that you allow your deadbeat ex in and out of his life so that he can continuously revisit the rejection by his dad says reams about your parenting style.  He's obviously strong-willed, and has been allowed to be so by your parenting style.  While this is not a bad thing in general, it is when at 13 he feels comfortable enough to disassociate himself from you and the rest of the household family - it is not something that most 13yo's would feel comfortable standing up and saying, even if they might actively pursue it quietly. Perhaps a stronger stance earlier on, or a gradual, progressively more strict approach now to handling the teen (and his errant father) might be warranted here, but the first position is to show respect to his proclamation, while simultaneously letting him know that it might have unexpected results causing a greater exclusion of him from the rest of the family.  

However, you and your husband should also take special care to request one-on-one time with him in activities that he enjoys (batting cages, paintball, movies (as a last resort), etc).  This will let him know that you keep actively trying to include him even while he excludes himself.

I agree with Helen-what this kid needs is a sense of absolute security in his mom's unconditional love. Maybe you dont need to dwell so much on "preparing" him or trying to get him excited about his new sibling. Probably it would be better to let him see that the pregnancy and the new baby are not the entire focus of your attention, that you will always continue to be his mom no matter what. He needs to feel that you love him absolutely, and allow him to have whatever reaction he feels like in his attitude towards the pregnancy. It is highly unlikely that he will NOT be fascinated by the baby once it arrives, just let him set his own pace in establishing the relationship HE wants. He is after all 13, not 3, and I agree with many of the other contributors when they say he doesnt want to THINK about Mom being (gasp) pregnant, let alone TALK about it!  Just love him, be attentive to him without constantly discussing the baby, and relax. I'm sure your husband is a good guy, but maybe he needs to be encouraged to nurture a relationship with your son for his own sake, not just limited to "trying to get him excited about and involved with" the baby. Good luck and God bless.

u could always give one of them away

Punish him for what?  He hasn't done anything wrong.  He's confused, and dazed.

He's been rejected by his father, you have a new husband and you are going to have a new baby. 

The boy is just dealing with a lot.  He needs some time from his mom, not the woman who is expecting; the mom he knows and loves.

I raised three boys and I remember when they hit 13, they became different.  He's starting puberty - and his mother is pregnant - he knows how it happened and you know what, he's a little bit embarassed to think that you had (whisper) sex. 

No he does not need to be shopping for the new baby.  You need to take him for a day out for him.  Put up with teenage stuff for a day and have some fun.  Get him some cool things that teenagers like.  Yeah, it's tough, but for a day forget that you're expecting and be HIS mom again.

And when the baby comes, don't go pushing the baby at him.  Let him observe, let him approach when he's ready.  Strange as it sounds, the first time the new little one looks at the older brother, the first time his eyes focus and he reacts to the new face; big brother will be hooked.  but you have to let it happen.  You can't force it.

At 13, your son is still in the middle of the puberty stage and possibly learning about his own sexuality.  My grandson even though much younger (about 3), he was the center of attention until his baby sister came along 2 years later.  He wanted to throw his trucks at her in the hospital.  I told him (as his Nana) he should love his little sister because she couldn't take care of herself, and he should kiss her and tell her he loves her.  Once he did that and Mama had him help her at home getting a diaper for her when she needed changing or getting the towel after a bath, he became more involved in her life.  She became his baby to help his Mom and Dad take care of her.  Today my grandson is almost 7 and my granddaughter is almost 5 and big brother is now very protective of his little sister.  

Your 13 year old son has been rejected in his mind by his father, then his Mom has a new love in her life and now the baby. So he is possibly concerned about where does he stand in this family.  Until the baby arrives he should still be center of attention, even going on shopping trips for the baby.

Last suggestion, if you haven't had your baby shower yet, have your husband and son go shopping for your son's gift for the baby shower and let him attend. As long as he is involved in everything about the baby he will become more excited about the arrival.

The Lord bless you all, hope everything works out for your family.

Mrs. G.  

I would definitely not put a negative spin on what your son is feeling.  It sounds like he's had lots of changes to deal with and not a good male role model to help him navigate things.  I would recommend trying to make him feel part of the new family by enlisting his help in getting ready for the new baby, asking his opinion on things---like maybe the names for the baby.  Ask him how and what he would teach his new sibling.  It's important to let him know that he is not being replaced...he's still the eldest child and equally important in the family structure. 

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