When you have your first child everything seems perfect. Your undivided attention falls on him and he is also happy and content. Then you receive the happy news of another baby on the way. At this point you start thinking about the dynamics of how another baby will effect your neat little equation that you have going on. The truth is though, as far as your elder child is concerned, you can't know how he will react. I know kids who transitioned into the change with no issues at all, and some kids that just go totally off the rails engaging in all types of negative behavior. The good news is you can do something about it.
1. Get on top of it: Preparing your child for the upcoming baby can mean the difference in attitude adjustment when the time actually comes. Talking about 'baby brother' or 'baby sister', involving him in shopping for the baby, rehearsing with a doll and above all ensuring to him that you will always love him no matter what are some little steps you can take to mentally prepare him.
2. Little tasks: Being mama's little helper is a nifty little nick name all kids adore. You can ask your child to carry out little tasks which are age appropriate to help you with the baby.
3. Attention: The truth is that even though we have sleepless nights and tonnes more work to do, a little baby really needs only the basics for the first few months of life. Yes they need cuddling, but pacifying them is a lot easier. So even if you are feeding baby, you can talk to your child about how mama needs to take care of the baby in this way and that when he was young you did the same for him. You can read, make chatter, do home work; just spend quality time versus quantity (which you will have less off). The only reason he will engage in irritating actions like disobeying, or even banging his head is just to get your attention and if you don't give it willingly, your child will get it any other way he can.
4. Routine: It really helps if you maintain the routine of your elder child even if you have no semblance of one yourself. Fixed meal times, bed times, play time help to ground your child with familiar territory and this helps to deal with the huge change in his life.
5. Extra activities: If you have trustworthy neighbours, friends or family whereby you can arrange play dates, that would help in diverting you elder child's attention and utilize his energy in a more progressive way.
6. Boundaries: Parents often in their frazzled state of mind, tend to snap at the elder kids. Now saying that it won't happen is unrealistic, but just pause for a moment and in each trying situation just try to see it from the view point of your child. You will realize some amazing things and it will help you tackle the child positively Coercion, threatening, forcing and even bribing are all actions that will be reciprocated with negative behaviour. So respect the boundaries of your child and realize they don't like being told off any more than you do. Don't force your child to do anything he doesn't like, for instance sharing toys, or fetching baby's blanket. Leave these small things and have patience.
Just remember human nature is built to adjust to changes, and don't underestimate your child. But give leeway and give him time to adjust, be patient even if it seems impossible and know that it is a natural process and like all of nature, everything will eventually fall into harmony.