Syndrome of the displaced firstborn: that’s what it is


The arrival of a younger sibling at home is referred to as displaced firstborn syndrome for older siblings. Sometimes it affects, even if not in a clear way, even the “middle” child. Specifically, it is a series of behaviors and reactions in the eldest son when a new brother arrives. In short, his arrival is seen as an intrusion and not as a filial bond. The hallmark of the displaced firstborn syndrome is the older sibling’s desire to get parental attention. It is also the desire to attack or eliminate the intruder who has arrived, even if he seems to love him by showing that he wants to take care of him. 


If parents don’t know how to handle this situation, it can cause serious emotional damage to the child. The little one does not know that he suffers from this syndrome and does not realize that he is rejecting his brother or sister. He just sees how everyone focuses on the newcomer by paying more attention to him. Here are the behaviors he exhibits:

  • increased aggression
  • extreme passivity
  • poor academic performance
  • introversion
  • carelessness
  • little participation in the game
  • appetite changes
  • sleep disorders
  • frequent tantrums or “tantrums”

In addition, children with this syndrome may return to sucking their thumb as they did when they were young or have physical symptoms or even health problems. Often the syndrome can affect children as adults, causing a deep feeling of abandonment, giving the feeling of not having a place in the world. We need to work with the child before the baby is born, so anticipate the preparation for the new event 

Teaching the baby to share a space that used to be his alone, it’s important to involve him in preparations for the birth. Explain to the child that the mother has to go to the hospital to have the baby, in short, let him know everything . It is important that the child occupies a fundamental place in the life of the parents. The arrival of the second child must be shared with the little one as a positive family event. 


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