In an Instagram post on Wednesday afternoon, Beyoncé surprised the world by sharing an overly orchestrated photo of her new baby bump, announcing that she's pregnant with twins. Within minutes of her post, the star's news went viral as fans all over the world cheered with joy for Bey, Jay Z, and newly established big sis, Blue Ivy—possibly the Carter family member who'll be affected the most.
As a psychologist who works with expectant and new parents, I've witnessed how deeply a new sibling impacts a child's emotional and psychological development. While mom and dad are excited about this new addition, it's common for the older sibling to feel threatened and jealous of this change, and these feelings are even more intense when twins enter the picture. Kids might feel like mom and dad only love the new babies.
They may even regress to an earlier stage of development to try to garner the same care and attention that the new babies receive. For example, a new big sis like Blue Ivy might have more frequent tantrums or refuse to listen to the family rules. While this prickly behavior can wreak havoc at home, it's a child's way to try to gain control over something that they can't control at all: no longer being the center of attention. That's already a big deal for non-celebrity kids, but for Blue, who's been solo-slayin' since she the day she was born, the adjustment could be even trickier.
Older children who have had more alone time to bond with mom and dad may feel extra threatened by their sibling's arrival, and it's normal for them to feel sad, angry, and confused about this enormous life change. But rest assured, Beyoncé and Jay Z, there are several savvy ways that you can help prepare Blue Ivy for the upcoming arrival of the babies.
Talk to Blue Ivy about her siblings' arrival.
School-aged children like Blue Ivy are curious about mom's growing belly, and they will have a lot of questions about the baby's birth. Blue Ivy can accompany you to a prenatal visit to see a picture of the babies on the ultrasound machine, and she can understand many of the children's books that talk about this topic.
Put her to work.
One route that's worked for some parents is to designate the new older sibling as the twins' spokesperson. Anytime anyone asks about the sex, or, post-delivery, the birth order of the twins, have Blue Ivy explain what's up. That can give her a feeling of being central to this new development.
Help her feel proud about being a big sister.
School-aged kids feel pride about their new family role, and they like to make their own 'sibling announcement' by wearing a T-shirt that says, "I'm going to be a big sister." You can use this opportunity to talk with Blue Ivy about the role of big sisters. Blue Ivy may even enjoy going shopping to pick out baby gifts for her siblings-to-be.
Promise her one-on-one time.
Older children may fear being abandoned by mom and dad once the babies arrive. You can help relieve these fears by talking about this concern before the birth. Let Blue Ivy know that you'll carve out some special time to do the things that she enjoys and that there's enough love to go around for everyone.