Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,
Firstly, let me reassure you that what you are going through is a struggle of many parents. You are not alone and in sha Allah things will get better. Right now you feel swamped with the task of raising both a toddler and a newborn. A toddler alone or newborn alone is enough of a struggle, but you are managing both. And, with the absence of your husband much of the time due to work commitments he is not available to help out much either which places all the burden on your shoulders.
Masha Allah, the fact that you are reaching out for some advice is a good thing and a sign that you are trying your best to make things easy on your children as well as yourself in order that you can raise them well. May Allah reward your struggle.
Your initial response to your toddler in gently redirecting her is the best way to begin in managing her behaviour. However, as is commonly the case this seldom stops them from continuing with their behaviour which will often then drive the parent to lose their control and resort to more harsh measures wish usually then leads to the feelings of guilt once the parent has cooled down. The difficulty for the parents is keeping control of their anger when trying to manage too much at once; in this case trying to tend to the needs of both a newborn and a toddler.
It seems you have hit the nail on the head so to speak in identifying that the likely reason for her behaviour is that she is trying to demand your time. As you have already mentioned, you do try to give her this time, but with a newborn now you have less time to give her.
However, there are ways to work on this that work in everyone’s favour. Whilst you may not have as much time to give her one to one any more, you can still give her a portion of this when you can. Now, this time might not be as much as it once was, but you can give her more time that is shared with her new sibling.
Try to her involve her in the care of brother by having her involved in some tasks that she can help out with. For example, you can ask her to pick his clothes in the morning, ask her to help fetch the things to change his nappy.. Etc.. Rather than excluding her entirely when you are tending to your newborn, involve her. Alternatively, simply chatting with her and giving her attention that way whilst you deal with your newborn. For example, whilst feeding him, you could chat with her, or read her a book. This way you are tending to them both equ3and not excluding her. These types of approaches will also prevent any animosity that may be evolving in her due to the increased attention paid to her new baby brother at this time.
Furthermore, the above approach not only will assist you in giving her the attention she is looking for whilst developing a bond between both him and her as well as you and her, but it also let’s her know that she can’t always be the center of attention and needs to share the attention of you with her brother, but in a gentle way without completely excluding her.
May Allah grant you patience during this struggle and may He give you the chance to see the fruits of your labour as they grow into children that will be the coolness of your eyes in this life and the next, in sha Allah.
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