Q: My wife and I had our first child a short while ago. He is a little boy, and what a delight he is. We are talking about having another child.The problem is that we are not sure when we should plan to do so.
Some people tell us to wait two or three years before having a second child, others tell us to get right at it. We are confused.
We are not sure what is the best way to go.
What are your thoughts about when we might consider having another child?
A: I am glad that the two of you are talking about when to have another child and not just letting nature have its way with your family.
The more that you are able to agree with each other, the less likely your next child will be born in the midst of anxiety and uncertainty.
You have a number of concerns to consider when discussing your next child but I think the mother’s health is most important.
Your wife’s body has been traumatized both by her pregnancy and the delivery of your son.
Depending on how fussy your baby might be, and whether your wife has a few opportunities to regain her strength, she needs time to recover.
A child conceived before Mom is healthy might be at risk.
Some families want to have their second and third children as quickly as possible to get through the diaper stage and all night vigils all at once.
Other families choose to wait. They believe that spacing their children will let them spend more time with each one and give each of them special attention.
More important than the chronological spacing of your children is that you give each child opportunities to fulfill his unique and individual talents.
Dressing them alike or getting them to mimic each other is fun once in a while, but it should never displace the needs each child has to develop his or her own character.
Encourage your children to develop some boundaries between their lives, listen to the concerns each has individually, and if they choose not to attend each other’s hockey games or piano recitals, don’t make them feel guilty for not doing so.
Parents worry about whether or not their kids are getting along with each other.
The irony is that the more your children appreciate their differences, the more likely it is that they will get along with each other.
Differences in age neither contribute nor distract from your children’s compatibility with one another.
Most parents adjust well to each of their children regardless of age differences and whether their families were strategically planned.