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Help! Two yr old won't stop being mean to pets!

post #1 of 3
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She is just so persistant and just won't stop, and I am so close to just starting to smack her hand or something and that is SOOOO not me! I haven't ever intentionally hit my kids (she's my 3rd of 4--I think my sig is gone...).

Anyway, we're living w/ my parents for the next year, just got here last week. We haven't ever had pets besides a fish. My parents have a cat who isn't friendly, one skittish dog, and a calm german shepherd. The cat is the one she goes after constantly. Mostly she just wants to pet it, but he does NOT want to be petted! Then sometimes she pulls at his fur or his tail. Or pushes him out of his snuggly spot. Or just won't leave him alone!

And the big german shepherd is super nice and tolerant, but my daughter wants to grab her belly and push her back end, etc. She usually does something not nice followed by a nice pet on the back. "I touch her gently!". Ugh.

And then tonight she discovers the china cabinet and other drawers........ she just will not get the hint about not getting into drawers and cabinets. So frustrating.

This is so typical of a toddler it's boring, I know, but the pet thing really has me concerned. I don't know how to get it through to her to make sure she's safe. And I have a 3 month old. And a 7 and 5 yr old. So I can't stay one foot away from her all day.

I know I need help when I am seriously considering hitting her hands as a form of discipline. Logically, makes no sense, but I don't want her to get hurt by these animals and she is not getting it through repeated instruction, redirection, time out, etc.

My only encouraging thought tonight (after many many things she was doing that were wrong) was that "well, hopefully in a month she will be better". But that's a long time!!
post #2 of 3
have you tried talking to her about how the animals have feelings just like she does, it hurts them to be pushed and pulled, it makes them feel scared when she is rough with them, etc.? i feel sure that you have. in any case, good luck and best wishes.
post #3 of 3
Here are our strategies:
1. Supervise any contact between child and pet.
2. Remind child that she must offer a hand for the pet to sniff before she can touch it. This is the way we ask if the pet wants to be friendly at the moment.
3. Ask child to show you on your hand how to do gentle petting before being allowed to interact with pet.
4. Remind child that pets are part of the family, and we don't hit/pinch/kick/squeeze them, just like we don't do that to the baby or mama or anybody else.
5. Remind the child as they are petting "gentle touches only, please."
6. Separate them if the child is not being kind and gentle. It's not fair to the animal to be mauled by a toddler, and the child is potentially in danger of being taught a lesson at the end of a sharp claw that is best avoided...
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