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New big sister is out of control

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My dd just turned 3 and is now a big sister to dd2. She has been excited for dd2 arrival and is very affectionate towards her. However she has been having huge meltdowns everyday. She had one that lasted 90 mins the other day.

She gets set off if I have to say no to her and most of the time I don't actually say "no" but she knows when she isn't getting her way. Our new baby. Is very easy so dd1 is getting lots of attention and everyday we make a point of giving her mommy time without the baby, usually twice a day. I have been staying so calm during her tantrums but nothing I do seems to help.

Dd1 is very bright and high energy... She knows what she wants and is a determined little girl. She has been a joy and up until now I have been really happy with just having chats about her behaviour and getting her to repeat requests appropriatly etc. Now none of that is working and I am wondering how I handle this. Time in doesn't work. She screams for me to leave or to stop looking at her. My thought about the tantrums was to set up a crib mattress in a spare room and have her calm down there until she is ready for a hug.

What do I do about the bad behaviour? She is constantly getting into everything and does know it is not allowed. There doesn't seem to be a natural consequence other than removing her which will mean a huge tantrum.

I feel so lost... I had guests today and dd was out of control. Everyone was paying attention toy dd1 and not the baby. It was so embarassing...
post #2 of 7
What do I do about the bad behaviour? She is constantly getting into everything and does know it is not allowed. There doesn't seem to be a natural consequence other than removing her which will mean a huge tantrum.>>>>>

I know it's hard but if you look at the situation(s) as her needing something rather than "bad behavior" it can help you react gently. Having a new sister is stressful both in a good and bad way. If there are ways to stop her getting into things than do it-childproofing, putting things up high, etc., don't expect her to have a lot of self control. 3 was a rough age for all the kids in my house, Playful Parenting is a good book for this age
post #3 of 7
I just wanted to offer my sympathies since my 2.5yo son is having a really tough time with his new baby brother. I'll be watching along for insights.
post #4 of 7
This was my daughter three years ago...from the excitement of a new babe, to the bright and spirited girl getting mommy time. It is frustrating, tiring, and difficult to deal with the tantrums and other behaviors.

I agree with mom2grrls, your DD needs something...the behavior is just an indication. It may be difficult for you to continue to be patient and loving and childproof what she can get into, but that's what she needs. I know at times is really stresses me.

Now my DD is six and my DS is three...and we're expecting a new babe any day now. DD has told DS on numerous occasions that when the new babe comes he won't get any attention, we won't listen to him, etc. DD is definitely anxious about the babes arrival, and has shared with me that she feels that we will no longer listen to her. Regardless of how much time and listening I do, she may still be anxious, and will need me to remain calm and loving. Definitely a challenge at times, but I do remind myself often...it is what she needs, and independent of how much love and attention I think I am giving her, what matters is how she feels.

post #5 of 7
Your daughter sounds much like my son - very intelligent, sensitive, high needs, and about three years old when little sister came along. He was very gentle with her, very excited about her, but started tantrums shortly after her birth.

Little sister is now almost nine months old. And we're still having tantrums. To be honest, I'm finding it harder to remain calm during them (especially because little sister has taken to screaming if I set her down. Almost every single time.) But I know that if I lose patience and yell (or even speak too harshly), my son's behavior escalates.

I've taken to spending her naps completely with my son (no housework, etc) - we either play whatever he wants or we read library books with him on my lap. We also read books while I nurse (we sit on the floor). He also asks to be worn in the backpack, and if I can (ie: little sister is actually content in the exersaucer), I wear him as long as I can.

I've taken to asking him if he needs a snack (or offering him two or three options for snack), asking if he needs to run around to wear off energy (then we play the game of "Run to the front door...good! Now run and touch Daddy's computer chair...great! Now run into the bathroom and bring me a Kleenex...thanks!"), or I say he's acting tired and needs to take a rest. (He's chosen to give up napping - even if he's tired, he will make himself stay awake until he's done "resting").

Other times I just say, "Okay, I'll wait" and I just sit and wait until he calms down. Sometimes it's a half-hour wait or more though. Sometimes I wait until the angry screams subside and are replaced with sad cries. He's very articulate, in that he'll tell me he's upset because I didn't do what he wanted, or that he didn't get what he wanted.

Hang in there - I definitely feel for you! Things will get easier. Eventually.
post #6 of 7

We are still working through this. 3.5 and 6mo old is so much better than barely 3 and newborn. It is really tough. We didn't handle it very well either, or maybe there just isn't an easy solution.

One of our biggest problems was DD being rough with babe. This was partly intentional and partly not. Absolutely no consequence ever worked for this. The only thing that did work was lots and lots of practice at supervised gentle play with him.

Our other big problem was our house getting trashed all the time - maybe what you're describing with 'getting into' things? Our logical consequence for that was making her pick up or put back whatever it was, every single time. We also set up some pretty solid routines for leaving the house and coming back in, which helped lots with the mess. This was not a quick fix, it was a looooooong fix.

For awhile DD was just incessantly demanding my attention, which was crazy. I knew she was getting tons of attention, almost 1:1 time because E was so chill as a newborn, but it never seemed to be enough. What I finally did was just plain stop letting her interrupt whatever I was doing and start telling her to wait - the idea finally got across that she was not entitled to mama's full attention 24/7. Every morning I planned the day with her together so she would know what would be happening and that she was going to get plenty of fun stuff/attention without needing to bug me for it. We also started enforcing quiet time every day so she would get lots of practice with independent play. Once she was used to that routine she started napping voluntarily instead of quiet time if she was super-tired.

Our last new-sibling-factor problem that we are still dealing with is potty regression...but that is a whole nother thread. Suffice it to say that it went badly for awhile and is improving.

Anyway....good luck and tons of s. To some degree we just had to wait out the phase, and my previously semi-hands-on DH has become a great teammate. Red wine and chocolate after bedtime helped too ;-).
post #7 of 7
2 week old son and 3 year old daughter.

We try to include our daughter on every aspect we can. We ask for her help and the majority of the time she is all over it. The rare occasion she denies our request we let her be. We want her to recognize that she is part of this process and it's not just mommy and daddy doing it independently.

She helps change diapers by throwing the dirty ones away. She helps feed him by rubbing his back and keeping him awake while he is BF. When he is fussing we calm him together. etc.

We want her to be a part of this whole thing as much as she wants .

The only negative behavior we have seen in a bit of "ummmm.... no one has looked at me in 30 seconds!!" when it comes to company. She did this before the baby came but I supposed it's increased just a little bit as guests are not as sensitive to the idea that she has been queen bee of guest attention for 3 years.

We continue to spend time independently with her as well without the baby. Sometimes if he is in the cradle we've let the first fuss go by without reacting to see if she is in-tune with the desire to be helpful. Every time she has reminded us that he is being fussy and we need to check on him.

We've had good results the first 2weeks of this experiment. We'll have to see what adjustments we need to make as the novelty wears off....

What I want to avoid entirely is the idea that they are only bound together in name. I grew up with 2 older sisters that were 4 and 8 years apart from me. We were raised in a good home, involved married parents, in traditional values (whatever that means) but I did not know my sisters, whatsoever. There was never a cultivated desire to be friends with your siblings. It is a strange thing looking back on it. We are literally meeting each other for the first time, in a sense, now, as adults.

The utopia we are craving is one of a desire to be with the family. Growing up, my family trips were never fun unless each of us could bring a friend. We just didn't talk to each other at all and had no desire to do so. It wasn't spite, simply disinterest. We want our kids to look forward to, in some measure at least, being with each other and us. We want our children to genuinely gain pleasure out of each others company. Will it work? I dunno, but we are sure going to try.

Our biggest fear concerning the both of them at this point is her propensity to rough house. She is ready for him to get his hands up and defend her right hook and we have to remind her he's a few years away from their first title bout....
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