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How to address aggression in 3 yr old?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
DD turned 3 in May and, for the most part, is great with her 11 month old brother. HOWEVER, she is acting pretty aggressively towards him whenever I turn my back. It started as an issue over toys once he became mobile. She would snatch a toy out of his grasp or try to hold him back as he moved towards one. Now it's escalated to her pushing him down for no (apparent) reason. I have witnessed her shoving him by the back of the head, face first into the floor, as he's attempting to crawl. She won't do it if she's knows I'm watching, but it's almost guaranteed that she will inflict pain upon him once I leave the room.

Today she slammed his face into the ground, and when I asked her what happened, she was laughing hysterically. I've been trying to calmly explain to her why we don't hurt others and she knows that it makes her brother sad. She obviously gets that it's undesirable behavior because she waits until I leave to do it. Is this just a normal phase or am I missing something here? I feel like I'm just repeating myself yet the aggression is escalating.

Is this a typical cry for attention? I try my best to spend quality time with each of them, but certainly understand her feeling frustrated over the time spent with her brother. We've started co-sleeping with her again just to make sure she doesn't feel excluded. Any other thoughts?

Also, any recommendations for children's books that may address some of these issues? We read a lot of the books pertaining to having a new baby in the house, but nothing in the way of older sibling issues.

Thanks, ladies.
post #2 of 8
Your situation sounds a lot like mine....except my kids are 3.5 and 12mos. I've tried everything with my 3.5 yo and nothing works. My 3.5 yo doesn't laugh about what she does though....she just really wants to stop the 12month old from doing anything/everything she doesn't want her to do. Even if I'm looking at her and saying stop/no/let go/etc she just keeps on until I physically pull them apart. If I'm not in the room and ask her what's going on, she'll tell me everything.

For the past 3 days I've really made a HUGE effort to spend more one-on-one time with my 3.5yo and it has helped a little (not that I wasn't spending any before, but I think DD craves my FULL attention A LOT). I've also been watching for times when she's really nice to the baby and then given her lots of positive reinforcement for it. It hasn't made her totally stop pushing or getting upset if the baby grabs for her toys, but it has made it a little better.

I'll be watching to see if anyone else has any great advice. we could use it around here too. good luck!!!
post #3 of 8
Our situation is little different since ds1 is 5. But I think part of our problem here too is him needing more one on one attention from us. I know it's hard considering, sometimes I don't feel like I give the baby enough attention because I'm always dealing with ds1. But I have noticed the times that we really try to focus on him, listen and play with him it does seem to help.

I think I need to spend more time playing with him. Like one on one on the floor letting him dictate the play.

You may be doing this already, but do you have times where the baby is napping where you can make a conscious effort to spend that time with your dd?
post #4 of 8
Someone posted this article in another thread and I think it just seriously changed my life.
post #5 of 8
Thank you for that article!! We have some similar issues and I needed to read that.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Cujobunny View Post
Someone posted this article in another thread and I think it just seriously changed my life.
Very helpful -- thanks! It is so challenging to be nurturing to the aggressor when the victim is screaming in pain. I need to do the opposite of what I've been doing. Of course!

I know that I need to give DD more one-on-one time, but it is difficult with the little guy. This definitely needs to move to the top of my list. Thanks for all the input!
post #7 of 8
I have a 3.5yr old ds and a 15mo dd. Ds can be quite rough with his sister especially when he thinks no one is watching. I do get sad to see him deliberately hurting his sister, but I think it is part sibling thing/part age thing. My only tip to other you is to always stay in the room. Ask just once for the aggresion to stop and if your lo continues, you must use physical separation. Constant reminder of appropriate behaviour will eventually sink in. If I don't trust ds mood I bring dd wherever I am in the house. If I am monitoring, I make sure to use action to prevent or stop aggressive behaviour, not just words. I think it is completely normal behaviour, even if it is not acceptable. Good luck...you are not alone!
post #8 of 8
Have been having the same issue here with my nearly 3 y.o. except that she goes after her big sister.
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