Originally Posted by AutumnAir
I've been talking to DH about this, and a problem we're running into is that he thinks that spending quality time with DD1 is just rewarding her for her bad behaviour. He wants to withdraw attention and affection from her as a punishment. I understand the feeling - I'm the one at home all day being driven round the bend with her, but I can't see that this is the best approach. But at the same time I think maybe I need to get a bit more strict with her - maybe I've been too lax because I'm just in survival mode right now. All I want to do is get through the day relatively unscathed - I just don't have the energy to do any more. I don't think time-outs will work, because there's no way I could get her to stay in one spot. Time-ins don't work either though because she will run away from me, and if I try to hold her gently she'll just hit or kick me. I'm thinking maybe removing privileges? But the problem with that is that the 'privileges' she has are things that allow me some time to deal with the baby. Like she gets to watch a DVD while I put the baby down for a nap, because without that she's on her own for half an hour or more (DD2 is also a horrible sleeper..) so if I take away her DVD privilege then I'm left trying to get the baby to nap while DD1 runs riot downstairs or stands outside the bedroom door shouting for me. AGH - I just don't know
No no no!! Don't withdraw your attention from her, that's the major thing you can give her that will help! Positive attention! Without the baby! the poor thing has just been totally uprooted from her comfy position as both the Only Child AND The Baby, and she's a baby herself, who can't really process the powerful emotions she's feeling, who wouldn't be angry?
that said, i am totally empathetic, we have so much in common. I too am an exhausted and sleep deprived introvert, and have a VERY spirited 8.5, yr old, and a VERY spirited just-turned-3 yr old boy, and a new 4 month old dd.
My son is EXACTLY like your dd-total flinging himself to the floor screaming meltdowns over little stuff, button-pushing, waking the baby on purpose.It's maddening. Sometimes I want to scream and say terrible things, too. Good for both of us for being coolheaded-it's sure not easy sometimes.
I think what has helped me help him the most is making sure I make time to sit on the floor and play with just him several times throughout the day.Even though I don't have the time or the energy. He is like a different kid. The time I'd spend with him in tantrums is more than this little bit of one-on-one by far, and so much better for us all. When I can leave dd with dh for just a bit, I take him out by himself and give him my undivided attention. Even a 30 minute outing to grocery store is a huge thing for him when it's just the two of us. (dd too)
I think it's helped me relax about it, too, seeing my older dd grow up and out of obnoxious, trying phases,(3 wasn't hard but 4 was EPIC hard) and come out the other side this amazing, bold, funny, brilliant, social butterfly. She's incredible. Plus with her around, ds seems like the little tiny guy he really is, not a big kid because im contrasting him with the new baby-every kid seems older than they are next to a newborn.
I recommend Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy-Kurcinka. Such an invaluble resource, lots of sound advice.