So frustrated!!! My 4 year old is constantly doing things to my 8 month old. He will hit him, take his toys away, pull him around the room by his legs, push him over, yell at him, I could go on and on. I have tried everything! Positive, Negative and in between. I am at my wits end. We recently moved to Doha, Qatar. Its Ramadan and there is very few places to go. You can't go out for a coffee or even get your kid a meal out. How do I keep my 8 month old safe. If he gets knocked over one more time on the tile floor I swear I am going to buy him a helmet! Did I mention that my 4 year old used to be the sweeties kid. He loves his brother but recently he is so angry. I can hear it when I try and talk things out with him. Dh spends lots of time with him alone and when every my 8 month old naps or is occupied I do things with him.
How do I keep my 8 month old safe and not kill my 4 year old?
What I've learned is that I cannot expect my 3 year old to be safe around the baby. My only strategy is prevention. I have really gone off the deep end a few times with her because she has a tendency to hug the baby to the point of strangling her and will not release her when I scream, "LET GO OF HER!!" So I have to forcefully prize her hands away and by that point I'm so shocked, afraid and overwhelmed that I just throw her in the nearest room and shut the door. It's a huge anger trigger for me and the poor kid has no idea why I get so mad at her for hugging her baby sister.
So yes. My only strategy is prevention. I wear or carry the baby most of the day and the only play time they get together is when I am right there, but even that is pushing it because like I said even an innocent hug can go badly.
I would guess that a lot of it is not being able to go very many places right now. Outside time would probably make a world of difference. Unfortunately, since it doesn't sound like it's really an option right now, I'll agree with the PP about prevention being the best course of action.
Could you try something like, "It hurts baby brother when you play with him that way. You need to use gentle hands. (insert or demonstrate an example of how to play gently with baby). If you are not able to play gently, you will need to go to your room and sit on the bed/play by yourself/etc until you're calm enough to be gentle." or "You need to use your indoor voice in the house. When you yell, it hurts our ears. If you choose to continue yelling, you will need to go sit on your bed/play by yourself/etc until you're able to speak in an indoor voice." And follow through if he does do it again. Sometimes it may mean moving him back to his room several times - which sounds exhausting, I know! - but it teaches that your boundaries and your words have meaning. It also teaches him why the way he's treating the baby isn't acceptable (it hurts) and it teaches him the consequence of hurting other people (they don't want to play with you if you hurt them). It also gives you the opportunity to intervene before it gets to a point where your mama bear is ready to come out.
Another way to enforce that would be for you to be the one to physically go to another room with the baby. I know both of those options are less than ideal if you're in the middle of something, but it's an idea and it's what we would probably do here. Also, would play wrestling with daddy help? It might be a good outlet for some of that 'boy energy' too.
Yeah, he's jealous. You can also use the angle of being the baby's protector or something. Tell him that the baby will look up to him and depend on him as his baby brother. Its also important that you assure your son that you love him and that the baby will not replace him in the household.
I've never read the book, but I agree that if one is allowed to be the aggressor, and the other the victim, they never really outgrow that. Or at the very least, each person has to grow up and realize their role, then make the effort to change.
Thank you for this suggestion. Will get it.