I am sooo frustrated with this situation!! Here are some behavior examples (DS1 is almost 4, DS2 is 14 months):
If DS2 is being cute and drawing attention, DS1 will go over to him and squeeze him tightly, roll over onto him, get in his face, and other such behaviors. If DS1 is playing with a toy and DS2 starts to reach for it, DS1 will push him down, push his hand away, etc. If DS2 is playing with a toy, DS1 will usually snatch it away and suddenly become interested. I walked out of the bathroom for 5 secs and DS1 threw water on DS2's face. It is getting to be constant and getting worse, like a vicious cycle.
Okay, so these are all typical behaviors. I hate the snatching. I try to have a rule of no snatching, but then I have to be a referee all the time. How do I teach him to respect his brother and not snatch things?? As for the aggressive pushing, and sometimes "kicking" (pushing with foot), I do not want to tolerate this! Everyone needs to feel safe. I tell DS1 "it's not okay to push. Pushing hurts people," etc., and then he will just do it again and again. It is not working.
I have been trying positive discipline, whenever I can, I get DS1 involved in what I am doing so he can feel he's contributing. This always keeps the attention off of DS2. But, poor DS2 has to be abandoned all the time? That is so unfair. I have talked to him about it in moments of calm, and I understand that he is feeling jealousy. But, have not been able to figure out a solution with him. For a while, we tried that if DS2 was trying to get a toy of his, he could say "stop" instead of hitting. But then, that means I constantly have to be pulling DS2 off of him.
I have read "Mom, Jason's breathing on me," but I feel the hands off approach is not okay yet (as DS2 is still too little). I have tried talking to both of them, "you need to be nice to each other, boys," or directing a message to each, and while DS1 likes seeing DS2 getting a lecture, the behavior does not stop.
I have tried time outs, and as predicted by positive discipline messages, this does not really work and probably just makes him want revenge. The behavior does not stop. Sometimes DS1 is really wound up, like running around crazy wound up, and when he gets like this, doesn't respond to anything. Moments like that, a time out will at least break the cycle. We have not tried "positive" time outs, since for us, time outs have always been more of a punitive thing.
I admit I am starting to get angry. I pull off DS1 from DS2 without being exactly "gentle and kind" (but I am not extremely rough either, just brisk) I lecture with emphasis when I say "no hitting" rather than state it calmly.
I can't find a lot of info out there on dealing with this! There is a paragraph here and there in each book, but this behavior has been going on for a month or two and I really want it to stop. Positive discipline seems unrealistic at times when there are siblings involved, and maybe works better for a less persistent and energetic boy.
Advice from Talking so Kids will Listen on this topic is, for example, focus on hurt one, remove from situation, and say, "DS1 needs to learn to express how he feels in an appropriate way." I have offered him to "show" me how he feels with drawings, etc. None of this is working. He doesn't want to, the behavior continues.
One of my friends said this was a problem for her, and while she does not advocate any physical solution, she did spank hers once for pushing the younger one onto the pavement. She said it never happened again. I really don't want to take this route, but I really, really want the behavior to stop. I feel like sometimes I'm getting close to deciding to spank. I would only try that if I had carefully considered it and truly nothing else was working. '
So, please, does anyone have any advice?
Oh, one other thing I tried one day was to get on the floor and be physical/rough housing with DS1. This also worked -- because attention was deflected off of his brother and onto him. But, once again, this is not a long-term solution...