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Another 3.75yo thread: Throwing things/destruction

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
How to stop the throwing and general destruction? I am thinking about resorting to a sticker chart. We don't do time outs but we do pick her up and carry her to another room when she starts throwing things.

Today she threw my DHs shoes at me and the baby. greensad.gif I got really upset and cussed at the top of my lungs. It was not my finest moment. We have a new 2mo and DH back to work now is an adjustment I know. But it's totally unacceptable for her to throw things at people. Period.

I've worked on having her throw stuff outside. I've taken said toys away for throwing, I've talked and talked and talked about it. Nothing is working. Sometimes it's completely unprovoked.

post #2 of 12
Long shot but how about a little indoor basketball hoop so you can redirect her to what she CAN throw? Right now that's my strategy with jumping on the furniture. Instead of saying no jumping on the couch, I redirect her to where she can jump: on the floor or on her (super low) bed. My other strategy is to pick up baby (mine is 3 months) and leave the room to send the message that I won't tolerate that treatment (if she's not listening when I ask her to stop). Good luck. The adjustment isn't easy but it's getting better here. Hopefully it will be behind you soon as well.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yes we leave the room for sure. My husband starts taking everything away and that to me feels like a punishment but he refuses to listen to reason and reverts to old school "spanking" mentality. Luckily he hasn't spanked her but is pretty rough sometimes. He engages in power struggles regularly. Ugh.

My only issue with a basketball hoop is I can see her just throwing that at me even if I try and redirect. But it's a good idea.
post #4 of 12
Something softer then. How about an ikea mesh hamper which weighs nothing and a few half inflated balloons? She can whip those as much as she wants, they weigh nothing and even the hamper is super light
post #5 of 12

Is she throwing things for the fun of it, to get your attention, out of anger or frustration, or what? "Throw this instead" will only work if throwing is her goal. If there is something else going on, it will help to identify that, and deal with it. If she is trying to communicate some big emotion, discipline is not the solution.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

Is she throwing things for the fun of it, to get your attention, out of anger or frustration, or what? "Throw this instead" will only work if throwing is her goal. If there is something else going on, it will help to identify that, and deal with it. If she is trying to communicate some big emotion, discipline is not the solution.

I agree that it's for attention and I think she's just REALLY tired. She's used to having things a certain way at bedtime and now it's all been turned upside down. The most heart wrenching thing for me was sleeping next to her but because baby was in my arms, not able to hold her and snuggle her. So I feel like we lost our connection and I try and give her my undivided attention but I feel like I'm failing at that because the baby needs SO MUCH from me I feel like I got nothing left.

The basketball nerf or something similar might work but-- she received a baby alive doll. It was supposed to be used when I was taking care of the baby she'd take care of hers. Didn't happen. It ended up naked with all her other baby dolls and ignored or tossed around. Ugh. I mean, the doll doesn't nurse and it doesn't look anything like a baby. The peeing in the diaper is just strange. Of course she ignores it. She doesn't seem to be into the care of babies either.

I need to make a bigger effort to connect with her. That's the key here I think. Thanks for your suggestions leading me to this.
post #7 of 12
Is your DP at home for bedtime? When my DD2 was born in July, I made sure to keep the bedtime routine for DD1 in disturbed as much as possible. It helped a lot. Basically DH does baths while I nurse baby then we switch and I read stories while toddler miss sits on the potty. I then put on her night time diaper and pants and snuggle down with her until she falls asleep, at which point I get up and leave, usually to go nurse baby again. DH and I have the understanding that they can come back in for a top up until I climb into bed with DD1 but after that my alone time with her is sacred until I come out. DD2 doesn't take a soother (believe me, I've tried!) but she loves to be worn and falls asleep pretty readily in a carrier. There have been a few times where she just wants to nurse more but she has to wait. To be clear, DH is holding her the whole time so she doesn't CIO but from time to time she's unhappy with daddy for 20 minutes or so. DD1 goes through her day often deferring to baby's needs. She waits to have a drink, a snack, play with me, get a toy from a high shelf, etc because I'm attending to baby. Bedtime is her one special time when sometimes baby has to wait a little because I'm busy with older sister. It's working for us. I hope you find a system too. It's tough.
post #8 of 12

Have you read the book Siblings Without Rivalry? There's an awesome section, in my opinion, where it describes what it's like for your older child when you bring the younger child home. It basically asks the question: How would you feel if your husband said to you one day, "I love having you as a wife so much, honey, that I've decided to get another wife. She's going to be younger and cuter than you and we're going to give her all your old stuff and pay more attention to her. " And then we ask them to be happy about it. If your daughter's anger is somehow tied to the new baby and loss of attention, this book has a lot of helpful suggestions, like giving her free reign to express her feelings in ways in which no one gets hurt (coloring how angry she is, hitting a pillow, etc.). It also has lots of good ideas for helping your older child feel understood and loved.


If you think her acting out is tied to the new baby and you don't already regularly use an infant carrier, I highly recommend getting one so you have two hands free to hug and play with your older child as much as possible. Personally, I recommend a Moby for an under-4-month old and an Ergo for an over-4-month old.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
I read the review from the site you posted and the book sounds great. Unfortunately I have zero time to read any books though I really want too! I feel like everyday is chaos and I'm slowly drowning. I feel like I give DD tons of attension, god even more then the baby! When DD gets to bedtime she just starts throwing. It's usually the time I'm running around trying to get dinner put away, make lunch for DH and that sort of thing.

Tonight I worked myself up into a sweat pacing back and forth to figure out how to keep DD away from DH who was holding our 2mo. She threw a book and it hit the baby in the face! My DH was practically in tears. It was horrible. I just don't know what to do. I'm seriously thinking to just seperate from my DH entirely and leave him with the baby for a good hour before bedtime. I just can't stand the thought of this happening again. She told DH it was to get attention. Not sure if that's true or what. I'm so lost!
post #10 of 12
I do bedtime with my toddler while DH has the baby (I nurse, then he changes her and pops her in a carrier if needed). I read stories with DD, have our nightly rituals and then I snuggle down with her until she falls asleep. It takes about an hour but it's uninterrupted quality time with my undivided attention. It has helped tremendously in the beginning and its a well established part of our routine now. Baby sleeps less overall at night but she naps many times during the day, whereas DD1 sleeps 11-12 hours overnight but doesn't nap. It works great for us, maybe it might fit your needs too.
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by tillymonster View Post

Unfortunately I have zero time to read any books though I really want too! I feel like everyday is chaos and I'm slowly drowning.


Well, I’ve read it, so I should be able to be helpful without making you read the book too, right? Otherwise, what’s the point?

I do really recommend if you find some extra time, reading Siblings Without Rivalry, but in lieu of that, here are parts I think would be most useful to you:

Chapter 2: Not ‘Til the Bad Feelings Come Out – This chapter basically focuses on the idea that insisting on good feelings creates bad feelings, and allowing bad feelings leads to good feelings. So if the older child is acting out towards baby (or acting out because she’s upset about the baby), here are some ideas:

1) Instead of dismissing the feelings, acknowledge the feelings. One of the comic strips (which this book features heavily) shows a child about your child’s age telling the mother, “You’re always with the baby.” The bad response shows the mom saying, “No, I’m not. Didn’t I just read to you?” The good response shows her saying, “You don’t like my spending so much time with her.”

2) Give children their wish in fantasy. A comic shows the kid saying, “Send the baby back!” Bad response:  “You don’t mean that. You know you love her.” Good response: “You don’t want her here. Sometimes you wish she’d go away.”

3) **Especially relevant** Help children channel their hostile feelings into symbolic or creative outlets. Comic shows mother saying to child who is hurting the baby, “What are you trying to do? Break her arm? You’re a bad boy!” Better response:  “No hurting your sister. You can show me your feelings with your doll.” Other ideas for creative outlets include: hitting a pillow, making an angry picture with crayons or fingerpaints, and yelling “I’m MAD” at the top of their lungs. They make a point that it’s important the child be able to show you how they feel, not just be sent away to express their anger.

4) Stop hurtful behavior, show how angry feelings can be discharged safely, and refrain from attacking the attacker. Comic shows little boy about to hit sister and mom says, “That’s a nasty thing to do to the baby! She only touched your blocks.” Better response: “No punching! Tell your sister how angry you are with words not fists.”

Chapter 4: Equal is Less – Focuses on the idea that children don’t actually want to be loved equally. They want to be loved uniquely, as individuals. A comic shows a child asking the mother, “Who do you love the best?” Bad response: “I love you all the same.” Good response: “Each of you is special to me. You are my only Robin. In the whole wide world there’s not another like you. No one has your thoughts, your feelings, you smile. I’m so glad you’re my daughter.”

Chapter 5: Siblings in Roles – Talks about the idea that kids get locked into roles (naughty child, bully, whiner, smart child, artistic one) and how even seemingly benign roles (like big sister) are harmful. The chapter focuses on ways to free the child from their role. In one of the comics, a toddler bites the older sister. The bad response shows the mom coming in and saying, “How many times do I have to tell you not to do that? You’re a bad girl!” The advice is not to give your attention to the aggressor, but to attend to the injured party instead.” The good response shows the mom talking to the victim saying, “Let me see. Oh my, it’s all red. That must hurt. People are not for biting. Your sister needs to learn to ask for what she wants with words. Even when she’s angry. Come, let’s put some ice on your arm.”

Anyway, hope that’s helpful. If my son were the one throwing things at his baby sister, I’m pretty sure I’d lose it and scream at him to go to his room, but if I had time to think about it, what I would try to do is wait for a time when he was feeling relaxed and happy, reassure him of how much I love him and how special he is to me, and then ask him about his feelings that lead to him throwing things. I’d try to get him to agree that we shouldn’t throw things even when we’re mad and ask him what we could do instead to show how we feel. Then when the situation actually occurred, I would try to make him think back to the earlier discussion and maybe use his ideas. Easier said than done, I know.

Good luck!

post #12 of 12
We don't have a new baby, but my 3.5 year old loves new baby books. We've been reading "Sophie and the New Baby" by Catherine and Laurence Anholt lately. It's a really sweet book about the emotions of an older sibling, so I thought I'd recommend it.
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