how to prevent her from beating her sister - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 02-28-2013, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I am having a big problem with my DD1. She is 2 3/4 y/o and until recently we hardly ever had a problem with her not even when her sister, now 10 month-old, was born. But in the last couple of weeks it is just getting worse on a daily basis. Whenever, wherever she pulls on her sister's hair, pushes her over, kicks her, pinches her, you name it. DD1 can't see DD2 touch or even go near any toys we have. This is so tiresome and exhausting to constantly keep them apart because DD2 wants to crawl and stand and play with the toys too. I basically cannot do anything in the house anymore. I keep telling her not to hurt her sister, I have tried time-outs (only have the bathroom available though) but after the 3rd time or so it did not bother her anymore, I tried leaving the room, take toys away, distract her,  I even pulled DD1 hair once, not as hard as she does with DD2, but I don't want to hurt her and felt very bad about it. Def. a no-go. I want to raise my kids violent free, but these outbreaks of jealousy are just getting to a point where I do not recognize my own child anymore.


We do play a lot together like hide-and-seek, catch-me-if-you-can, we draw together, we sing a lot and use musical instruments. DD1 also plays by herself for small amounts of time. She makes up stories and enacts them with her dolls, legos or whatever she has on hand. Very creative but as soon as she sees her sister, she gets mean. She even hit my mom over the head with a wooden toy when I prevented her from hitting her sister with it. It looks like she needs an outlet for her anger or some type of anger management. I just don't know how. I do take them outside for a walk at least once a day but with the weather being so bad and basically we haven't had any sun in the last 2 month, it gets quite a challenge.


So any advice would be greatly appreciated. Did any of you have this happen with your own kids?

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#2 of 5 Old 02-28-2013, 06:26 PM
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My DS (2.5) actually does this often to my DD (5) and has been doing so since before he was a year old.  I think it is developmentally normal for a child that age, although of course not acceptable or OK, and I think really your best option is to supervise like crazy.  If your 10-month-old will tolerate a carrier or playpen or one of those really large plastic playyards it might be a good way to keep them separate when you have other things you need to do around the house.  I also like Teacher Tom's approach to 2-year-old hitting:


That said, I'm having a really difficult time with my two kids (see my recent crazy-long post in the GD forum) so I may not be the best source of advice here.  shrug.gif

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#3 of 5 Old 03-01-2013, 11:01 AM
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Could you try giving her an alternative to letting out her anger/frustration/whatever about her sister? Like give her a pillow to hit or have her stomp her feet or let out a low growl in the corner or something like that? Not sure if it would help, but it sounds like it is worth a try! I would keep physically separating them, but I know how tiresome that can be, buy a gate or a big gate enclosure if you can so that you have somewhere to put one of them to give yourself a bit of a break if nothing else! Do you have a highchair or something you could strap DD into for a minute or two instead of using the bathroom? Not sure if that would help more or not.

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#4 of 5 Old 03-17-2013, 06:08 AM
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Key words I want to raise my children "violent free."  Toddler's by nature are "violent" but they do stop it with constant intervention.  It sounds like you just leave them to their own devices so of course your older DD would hit/pinch etc the younger one.  If you want the behavior to stop you can't leave them unsupervised.  Separate them and their toys if you can't keep an eye on the older one.  If she hits her sister redirect her immediately.     

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#5 of 5 Old 03-17-2013, 09:37 AM
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Although I hate the phrase "Use your words", I think that the most important and effective way to deal with this problem is by modeling the behavior you would like to see your older child use. Instead of punishing and using your authority to take care of the problem, it makes more sense to me to handle it the way you'd like her to handle her problem. From her point of view, she is simply using her "authority" and size to take care of her problems, which "works" at a certain level and what she has seen demonstrated. Help her by verbalizing what you perceive to be her emotions ("You are angry that she touched your toys.") and then tell her calmly that it's okay to have whatever emotion but it's not okay for anyone to hurt anyone else. Demonstrate how she should handle the situation - "Baby, I don't want you to touch my toy right now." and then you distract the baby to another toy if needed. She is dealing with powerful emotions and to her, what she is doing is getting her the results she wants. She doesn't yet have any other strategies to get what she wants and that's what you need to teach her. Perhaps it would be helpful for her to choose some special toys that are only physically accessible to her and that she doesn't need to "defend" against her sister so she feels like she has some control over her possessions.

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