almost-3yo hurting 5mo sister - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 3 Old 10-10-2013, 09:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Bear with me, I'll try to keep this to the point, but my level of frustration is way up there.

My ds will be 3 this month and we have a 5 month old dd. For her first 4ish months, he was great with her, if a little over-affectionate. But now he's turned into a completely different child. In the last week he has bitten (several times), hit, kicked, pinched, poked his fingers in her mouth, drug her by her shirt, stepped on her... the list goes on. I'm a SAHM, he's never been in daycare or even had a playdate with kids we weren't familiar with, so this isn't something he's picked up from other kids. Time out has never been real effective with him. I've been removing him, talking in simple, repetitive sentences (kinda like Dr. Karl recommends in Happiest Toddler), limiting his time with her, giving him time outs from playing/talking/touching her, I talk til I'm blue in the face, but we all know how little sinks in with a toddler... I'll probably catch flack for this, but I've even tried spanking. I'm not totally anti-spank, but I'm not totally pro- spank either and I'm not really interested in debating that. Anyway, nothing is working. Tonight, while talking to dh on the phone (working out of town today and tomorrow), I've got dd in my lap, nursing, and ds and I were talking to dh, he's happy, I'm happy, we're talking about our day, and he just leaped over my lap and hit her in the face. So I hung up on dh and picked up every toy off the living room floor and put them all on top of the tv cabinet. I told him he could have them back when he wakes up in the morning. He was devastated, of course, so I'm hoping it makes an impact on him. He asked for them a couple times and I reminded him why I took them and when he will get them back. I just feel at a loss. I can't even go pee without locking her in her room, dragging him to the bathroom with me, or I just wait til he's asleep or dh is home. Forget about getting a good shower. I'm going to put her carseat against the door tomorrow, so there's a seat between them because I can't always pull over to stop him from pounding on her, and yesterday, he shoved his fingers in her mouth, gagging her and she threw up, all while I was driving. I'm turning into a nervous wreck and I'm afraid he's actually going to injure her.

It's been suggested by a couple of friends to put him into preschool, but that's not an option for us with our finances. We are very consistent. I set aside time just for him each day while she naps. He gets lots of outdoor play. We usually have 1 playdate per week, or go to story time or dance at the library. We are very consistent in our expectations. We praise good behavior and tell him what he's doing right all.the.time. especially in relation to how he handles the baby. He can talk about it too. He'll cheerfully tell dh about how he got in trouble because he hurt sister. And I think it's his cheerfulness that bothers me. He seems happy about all of it. I think he enjoys making her cry. He seems almost giddy sometimes. Except today. Today he seemed to be getting angry, especially as I was peeling him off of her. But I think his anger was directed at me for not letting him continue to roll around on top of her.

My new plan is to get him to the park, story time and music/dance at the library for the next couple weeks to see if the change in scenery helps. We usually just do 1 or 2 activities each week. I think I still need to limit his access to her, separate them when he's getting wound up, and I'll remove toys as a consequence as well. I just feel like I'm really effing things up here. Dh is supportive and backs me up, with whatever I'm doing since I'm the one dealing with the kids 90% of the time. But he has yet to witness any of this behavior, so I think he has a hard time getting it.

Ok, I'm done now. Sorry for the long vent. I'm open to any advice.
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#2 of 3 Old 10-11-2013, 06:03 AM
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Sorry to hear about this. We went though this. My oldest is 2.5 years and the baby is now four months. The first month or two my oldest poked a d slapped the baby. It's frustrating! Especially when it comes from out if nowhere!

I will first admit I had never slapped my oldest before until this. She smacked the baby and I slapped her. I felt horrible and we spoke about how I was wrong to hit her too because hitting is bad. Appearently she didn't care....

Then we did time outs..... It helped when things got too escalated. But time outs are tough when you are nursing to enforce.

What seemed to work was boosting her with big sister compliments. Like: look the baby smiles at you, we had her feed a bottle, roll a ball to the baby, show and tell baby about toys. We told her the baby will want her to teach him things like crawling and such.

I also stopped say things like: if we can get the baby to sleep we can do
activity. That seemed to help.

Every once in a while if she is punchy she will act out and hit and then she gets a time out.

Good luck.
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#3 of 3 Old 10-11-2013, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok well we are doing all that too. I've tried to be really careful with how I word things. I try not to make things her fault when I can't do something he wants. I've had several friends say to bite him back or hit him back but that just doesn't sit well with me. Is it bad that I kinda hope a kid will bite him or kick him so he'll learn what it feels like? I don't want him hurt, but some natural consequences would sure be helpful here!
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