I am sorry you are having a hard time. I think it is great that you are looking for alternatives and coming on here, and trying to figure out how not to spank your child. I do have to say that I see this type of situation on here sometimes and one thing always jumps out to my attention- that you are hitting (called spanking but it is still hitting) your child as a punishment for her kicking her brother- if you hit her she will kick/hit others. So I commend you for looking for alternatives to hitting her. Just please be aware that you are touching her roughly to try to teach her not to touch someone roughly- but you are actually modeling her to treat another roughly. Good luck on your journey. I hope this was the last time you hit her and that you get some helpful answers to your seeking on more respectful and gentle ways to discpline her.
Are you able to take adequate breaks for yourself where you can release some stress? Do you exercise? Sometimes taking a long walk or otherwise getting your blood pumping can really increase your ability to handle stress. When you feel your anger mounting, could you put the children in safe places (baby in crib and toddler in a safe room) and step outside to take some deep breaths before you respond? Sometimes when I've had enough, I strap the kids in their car seats and go for a long drive just to get some time to myself.
My 3 year old also angers me when he is rough with the baby so I can relate to that overwhelming feeling to protect the baby and punish the older child. I try to remember that my 3 year old is not as old as he seems. He's really still forming and his impulse control is still very infantile. Your toddler doesn't understand the way you do that she could truly harm the baby with her behavior. She doesn't understand long term harm at all. Can you separate them at all throughout the day? Also, does your toddler get any one on one connection time with you?
Lack of sleep is hugely contributing to your inability to regulate your emotions and control your impulses. Do you have a partner who can let you sleep in or take naps, at least on the weekend? Can your parents watch the kids while you nap on other days?
Make a decision today not to hit again. Your toddler may not have an advanced ability for self-control but you should. If you have to hit something, hit a pillow or a punching bag or the wall. Hit anything but your precious child.
Playful Parenting is a great book to read! Also this site is great http://www.ahaparenting.com/ages-stages/toddlers
Maybe seek counseling for anger issues? I know I have.
Young born-again mama and loving wife to DH and SAHP to two crazy girls we and believe !
Krcl, we have a ton in common, the ages and sex of our children, my DD has SUCH a strong and stubborn personality. She loves her little brother, but hates him at the same time I think. I get so frustrated with her sometimes, and have spanked a few times, and feel just as you did afterwards:( I dont know what to do with her sometimes. I know some of it is for attention, because I have no help at home, it is just me and no one else. The baby takes very short naps during the day, and sleeps at night when she does, so we dont get much 1 on 1 time, I do try tho. i know that would help but it seems almost impossible right now. We do go outside every day, thank goodness, she cant destroy anything outside and her attention is focused on all of the things outside instead of the all too familiar inside and the baby.
She will come up to him and just scream in his face to make him cry. She will walk up to him and slap him. For no reason at all, she just does those things! I do not understand it, and my first reaction is to smack her back, and I have, but I know it is a dumb thing because teaching her not to hit by hitting her? I was spanked all the time as a child, and I did resent my mother terribly. I nearly hated her. There were other issues there as well, but the controling and spanking me was a huge part of it I know. I am a very controlling person, I try to control DD, we both have very strong personalities which makes it really hard. Agh, I dont know what to do to stop her behavior! I yell too, I do that a lot, waayyyy too much, and I dont know how to stop. It seems like no matter what I do- yell, hit, send her to time out, she does not care, she will not quit, she does not get the point!! She is very smart for her age, she definitely knows that it is wrong and she is not supposed to do it.
I know that being hit as a child has made it so that is my automatic reaction to do as a punishment, that is the only thing I've ever known. But I remember how much I hated it and how MAD it made me as a child when my mom would hit me. Just thinking about it now the anger is building inside of me and I feel what I felt then, and that is that I wanted to grab whatever it was that my mom was spanking me with and just pummel her with it. (Yes I probably need anger counseling but have NO idea where to even start with that, and I cant afford it anyway)
I do not want my DD to feel anything like what I felt towards my mom, but I do not know how to handle her, I am completely lost. I can vow never to hit again, I can vow not to yell anymore, but what CAN I do? I need to do something to keep her from doing these things! Help!
Just wanted to add: you do a lot with your daughter, but do you ever do any of it alone any more? I'm the youngest of 5 kids, and my oldest brother, who was an angel as a baby, became a terror at about 2 when the next kid up got mobile. Literally a terror. He threatened to kill him, quite graphically, more than once, to the point where my parents took him to therapy. Being the youngest I don't know all that was involved or how it was solved, etc., but I do know that with each subsequent child my parents made a very specific point of getting each of us alone at least once every few days if not more often for some private parent time. We usually got to pick the activity - story, puzzle, game, whatever - and I'm almost ashamed of the distinct chest-swelling pride I would get when my brother would come in the room and my mom/dad would say, "You're going to have to wait for whatever you need for another 20 minutes. I'm enjoying my time with thursday2 right now." This continued even into the teenage years, though by then the activities were usually an after-school snack and a chat. It's got to be incredibly difficult for your one and only to be usurped by this newcomer that's making her mommy tired. She may very well be acting out because she resents the baby, resents what the baby's doing to you, and resents not being special any more.
When I would have a violent incident, I would try to make a mental note that the aggressor needed some mommy time that day and work to make it happen. My DS1 used to enjoy hot cocoa parties while DS2 napped.
Just wanted to pop in again. I am so incredibly happy to say that I still have not hit my daughter and am SO very proud. It is so much easier now, I rarely even think about doing it. It helps that I have gotten my son on a better sleeping schedule, he is nearly sleeping through the night now. I think the BIGGEST thing that has helped me as far as my daughter wanting to hurt her brother was some advice that a random person in the grocery store told me. She said..."You know, I tell my daughter about once every couple of hours how much her little brother loves her. How much he looks up to her and learns from her. I make sure that she helps me with his diapers, clothes, bathing him etc. In the mornings when he gets out of his crib I take his hand and wave to her and say Hi Sissy I missed you!! Her face beams with pride."
It's amazing, because I have implemented this over the last few months and it has worked SO WELL. She really takes pride in him now. I've noticed a huge change in her since the spanking stopped too...and it's not like she was spanked all the time, maybe once a week, but it was still hurting her emotionally I think. So...we do much more empathizing, I take more time to explain things to her, I give her choices. I've learned a lot from these forums and I am eternally grateful. I've got a great booklist I am going to start soon as well.
So...I hope if anyone reads this and is in the same position I was in...there is HOPE for you and your child. You HAVE to work at it! Every second of every day! I used to be a smoker before my kids were born and it reminded me of when I quit smoking. I would crave crave crave but it got easier day after day and eventually I never even thought about it anymore. Maybe that's a bad analogy...I never craved hitting her lol but I did think about spanking her several times a day after I made the commitment to stop (when she was really pushing my buttons).
Anyway...man I love my babies, so much! And I am so lucky to be able to stay home with them during these crucial years. I'm now a proud mama, before I think I felt so much guilt. Loving them and loving life :)