2 year old hurting 8 month old sister - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 08-10-2012, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Today I was borrowing my mothers car so my 2 year old and my 8 month old ended up in seats right next to each other, one is usually behind the drivers seat and the other behind the passenger seat. We drove to my husbands work to see him(fire dept) and I went inside to let him know we were there. When I came back out I could hear the 8 mo screaming and I could see the 2 year old pulling her arm. I ran to the 8mo side of the car and when I opened the door I saw blood. The 2 year old had gnawed on the 8mo's hand and made it bleed in several places. Lucky for the 8 month old with mom and dad both being first responders we were able to care for her hand right away, however we were at a loss of how to deal with the 2 year old. We yelled at her out of anger which I really HATE to do and do my best not to do, but I was still in shock because of how bad the baby's hand was. I don't like the way we handled the situation, which is why I am reaching out here for help.  


I've since shown(after I calmed down)  the 2 year old a picture of her sisters hand and explained that she was hurt because she had bitten her. She cried and was saying, 'sorry sister' and gave her sister a hug. 


My questions with the situation;


What are some good ways to deal with a toddler who is hurting a young sibling?


Do you thing the 2 year old understands that she was hurting the baby?


Thank you! 

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#2 of 4 Old 08-10-2012, 05:27 PM
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She might understand she's hurting the baby but she probably doesn't understand why that would be wrong or have any impulse control. She might very well be jealous of the baby. I'm afraid you have two babies and you have to expect them both to be not able to control themselves as babies are unable to control themselves, and just not allow the older one to be in a position to hurt the younger one. You are not alone with this issue - it comes up very often here - and the general theme is that while a 2-year-old looks very mature next to a little baby, 2-year-olds are still really babies themselves. There is no way to make them learn not to hurt a baby well enough to trust they have learend and will stop, and it's just too dangerous to trust them not to hurt a baby, no matter what you do. Hugs to you! It must have been scary and horrible to find your baby hurt. greensad.gif The two-year-old will grow up and the little one will as well and become able to protect herself or at least alert you as to when something is happening, but it will be a little while yet. It's understandable to yell when you're scared, so don't beat yourself up for that.
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#3 of 4 Old 08-10-2012, 06:42 PM
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I read (on another forum) that impulse control doesn't really develop until around 5 (and even then it's not fully developed until the 20's... think of all the crazy stuff teenagers do!). So, even if they do understand hurting, if they get the urge to do something they most likely will. *hugs* I've walked out of the room where they were both for a few seconds only to come back and find DS1 doing something to DS2 :( I repeat over and over, "gentle touches only. We don't hurt" and tell myself over and over, "take DS2 with you" when you leave the room!! It is hard when they seem so big, but I agree with pp they are still a baby!

aj- married to JA and mami to Bug (11/09) and Critter (1/12)!

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#4 of 4 Old 08-10-2012, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you ladies! You both have made me feel as best as I can in a situation like this. I will now be making sure that they aren't left unattended together, even for a minute, for now at least! The baby's hand is looking better now(8 hours later), still missing a lot of skin but the swelling has gone down some. 

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