My kids are almost 2 and 3.5. They bath together each night. I am also a newly single mom (my choice). My DD is at a stage where she hits and scratches her little brother many many times each day. Then she falls over herself making funny faces trying to make him feel better most times. In the bath she gets his hair wet and upsets him. Last week I told her if she kept doing that I was going to do the same to her, then I do. It resulted in 30 minutes of screaming and tears.
I guess it is too much for her to get the warning? I felt so petty that I splashed her. If I take her out it is tears too. Usually I give two warnings then the plug comes out and the bath is over. That also means tears.
I think part of it is the age and part of it is being newly separated and missing having her dad at bedtime each night. It was easier when I had someone to hand off one of the kids to for a while to focus on putting them down separately. I think she is really tired.
Any advice? I could use it. I cried putting them to sleep last night I was so sad we were all so sad and tired.
Don't be so hard on yourself . The problem is that we try to solve problems in the moment. Try to find a time when your are connecting and bonding with your dd and then ask her what she likes about having a bath , then what she doesn't like. Ask her what she thinks her brother likes and does not like ?You can share your perspective too. Once we have all concerns of your dd, ds and your on the table we can try define the problem and then problem solve - find mutually satisfying solutions - try look at problems = unmet concerns rather than ' behavior '
It was not such a terrible strategy for you to try. I think you still can use it as you intended: "Remember how you did not like having water poured on your head? Brother does not like that either. Let's keep his hair dry."
Can you bathe them separately? (Maybe there isn't enough time or a way to keep the other one occupied.)
You're probably on the right track thinking the bedtime routine makes her father's absence more noticeable to her. Maybe look for special ways to connect with her that you can work into a brief moment--like a song, prayer, or special hugging routine that you and she do together every night.
It's so upsetting when a child's behavior is unacceptable but every time you set a limit she makes a big sad fuss. I hate that! Why isn't there always a choice that would make everyone happy?! But sometimes, especially when the child is tired and feeling needy, there is just no alternative to being firm and getting on with things. For me, it is important not to let the unpleasant behavior go on through multiple warnings (especially, especially, "If you do X, then Y will happen," and then after the next X there seems to be some reason not to do Y) because then when I finally do follow through with the consequence, I am angry and bitter and it shows. I can keep up the Firm But Patient Mother Voice only when I still have some shreds of patience to work through, when I haven't let it get to the point where I feel like I've given the dang kid every possible opportunity to be good and he's still not getting it AAARRRGGGHHH!!! I'm not sure if you were there, but I know that strategies like, "If you don't stop doing what I told you not to do, I'm going to do it to you so you can see how it feels, you little jerk!" are much more likely to seem reasonable at that point than if I take action earlier.
I hope her brother-harming phase passes quickly and the three of you soon settle into a peaceful life. Meanwhile, don't be too harsh with yourself over this--we all make mistakes, and this wasn't a huge one.
Mama to a boy EnviroKid 10 years old and a girl EnviroBaby 1 year old!
I write about parenting, environment, cooking, and more.
After the kids are in bed, watch a few episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras. You will feel like the best mom ever!
I agree, I don't think it's a bad strategy. I mean I guess these things don't often work, but as EnviroBecca said, now you can explain to her that this is how her brother feels when she does it to him. I think if you state the limit of no pouring water on his head or you are done in the bath and then she violates the limit, take her out and finish bathing your son. And if she cries, that will happen, it is certainly aggravating, but it doesn't mean you aren't being gentle and that your methods aren't working.