I have started babysitting a wonderful and delightful 2 year old whom I adore but am having trouble finding a way to get her to calm down around my 16 month old son. My son is very gentle and does not hit or bite. He gets pushed around a lot. The 2 year old seems completely obsessed with making my baby miserable. Literally the entire time she is over, she spends every moment committed to making sure he does not touch or do anything. If he has a toy of his own, she rips it away from him every time and screams "NO, BABY! MINE!" If he gets near her she screams bloody murder. She will not allow him to have anything. If he walks away, she follows him and stops whatever it is he tries to go and do and yells "NO, BABY!" I try to distract her with activities but he always wants to join in what his mama and this new little girl are doing and seconds later, it always ends in her yelling and pushing him away and him crying pitifully.
I'm not sure why she is doing this. Her mom is super gentle like me. So gentle that she does not even use the word "no." She does not yell. She's a Waldorf teacher. If the little girl even hears the word "no" she freaks out and acts like she has been slapped. She's terrified of any kind of reproval. So far, I have tried redirecting, keeping her busy and offering to give her her own space to play by herself where the baby cannot go. None of it has worked. Every time she does it, I get down on her level and stroke my baby and say "___, we don't hurt baby. We love baby, see?" and I give him hugs and stroke him softly. Or I say "___, please give the toy back to baby. That is his toy and he is playing with it now. You may play with it when he is finished." But she will keep a death grip on the toy and there's no way I can get it back. I have even tried ignoring her behavior, picking up the baby and paying attention only to him when she does something to him but every time it makes her run away and hide somewhere and wail pitifully and I can't console her at all. She won't even let me touch her.
Any ideas on how I can help her behavior? I have her for full days and it's really wearing me down and I'm scared that it is going to affect my son's behavior and disposition. I enjoy the time when we get to have her over, but I don't know how to help her get along with the baby. She is very intelligent and very verbal and understands perfectly what I say to her, I just don't know what the right thing to say is, I think.
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As for hitting/hurting the baby, I think the phrase, "I can't let you hit the baby" is good, and then give attention to the baby to make sure he's okay. She may freak out but that's okay. You can still give her empathy through it such as, "I'm sorry your sad." But she still doesn't get to hurt the baby or yell at the baby.
Wife to one amazing husband , SAHM to DS 10/09, DS 10/19, one furbaby , and lots of !
I think that referring to him as the baby, as accurate as it may be, sets her up to believe that he is below her on the totum pole and allows her to feel like she has power. All kids want control over something, many test limits with animals (my own 20mo does this with our dogs, but I'm a dog trainer so she see's mommy training and she imitates me). Perhaps giving her control over other areas and treating/teaching he that she's on an equal playing field with your son might make her less inclined to helicopter over him.