So, what would you do? Need a little help here.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 06-09-2003, 01:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm pretty much at my wits end, dd - 4 1/2 has been hurting her 13mo brother, in increasing frequency. Yesterday I found a bite mark on his back - a full-jaw bite. Don't know when it happened, I must not have been in the room at the time. Today I saw her bonk him on the head with her fist repeatedly.

She's normally a very kind and loving kid, I don't know where this behavior is coming from. She's been a bit jealous since he was born but this is kind of out of the blue - for her to be so mean to him. We don't give her any reason to be jealous, we treat them both equally and fairly.

I really want to handle the situation properly and with love and respect toward her, but I really want the behavior to stop.

Any advice GD mamas?
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#2 of 5 Old 06-09-2003, 01:22 AM
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No answers but a good book is 'Siblings without Rivalry'. I need to reread it, but it really impressed me when I read it first time.

Good luck. We're just starting with the sibling rivalry and it's tough sometimes.
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#3 of 5 Old 06-09-2003, 01:32 AM
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Sure you've given her a reason to be jealous of him- you brought him into her home and spend time and energy caring for him, not to mention loving him.
All I'm trying to say is that these feeling are natural and normal. I think it's in Siblings Without Rivalry that it talks about allowing the child to express those emotions, rather than stifling them.
I think you do need to intervene, I don't mean that. One technique that worked well for me was to express the intentions that the children had, and then have them respond ppropriately. (so you say "Sally, it looks like Jim wanted your cookie and you were trying to tell him that it belongs to you, but it's not ok to hit him. Use your words to tell him that the cookie is yours" and you have them practice it right then) That way you're teaching an appropriate response rather than just telling them not to do what they are doing.
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#4 of 5 Old 06-09-2003, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
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khrisday, hey i'm all for her expressing her emotions, just not with her fist or her teeth!! I cannot accept her violent behavior and I want it to stop. I understand what you mean about helping her express her intentions. It may be sometimes that her frustration levels escillate (sp?) and she doesn't know how to cope so she just snaps, then bites or hits.

My question - is this a punishable offense? When she bit him I took her aside and firmly explained that biting and hitting is not allowed, and that I would not accept that behavior. If she had a problem to talk to me about it, and never to hurt her brother again. So when she did the very next day - by bonking him on the head I just snapped and sent her to her room for time out, then afterward we had a long talk about how we treat others with respect and never hurt another person. That she is setting an example for him, as he grows up he will think that hitting okay and he will start to hit her back. We teach love and show love, and never hurt one another.

I have the feeling that her behavior is driven partly by frustration and partly by the power she feels over him.

So now what do I do??!!!
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#5 of 5 Old 06-10-2003, 01:30 PM
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At her age, I'd have her talk about the power and how it makes her feel. I'm sure it's a bit heady to be so much bigger and competent than her brother. See if you two can talk about positive ways for her to be ahead of her brother. My 5 year old is very helpful and caring towards his younger brothers now, but it was tough convincing him that the positive things were better than the negative. One thing I often talk to him about is how the little ones love copying him and learning from him. Now whenever one of the littler ones learns anything he tells me that he taught them.

The frustration is hard too since toddlers grab things and all. I tell my son that they are young and they don't understand and we commisserate about how frustrating it is, but we talk about how we're goign to teach them positive things (therefore no grabbing toys back or hitting or anything). He can come to me and I'll get the toy back or he can hold his hand out and say "give the toy to _____ (his name)." and often the toddler will oblige.

I also loved "Siblings Without Rivalry" Your library should have it.
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