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I have a 3 yo. boy and 1 yo. twins (girls). The 3 yo. will push the girls - usually when the girls crawl too close or grab a toy. Very rarely, it's been completely out of the blue. I see his behavior as absolutely developmentally normative, and I empathize with the difficulty of having 2 little ones who always want to do what you do, go where you go, and generally hang on your shirt. That said, it's also upsetting to me, because the pushes are hard and rough, and the girls have smacked their heads on the hard floor more than once.<br><br>
I should probably add that we've never punished our children. Our son has certainly never been spanked, but also never been sent into a time-out etc. I've worked with him around the pushing a lot - in the interests of trying to keep this brief (but I can give more details if needed), I'll just say that I focus on what he CAN do instead of pushing; on teaching him to ask me for help; on preventing situations where pushing is likely to occur; on protecting his things (by moving some into his room, and generally protecting his "turn" on family toys); and on empathizing with him. I wish I could say that I've never yelled, but the truth is that when I see him with arms raised (he pushes their necks up and down, so their heads snap up and they fall over), I tend to scream his name, and sometimes add on a "NO!" - not in anger, but in total panic. I can't imagine that HE makes that distinction, though. After I get there, I handle things calmly, but I do have that fear-based impulse to shout his name to get his attention and try to prevent it (it doesn't work).<br><br>
The most I've done is separate them ("It's my job to keep you safe, and I'm not able to do that right now, so I'm going to separate everyone until I'm sure I can keep everyone safe"). A couple of times, I've been honest about feeling frustrated and needing to take a deep breath or step out on the porch to collect myself, "so I can think of just what I want to say." I've also been honest a few times about my anxiety - for example, I put a play pen in the kitchen so I can put one twin in there while I'm feeding the other in the early morning, so no pushing will happen while I'm occupied. Sometimes he's wanted to go in there with the girls. I've said a few times, honestly, "I'm worried. I want you to have fun with your sisters, but there's been a lot of pushing this morning, and I'm worried that someone will get hurt. How are you feeling about the pushing now?" At those times, he says that he won't push, and he never has.<br><br>
I'm sorry this is so long!<br><br>
Anyway, lately, I've been frightened that he's thinking of himself as a bad kid, or as a pusher. For example, a few times, when he's asked to do something (like go into the play pen with the girls), he's pre-emptively and spontaneously said, "Don't worry, mama, I won't push" - when I never raised it. Then today, we had an incident - he walked over to his sister, who had pulled herself into a stand. It was late in the day, and I knew he was tired, and I was all the way across the room. As I saw hi walk over to her with his hands raised - and I couldn't tell whether or not he was going to hug or push - I hustled over to them very quickly, with a look of worry on my face. He was hugging her as I got there, and when he saw my face, his little face fell and he moved away from her. He said, "I was just going to hug her. I wasn't going to throw her down." I said, "I saw that. I saw you hug her!" and my heart broke into a million pieces.<br><br>
Have I somehow made this child feel like he's a bad kid, or like **I** think he's a bad kid??
 

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Soooo much of what you wrote sounds just like all the things I try and I say to my ds (3.5). I can't leave the two of them alone together for a minute. I've fallen into a pattern of immediately putting ds1 in a different room after he hits so he can "take a break" until he's ready to not hit/push. I explain it's so little brother and I will not be hit, he can't be around people when he's hitting, etc. In more patient moments I try to talk to him and figure out what he thinks will happen or be accomplished by the hitting. Well - all the things you said! And he loooves ds2 and often just wants to hug him - or at least he starts out with the urge to hug but then once he's in it, it gets squishier and pushier, all the way to the floor. So I'm nervous and look nervous, I'm sure, every time he goes near ds2. Sometimes he's going to ds2 and I start hovering and he looks at me as he starts to hug and then it's just a self-fulfilling prophecy - he does the "bad thing" instead of the good thing, probably just because I'm watching! But he does it when I'm not watching too.<br><br>
Oh - and he's now saying stuff sometimes like "I'm Bad-Guy!" like it's a superhero or something. And he's not into superheroes at all - except the ones on Super Why!<br><br>
So .... I don't know. We're moving soon, to another state, and tensions are high and time is short and certainly that all plays into it. But it's been an ongoing problem to some degree ever since little brother came on the scene!<br><br>
I don't mean to take over this thread. Just saying you're not alone and... I'm hoping too for some voice of experience to give advice or at least tell us at what age they might "grow out of" this...?
 

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Here is an article that might help... the author tells of a similar situation between her two youngest children, how she delt with it, etc.<br><br><a href="http://www.naomialdort.com/articles4.html" target="_blank">http://www.naomialdort.com/articles4.html</a><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> to you mama. This sounds really hard. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
The best and hang in there,<br>
Em
 
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