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dealing with a new sibling - dd out of control

566 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  mashenka
I am out of ideas. I was wondering if looking from the outside anyone can help with some ideas or tips of what helped them.

A bit of background: we moved to England from South Africa in March, my dd was 2 and a half. We used to live on the same property as my parent whom she was very close to. She was very upset in the beginning and would cry everyday and begging to go home. It was heart breaking. We moved when i was 30 weeks pregnant and have tried hard to make a new home and stable environment for her. We have joined some activities ( swimming and ballet) and she goes to a play group one morning a week.

My dh works away from home off shore, so he is home 2 weeks and away 2 weeks.

So as you can see there have been huge changes in her life. My ds was born 2 weeks ago, but even before his birth her behaviour was getting difficult to manage. Everything becomes a fight from getting dress, eating etc etc. I have tried not to obsess about the eating and refuse to get into food wars. I just try not to think about how little fruit and veg she is actually getting in. I don't want it to be a power struggle as i think food is one area she feels she has some control in her life.

Dressing she will run away every time we need to get dresses and i have tried to make it into a game, which sometimes works and sometimes does not. I hate forcing her but sometimes we have to get clothes on or we can't leave the house.

She has started hitting, pushing and pinching people, we always say people are not for hitting but it does not seem to help. I have given her alternatives ie you can hit the pillow, bed etc etc. I have also asked her to come a speak to me if she feels like hitting so we can talk about it and do something else. I have tired to acknowledge her feelings.

She has loads of energy and can't sit still for even a few seconds. She just seems to try to find ways to push my buttons all day. I know she has had her world turned upside down and she does not have the ability to express the emotions inside and so they come out when she acts out. She shout at me most of the day and melts down if she does not get what she wants

I just do not know how to deal with it when it happens. What do i do when she hits other kids despite us talking about it alot, what do i do when she throws the food across the room? She hits me and the baby. It is hard not to get cross and yell at her.

I am trying to give her a lot of one on one time, my dh is home at the moment and he has taken her out to the park and various place and really spend loads of time with her yet she gets more and more out of control.

Is it just a case of trying to support her and ride it throught or am I going something wrong? I would lie of i said that i always handled it well, i have shouted and threatened and lost my cool more than once but i am just at a total loss as to how to help her.
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I wish I had some good advice for you. Unfortunately I came on here seeking help for my out of control ds. We have moved, and have no family near. Ds2 is 7 months now, and ds1 just seems more and more out of control. I kept hoping it would get better and hoping he'd adjust to it all. But so far it has only gotten worse.

I spend a lot of time taking deep breathes and validating his feelings. I try to let a lot of things go, pick my battles. Some things though are just not okay, like hitting, biting, kicking, spitting on us, etc... Lately I bring him to his room, leave him for only a short few minutes (until the screaming and banging stops) and then I go in and we talk about it - and I do this without the baby even if that means I have to lie him down in the other room for a minute. If I try to talk to him while he's in a rage it seems to make it worse. I've learned that for him, he needs to yell and hit (in his room away from people) and then he feels better. The release helps maybe?

Again, I'm sorry I don't have any grand ideas to help your situation. But you are not alone. I often feel like I'm doing something wrong and that I'm failing him in some way. I feel like he's the only one acting this way. So it helps to know there are other people in similar situations. No one is perfect. We all yell sometimes, we all make mistakes in our parenting, we all wonder if there's a better way to handle it.

Good luck, and hopefully you'll get some better answers!!
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Count me in with the
but no advice! We are there, too. DD is 8 months and DS 3.5 years. Every day is a struggle. Not so much with the eating, getting dressed [we went through that around 3-years-old and it has passed--hope that it is the same for you], but with the aggression. We used to play with a group we'd known since his birth. Now we just can't join them because DS is bigger than the other kids, plays rough with them and scares them. I removed us because I could tell he was making everyone uncomfortable.

His aggression has been focussed on baby sister lately. He is so rough with her, grabs her, holds on tight, I have to be forceful with him to get him to let go. Today we literally got into a tug-of-war with the baby. I lost it and cried and cried and cried. Then a few minutes later, she was smiling at him and he put his hand covering her mouth and nose.

I KNOW 3.5 is a hard age, I know that having a sibling is hard, but dear lord is this miserable. If anyone's been through this and come out the other side, please let us know!
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I am sorry that you are so exhausted by all of this. It sounds excruciating for you and your daughter. She sounds beside herself. You sound beside yourself. And to top it off, I imagine you are exhausted from nursing a new baby constantly. And probably sleep deprived. That sounds like you are at your wits end.

The number one thing is to find a way to get some "me" time to rejuvenate throughout the day. Eat Protein. Sleep when they nap. Delegate everything. Postpone everything except the most critical Eat and Sleep. Do take out, left overs, frozen meals. ASK for help from everyone for any little thing that can be delegated. ACCEPT help for any little thing that is offered. Get out of the house! Go anywhere that is more interesting to your daughter, than that new baby that keeps taking up all of mama's time. It is hard to coordinate and collect everything that you need to leave the house; but a change of scenery can do wonders for "the four walls are closing in" feeling of everybody.

Buy the book "Siblings Without Rivalry" ASAP. The gist of it is to validate that your older daughter's life sucks with a new baby taking all of HER mama's time right now. Do not explain away her feeling with the information that the baby will love her and she will love it and get to play with it. NONE of that matters to a two year old who feels like she has lost her mama and her foundation in life. Her world has changed irrevocably, and without her consent or ability to understand that it will change again for the better, eventually because of having a sibling. But right now, TODAY, it sucks having a baby in the house to her because the baby took her mama's attention away from her. It is counter-intuitive, but say "You do not like the baby. You want the baby to leave. You want mama all to yourself. You want the baby to go back away." And I feel very certain she will say "YES!".

This does not mean she will feel this way forever. But to deny her real feelings, right now, means that she must carry them alone and figure out what to do with the big and scary feelings. If you help her to give voice to the feelings, they will not feel so scary and overwhelming to her. She will not 'get over' this quickly. And talking about her dissatisfaction with this infringement on her life will not make the feelings deeper. It will help her to process them and *connect* to you, and she will understand that she is not alone, that you ARE there to support her.

Spending one-on-one time is so, so hard with a baby. Set the baby down. I am very AP and do not say this lightly. But get a swing, a bouncy chair, a carrier and give some of the 'time up in arms' to your older daughter. The girl's life is upside down and she needs to be held and heard. Then she will feel and believe that her connection with you is not broken. And she will understand that the baby is not more important. Reassure her fears as they are bigger than she knows what to do with them, except to act on her primal anger. And when this gains your full attention, it is re-enforced. You can choose to ignore her behaviors when she is acting destructively, yelling and hitting and kicking. But this does not *connect* with her pain and loss. She needs to mourn the loss of being the most important person in your life. That will take time. And if you help her through it, it will happen roughly, because this is a great pain for her. But she will end up *connected* to you, rather than alone with her pain.

Eat protein. Try to find respite for household chores, shopping, laundry, etc. for several weeks. Give your full attention to both children, not to the house. Get a mother's helper to play with your older daughter; so that she gets the undivided attention still. Get an adult to carry the baby around while you play with her alone in another room. Create an "extended family" for help. Doing it alone is not heroic, it is not necessary, it is not natural. Ask for help.

It will get better. Cry. Breathe. And hold each other. Life is easier when we connect and share our fears and feelings. Help your daughter to do this and she will feel better and act "better".

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WuWei's advice is so good it could be a sticky. I agree with everything she said.

Long distance support your way:
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I have soooo been there. my DD was 2 weeks old and DS 17mo when their Daddy died. we had/have next to no outside support (ie;no breaks for mama EVER!). things were rough with my older DS until just recently. it took alot of time and patience. the biggest thing that helped him is a routine. when he knows what to expect everyday it's so much easier. now they are best buddies and things are SO much easier!
HTH a little. hang in there.
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I'm gonna say that mostly you just need to "ride it through," as you say. Yes, she has had her world turned upside down. And -- she is at an age that is difficult to manage, even with a kid whose life has been stable.

Validating feelings is important. Talking about the changes a lot, is important. Do you have photos that show your home and friends in S.Africa? If you do, then look at those with her. Talk to her about things to remember. By the same token, talk about how things have changed with the new baby, talk about what might be hard about it. Give labels to what she is feeling. Let her know that you understand. YOU provide the language for the feelings she can't articulate.

With the throwing, hitting, etc. -- I think its important to be clear about boundaries. Its easy to feel sorry for a child who is going through a lot, but it doesn't really do her any favors to let her be hurtful. IMO, this is an area where we need to step in and "protect" toddlers. Protect from herself, so to speak. So I would go ahead and end a mealtime when she throws food, with some empathy and gentleness, and assurance that she can try again when she is ready to NOT throw food. Remove her from situations where she is hitting and pinching other kids. You don't really need a lot of talk around this -- remove, ridirect.
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Thanks everyone and
s to others going through this

DH and i spoke last night and are trying to think of more creative ways to help her. This morning i left the baby with dh and crawled into her bed to wake her up with a snuggle, we did lots of hugging and kisses and just holding her. This seemed to make a better start to the day.

She has had a few melt downs and started kicking me, i asked her to stop and said that i don't like being kicked and that kicking was not okay and she carried on. I was dealing with a fussy baby at the same time so eventually shoved her leg away and got up where she could not get to me. She was smiling through out and thought it was really funny to kick me. I tried hard not to get mad but it is so hard.

Pat thank you for all your advice, I am really trying to validate her feelings but i may need to do it more or change the words i am using. I often ask if she feels angry but it may not be enough. Will work on this one.
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I checked back in on this thread. I am still wishing lots of strength to sallyz. I am sorry I went off so much about my trouble. I had a horrible day yesterday and had honestly sat down to MDC to submit the same new thread when I saw yours.

Pat's advice was so beautiful and so awesome. I wish you strength, love and compassion for yourself, for your oldest and youngest [whose needs are actually easy to meet for now!]
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