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<p>Ladies, I am at my wits end. My 4 year old will not stop hitting, pushing, jumping on, etc her (almost) 3 year old sister. To try and make the backstory here short, I have failed miserably this year in the GD department. I have just had a really craptastic year, but I am trying my best to get back on track. DD1 has been an angry child for sometime, this is not new. As I came back to GD a few weeks ago it seemed to be getting much better and we were regaining some ground. The last few days have seen another slump, a very awful slump. Without the threats of punishment or spanking, DD1 is hitting DD2 with force now and at times for absolutely no reason. She is even hitting DD3 which hardly ever happened before. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I try to acknowledge her feelings and talk her through it, but she just screams for me to leave her alone and not talk to her. As for what fuels the violence - you name it, sharing, space, DD2 even speaking to anyone it doesn't even have to be her. I've figured out a lot of her aggression with us comes from being embaressed, but I don't really know how to deal with that either. Talking to her about it doesn't seem to be helping. I'm stuck and frustrated.</p>
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<p>Another thing she does that drives me insane is if DD2 or DD3 start crying or screaming for any reason she begins screaming at the top of her lungs, which makes me insane. I've talked to her "It upsets you when sisters get loud" "yes" "I know I don't like it either, but yelling doesn't make it any better does it?" I don't really know where else to go with this conversation??</p>
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<p>AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!</p>
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<p>I do want to add, this is just when the angry switch gets turned on. She is normally a very sweet well behaved, always eager to help child, but when that switch gets hit, it is almost impossible to calm her back down, the rest of the day is usually a loss no matter how hard I try.</p>
 

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<p>My kids were 15 months apart; I see yours are 16.  :)  Can I just tell you that the year that you are going through _right now_, with your kids being 4 & 3 has been my toughest year yet as far as kids inappropriately using physical force to get what they want?  It was a hard, hard, hard year for me last year.</p>
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<p>Mine are 5 and 4, and we've come out the other side.  However, the "4 & 3" year was my hardest yet.  I had a lot of physical violence, for lack of a better word, from my ds to my dd.  He was bigger, and when he turned 4, he started to get preschooler-strong.  This wasn't toddler-strong anymore, this was big heavy preschooler strength.  If his little sister upset his Thomas train-track....you could bet he was going to push her over or whack her for it.</p>
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<p>Here is what I learned - YMMV, but first things first.  This was the year of Supervised Play for us.  I couldn't leave them alone in the next room while I surfed MDC or facebook.  (Insert embarrassed smiley here....I tried a few times.  It didn't work.)  If they were playing, I was folding laundry on the couch nearby.  If they were in the bathroom taking a tub together, I was soaking my feet in said tub.  If they were outside on the swings, I couldn't read my book on the porch.  I was in their business 24/7, practically.  I had to be.  The second dd would do something entirely 3 yo-appropriate (i.e., grab ds's dump truck or whatever), he would want to pounce on her and whack her.</p>
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<p>I had to be there to jump in, redirect, prevent said whacking, mediate/help ds vocalize to dd ("You can't take my truck!") instead of whacking her, teach dd to ask/find something else.........all of that stuff.</p>
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<p>It was an exhausting year.</p>
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<p>However, we're on the other side of it.  Mine are 5 & 4 right now, and they play together beautifully 75% of the time.  (The other 25%?  Well, no siblings are perfect.)  It just took a lot lot lot lot lot lot lot of teaching and mediating for the two of them to learn how to play together without hitting.</p>
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<p>Four is a really hard year, IMO.  They have the physical ability to exert their will (She took my truck = I will hit her!) but not yet the impulse control, I think.  I really worked hard last year, but it is paying off right now.  I can leave the two of them to play for an hour and not worry that anyone is going to get hurt.  It just took an entire year of breathing down their necks, I think, to get here.</p>
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<p>i will be keeping an eye on this thread - even though mine is reversed. the younger sibling is the hitter.</p>
 

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<p>Thanks hopefulfaith! That is what I needed to hear, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!</p>
 

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<p>I was just coming here to post a similar question, so I hope you don't mind me piggybacking on your thread instead of starting a redundant one.  Mine are 3 and 1, 27 months apart, and DS1 is terrible about hitting and pushing DS2.  Like hopefulfaith said, a big part of the problem is that I can't leave them unsupervised.  I always try to drink my coffee and check my e-mail in peace in the morning while they play, and sometimes they play OK but usually they don't.  I need to stop being so selfish and accept that I can only do that stuff when DH is home or if one/both of them is asleep.  DS1 is very particular (even anal retentive) and likes to line up toys in a certain way, stack things in a certain way, etc., and if DS2 disrupts them he gets very angry and hits or pushes him.  It makes me so angry, especially when it's repeated, and I'm not always as gentle with him as I want to be.  Then I feel terrible and try to comfort him and I feel like the message gets lost (though I do try to reinforce by saying "I'm sorry I ___, but it makes me angry when you hurt your brother").  When it happens in front of DH, he is very swift with him and also usually less gentle than we both try to be.  DH isn't pro-spanking or anything, but he has no problem with teaching him that "You shouldn't bully someone smaller than you, because there's always someone bigger than you".  He said that's how it would be in real life (in a bar or something) and it's a man/boy thing, and I wouldn't understand.  I sort of see his point but on the other hand I think hitting someone smaller than you is the LEAST logical way to teach that person that it's not OK to hit [someone smaller than him].  Again, DH doesn't spank and certainly doesn't want to hurt DS, but I think he wants DS to know that he <em>could</em> hurt him, if that makes sense.  I don't want to rule by fear, but DH said that being afraid of his dad is what encouraged him to behave as a kid (he also says his dad never really hurt him, but it's more about "wounded pride").</p>
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<p>Whenever we have a problem like this, I try to get to the root of it.  In this case, it's usually that DS2 "ruins" DS1's toys or if DS1 wants what DS2 is playing with.  Trying to see it from his perspective, I thought of setting up a special area (maybe with a baby gate?) where DS1 can keep A FEW toys, where DS2 would not be allowed.  DH doesn't like the idea because he said DS1 needs to learn that other people live in this house and are free to roam and touch things (which is so funny to me because DS1 <em>definitely</em> gets his anal retentiveness from DH).  I also don't know how practical this idea is because I'm quite certain DS2 could just knock down a baby gate.  We cosleep so DS1 doesn't have his own room, so it's not like he can keep a few special toys in his own room (plus we don't like to leave doors closed, for heating purposes).</p>
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<p>So, I'm really stuck.  I often do try to redirect DS2 when I see him heading towards DS1's perfectly-arranged trains or tower of blocks, but as he gets older I don't want him to feel like he has to tiptoe around DS1, and I want DS1 to understand that he's not the only person in this house.  Sometimes when DS2 is not yet near the tower, I'll explain to DS1 that his brother might knock over his tower and if he does, it will be OK and we can rebuild it.  It doesn't help much in preventing a meltdown but at least I feel like I'm doing something.</p>
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<p>Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OceansEve</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282391/for-the-love-of-god-stop-hitting-your-sister#post_16083425"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Thanks hopefulfaith! That is what I needed to hear, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!</p>
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You are so welcome.  <span><img alt="luxlove.gif" height="19" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/luxlove.gif" width="17"></span></p>
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<p>I cried a lot last year.  It was exhausting, and I felt like I spent my LIFE separating/mediating/modeling/coaching gentle voices and hands.......but I really want to tell you that it paid off.  It is still a work in progress - but the "5 & 4" year is proving to be much easier than the "4 & 3" year. </p>
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<p>And can I tell you one more thing?  My IRL bf has two kids spaced much further apart - 3 years, almost -- and it's a totally different dynamic between siblings who are spaced further apart.  I spent a lot of time feeling bad because she didn't understand that a closely-spaced sibling relationship is completely different and she "made me feel bad" (yes, I know nobody can make you feel bad without your permission and all...) that my kids were "always fighting".  Well, my kids' relationship is different.  My kids are constant playmates, as opposed to hers who are different ages/interests/developmental stages --- and aren't in each other's faces all the time.  It is completely, totally, amazingly different parenting/sib relationships when your kids are close together and it's a totally different experience when your kids' interests and developmental stages <em>overlap</em> but do not <em>coincide</em>.  She didn't get that.  I won't make the blanket generalization that "parents who don't have kids close together don't understand" ----- because I have gleaned SO MUCH information and support from MDC moms who clearly do "get it", even though their kids are spaced further apart --- but I will say that your experience is going to be different that a lot of other peoples'.  I didn't really realize that until halfway through and I spent a lot of time feeling bad about myself and my parenting that I really didn't need to waste time on.  HTH.</p>
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<p>Good luck!  You will get through this.  :)</p>
 

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<p>I hear you, Sollysmom.  I want to throw out there that you aren't being selfish by wanting peace in the morning.  :)  I love drinking my coffee in front of MDC/facebook/whatever in the morning .... it was just really, really hard to do last year, and I did have to spend several months _not_ doing it while the kids were in the next room.  You aren't selfish, though.</p>
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<p>Also, the part about your dh made me laugh!  My dh is the very same way; I couldn't have expressed his sentiments more clearly than you did.  My ds was pushing his sister around last year, and this year she finally get big enough that she totally laid him out in the hallway when he put his hands out to block him.  Ds wasn't hurt, but he was sort of stunned that his "little" sister was starting to push back now and then.  Dh saw that and busted out laughing --- and was sort of like "See, ds!  It doesn't feel good when people push each other!  THIS IS WHY you can't do that."  I gave him the sideways glance for laughing when the kids were pushing (I take a sterner line with it), but his point to me was the same:  that ds "needed to learn" that you can't be a bully because someone's going to hit you back someday, etc.  He also used the bar example...  I wonder why our dhs think our kids are going to be spending so much time in bars.  <span><img alt="lol.gif" height="31" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/lol.gif" width="15"></span></p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>SollysMom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282391/for-the-love-of-god-stop-hitting-your-sister#post_16084232"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-bottom:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-right:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Like hopefulfaith said, a big part of the problem is that I can't leave them unsupervised.  I always try to drink my coffee and check my e-mail in peace in the morning while they play, and sometimes they play OK but usually they don't.  I need to stop being so selfish and accept that <strong>I can only do that stuff when DH is home or if one/both of them is asleep</strong>.  DS1 is very particular (even anal retentive) and likes to line up toys in a certain way, stack things in a certain way, etc., and if DS2 disrupts them he gets very angry and hits or pushes him.  It makes me so angry, especially when it's repeated, and I'm not always as gentle with him as I want to be.  Then I feel terrible and try to comfort him and I feel like the message gets lost (though I do try to reinforce by saying "I'm sorry I ___, but it makes me angry when you hurt your brother").  When it happens in front of DH, he is very swift with him and also usually less gentle than we both try to be.  <strong>DH isn't pro-spanking or anything, but he has no problem with teaching him that "You shouldn't bully someone smaller than you, because there's always someone bigger than you".  He said that's how it would be in real life (in a bar or something) and it's a man/boy thing, and I wouldn't understand</strong>.  I sort of see his point but on the other hand I think hitting someone smaller than you is the LEAST logical way to teach that person that it's not OK to hit [someone smaller than him].  Again, DH doesn't spank and certainly doesn't want to hurt DS, but I think he wants DS to know that he <em>could</em> hurt him, if that makes sense.  I don't want to rule by fear, but DH said that being afraid of his dad is what encouraged him to behave as a kid (he also says his dad never really hurt him, but it's more about "wounded pride"). </p>
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<p>Sollysmom, I'm in the same boat and posting here instead of starting a new thread!  I guess this is common.  About an hour ago my 3.5 yo daughter was in her room playing with her horses and my 10 month old started heading her way.  Before I got there she ran to him screaming and pushed him over because she didn't want him in her room. </p>
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<p>Now, I know part of this is my problem.  I've been to much of a dictator "Don't do this and don't do that" because I have such limited time with both kids.  The baby will need to sleep or eat and She will need something and I just put her off.  She gotten to the point that she doesn't listen to me because I am not always reasonable and she knows that.  I just don't know how to undo it, short of just never leaving either of their sides, but then the husband gets grumpy because the house is a mess. </p>
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<p>I'll be following along for good tips.</p>
 

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<p>sunshadow - I definately feel you, it's so frustrating to get off track and not be sure just how to jump back on the train without getting run over!</p>
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<p>solly'smom - Okay, here is what we do in that situation (because I have the fun of also having a 18 month old :p) "Oh here comes the (child's name here) tornado! Ahhh!!!" *crash* "Now we <strong>get</strong> to rebuild, let's make it stronger, faster, better, bigger!!! Woohoo!!"  I try my best to keep DD3 occupied during the rebuilding, once we build it back, we take a pretend photo *click* "What a great (whatever it is)!" "Oh here comes the tornado again!!" "Yeah!! Now we get to make another one! Let's make it different this time." Repeat until DD3 gets bored knocking it over :p</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>OceansEve</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282391/for-the-love-of-god-stop-hitting-your-sister#post_16086423"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a>
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<p>solly'smom - Okay, here is what we do in that situation (because I have the fun of also having a 18 month old :p) "Oh here comes the (child's name here) tornado! Ahhh!!!" *crash* "Now we <strong>get</strong> to rebuild, let's make it stronger, faster, better, bigger!!! Woohoo!!"  I try my best to keep DD3 occupied during the rebuilding, once we build it back, we take a pretend photo *click* "What a great (whatever it is)!" "Oh here comes the tornado again!!" "Yeah!! Now we get to make another one! Let's make it different this time." Repeat until DD3 gets bored knocking it over :p</p>
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This is a great idea!  I can see DS1 seeing through my efforts and still freaking out, but I definitely think it's worth a try.  My husband really thinks I need to be more stern with him.  When we're both home, my husband usually takes the lead with discipline and when he's a little more stern/rough than I prefer, DS1 comes crying to me for hugs/comfort.  I give them to him, but reinforce in a calm voice that it's not OK to hit/push/whatever.  DH says that when I'm not here, he whines for a second and then goes back to playing and doesn't repeat the behavior.  Easy as that huh!  DH says that in general he/they behave better when I'm not here.</p>
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<p>hopefulfaith - you're so right about all the time in bars LOL!</p>
 

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<p>I've been wanting to post a thread about this too ... my DS (3.5) is constantly pushing or hitting his younger brother (17 mos old).  It drives me crazy and I feel like because it keeps happening, I must not be adequately communicating the message that hurting people is unacceptable.  Unfortunately, I have been pretty much useless for the past two months because of severe morning sickness, so I am not able to be as "up in their business" as usual (and sadly, have done a lot of yelling because it's the only thing that's effective that doesn't involve moving).  I do feel like we have lost ground WRT discipline in so many ways because of this situation, and I hope that once I'm not so sick I will be able to get back to a better place.  I would love to hear anyone else's tips on hitting/pushing.  I feel like even when I do something, I am not being forceful enough, that there should be some kind of consequence, but I don't know what.</p>
 

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<p>I'll add to the chorus and say that supervision at this age (or with any child showing aggression) is key. We use time-outs as well when the offender has received a warning and strikes again. I also model the appropriate responses to anger/frustrations for them (over, and over, and over...)</p>
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<p>And my 7 year old and 4 year old fight as frequently as my 4 year old and 20 month old...so in my house, a larger age gap has had little impact in lessening rivalry. Nor has aging stopped the fighting...Ugh. Now they have learned the art of teasing!</p>
 

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<p>This thread is so my life right now too!  I also have realized I have no other option but constant supervision (sigh!)... except checking in to a mental health facility.  Oh how I would love the qiuet!</p>
 
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<p>I'm watching this thread too because we are reaching the point where ds and dd are starting to interact and dd is becoming mobile so she messes up his lego creations (the really big legos, they are supposed to be hers, but he just can't resist). If she is eating puffs he wants some but then she reaches for some and he gets mad and slaps her hand, etc.</p>
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<p>today I discovered that I could buy some quiet time by putting dd in a laundry basket and having ds pull her around. They both thought that was great fun and ds said, "look mommy, she's being a good girl and she's not annoying!" lol. So I guess I need to start reading more threads like this one as we move into the age of sibling rivalry.</p>
 

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<p>waiting2bemommy -  enjoy it while it lasts, soon he'll want her to pull him and then the arguement begins to be who has to pull and if it's anything like our house, big sister wants to be pulled, but when it's her turn to pull for the second time or so, she's ready to move on to something else, so little sibling doesn't get quite the fair shake.</p>
 

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<p>Raedyco - I know what you mean, I went out of town to go run a race a couple weekends ago, I spent the evening at a friend's place, I kept telling him "It's so quiet."<span style="display:none;"> </span></p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>starlein26</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282391/for-the-love-of-god-stop-hitting-your-sister#post_16088289"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border-right:0px solid;border-top:0px solid;border-left:0px solid;border-bottom:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I also model the appropriate responses to anger/frustrations for them (over, and over, and over...)</p>
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I do this too - not necessarily because of the aggression against DS2 but because DS1 likes to throw things and hit when he gets mad.  I tried teaching him how to say "I'm mad" and stomp his feet, hit the couch, whatever.... it worked, but not in the way I intended.  Instead of doing it himself when he gets mad, when he sees me do it he thinks I look silly and it makes him laugh, distracting him from whatever made him mad.  So if I say "I'm mad" and stomp my feet, he'll say "Want Mama do on the couch I'm mad!" so I'll go over and say it again while hitting the couch, and then he'll repeat with random objects until he's moved on.  Like I said, not how I intended, but it does work.<br>
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<p>I don't know why I didn't think of this before today, but taking away the toy.  Not as punishment, but as a logical consequence that we explain.  We've done it before when a toy upsets him, like when we're playing with the Magna Doodle and he gets angry because DH or I aren't drawing the pictures the way he wants, we'll say "the magna doodle is supposed to be fun, but right now it's only making you angry so we're going to put it away" and then we put it away out of his reach somewhere.  Today, I applied this method with the hitting.  He had built a tower of blocks, and when DS2 knocked it over, he hit him and got really upset about the tower.  After reminding him that it's not OK to hit, I told him that the blocks were supposed to be fun and that right now they were causing him to be angry and hit his brother, so we were putting them away.  I'm hoping if I do this consistently he will eventually learn that hitting his brother over a toy means no more toy, and stop doing it.  Wishful thinking I'm sure!  I'm sure some people would view this as punishment, but I see it as a logical consequence.</p>
 

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<p>I picked up a book and it had a method to try that normally I would dismiss, but I was desperate.  It was a rewards type system, though it didn't call it that, coupled with lots of positive words when the child plays well.  I tried it out a few times and my daughter did great.  I asked her to not hurt, push, pull, or sit on her brother for 15 mins, to start, and I would spend 15 mins playing with her.  When I didn't have time I offered a treat or some money for her piggy bank.  I've been able to up that to over and hour and she did great.  The idea is not to take something away as punishment, but to reward good behavior and never tell her she lost out if she can't do it.  Just try again another time.  I just hope I'm not causing other issues with this!  Right now I just want her to stop hurting her baby brother! </p>
 
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