KJ, this isn't unexpected tho, is it ? I know you were having similar issues with Charlie during your pregnancy and were making strides toward using GD instead of hitting, lashing out etc. I have to be honest with you tho, for me, those post-partum days were the WORST, not in his behavior, because he was okay, it was ME and my hormones, my want/need to be alone with baby, etc etc. Not that THAT will make you feel any better. It is so much harder to deal and be GD etc, esp if you have a history of not so gentle parenting like me, and throwing in hormones, fatigue, exasperation etc that will try anybody and then adding the toddler with issues on top of the mix.
Personally, I think it is normal to lash out at your parents and other adults etc with the baby, and I think you need to accept that the behavior is GOING to happen. Not that you need to welcome or accept the BEHAVIOR, but you can accept that it is going to happen. Does that make sense ? And I think that probably now would be a very good time to come up with some kind of extremely consistent ?mantra? for when he is hitting you, any other adult. (i.e., I know you are angry, we don't hit...blah blah) I am sure you have one handy. This way you have a tool and a plan to use when he hits, and you need to use it every time. This helped immensely with Kieran I think, or at least it helped me out. However, as far as the baby, we took an incredibly hard stance on that one around here. Kieran was Charlie's age when baby sister came and in our opinion, he was completely able to understand you never, EVER, hit or hurt the baby. In fact, you don't touch the baby unless you touch her feet or hands, you may not touch her head or face. Ever. When things were thrown in her general direction, those things went into the garbage, no matter how beloved or how accidental, and ds got a reprimand about throwing objects because they can hurt people. If he hit the baby, he got the same mantra as above, in a more serious tone, and the baby was removed. We didn't have the issue of hitting, per se, we had the issue of roundabout antagonization. Getting in her face and screeching, or when nursing, him jumping crazy on the couch and/or kicking her while pretending to hid behind the cushions. So I had to come up with new rules "no jumping on the couch when baby is here", "feet on the floor, not on people". I tried to take the focus off of his behavior to the baby, and put it in a manageable for him place. If you think he is prone to hitting the baby, which I think is a normal reaction, do NOT EVER leave the baby unattended or Charlie unattended around the baby. Do not give him the opportunity to hurt the baby. I can tell you, sister, that the most anger and vehemence I have ever mustered came when my son hurt my baby. OMG, talk about wanting to beat the living you-know-what out of him. It took every ounce of everything I had to keep control of the situation, and I'm not proud of the ways I have reacted toward him in the days and weeks following her birth, but I found that him-her issues were the worst, so I learned quickly, for his safety (and hers) to never leave them together. If he is hitting her even in front of you, then you can't let her out of arms. YOu can model good touching, you can do other things to help him find a way to have ownership of the baby (via unlimited touching of feet for example if he is able to control himself). But he can't hit her if he can't get to her, KWIM ? And that will help you deal with it, in a roundabout way.
Do you have particular issues that are proving to be most difficult with him ? Are you / have you noticed trigger times (nursing, baby sleeping, etc ?) Are there certain things he is doing that are just hard for you to deal with ? Maybe if you are more specific here, people can offer you some suggestions to try with him. I am sure you know all the general ones of spend more time with him, I would try do give him 1:1 time when Reilly napped, and I would give lots of positive praise when he was able to interact with her gently. I also would ask him to help me retrieve things, etc. I would try to engage him while nursing baby (we purchased a Leap Pad to use during nursing times)
and that worked really well. Instead of trying to get him to be quiet when baby was sleeping, I made an effort to get him outside during those times for fresh air, or did activities like coloring or playdo with him at those times. I really wanted to clean the house, but I did the playdo. Can MIL deal with baby while you do some things with him instead of MIL dealing with him while you do baby things ? ONe other thing I was offered and I found incredibly brilliant, was to make sure to make baby wait sometimes while I attended to ds, and making sure ds knew it. i.e. if baby fussing or something, and ds needed me too, telling baby "I know you need mommy right now Reilly, but Kieran needs mommy too and I need to help him/give him a hug, etc". or "I'll be there in a minute Reilly but Kieran was first, its his turn right now, hang on". Then often I would say "alright, I helped you with xyz, and now its Reilly's turn (he really understood the taking turns thing) or I would say something like "I'm glad you are okay. Reilly's really crying, can you come help me get her ?
Usually he was more than happy to help me help his sister. Baby will not be harmed forever by being made to wait 2 minutes to give that hug/help with something important and it will be a huge boost to him to see that he can still come first sometimes.
Hang in there, and please keep checking in. I think of you often.
Zoe is almost the same age -- and sometimes it seems like she's abusing us!! She'll get this look in her eye, then scratch daddy's face or kick REALLLLLLY hard while wearing dress shoes.
At the age of 3 months, Zoe scratched daddy's cornea. I tried not to laugh... he was in pain for over a week... and she's had her ups and downs since then. Sometimes she hurts us intentionally as part of a fit, othertimes it's the odd headbutt right to the jaw...
I don't know if this would be helpful at all, but I'm just reading Playful Parenting but, uh, Laurence Cohen (I think!) and he has this one blurb about "love bites, love kicks, pushes etc" and basically related a story of telling a child, "Oh, you got me with a love bit? Now I have to cover you iwth love!" His idea is that the child is looking for connection and that this is a way to insert that connection into a situaion where the child is behaving in a negative way. Of course, my ds hasn't hit/bitten me since I read this, so ia haven't tried it, but it made sense to me.
I thought it might work, then if ds began biting/hitting me obviously looking for affection and the "love bites/covered in love game", I would tell him that I'd love to play the game, but only if he could remember to do a pretend bite because the real bites hurt and hurting mama isn't ok.
Of course, he still hasn't hurt me since I read this and thought it all through, so I haven't tried any of this. He'll just surprise me with something that hasn't even occured to me
: , it's so hard staying one step ahead!!
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