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2 months ago we got our daughter's biobrother placed with us for adoption. Things are going well, but he sometimes beats on her when we are not looking. One day I thought he was throwing a ball against the wall because I heard all these thuds. I came into the room and the thuds are his fists on my little girl. He is 25 months and she is 13 months (and tiny). We are doing timeouts for him, but is just doesn't seem appropriate punshment for something so awful. I mean, he gets the same punishment for stupid things. Sometimes, I yell at him for it just to make that timeout worse, but I don't really like that. What can I do?
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Mama, it sounds like a difficult situation. In this case I really think that punishment is just going to escalate the problem. I'm sure you are busy with two little ones, but Pam Leo has her book <a href="http://www.connectionparenting.com/parenting_tapes/index.html" target="_blank">Connection Parenting</a> available on audio format and you can download the mp3 version to your computer for just $14. It will give you a great introduction to gentle discipline and since she specializes in helping heal hurt children, which it sounds like your son is, it might be right on the mark.
 

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I think the solution here is that you shadow him when he's near his sister. At that age, I don't think time-outs work very well at all. I would be within arm's reach whenever he is near his sister and I would not leave them alone in a room together at this point. Instead of yelling at him, I would redirect him. "We use gentle touches for Sister. See, gentle" and stroke her hair nicely or something.<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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I don't mean to be insensitive, because it sounbds like you're dealing with a difficult situation, but why are you leaving an impulsive 25 month old alone in a room with a 13 month old? It sounds like asking for trouble. I would try to be in arms reach at all times.
 

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Its still such a recent transition. It must be terribly difficult for him. I think it might be better to not focus on a special punishment for terrible behavior at this time and just focus on attachment, and keep them very well supervised.
 

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Wow, that must have totally freaked you out! That being said, punishments and time outs just don't work for 2 year olds. At this age and younger, your presence and redirection would work the best. So, if you are in the room and he begins to hurt his sister. . .I would take his hands and say gentle and show him gentle touches or I would turn it into a game of gimme fives (this worked great with my DS when he was younger), or I would just remove him from that situation and get him started on another activity like clay or singing and dancing.
 

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I don't think a punishment will work. I know you are horrified when you see this. I would be too.<br><br>
What kind of background has he had?<br><br>
I think I would keep them within arms reach at all times until he has had some time to feel like he fits in.<br><br>
I really hope this is a short phase for you. I can imagine this is pretty heartwrenching.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Sometimes, I yell at him for it just to make that timeout worse, but I don't really like that. What can I do?</td>
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I think it might help if you reorganized how you imagine this situation to go. Instead of focusing on makjing punishment worse, maybe focus on seeing his pain and frustrations so that you can work on making the transition better for both of these children.<br><br>
I would most definitely keep him at arms reah, and definitely NOT reprimand him, remember... both these children are still babies, and are probably in need of some patience & guidance.<br><br>
I think at these ages, you protect & redirect.... thats all.
 

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It sounds like he might be dealing with some hurt of his own. A certain amount of sibling interaction in this way can be very normal, but it sounds like he might need some special attention from you. Here is an article that may help:<br><br><a href="http://www.naomialdort.com/articles4.html" target="_blank">http://www.naomialdort.com/articles4.html</a><br><br>
I hope this helps. This sounds like a hard situation, mama. Hang in there. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
The best,<br>
Em
 

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I agree with the pp, and wanted to add that you could try always having some one by your side. If you go to the kitchen from the living room or to the bathroom, take turns always bringing one of them with you. This way you know that nothing will happen.
 

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Come join us in the Adoptive and Foster Parents forum. We'd love to meet you and share stories of what's worked for us and what we're struggling with.
 

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Zombie, <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I'm dealing with a 3 yo I babysit pushing my DD and his little brother, and it is hard.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>angela&avery</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11610704"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree with the pp, and wanted to add that you could try always having some one by your side. If you go to the kitchen from the living room or to the bathroom, take turns always bringing one of them with you. This way you know that nothing will happen.</div>
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Eh, I know this sounds logical, but in my situation, the bigger kid will follow and continue the behaviour, and if he comes with me, the babies cry at being left alone(not always). It's not a perfect solution.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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What about a "time in" - watch him like a hawk, and when he moves to hit his sister, take him away from her and sit him on your lap. Explain that you see he's very angry, but hitting people is not ok. Have him sit on your lap for a couple of minutes. Take him away from his toys and what he was doing. Talk with him about ways he can be angry - hit the couch, stomp his feet. And do it again, and again, and again every time he starts to be agressive.
 

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Wow. It's hard to imagine seeing a two year old doing that. It sounds like he is a very hurting little guy. Can you talk to your caseworker about therapy for him? Someone who specializes in younger children?
 

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Sorry I don't have much to add, I just wanted to say you should absolutely not leave him alone with his sister for any period of time. I agree that timeouts and yelling won't work, just try to tell him what you expect of him, that hitting is absolutely never allowed, that he is hurting his sister, and that you are disappointed.
 

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I would also suggest that you also post over on the Adoptive/Foster parenting board. The parents there have dealt with kids that have problems that are bigger than 'average'.<br><br>
I also agree that you simply can't leave the two alone. At all. Period. You have 2 babies right now (13 and 25 months). Even if they had both had an ideal upbringing from the start that would be my recommendation for two children who are so young and so close together. Add to that one child who clearly has had some trauma in his life (otherwise why would he be placed with you), and it's clear that he can't be trusted. Not because he's inherently bad, but because he needs time to learn skills for being gentle, using his words, and time to develop impulse control.<br><br>
I would also see if you could get some help for dealing with his behaviors. There should be social services who can help you understand what he's been through, where his development is at, and what's developmentally appropriate. What he needs to learn is that he's safe, cared for and loved. It's going to take a while. He also needs to be disciplined (i.e. taught) how to behave, but learning what you have to teach is going to take time and trust.<br><br>
At this age, discipline is mostly about prevention and redirection. Prevention and redirection. He's too little to really link the "time out" with his crime, though he probably gets the general concept that you're angry. Yelling at him will simply get him to focus more on himself (because he's going to feel bad), and what you want him to do is to focus on the effects his behavior has on others. Remove him, tell him he hurt his sister. Comfort his sister. Work on demonstrating gentle. Over and over and over. Develop a gentle 'game' -- take his hand and demonstrate gentle with him. Then say "gentle" and ask him to do it. If he does, give him a high 5 or a hug or whatever he likes. And repeat. A thousand times or more. (Not in one day <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">).<br><br>
The bottom line is that one or both of them need to be within arms' reach at all times for a while. That will be exhausting for you.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2"><br><br>
They're both still babies! And since he's just been placed with you, it's likely he's been mistreated in the past. He may have been taught "bigger people beat up smaller people" by example. I would guess he's got a lot of anger about having been the punching bag in the past.<br><br>
ETA: I got called away by DS needing me, and I didn't want to risk my half-written post getting lost.<br><br>
IMO, a 2yo is too young for "time out" to work (not that I'm a fan of time outs anyway) and this child needs lots of love and reasurance. I don't think that disciplining him should be about punishments at all. You want to build him up, not tear him down, and he's much more fragile and aggresive than most 2yos his age because of the trauma he's been through.<br><br>
As others have stated, it's not safe to leave these two toddlers alone together, unsupervised, for more than about 10 seconds. It's going to be exhausting for you to care for both of these babies- I remember how exhausted I was when my girls were little, and I didn't have to worry about aggression and COULD safely leave them alone together for a couple of minutes at a time.<br><br>
If there's any kind of support services available to you, take advantage of them.
 

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My youngest is 3, and I wouldn't leave her unattended with a smaller baby. There's just too much that can happen, as children this age don't fully understand how their actions can affect other people.<br><br>
That's what your son needs help with -- thinking about how our actions affect other people, and learning to interact gently and lovingly, and learning acceptable ways to express his more energetic or aggressive impulses. Punishing him just encourages him to stay focused on himself.<br><br>
I'd give him as much affection and focused attention as you can -- including rough-housing if he likes this. We've learned that rough-play is what my 3yo is often seeking when she comes up and starts being aggressive with us. And I'd keep your 13mo with you -- maybe carry her in a sling when you're going to the bathroom and doing things around the house -- that is, if she enjoys being in a sling at this age, I realize she may be very active.<br><br>
But about slinging -- maybe your 2yo baby would also enjoy some time being held like this. My 3yo still does at times.
 

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These kids are so close in age. Mine are 22 months apart, and at that age, I learned very fast that I could never leave them alone, even for a minute. Come up with plans directed at prevention instead of thinking about punishments.... it's a whole lot easier.<br><br>
In general, making the older child feel safe, secure, and special really helps cut down on sibling aggression. But that' is not easy.<br><br>
Come up with a plan for keeping the younger child safe, even if you have to give up some of your ideals like temporarily putting the older child in a playpen so you can go to the bathroom.<br><br>
Good luck.
 
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