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at breaking point with almost 4 year ds tormenting/hurting 9 week old ds(12 Posts)
I had ds 2 almost 9 weeks ago and since then ds 1 ,who will be 4 in august, has been hell bent on trying to hurt his new brother. And when hes not trying to hurt him hes tormenting him, putting things in his face/head, waking him up when hes just gone sleep, that sort of thing.
Hes very jealous and i do understand that and we spent weeks trying to prepare him for his role as big brother, and he already has a big sister, my dd whos 7, so its not like he was used to having me all to himself.
I have tried taking so many different approaches to this situation in a bid to work it out but none are working. Ive tried ignoring the behaviour as much as i can allow without dd2 actually gettin hurt or being at risk, ive tried shouting/explaining why his behaviour is wrong/lots of cuddles and kisses and attention to the point im almost ignoring dd2 so hes doesnt feel he gets more from me.
Today ive gone down the lots of shouting root as im at the end of my tether. Since we got up hes made him cry twice by hurting him, once by diggin his fingers in his head and another by pulling his arm hard. Hes also been putting his play slime on his face and woke him up 5 times on purpose amongst other things. I literally cant risk leaving him alone with him for a second for fear of what he might do to him and that is so draining. I know shouting isnt helping but today i have felt so rung out i couldnt help it.
There has been a general deterioration in his behaviour all round since his brother arrived as he used to be such a happy pleasant little boy who i used to live being around, now i dread waking up to him each day.
Also since dd2 arrived hes taken to waking up every night without fail and gettin in my bed knowing full well if i make a fuss about getting him back in his it will disturb the ds2 so im double tired as im disturbed by him and the baby all night long.
Dp is working every hour god sends so he is never around and when he is hes useless at dealing with the situation anyway so its all on me and i dont know what to do next.
If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated and also has anyone else been through something similar, will ds1 ever accept ds 2 or resent him forever. I had none of this with my dd when dd1 cane along so its all a shock to me.
Congrats on the birth of ur dd
Just wondering if ur ds helps out with ur lo
eg fetching nappies,wipes etc
Be consistent. Be strong. You're in charge and need to let your 4 year old know that and that hurting the baby is not acceptable. It sounds very hard for you, ( been there and got the t-shirt). I found that advice given from the health visitor was really helpful. Could you talk with someone like that in real life?
The health visitor gave me a lot of confidence in my parenting skills when I felt drained and knackered.
First you need to keep your baby out of reach when you're not there. Eg in a Playpen
I would show your ds how to be gentle with baby. It will take a while to sink in but repeat over and over again. Any rough behaviour, ignore and take baby away telling ds that baby doesn't like it.
Also boys have a testorone surge at 4 anyway so it could be an element of that.
i think (and this is based purely on my own experience as mum of 4 boys) that a lot of what you're describing is just normal 4yr old behaviour rather than jealousy necessarily.
although you're telling him not to do x/y/z he probably really doesn't fully understand just how gentle you need to be with a newborn and why certain things will wake him up, even though it's obvious to us, as adults
i found when I had ds3 that I had to pretty much just keep him in the sling constantly because otherwise ds2 would do similar things to your DS. He didn't mean to hurt the baby, he just wanted to interact with him.
So, hard though it is, my advice is simply to keep baby away from DS unless you are there to supervise contact. When you are with them both just show him how to use "gentle hands" on the baby to stroke him or gently hold his hand etc... show him what he can do rather than telling him what he can't
do you have a stairgate? I had one on the kitchen, so if I was in there the baby could sit in the bouncy chair or whatever and ds2 couldn't get in, or I had him in the pram in the back garden so DS2 couldn't reach him
is your DP around at night? can he be responsible for DS during the night? taking him back to bed?
if not then I'd just go with it tbh... it's his way of letting you know he needs you I suppose? my lot have all had periods of coming in to me at night and after a little while they tend to just stop by themselves
Congrats on new baby, here's a few suggestions that I hope might help; they worked some of the time with my boys! Try getting dd1 to show dd2 a special book etc. while you're feeding as baby is too little to read etc. Sticker charts are great especially if the stickers are very shiny. Reward him for things he's not expecting such as putting on shoes himself, staying in bed all night. I even used to have a transparent box on top of the fridge with silly reward items such as bouncy balls, bubbles, funny balloons - again these were given out for unexpected things not as bribes. It's also worth try to have a 'what are we doing today?' chart. Everything is different for your eldest son so if you tell him about the day and even let him make a few decisions - park or library?- he might feel a bit more in control. Best of luck xx
Angelto, thanks. Ds2 will help by fetching nappies and wipes and even wipes dd 2's bum with me. I try to involve him as much as possible in caring for him and try to make it seem fun.
Isitsnowing yet i am trying to keep patient and strong and reiterate alot how wrong it is to hurt his brother with exlanations of why. It is very hard right now and tbh im living for september when ds1 will start full time school so i can relax for 6 hours a day rather than just 3 (hes in nursery at the moment).
Ive also considered going back to work doing more hours at end of my maternity in sept and using a child minder so i dont have to deal with his behaviour conatantly. As i type l have the baby on my knee as ds wont leave him alone in the pram and im gaurding his head as ds is sat on the chairarm humming in his ear and pushing on his head. I feel like throwing him off the sofa, of course i wouldnt because i wouldnt hurt him but thats how frustrated the whole situation is making me feel. My poor dd is also at the recieving end of his behaviour as he has taken to tormenting her alot as well but luckily shes such a good girl she puts up with him.
I dont want to speak to the hv if im honest because its embarressing to admit i cant control my own childs behaviour. I felt like i was a good mum but hes putting alot of strain on everyone around him right now.
I had this with my DS1 when his brother came. He too had a big sister but his behaviour completely changed when DS came along.
In response we-
Put him in time out for any violence towards his brother.
We over praised his sister when she was nice to the baby and did the same for him. Even for small acts of kindness(Including clapping saying wow your so kind,so proud of you)
Getting him involved I.e passing nappys and over praising again saying you couldn't do it without his help etc
sometimes when he came home from school 'the baby' would buy them presents because the baby missed him and he was the best brother ever.
We gave him alone time with either me or DH everyday even if it was just 10 minutes and we would go to the park or something.
It was hard and it didn't really change quickly, it did help when DS got older and DS1 could interact with him more and see him smile.
My DD was 3 when DS arrived and she hated the sight of him! I'm am ashamed to admit it now but we almost used to used to play along with it and let her "hide" him-within reason!!! She would drag the clothes horse in front of Moses basket. Or put his bouncy chair behind pouffe. In my mums house she propped a plastic washing basket in front of him
like a cage!! Out of sight, out of mind! And he was out of her sight but not mine as I'm taller! I don't think it's scarred him for life! And at 19/16 they actually quite like each other now!
As i type l have the baby on my knee as ds wont leave him alone in the pram and im gaurding his head as ds is sat on the chairarm humming in his ear and pushing on his head.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert but I would come down really hard on this, it sounds beyond stressful.
What about a marble jar? Put one in when he's good, take one out when he's not. X number of marbles means a reward?
Where is your DH? He needs to amuse your 4 yo to give you and the baby a break.
Sorry, just seen your DP is working lots/useless. He needs to step up - taking older children out to give you a break.
Could you rope in help from your family or up your nursery hours?
Paq, youre right that it has been and is very stressful and i know some posters are saying that my ds doesnt realise hes being too rough dd1 but he does as he is doing it with intention. I can honestly say its a side to my ds i didbt see untill now as he was such a laid back loving boy and its heart breaking to see him act this way. My mum does help out when she can but works full time still so its really only weekends i get some support from her. I cant afford more nursery hours, he presently goes 5 mornings a week at a pre school so its free. I wish ny dp would take dd 2 out more and take some of the pressure off but he literally does work from daen till dusk 6/7 days a week, occasionally hw takes him to the park.
I appreciate everyones responses and will certainly try the ideas. Its interesting to hear about the testostetone surge, maybe that could explain some of the aggressive behaviour as he doesnt see it from anyone that we know of.
I do really over praise his good behaviour,.alot, and when hes being naughty i try to explain how it dissapoints me and makes me sad and not proud,.etc and thr reasons why. I also make sure he has my full attention once dc1 is napping even though im tired and really could do with the rest, i let him choose the activity and go with what he wants so he is getting quality time with me. Its so frustrating.
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