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Toddler attacking 3 month old

(4 Posts)
InspectorGadget Tue 05-Jul-11 22:39:35

Am at end of tether. My almost 2 year old is becoming increasing 'violent' toward my 3 month old. I use inverted commas as I don't believe he is trying to hurt her, merely trying to get a reaction from her (and me).

He loves her to bits and is desperate for her to play with him, never really any jealousy from him, just a bit of acting up after we first took her home from the hospital. I try to include him as much as possible, I let him lie with her in her baby gym which he loves, and let him give her (very closely supervised) kisses and cuddles.

However this last week his behaviour generally has deteriorated terribly, particulalry toward his baby sister. He bit her so hard she still has visible teeth marks and bruise 4 days later, he grabbed her feet when I was carrying her and squeezed them proper hard and would not let go, resulting in me struggling to hold on to her and a total battle of wills where the baby was practically the rope in a game of tug of war. He has scratched her face and slapped her hard accross the top of the head with both hands. What makes all this worse is that I never ever leave him alone with her, all of this has happened under close supervision. Feel like worst parent in the world.

Am wary of barring any contact at all, as I worry this will make him worse, so have been going for the close supervision and encouraging him to be gentle and telling him how much she likes it when he tickles her feet gently etc etc. However I now feel like I can't keep my baby safe. sad But short of barring myself and the baby in the kitchen behind the stairgate permanently (whilst her runs amok in the rest of the house) how do I keep him away from her?

He has also this last week started getting into absolutely everything, climbing on the back of the sofas, climbing up the dining room chairs and standing on the table, climbing into the baby's carrycot, hitting, slapping and biting me and OH, laughing at us when we reprimand him. He basically does not give a shit about anything.

Am unutterably exhausted, am sleep deprived and am in danger of losing perspctive. I know he is not a bad boy, he is just very strong willed and is pushing his boundaries, but I have absolutely no idea how to deal with him at the moment.

The more I try to reprimand him, the more he laughs and lashes out. He is out of control and am in danger of same myself. As an absolute minimum I need to keep them both safe, and I feel even that is a challenege most days.

I don't think he is starved of attention, I spend plenty of time one on one with him while the baby naps, we have lots of fun and laughs, and some of these incidents have happened in the middle of a nice playing session. (The bite was dressed up as a gentle wee cuddle, then the fangs came out, he got a very loud telling off from OH and the situation from there on in was out of control)

Am wondering if I should get my travel cot down from the loft and use it as baby jail when he is doing something dangerous (dancing on the table) or trying to eat the baby and will not stop. Assuming the wee monkey can't climb out of course. Thoughts on this?

Someone please help!

Apolgies for the rambling post, I really am fucked at the moment and can barely string a sentance together verbally never mind type out a coherent post.

sprinkles77 Tue 05-Jul-11 22:48:01

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Sammy74 Wed 06-Jul-11 13:24:05

InspectorGadget - I have no advice, just wanted to say that I am going through exactly the same thing.

My DD1 is 2.8 and DD2 is now 9 months - since DD2's birth DD1 has done exactly the same as your son. I cannot leave them together for a second and I find it utterly exhausting when I have to look after both of them together (DD2 goes to nursery 3 days a week). DD1 loves her sister so much, but cuddles turn into sly bites or pinches. I am constantly pulling DD2 off the baby when we are at home.

I find I have to be out of the house for most of the day as if they are in the Phil and Teds DD2 cannot reach the baby. I also put the baby in the high chair a lot so she cannot be 'got at'. It's a bloody nightmare as I cannot put the baby on the floor when DD2 is around as she is then an easy target and gets jumped on/strangled etc.

Anyway, of course this hasnt helped you at all - I am just empathising as this problem is really draining.

Perhaps someone will come along and give some good advice. I use the 'naughty step' as discipline but it aint working!

Sidge Wed 06-Jul-11 13:40:49

You might not think it's jealousy but it is!

At that age toddlers are totally egocentric, the whole world is about them them them. Your new baby is a competitor for your attention and despite lots of attention for him it's probably, in his opinion, not enough.

I've got no magic answers for you I'm afraid. You could try absolute ignoring/the silent treatment - when he misbehaves, climbs on the sofa, slaps you etc then do not say a word but pick him up and put him away from you, whether that's on a step, in a playpen, on a chair etc. The abrupt withdrawal of your attention in any shape or form is his 'punishment'. When you normally get cross with him and reprimand him he still sees it as attention, even if the wrong kind.

So for say 2 minutes you do not engage at all - no talking, no eye contact, no arguments. Then you fetch him back and say succinctly and clearly "you do NOT do xyz", then carry on as you were. It may or may not work but will require consistency and a will of steel as it's pretty hardcore!

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