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DS hurting younger DD

(8 Posts)
WannabeNigella Sun 11-Sep-11 20:14:18

DS is 4.5 and we had DD in January. DS has taken it all quite badly it would seem, despite our careful preparation. He shows many signs of jealousy and struggling to deal with his emotions but nine months in I thought he'd be handling it a bit better and instead I am worrying that the behaviour has gone on so long that it is deep rooted now and we're going to have even more of a problem stopping it.

He has bitten DD twice now and is overly rough with her. He also cuddles her really tightly which I have read tonight is a sign of his confused feelings (love/hate). We correct him straight away and use timeout which has always worked in the past for us as a discipline technique but nine months in and I feel it's having no impact with regards his behaviour to his sister.

We have tried spending quality time with him on his own but it is hard doing this without her around and more so now DS is at school, we try to give him extra little privileges and tell him he can do these things as he is the big boy etc.

I know everything we are going through is a very common situation but I'm worried now it's going on so long.

I really feel like I'm failing him. I don't want him unhappy and it's breaking my heart. I feel like such a failure and end up shouting cause I'm so frustrated that whatever we try doesn't seem to work then I feel soooooo guilty.

Please tell me what worked for you to turn this around?

WannabeNigella Sun 11-Sep-11 21:31:29


dirtydishesmakemesad Sun 11-Sep-11 21:42:26

I think his behaviour sounds fairly normal. I know my older ones are forever being a little too "firm" with their hugging, I think at 4 its more a case of not realising their own strength than anything else tbh. 2 episodes of biting while not ideal is not totally out of the bounds of normal behaviour either. I would steer clear of anythign which makes his sister being around seem anything other than totally normal. Yes spend time with him but dont allow him to think this is because of his bad behaviour towards his sister because that is just reinforcing the behaviour. Each time I have brought a new baby home you walk in introduce the baby, no fuss, no bother just "this is your new sister" behave as though life goes on nothing has changed and this really continues through to older children as well (my oldest is 7 so cant talk beyong that though!).
Im not explaining it well but i think you are over thinking it - just dont worry about his jealousy, its normal ignore it dont make too much of a fuss about being a big boy etc or special time for the two of you because this feeds it imo.

2to3 Sun 11-Sep-11 21:43:39

Sounds like you have given this a lot of thought and that it's just taking longer than you'd like to work itself out. The negative cycle of attention (he hurts her, you get upset, he gets punished) has a habit of repeating itself. Maybe try to change your reactions when he misbehaves to modelling how to treat her nicely instead (taking his hand and stroking her hair with it, giving gentle hugs, etc) and telling him how happy it makes her when he is kind to her, and that she loves it when he does this, that or the other with her. Take every opportunity to give him responsibility where she is concerned (saying how big and clever he is, and that his baby sister is so lucky to have him, etc). Remark on all the tiny little things he does well. If you can keep it up it might boost his confidence and sense of security, and he might feel less threatened by her as a result. Give him lots of cuddles and positive attention, even if you are feeling like doing the opposite - it will pay off in the long term.

WannabeNigella Sun 11-Sep-11 22:31:00

Thanks both. I'll talk what you've said over with DH. Appreciate your time x

2ddornot2dd Mon 12-Sep-11 21:15:37

Sorry - I know I've come to this a little late, but we had a really dreadful year when DD2 was born. DD1 was hitting her, pushing her, trying to force her off my knee etc right from birth.

We turned it around by praising the good and ignoring the bad - 8 good things for every one bad!!, and giving one to one time with DD1. I think if you are breastfeeding you almost create a physical barrier between you and your older child. We have made lots of progress only for it to go downhill again last week when DD1 started school (and presumably feels pushed out again).

I do feel for you though. The good thing is that DD2 still adores her sister, despite being used as a punching bag from birth

WannabeNigella Wed 14-Sep-11 20:20:23

2dd Thanks so much. That's really interesting and I have considered ignoring the bad and praising the good but did you seriously ignore it if she pushed her etc? I just can't imagine ignoring him pushing her or biting her etc, but if it works I'll try anything!

An0therName Wed 14-Sep-11 20:27:06

normal - and when starting school behavoiur often takes a dive - have you tried talking to him about how he feels - my DS1 was 4 when his brother arrived and some chats about how the baby could be a pain, and that it meant less fun sometimes that kind of thing - did I think helped

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