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Dealing with awful behaviour in toddler following new baby

(15 Posts)
NichyNoo Sun 30-Dec-12 19:24:16

DS1 is 2.4 and DS2 was born two weeks ago. For the past week DS1 behaviour has been awful. He has gone from being a sweet, cute toddler (although stubborn and sometimes naughty) to an absolute nightmare. The arrival of DS2 has coincided with Christmas holidays (so a break in his usual routine of going to nursery) plus he and DH caught a nasty virus over Christmas so he was ill and his sleep was very broken.

We had planned for me to spend quality time with DS1 once the newborn arrived but this was scuppered by his illness as I tried to keep my distance to try and prevent baby from catching it.

He is throwing his toys in frustration or sometimes in a deliberate attempt to provoke us, he is spitting, he is hitting us if we tell him off. He refuses to do anything he is told and stomps off into his bedroom in a sulk. He is shouting 'no' all the time and snatching toys off us saying 'mine'. We are using the naughty corner and time out in his bedroom which is what we have done in the past but to no avail. Tried explaining to him how we love him, tried ignoring bad behaviour, tried shouting at him (when he does something dangerous like throw a wooden brick close to DS2).

DH is quite an impatient person and is at the end of his tether. I seem to always suffer quite badly with baby blues so am currently in the throes of that. Everyone is tired and frustrated. We live abroad so have no family to help and no chance of respite. Does anyone have any advice or tips on what we can do or what tactics we should try please? Thank you!

quoteunquote Sun 30-Dec-12 19:37:00

Leave the baby with your husband for a couple of hours and go and do something you use to do with DS1, feed the ducks or something.

both do this a lot with him,

each time when you sit down to feed baby, get a new or favourite book out and read to DS1, he will start to see a positive to the intruder.

get visitors to speak to DS1 first, ask him about himself and then how his brother is, get them to ask DS1 to show them, his baby brother,

call baby your brother/baby.

ask him to help, ask him to get nappies, cream whatever, keep him involved.

ellesabe Sun 30-Dec-12 20:27:35

No advice really, just bucketloads of sympathy.

My dd1 was like this when dd2 arrived and we just muddled through until she suddenly snapped out of it one day when baby was about 4 weeks old. Dd2 is now 7wo and her big sis couldn't be happier.

Iggly Sun 30-Dec-12 21:37:54

Youve hit the perfect storm of new baby, chrstmas and an overtired ill toddler.

He's only 2.4. He will seem so much older now you've got a baby. But honestly time out etc isn't really effective until 3 and certainly not in his bedroom.

Try and get out of the house every day. Get back to your toddler's routine - baby can fit around it. I found bedtime was the most important one for ds (who was 2.2 when dd arrived). Also show him how to act around baby. If he's throwing stuff, remove the toy with a quick warning and move away briefly.

It's a huge upheaval for your boy - he's basically gone from being an only to having to share you and he wouldn't have understood what that meant until it happened.

NichyNoo Mon 31-Dec-12 19:36:38

Thank you - I'm hoping things might get better when nursery starts again on Wednesday. His virus is passing as well so he seems a bit happier in himself now. Still being unbelievably naughty but I'm hoping things will improve...

Valdeeves Tue 01-Jan-13 02:25:14

We've got it the same thing - I think you have no choice but to ride it out x

annie11 Tue 01-Jan-13 20:25:17

Im afraid no advice again but lots of sympathy! I was just about to post myself with exactly the same thing! My son has just turned 2, and new baby is just over a week old. He ignores the baby mostly unless she cries, then he starts screaming, hitting himself on the head, throwing things... Finding it all very stressful! He also doesn't talk much- knows a lot of words but can't really express himself. Just wondering how long this is likely to last and if there is anything we can do to help. New baby is very good ( so far!) and mostly sleeps, doesn't cry much, so my son gets lots of attention, go for lots of walks etc...
Sorry for hogging the thread btw, getting desperate and depressed over this

ThisIsMummyPig Tue 01-Jan-13 22:25:46

When DD2 was born, DD1 imploded - she used to be lovely, but she couldn't walk past baby without hitting her. She put a plastic bag over her face while I was changing her nappy, would scratch at my face and was just awful. We were also fairly isolated from family.

We tried reward charts, with prizes, also naughty step etc but what really worked for us was positive attention, so rewarding good behaviour, and ignoring bad behaviour.

Unfortunately we didn't start that until DD2 was about 8 months. I have a friend who's mother is a child psychologist, and she said you need to say 8 good things for every one bad for it to work. So you are looking at. You put your socks on really nicely. Thank you for bringing me that nappy, it's nice that you are being helpful, you concentrated really well while we were reading that story, you played with your trains really nicely, and on and on.

I also broke the day up to
after breakfast (included getting dressed)
after morning snack
after lunch
until teatime
until bedtime.
If she was good for any of those periods she got a sticker.
Three stickers in a day got a prize (usually chocolate or hairgrips)
On top of that all the stickers that she got went for a big prize - it was summer, so this was a camping trip, visit to the zoo etc.

We only use the naughty step for physical violence.

In our case the problems were all about attention, so I also gave her half an hour every night before bed when it was just me and her - I wouldtry and get the baby to bed first, but if I couldn't, she just had to go with DH.

The baby is 2.5 now, and they play together all the time, with no problems - people use them as examples of sisterly love. DD1 is still a bit of a funny kettle of fish, but that is her personality.

Good Luck

ThisIsMummyPig Tue 01-Jan-13 22:26:45

Wow, that was long, sorry, but I remember the misery, and it was like a miracle

newbiebaby Tue 01-Jan-13 22:31:27

I could have written op myself! Just reached 5 week mark and toddlers behavior now almost back to normalgrin

sedgieloo Tue 01-Jan-13 22:48:25

I think mummy pig is giving some great advice. We are in the same situation. Slightly different reaction with our toddler and a ten week old. But its been rough. We are doing the sticker and reward thing and its working well and she is just twenty six months old. Definitely worth a try.

kirrinIsland Tue 01-Jan-13 22:56:28

We had this too. I tried as far as possible to praise the good and ignore the bad, but that doesn't work when the bad involves hitting the baby and pulling the dogs' ears sad
Tbh, we did pretty much just ride it out, whilst giving her as much attention as possible.
Baby is now 7 weeks and DD1 was pretty much back to normal by 5 weeks. I still don't trust her around the baby - can't be sure whether she's going to kiss her or hit her- but she's mostly ok, affectionate even.

Hope he settles down soon.

kayeedee Wed 03-Apr-13 16:40:06

I am going to butt in on thread too, if that's ok- we are having exactly this issue and I came on to look for advice as am going out of my mind! No1 is 21 months old, No2 is 5wo and this started when the newest was 1 week old. No1 hits her on the head at every opportunity esp when I am breastfeeding little sister- with increasing violence. She laughs if we tell her off, and my OH was so cross and frustrated yesterday he slapped her hand. All to no avail. I can;t help but feel its aimed at us rather than the baby- whom she asks about first thing in the morning and kisses and strokes 70% of the time. How long does this kind of thing last?!!! Bedtimes are really tough as my partner works away alot in the week and I have only managed one by myself.

estya Thu 04-Apr-13 17:32:16

I've got the t shirt.
I started by telling DD off as you would normally do for bad behaviour (she was 22MO when DS arrived) but it made no difference.
We weren't getting anywhere so i did LOTS of googleing and learned that this isnt a time for 'time outs' etc. The problem is because her self esteem has taken a knock and I needed to build it back up, rather than reinforce that she is a bad person for feeling like she wants to hurt the baby.

Our relationship had changed massively since the baby arrived and she needed me now more than before, not less.
I left the baby with DH for a morning a fortnight and we went to the city farm, swimming etc.
As mummypig says, I also showered her with positive attention at home and made the point of telling DH how helpful she'd been etc.
We also made a little club that DS couldn't join, eg we'd eat pancakes but he isn't allowed pancakes because he's too little.

Its taken a long time but things had got quite bad before I addressed it properly.

This is good. The first bit is the question from the reader (its not clear until you start reading)

rednellie Thu 04-Apr-13 19:43:27

Oh estya, that article almost makes me weep. We've been through it this year - I had twin boys last year when my DD was 2. Just 2. And it was awful - she physically hurt them on a daily basis to the point of bruising or bleeding.

And she is LOVELY and wonderful and clever and articulate. And I almost lost my mind trying to keep everyone happy. It's taken a long time in our case, but that is partly because I was also dealing with twins and a toddler in a foreign country and it really was hard work. But things are better a year on. She still has a tendency to lash out, and we're working on it, but I don't think there are any quick fixes.

She stopped completely for about 5 months, but started again when I went back to work pt, but at least this time I was ready for it and have showered her in praise and spent a lot more time investing in her. We read this book a lot.

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