DS is 2.4 and while a generally outgoing, happy child has always been very demanding about my attention. He fed non-stop as a baby (every 2hrs for the first 6mths etc) and has always competed fiercely with his 5yo sister for my attention. She has never been violent to him and they are generally very fond of each other but if she annoys him at all, he hits, bites, pinches or pulls her hair. Although there's 3 years between them there's not much difference in weight so he really hurts her at times. She never retaliates, just cries...
I think the violence is almost an automatic reaction now and I just don't know how to deal with it. I'm sure it is partly attention-seeking but how do I stop reinforcing a negative cycle? Shouting, time-out, sorrowful explanations nothing seems to work and I don't feel like I can ignore it when his sister is howling in pain. The only other person he tries to hurt is me.
Stop trying all the different methods. Next time he does it, get down to his level, look him in the eye and say, firmly and calmly 'you do not hit' - with body language that tells him you are expecting him to comply. Keep it simple- no long winded explanations- sorrowful or otherwise. Hold on to him until you are sure he isn't going to do it again. When he struggles tell him that he will only be able to go if he doesn't hit. Do it every single time.
My dd is 2 yes 4mths and likes to wallop her big brothers, esp ds4 who is closest in age to her. She trends to hit, or throw things at them. I get down to her level, say no we dont hit/throw etc and say she must be gentle. I encourage ds4 to move out the way and stay close by to intervene.
Its a phase, you need to be consistent, they are a bit little for the naughty step or my dd is. Bit a firm no and remove them from the situation seems to work.