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2 year old + 4 year old= WW3! Help!

(4 Posts)
differentkindofpenguin Sun 04-Jan-15 19:44:00

Hi all,

I need some advice regarding helping my kids bond, share and play together, maybe activities or something. I realise that sharing is not something that comes easy to kids that age, but this can't go on! The eldest hits, pushes and tells off his sister any chance he gets, mostly for no good reason, will snatch toys off her, and she's learning from him to do the same! Punishment ( e.g. taking toys or privileges away, with explanation, until the one that started it apologises) works at the time but doesn't seem to sink in. We also make sure to give lots of praise if either has done something nice or kind. Sometimes they play together nicely for a while but these occasions are few and far between. The 4 year old sometimes says he doesn't love his sister, or she doesn't love him, it breaks my heart!

Am I expecting too much of them? Has anyone been through this and it got better? Are there any ways of teaching them to get on, share and help one another, and be kind? I'm planning to try a sticker chart but can't see it being very successful, the big one has never shown much interest, and the small one is too small I think.

Thank you in advance smile

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 05-Jan-15 16:10:48

My friend's two sons were like this. It evidently upsets you and you want to remedy it whereas she was very keen on fair play amongst other playmates but seemed to think her two would somehow spontaneously 'sort themselves out'. Her firstborn got quite a shock when his brother developed the verbal skills to protest and even more when DS2 got physically big enough to stand up to him.

In this case I think you have to lay it on thick with a trowel on the rare occasions they get along well. As you do already, praise and encourage.

Ultimately you and DH are the bosses not DS so if he tells his sister off, remind him that's not his job. And if neither you nor DH swat the DCs, there's a no smacking/hitting rule in the house that applies to all. Children are usually very firm on rules and fair play. And if he's getting bossy with DD then you are going to get tough with him.

When the roaring starts, don't immediately step in and become referee. What sets DS off? How does DD respond? Is he allowed toddler-free space? Do they respect each other's stuff? Keep track of infringements and incentivise them to play amicably. You need eyes in the back of your head admittedly and just as we all need a bit of alone time now and then, so a younger sibling can be a pest sometimes. A promise kept of 1:1 time with mum or dad doing something agreeable might be a handy bribe.

Btw it wasn't until I was mother to my two that I recalled instances from childhood when my mum 'let slip' how my sibling had spotted this item to complete a set or remembered that a particular foodstuff was my favourite. In other words bigging up everyday occurences to put positive spin on something my sibling might have plausibly contributed to my welfare.

Be prepared, starting pre-school can often be a trigger for extra assertiveness at home. It's a way of regaining control in at least one area of life.

Fantail Tue 06-Jan-15 05:55:19

I think you can set expectations around behaviour (no pushing, hitting, ask before touching others things), but you can't expect that your children to necessarily be good playmates, just because they are siblings.

So instead of, "don't it your brother", it's "don't hit".

My sister and I never really got on as children, despite a 2 year age gap. We get on ok now as adults, though, because my Mum always insisted we respected each other, but never forced us or expected us to play together.

footallsock Tue 06-Jan-15 23:27:41

Mine start like this if they are tired and in the house bored. They snatch and wind each other up. They hit in anger. Take them to the park and they are best friends. Go to a cafe and they play together etc they love cycling and racing. What do they both like to do?

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