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DD's "aggressive" cuddling of ds - driving me mad thoughts please!!

(11 Posts)
rony Wed 16-Jul-08 19:35:00

Dd 2.8 has recently started tormenting poor ds 14 months with, shall we say, overly vigorous play and cuddling. It usually starts out as a nice cuddle but just ends up practically strangling him and the more upset he gets the more demonic she gets with it - like she's really trying to hurt him. This afternoon she was practically squeezing him to death, then knocked him over on the floor, he bumped his head, she jumps on top of him and lies there on top totally squashing him while he howls his eyes out and the whole time she was laughing manically.

I know they don't really have empathy at this age but she just finds it so funny even when he's obviously really distraught. In the supermarket trolley she won't leave him alone, constantly prodding, squeezing, grabbing his arms - not really in an aggressive manner, just trying to play with him really. She gets so hyper with it though. But the poor little chap is really fed up with it and I don't know how to handle it.

Dh says she just doesn't really know what to "do" with him which I think is right - she's desperate for some friends now and I think maybe she gets frustrated that he can't join in with her games properly. She's due to start preschool in September - I think it will be really good for her - but it's going to be a long summer before then!

any tips for how to deal with this?

liath Wed 16-Jul-08 19:43:02

We went through a phase like this, it was very tough. I am sure dd was doing it at least partly for attention becuase I would always react out of protectiveness for ds. I tried time out whenever she mauled ds and massively praising her whenever she played nicely with him but it was very frustrating. She is a lot better now, just seems to have grown out of it to some extent.

girliefriend Wed 16-Jul-08 19:45:37

not an expert but sounds like good old fashioned sibling rivilary! Umm would def let her know hurting is not o.kay and demonstrate to her what is o.kay. Sorry no other pearls of wisdom!

rony Wed 16-Jul-08 19:51:50

thanks, I'm sure she's doing it for attention too but I do make sure I give her lots of attention and she gets lots of time on her own with me during his naps.

i keep showing her how to cuddle him gently and am strict with her when she hurts him - no effect so far though!

mamabea Wed 16-Jul-08 19:52:46

difficult for you.

my DD behaves in the same way at times with her little sister and some of her friends.

I suppose modelling some 'gentle love' might help and praising her when gentle/ appropriate (I'm sure you've done this).

Maybe ask her to 'model' gentle behaviour to other family members. For example, I asked my DD to 'show grandpa how to cuddle baby cos he's forgotten.'she is then at pains to show how good she is and gets lots of praise back.

when she is not being so gentle you could start separating them and let her know why. No great fuss just saying something along the lines of, 'squeezing hurts baby' and removing. then extend 'play times' together when gentle. then later on when heat is out of situation talk about how you love it when she gives gentle cuddles and ask if you can have one of them- more praise and reinforcement for the desired touch.

you could give her 'games' to play with him e.g. singing songs to him, playing 'peek-a- boo' a gentle 'this little piggy' e.t.c.

my DD does as yours does in supermaket- her job now is to put stuff in the trolley to keep her hands off DD2!

mamabea Wed 16-Jul-08 19:53:40

sory crossed posts -you're doing it all!

katyamum Wed 16-Jul-08 19:56:00

I went through this with both of mine, started not when the new baby came along, but when they started becoming more mobile and able to spoil games, around 12 months. It's hard, because everyone tells you to ignore it, but you instinctively want to defend the littler one. Both times, there was a decisive moment when I couldn't take it any more, and both times it was when the elder one whacked the younger one with a plastic hammer on the head. To which I replied ' OK, you did that once, I know you feel angry with xxx but you are not allowed to hurt him/her anymore ' And somehow it just got better. I tried hard to ignore it after that and probably, that classic attention seeking behaviour just evaporated slowly. Pre-school was brilliant for mine. I am sure yours will get better. Make sure there are no lethal weapons to hand! Good luck

rony Wed 16-Jul-08 20:15:43

mamabea thanks those are some brilliant suggestions, I think I probably don't give do enough praise and positive reinforcement, I do try but have perhaps let that slip lately.

katyamum you're right that a lot of it should probably be ignored but she is actually really hurting him a lot of the time (even without lethal weapons!) so I usually have to step in.

Elibean Wed 16-Jul-08 21:00:50

sympathies, dd did this a lot with dd2 when she became mobile and started 'taking' her toys/space/attention.

Most of what we did, you are doing - and suggestions here are also what we did. I would add that a few months further on, its got a lot better - and dd2 is also better at shouting and saying 'nooo!' very firmly grin

FWIW, I've seen kids at pre-school do this to each other as well as younger siblings, I think its very normal. I suppose they're expressing a mix of aggression and love...hard enough conflict of emotions to manage when adult, let alone as a toddler/pre-schooler!

bumbo64 Wed 16-Jul-08 21:31:27

Know exactly how you feel rony. We are going through the same thing with our ds (2.5 years) and our ds (6 months). It's a bloody nightmare!! Ds is incredibly patient and hardy for a 6 month old as some of the stuff he does to her looks really sore! I just keep telling myself that it will get better one day!

elmoandella Wed 16-Jul-08 21:47:36

i have his problem too, except dd (11month) has started whacking ds (2.5month) whenever she manages to wriggle out his grasp!

should i ignore them both, she just looks at me with glass eyes when i tell her off for hitting him. he complains that she hit him back.

sometimes she grabs him by the waist and rugby tackles him to the floor too??

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