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Help wanted to develop a reward-based system for 3 year old constantly hitting / pushing sibling

(17 Posts)
giddly Tue 30-Sep-08 18:25:01

Hi I have a 3 year old DD who recently has started constantly pushing, hitting and snatching from her 1 year old sister. I was using 123 magic (version of the naughty step with warnings) which worked well until recently. Now nothing seems to have much effect - time out, telling off, ignoring her while fussing over DD2. She has also started doing this when we are out and about so is not just attention seeking from me (though think there is still a big element of this).
I feel I'm getting into a bit of a negative pattern with her and would like to try some sort of star chart system (it worked well with her for potty training)or other positive reinforcement. However, I don't know how to define the behaviour I want to reward. She's too young to say "if you're not nasty to DD2 all morning you get a star" as that's too long a time. However, I don't want to reward her when she's nice to DD2 - they're by no means mutually exclusive with her - in fact being mean to DD2 often escalates from playing nicely together. I would end up with a situation where she had plenty of stars, but was still slapping DD2 about.
Any ideas from anyone.

giddly Tue 30-Sep-08 20:04:29

Bump anyone?

nowwearefour Tue 30-Sep-08 20:09:08

It is hard. mine are the same ages. i just go for being v v v cross and v v strict. sort of mostly works. rewards just get taken advantage of in my house so i clearly havent got the right system either. i will lurk for ideas! was thinking along the lines of taking things out of a jar when is naughty but cant think quite how it works in practice!!

komododragon Tue 30-Sep-08 20:33:18

Hi, I have an idea - it's totally simple - get two identical empty jamjars and put your DDs names on them. Call these the "Goodie Jars" or whatever you want. Keep them in a place where the DDs can't get them. Put an equal number of 1p or 2p pieces in each jar. Tell them (DD3, really) that whenever one of them is REALLY good (you need to define this) you will put another 1p/2p/whatever in her jar. You also need to find an excuse to put a coin into DD1s jar - god knows what a DD1 can do that is good? When one of them is REALLY not good (your decision as to not-goodness) you will take a coin from the naughty one's jar and put it in the other one's jar. This really works - you can define what is good and what is not. You can refine this - eg offer to double the money at the end of the week and go shopping at the end of the month, according to your budget.

nellieellie Tue 30-Sep-08 20:34:39

I have 3 yr old DS and 1 yr old DD. DS very jealous of DD and has been pushing, snatching and hitting for while. Getting better now though. I would take something of his every time he snatched from DD - be quite calm, just say - "well, have to take lightning mcqueen for her to play with then". Seemed to work (ish) - he would then give whatever it was back. Hitting would mean going on step straightaway - but never felt that worked as he would do same thing afterwards. Then I would place favourite toy - whatever he was playing with out of reach = and then put him on step. If he was watching TV or DVD, would go off then put him on step, then of course apologise to her. He is getting more interested in her now and the harassment is less but I have also found it v hard. Also made sure that when he was nice to her got praise and tried to engineer situations where he will find her fun (eg when she stands up, wobbles, and falls down she will laugh - I will turn to DS and laugh to include him - now hefinds it funny and it is lovely seeing them both laughing at each other). I don;t go over board with the praise when he is nice to her though as want him to be nice cos he wants to be - not just to please mum.

giddly Tue 30-Sep-08 21:24:48

Interesting idea Komododragon. Am a bit concerned about the idea of labelling DD2's behaviour good and bad. She does scratch, pull hair etc. but while I always take her away from DD1 when she does it and gently say "no" I tend to use the "she's only a baby and doesn't know she's hurting you" line with DD1. Nellieellie, I also take away toy DD1's playing with etc., but doesn't seem to bother her.

MuffinMclay Tue 30-Sep-08 21:39:41

Watching this with interest for ideas. I'm struggling with this at the moment (dcs 2.5 and 7months). Ds1 keeps hitting or pushing over ds2, but says 'don't hit babies', 'baby X is sad', 'hitting baby X makes him cry' etc as he does so, followed by lots of giggles.

Stern voice doesn't work here (dh has more success with it).
Naughty step or equivalent is hilarious game.

The only thing that works at the moment for me is taking away things that ds1 values highly (special dog toy he takes to bed, toy cars etc).

I don't feel I'm handling this at all well at the moment.

giddly Tue 30-Sep-08 21:56:35

Thanks for the ideas and experiences. I know what you mean about feeling like you're not handling it well MM. DD1 actually seems quite proud of making DD2 cry - she hit her the other day while out and made her cry and then told passers by "I did that!".

MuffinMclay Tue 30-Sep-08 21:58:26

Ds1 pushed over another baby at a mother & toddler group last week. I was very blush, but made him apologise to the child and its childminder.

giddly Tue 30-Sep-08 21:59:36

Interestingly DD1 is a cross between Mother Theresa and Mary Poppins with other people's babies!

komododragon Tue 30-Sep-08 22:07:41

Hi giddly - you don't have to do good/bad; you can do good/not good - it is quite easy to explain to small children especially with role play (if you have the time for such luxuries!)
Also most children's TV involves a good/not good choice. Just a thought

specialmagiclady Tue 30-Sep-08 22:09:34

I also struggle with this. Have no solutions, but I do try and be as horrid to DS2 when he bites/scratches as I am to DS1 when he does it.

Finding it increasingly hard to control DS1 as he pushes pushes pushes at the boundaries...

Off to do reward chart for getting dressed in the morning...

giddly Tue 30-Sep-08 22:11:45

Thanks KD - will certainly think about it.

komododragon Tue 30-Sep-08 22:13:52

specialmagiclady - getting dressed in the morning is reserved for the sixth circle of hell. Good luck

blueskythinker Tue 30-Sep-08 22:35:41

I'm facing the same - DD1 pushed 16mnth old DS down the stairs angry and threw an argos boden catalogue at him, scarring his forehead.

One thing that I have found helps a little, is to tell DS off when he does something wrong - it seems to help balance my DD's feelings of injustice that she gets told off but he doesn't.

giddly Wed 01-Oct-08 10:16:07

Thanks BST. I'll try to make more of a deal of "telling off" DD2 to be seen as being fair, but it's quite difficult when they're this young, isn't it?

Boobalina Wed 01-Oct-08 12:25:19

My DS would do the same when I was out the room too. So I explained how little DD was and that if she got 'broken' on purpose by rough or naughty behaviour she would have to go to the Dr or even... hospital. I was frank and honest and explained that certain things (ie, blunt objects on the head etc, sharp things in soft eyeballs) do have serious consequences. It didnt seem such a funny game then and he has stopped it now. He loves DD so much and is terrified of her not being with him really.

I know I sound like a meany but at 3.5 I think he understood it.

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