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DS1 is hurting his baby brother on a regular basis - at a complete loss how to handle it :-(

(19 Posts)
Ceebee74 Sun 20-Sep-09 13:51:04

DS1 is 3.2, DS2 is 10 months old - it seems that not a day will go by without DS1 hitting, pushing, smacking DS2 sad

He did this from the day he was born which obviously we put down to his emotions at the baby arriving and made sure he was never in a position to be able to hurt DS2. It did stop for a while but seems to have started up again these last few weeks.

Most of the time he is fine with DS2 but, when he is bored, tired or angry with us for saying 'no' about something, he will head straight for DS2 and hurt him.

Me and DH disagree with how to handle it - I comfort DS2 and remove DS1 from the situation (another room, distract him etc) until he has calmed down whereas DH thinks he needs a smack hmm To be fair to DH, he says my method isn't working either and he is right - it isn't making any difference to DS1's behaviour.

Any advice as to how we can stop DS1 hurting his brother - it is just awful and I have this horrible feeling that if it goes on much longer, it will ruin their relationship as DS2 will start to remember sad

cornsillk Sun 20-Sep-09 13:54:23

ds2 won't remember. Can you get ds1 more involved with looking after ds2 perhaps? Helping you to bath him etc.

easylife73 Sun 20-Sep-09 14:16:18

The situation might right itself once DS2 is able to start hitting back. Your DS1 might think twice about it then! Our DS2 managed to pull a clump of hair out of DS1's head when he was 3 months old, and the on/off fighting has been going on ever since - they're 9 & 6 now (add they're 12 year old half brother into the equation at weekends and it's like a war zone!)

MrsFawlty Sun 20-Sep-09 14:18:18

Quickly marking my space - am in the same boat Ceebee! Will be back...

Ceebee74 Sun 20-Sep-09 19:54:38

Thanks for the posts smile

We do try and ask DS1 to help with DS2 if he wants to (some days he wants to, others he doesn't!).

I too am actually waiting for the day DS2 can turn round and hit him back (I probably shouldn't be thinking like that) but the way I feel at the moment, I think that is the only thing that is going to stop DS1 <sigh>

llareggub Sun 20-Sep-09 20:00:39

Same here.

Am lurking with no advice to offer as DS1 is 2.11 and DS2 is 5 months.

LeninGrad Sun 20-Sep-09 20:07:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheWheelsOnTheBusHaveFallenOff Sun 20-Sep-09 20:11:35

first up - don't smack ds1 - if you smack him, why shouldn't he smack his brother? it may stop him in his tracks, ie gets him to see how much it hurts to be hit / smacked etc - but then you have very little ground to stand on when you tell him not to hit. if he can't, then you shouldn't either.

what you're doing sounds right - consistent at least. won't be long until ds2 fights back! lots of praise for when ds1 gets it right, more time doing things without ds2 if possible?

CarGirl Sun 20-Sep-09 20:14:44

Is he mobile now and starting to get into his stuff?

I always used a large play pen and popped the baby in there and made a "no big deal" about the baby from day 1 in front of the older siblings.

I think the bigger deal you make out of it now the more ds1 is going to see it as THE way to get your attention. I would do the big cuddling of ds1 and completely ignore ds1. Try is very very consistantly and see if it does make a difference?

Scottie22 Sun 20-Sep-09 20:22:21

We've been through this with ds (5) and dd (2) since dd was born. Is a really difficult one! dd had big problems at birth and we weren't surprised that with all this going on ds started lashing out. However he still takes out his anger on her so he goes on the 'thinking step' or we take one of his favourite toys away until he plays nicely with dd.

Since dd has become more 'interesting' as she's got older we have found ds less inclined to hurt her and she can really hold her own now!

Ceebee74 Sun 20-Sep-09 20:28:22

Wheels I have tried to explain to DH about smacking and being so contradictory to what we are trying to teach him but I know the advice is coming from MIL (with the old 'I got smacked and it did me no harm' line added for good measure hmm)

No room for a playpen unfortunately - do put DS2 in his playnest which keeps him out of DS1's way for a while but he is just learning how to get himself out of there! I do tend to ignore DS2 (which I hate doing) much more than I probably should and focusing on DS1 - but whatever we do just doesn't seem enough for DS1.

Scottie I know it will get easier in time but how long?? I remember when it started just after DS2 was born and we were having a bad time that in a few months it would be easier - here we are, 10 months later, and it is still happening <sigh>

He is very susceptible to reward charts/schemes so have introduced one I used a few months ago - he has a cup of about 5 smarties - he loses a smartie every time he does something naughty but gets an extra one added when he does something nice/good - then he gets to eat them at the end of the day. The lad will do anything for chocolate so really hope it will work hmm

Scottie22 Sun 20-Sep-09 20:37:42

TBH it's only been in the last few months things have improved when dd hit 2 and could talk!!

Reward charts sound like a good way forward - you are doing all the right things and it WILL get better, honest!!

Karoleann Mon 21-Sep-09 15:47:42

The only thing that I found worked was to pick up DS1 (3.4yr) look him straight in the eye and say "YOU WILL NOT HIT MATTHEW". Then I put him on the stairs and shut the door of the door I'm in with the little one and make a real fuss of DS2 (1yr). DS1 is only allowed back in again when he says sorry.
I probably only had to do with 3-4 times and he stopped doing it. Good luck

OmicronPersei8 Mon 21-Sep-09 16:05:59

Ceebee, I've had the same with DD and DS (2 year age gap). She's now a lot better but I think thats because DS is older and can a) play with her and get her back.

I posted on MN about it too. The best advice I get was to ignore the older one when it happens, scoop up the younger one and say something to the effect of 'oh, your older sister/brother knows how to be kind/gentle, they forgot. They know how to touch you gently / walk past you without knocking you over' etc.

Another helpful thing I found was to have a rule that if a toy couldn't be shared, it went away. DD was allowed to play with it when DS was napping, DS would have a go when she was at preschool. DD now asks me to put things away as she knows she'll fight with DS an not share them.

The other thing I did was an idea I saw at the back of 'siblings without rivalry'. I made a sign each for DD and DS. DD's sign read 'Sisters share and play: they don't push' and DS's read 'Brothers are for hugging, not pushing'. Even though DD can't read, she was fascinated by them and asked what they said. For a few days it became a bit like a mantra. Instead of telling her off, we'd remind her 'sisters share and play, they don't push'. It took the heat out of the moment, and we ended up using it to praise her heaps too. She still says both phrases from time to time!

I hope that helps - someone described it as the person you love most in the world being hurt by the other person you love most in the world. I found it really hard to deal with, but it has got better.

OmicronPersei8 Mon 21-Sep-09 16:08:03

The best advice I got not get.

colditz Mon 21-Sep-09 16:10:45

Do you bollock him properly?

I don't think smacking will help, but nambying around won't either. stuff some 'tone' in your voice and make sure he knows you're cross

piscesmoon Mon 21-Sep-09 16:30:18

I wouldn't smack because you are then doing what he is doing-however I would use tone of voice and be very, very, plain. I would get down to his level and look him in the eye and say 'you are NEVER, EVER to hurt DC2. I found that when I was really serious about something my body language and tone made them quite clear that I wasn't having it. Unfortunately it is a bit more difficult now because you have told him and he is still doing it-therefore I would do as Karoleann suggests.

mumofeve Tue 22-Sep-09 17:46:55

I have used the 'naughty step' approach a few times lately when I have felt that DD has been really mean to DS. I haven't really used the naughty step before this, but have found it has helped now. It also gives you space to focus the attention on the baby. For example, last week I told DD to stop swinging her bag by DS's face as she might hit him. She looked me straight in the eyes, and then swung the bag at DS hitting him square on the head (luckily the bag was empty!) angry. I put her on the bottom of the stairs in our small hallway, explained why, shut the door, and then noisily made a big fuss of DS in the next room so she could hear. She was very sorry, apologised to DS unprompted, and hasn't done anything as bad since (although plenty of 'affectionate' squeezing as normal!). I think it is important to differentiate in your reaction between 'malicious and mean' behaviour and play fighting/heavy-handedness.

Ceebee74 Tue 22-Sep-09 20:10:34

Thanks for the advice smile

I think Ormcrian summed it up in that it is so hard when it is the person you love most in the world hurting the other person you love most in the world sad

mumofeve I don't mind the playfighting stuff and tbh, DS2 giggles his head off when he is being rolled around the floor/sat on etc - but it is the deliberate hitting/pushing over that is I get angry about.

Will try to be firmer and make a huge fuss of DS2 when it happens - fingers crossed! (Fortunately they are both in nursery 4 days a week - seperate rooms - so at least DS2 gets a break grin)

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