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Insanely jealous toddler ...

(15 Posts)
ghosty Wed 08-Jun-05 11:25:41

Any wise tips on how to deal with my 16 month old who has developed a jealous streak?
I am aware that this is probably very normal but it is beginning to upset DS (5 and a half) very much that he can't have a cuddle with me without DD going ballistic.
Wherever she is she runs over screaming and will push him away, still screaming until I pick her up. If I am holding her in my arms and he cuddles my leg she goes mad and tries to push and kick him away.
It is getting to be hard work ... today he had hurt himself and was crying and really needed some mummy tlc and DD threw a major wobbly. DS is getting upset and at times comes to give me a cuddle just to upset her.
I have tried to show her that there is 'room for 2' and cuddle them both at the same time but she isn't having a bar of it.
What, if anything, do I do ... or is it a phase that will pass?
TIA
ghosty xxx

ghosty Wed 08-Jun-05 20:37:32

bump??

bobbybob Wed 08-Jun-05 21:01:11

Poor thing - I don't have any advice, just wanted to bump for you.

Miaou Wed 08-Jun-05 21:11:51

Hiya ghosty - sorry you are having such trouble with dd at the moment.

I'm often out of step with other mums on these types of things, but couldn't close this thread without offering some advice.

YOu say "Wherever she is she runs over screaming and will push him away, still screaming until I pick her up." As things stand, when dd creates (screaming and pushing ds), she (eventually) gets your attention. From her POV, she is learning that if she keeps going long enough, you will give in. Therefore she has an incentive to scream and lash out at ds.

IMHO the only way to break this cycle is to ignore the bad behaviour and praise the good. Engineer a situation in which DS gets your attention, eg reading a book to him. If she kicks off, ignore her. If she starts to hit out at you and/or ds, calmly pick her up and move her away from you both, but don't look at her and don't talk to her. She will be absolutely furious, and will probably keep coming back/kicking/screaming for half an hour or more. But as long as you don't give her the attention until she calms down, she will begin to learn that she can't behave like that.

As soon as she does calm down (even if it's because she's too exhausted to cry/scream any more!), turn your attention to her. Don't mention the tantrum, just offer her a drink/read a book/cuddle/chat to her, being really positive, as if the tantrum hasn't happened.

She will probably do it several times more, but as long as you are consistent and don't give her any attention until she has calmed down, within a few days she will realise that tantrum=ignore and calm=attention.

I would warn ds what you are going to do first, as he is old enough to understand what's going on. Also, at least the first time you try this out, he is actually not going to get that much attention because you will be spending most of your time removing dd! So he needs to understand that.

Once you have established the "tantrums will not get you any attention" situation, you can reintroduce dd into the "cuddles can be shared" scenario.

Really hope this is of some help to you. I know it sounds harsh, leaving her to scream herself silly etc, but it only takes a few times of doing it for her to learn how it should be, and it won't harm her in the long run! Plus of course there is the pay-off of a benefit to everyone.

aloha Wed 08-Jun-05 21:13:13

I must admit my first instinct is to suggest you treat this behaviour like any other 'unnasseptable' behaviour (SuperNanny joke btw) - ie if your dd was snatching, or refusing to share, or throwing a violent tantrum. ie - time out. She doesn't want a cuddle, she just wants to stop her brother having one and that has to be unacceptable, surely?
I know it's normal and not a sign of a bad character or anything, but I think for the sake of your ds that it should be treated firmly.
Of course, I will probably feel differently once it is MY dd and ds!

aloha Wed 08-Jun-05 21:16:40

ie I agree with Miaou!

ghosty Wed 08-Jun-05 21:18:49

Miaou .... sigh .... I was afraid someone would tell me to do that .... sigh ....
You are sooo right ....
I did all that with tantrums with DS but then it was just him and it was easy and he never had anyone to be jealous of anyway. Plus he wasn't really a 'tantrummy' type toddler ...
DD on the other hand ... is a blinking NIGHTMARE! What happened to my placid, quiet smiley little baby ... she has turned into a MONSTER!
Ok ... deep breath ... will take the hard line ...
Thanks Miaou ...

ghosty Wed 08-Jun-05 21:21:09

Aloha ... just you wait ... just you wait!!! {maniacal laughter ........ }

Miaou Wed 08-Jun-05 21:25:02

Ghosty - I've been there and will support you through it if you want some help - it is hard, particularly when you have two children - but not for long!

It helped me to look at it this way - I want to go out for a leisurely walk. But because of dd I have to jog. It's hard work and I'm soon out of breath and not enjoying it as much. Every day is the same - I want a slow walk and end up with a jog. But then I find out that if I sprint for a week, then I can walk after that. The sprinting is hell - far harder than the jogging - and I have to keep it up without stopping once. But once that week is up, I can walk - slowly. Always.

ghosty Wed 08-Jun-05 22:12:47

Miaou ... I like the way you think ....
I want to be like you when I grow up

aloha Wed 08-Jun-05 22:24:49

I know...dd is so easy I am sure I will pay for it in other ways.

Miaou Wed 08-Jun-05 22:32:57

bobbybob Wed 08-Jun-05 23:50:16

I've had a think now. Can you use the concept of "taking turns"?

Ds's turn for a hug, now dd gets a hug, now teddy gets a hug...make a game of it over and over again. I do think that it's a question of showing her that there will always be enough cuddles (ie ds is not using the last one up). It's worth trying before the supernanny alternative.

Also "HUG" by Jez Alborough is a fantastic book for showing lots of animals cuddling different animals and a starting point for discussing who can hug who. Bob loved it from your dd's age and still does. He did go through an attention seeking phase whenever dh and I had a hug and so we just said "it's our turn, hug your teddy please" then we both hugged teddy and then him and then a group hug. Much nicer for everyone than removing him.

ghosty Thu 09-Jun-05 11:59:50

Tried the 'taking turns' approach Bobbybob ... she doesn't 'get' that yet ... I don't think she has reached that bit in the 'toddler manual' although she has mastered the chapter on "How to throw a spectacular tantrum in a supermarket trolley".
This afternoon she threw a wobbly when DS wanted a cuddle. So I ignored her and carried on giving DS a cuddle ... when he had finished and went off to get on with whatever, I smiled at her and she and I had a cuddle. She seemed to get the idea ... in that she was a bit taken aback that I ignored her. So, I get the idea and will carry on with it.
I knew all of what miaou said anyway, but as it was in the context of 'cuddles' I kind of lost the plot and didn't see it as 'unasseptible' behaviour ... as she isn't being 'naughty' as such ... god feel like a dimwit now!
Got is sussed now ... ta all!
DS on the other hand needs to learn to stop winding her up and asking for cuddles just so he gets a rise out of her ...

Miaou Thu 09-Jun-05 15:46:27

Hi ghosty, really pleased to read about your success! And you are absolutely right - she isn't being "naughty" as such, it is a learned response to a situation. I think that's why it's often difficult to do the ignoring bit, as it feels like you are "punishing" your child - but you aren't, just helping her to learn the new rules!

Just watch out for ds playing up now to see what you do.....

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