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being three

(7 Posts)
pranma Tue 06-Oct-09 20:01:49

My dd has just phoned very worried about dgs.He is just 3 and goes to pre school 2 mornings a week and to child minder 3 days a week.He has been with same cm since 6 months and she is really wonderful with him.The other 2 halfdays he is with dd who teaches part time.The problem is that dgs has started getting really angry and smacking dd and her dh when they ask him to do something.He will squeeze dgs2[7 months]take his toys and run off,throw his own toys around[dd says he just trashes everything].In between he is a loveable,articulate,gorgeous little boy who is very sweet with baby.What is the best way to handle the smacking?She sat him on the step and said he should sit quietly for 2 minutes then say sorry and they would have a cuddle.He just smacked her again!She put him in his room where he had a screaming tantrum then when she went up he was all sunshine again.One problem is that dgs2 is teething and dd is very tired as baby is awake at night then dgs1 is up by 6.Sorry to go on-its the hitting we need advice on please.

FeatheredHeart Tue 06-Oct-09 22:32:46

I have an almost identical problem at the moment with a 2.8 yo and a 5 mo baby (and previous problems - we went through a hitting phase at about 18 months too).

Now it's not so much hitting as just being troublesome / taking toys and roaring at the baby to scare him / wake him up. Inbetween he is absolutely adorable to him too.

We do a lot of positive praise when he nice to the baby and minimise attention on the negative. We do a lot of explaining about why we give love / help etc. And we show a lot of love all round -to gp/spouse/ baby / ds1 all equally so he knows it's not just the baby that gets it.

THere is a good book about what I (toddler) can do and what baby can't do and why I (toddler) help him.

Rather than make a big thing about NOT being horrid to the baby we say "Oh no that (taking toys) isn't what we do to babies" and then immediately talk about sth else (distraction) and ignore last minor incident.

But if it was hitting our ds would certainly do our step equivalent. I think the trick is to be very urgent / immediate / consistent about it so it's understood there will be immediate consequences for seriously bad behaviour - and if he gets off iI put him back again until he stays there and is then sorry / cuddle. If he smacks me when I put him there he goes back again and he then has to say sorry for (and we DO say "are you sorry FOR whatever it is") hitting baby and hitting mama and then he has to kiss baby AND kiss mama - or he goes back to the chair til he does. I think the key is they must never win when it comes to seriously bad behaviour and the naughty step. i.e. they must never get down before time or learn they can sometimes get away with not going on it if they are naughty enough when mummy's really distracted. Everything stops for really bad behaviour like hitting / throwing. They will soon learn (with occasional blips) but it needs consistency an immediate and absolutely no nonsense response when the behaviour is really bad.

And as another sleep deprived mother my current note to self is never lose your temper when disciplining the child. If you even feel angry, it's probably better not to do it. I have kind of taught myself to discipline them in a kind of detached (it-doesn't-really-affect-me-we-just-don't-do-that) way as I see nursery staff do if that makes sense.

I tend to use a step (or out in corridor) rather than his bedroom as I want him to associate his room with being safe and happy, sleeping and books. Though it is not unknown blush. I never threaten bed as a punishment.

I also use warning + sanctions a lot - if you do [what you're about to do] then there will be no favourite food / story / bike / football / park / ice cream trip/ drawing. That works pretty well provided the sanction is for something he would've had immediately. I have learnt from experience tha I feel much better about sanctions than bribes incentives.

FlamingoBingo Wed 07-Oct-09 07:32:56

I wouldn't punish, personally. I read a lot of books when my oldest DDs were that age and decided not to do punishing - it doesn't really work, and gives the wrong messages. Does your DD want your DGS to not hit because it's not an ok thing to do, or because he's scared of the punishment?

I'd strongly recommend getting her to read 'How To Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk', Siblings Without Rivalry and/or Unconditional Parenting.

There is lots on MN about all those books, and they really changed how I do things completely - and for the better!

FeatheredHeart Wed 07-Oct-09 20:38:05

Flamingo, I do agree in principal - it's the practice I have trouble with. Does it work with toddlers? I tried it again in the bath tonight when he was roaring at the baby who screamed in terror. I showed him baby's reaction but he just thought it was funny. He knows it's not ok, he sees the reaction, so why does he still do it?

pranma Wed 07-Oct-09 21:07:57

She just wants him to learn that it isnt good to hit or be aggressive.The only punishment she uses is the step.Putting him in his room was to remove him from all the things he was throwing about!

thisisyesterday Wed 07-Oct-09 21:20:10

i don't think that "naughty steps" work tbh. they just teach the child that you can do what you like as long as you say sorry afterwards (regardless of whether you mean it)

it IS normal for them to go through a hitting/smacking/throwing phase. lots of children seem to do it

does he get much time by himsefl with his mum? It sounds as though it could be normal toddler behaviour, combined with soem jealousy of the baby and a desire for more of mummy's attention.

what I thin ki would do in the situation is:
1.) make more time for him. he is out of the home a lot, so needs his mum even more so when he is at home with her.
maybe activities/reading while baby has a nap? time with mummy when daddy gets in from work? making sure he gets a lot of attention at weekends when both parents are around

2.) when he smacks just say "no, we don't smack, be gentle" and take his hand and show him a gentle stroking motion on baby/parent/whoever he is smacking.

3.) if he throws things the same really, "no X, we don't throw things" and just remove the items. if he won't stop then keep hold of him and repeat that he musn't throw, maybe take him out of the room if he carries on (not putting him on his own though)

he will learn, and it might take a while, but it's important (IMO) that he learns not to do these things because they aren't nifce. not just because a bad thing will happen to him if he does it

pranma Thu 08-Oct-09 18:47:17

Thank you very much all of you will pass advice on-I do agree with all of it esp thisisyesterday big thanks

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