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Sibling issues!

(4 Posts)
TinkyTaylor Thu 15-Oct-09 19:50:52

Hopefully someone out there can offer me some advice.I have recently had a new baby and after a month of being generally lovely, my DD (2.3 years) has recently started hitting the baby on the head and when not getting attention being very rough with him. What action can I take? Telling her off often results in it being repeated and the other day I just lost my temper and smacked her bottom for hurting him ( first time ever) Is this normal behaviour? I know that toddlers can regress when a new baby arrives, but I am so tired at present that I find the constant bad behaviour for attention really tries on my patience and levels of sanity! Advice needed!

Rosebud05 Thu 15-Oct-09 20:22:01

My dd was exactly the same age as yours when my ds arrived, and he's now 4.5 months, so this is all very current for me! My dd did/does exactly the same - she doesn't seem to hit or be rough with him out of dislike, more to get my attention. I don't think repeated tellings off work - it just gives them the attention they want but in a negative way, which is why they repeat the behaviour, iyswim. I did/do try to be as proactive as possible ie keeping my dd entertained, lots of positive attention etc., though can't do this 24/7. I found the most effective response when she hits him is to ignore her and give my ds lots of attention 'poor baby, your sister knows how to be gentle and kind and she forgot' sort of thing. (Not my idea, from a book called 'Siblings without Rivalry' which is worth a read when you're a bit more up to it!). This dramatically reduced the number of incidents. I also tell the baby to 'be gentle with dd' so that she can hear me, so that it's not just her being told how to behave. Also, for every time I say to her 'I'll be with you in a minute' or suchlike, I make a point of saying to the baby 'you'll just have to wait until I've seen to what dd wants'. Like the rest of 'em, her behaviour's worse when she's tired/hungry etc, so then I just try to keep him out of her way!
I've found it's got much easier since the baby has been more interactive and is more robust.
Oh, and the BEST bit of advice that I read was in Penelope Leach's 'Baby and Child' who suggests trying to ensure that the older child believes that the little one likes them, as it's easier to like people who like us. My dd laps up all my 'he's copying you', 'he's looking at you', 'I think you're his favourite' etc and it's definitely helped their relationship.
Good luck and end of essay!

TinkyTaylor Thu 15-Oct-09 20:32:08

Thank you so much Rosebud! You have given me a lot to think about, and I can really see the reason in a lot of it. I think these things always seem much worse when you're at home alone and feeling rather drained and tired, you begin to believe that no one else has children who do this!! So thanks again for confidence boost and advice.

Rosebud05 Thu 15-Oct-09 21:59:51

Most welcome - I found it really hard to think for the 6-8 weeks with hormones and tiredness, as you say. It also helps immensely that my dd is in nursery 2 days a week, which takes some of the heat out of the situation for all of us. This behaviour is pretty much par for the course as the older one(s)adjust.
We spent the first 3 months out of the house as much as possible, as having other people around and distractions helped lots. I also learned to avoid people who I knew would make loads of fuss of the baby as (totally reasonably) this annoyed her. I must say that this abated at 3 months or so.
Congrats on your new baby btw!

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