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Toddler hitting baby brother!!!

(8 Posts)
BootyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 09:42:34


I had left 2 yr old DS1 and 4 month old DS2 in lounge whilst I was cleaning up in another room just down the hall. Suddenly heard baby screaming, ran into lounge to see DS2 laying into his head with a plastic train carriage. Pretty hard too, he was using quite a bit of force!

I screamed at DS2, pushed him away, told him "Naughty, No!" and smacked his hand. I was so shocked. DS1 was laughing, thought it was funny.

Rang out of hours GP for advice. DS2 has small cut and now has about 10 small circular bruises on his head. GP said just to keep an eye on him and if concerned take him for face-to-face GP appt later.

I do think DS2 is okay but I am wondering what the hell to do about this. It seems that DS1 has been escalating his "violent" behaviour with DS2 recently - prior to this he has been a little robust in his cuddles and pats, also sometimes lies on top of DS2 and has to be pulled off. But he has never hit him with an object or with such force before.

My sense is that he does this for four reasons -

1] Experimenting to see what will happen if he does this, what reaction will he get from DS2 and me.

2] This behaviour gets my attention very quickly and negative attention is better than no attention [when I am busy elsewhere]

3] He enjoys the feeling of power and control he has over DS2.

4] There is a bit of jealousy there and he is taking out his resentment on his younger sibling.

The problem is DS1 is only 2 yrs old and I realise is not being deliberately malicious. He just has strong feelings that he doesn't quite know what to do with and minimal impulse control.

Just wondering if anyone else is dealing with this/has dealt with this? If so, what did you do, what worked in remedying this sort of violent behaviour?

At the moment I am just trying to be vigilant and not leave DS1 & 2 together alone.

OnlyWantsOne Wed 29-Jun-11 09:45:48


have you got a play pen so you can out the baby some where safe when your pottering about?

spend some dedicated time with ds1 everyday - make it a regular thing

how is DS1 with respecting boundaries normally?

peggotty Wed 29-Jun-11 09:49:45

The advice I've always seen on here about this sort of behaviour is to quickly move the older child away to another part of the room and completely ignore them whilst making a big fuss of the injured party. That's always sounded sensible to me.

BootyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 09:53:34

OnlyWantsOne I would say that DS1 is usually reasonably good with boundaries and does what we say, but does of course push those boundaries at times!

He is generally very gentle with other children and animals. For example if there is a tussle for a toy at playgroup he usually backs off and hands the toy to the other child. Or if his having a toy upsets another child he will normally give it to them [sometimes without being prompted to]

This is why I think he likes the sense he has of having power or control over DS2. He is normally quite placid and this is something new and exciting IYSWIM?

Thanks for the suggestion re playpen. I don't have one but was thinking of putting baby in the kitchen with the baby gate closed so DS1 can't get in when I go to have a bath.

crispyseaweed Wed 29-Jun-11 09:57:58

Toddlers do this and you need to be very stern with him in order to protect your small babe. Be vigilant and dont leave them together. If you see bigger child about to hurt little one, grab his arm and say very sternly"NO, you do not hit baby..." and remove him immediately from the situation.
A 2 yr old knows no boundaries of what is right and wrong and he cant help his behaviour, so you have to show him how to be gentle with babies.
When toddler is calm and wanting to approach baby show him how to gently stroke babies head or arm etc. Praise him lots when he touches baby in a gently way . He will want your approval so give his masses of encouragement when he treats baby nicely.

BootyMum Wed 29-Jun-11 10:09:17

crispyseaweed I am very stern and tell him No when he tries to hit baby and also give him lots of praise when he is gentle. I also show him how to gently stroke baby rather than pummelling.

However I have just now used your advice and removed DS2 from the room... he was starting to whack DS2 on the head with his hands whilst laughing. I now have DS1 behind the baby gate and so he is locked out of the lounge. He is protesting bitterly but perhaps this is what needs to happen so he can learn the consequences of hitting his brother.

cory Wed 29-Jun-11 16:27:00

My 3yo did this when her brother was tiny. I just had to watch her like a hawk (didn't dare to go to the loo on my own so either took her with me or shut him in a room she couldn't get into). It wore off eventually. They are great friends now.

crispyseaweed Wed 29-Jun-11 19:42:54

Sounds like you are doing the right thing......
in the end he will learn., but in the mean you just have to be careful tiny one doesnt get another biff.
Good Luck !

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