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4 year old dangerously rough with baby brother - help!

(4 Posts)
levantine Thu 08-Sep-11 14:45:26

I really don't know how to handle this. DS1 has been rough with DS2 for a while - pushing, shoving him, trying to pick him up. DS2 (11 months) will always go up to him and hit and shove him because that is what babies do. Every so often DS1 goes ott and DS2 is pushed over or bangs his head or whatever, which really stresses me out and I am not getting the mesage through to DS1 that it is not okay to respond like that.

This morning he did two things that really freaked me out -
1. I was in the shower, DS2 standing up holding the bath, DS1 on the loo - DS1 pulled DS2 by his clothes so he fell over and very nearly banged his head hard on the loo

2. I turned round in the kitchen and DS1 had lifted the front legs of DS2's highchair in such a way that DS2 was about to fall down in the chair and hit his head on a wall.

He was severely told off by DH and I and sent to his room for the second thing - I lost it at him actually.

What can I do? I was in the room with them on both occasions. I am frightened he is going to seriously hurt him

TheArmadillo Thu 08-Sep-11 15:48:23

what are you doing when ds2 hits ds1? I know that he is too young to understand but for ds1 benefit you need to be telling him off "no! it is not nice to hit <ds1 name>" and removing ds2 and then distracting him. You also need to cuddle or otherwise acknowledge ds1 is hurt (even if you feel he is hamming it up a bit).

DS2 is showing age apropriate behaviour but you need to show ds1 that you are taking the fact his brother hurts him as seriously as you take it the other way round. As adults we know that ds2 is too young to understand, but your ds1 probably doesn't really understand this - all he knows is that he is getting hurt (and 11month olds can hurt) and you aren't taking it seriously but when he does it he is punished and you get cross.

Secondly you need to make sure you are making a distinction between deliberately hurting ds2 and clumsy/rough attempts to play. One needs punishment and the other needs praising and gentle guidance on how "ds2 isn't as big and strong as you so you need to be very gentle"

When ds1 is deliberately hurting his brother a firm "no! we do not hurt ds2" for the first attempt and removal to time out/bedroom for second. And obvioulsy not leaving them alone together.

TheArmadillo Thu 08-Sep-11 15:51:35

remember ds1 may seem huge compared to ds2 but he is still young and struggling to control his emotions plus adapt to a rival. Do not go ballastic at him (or at least try your hardest not to).

Make sure he is being praised when he is nice to ds2

levantine Thu 08-Sep-11 15:58:24

Thanks, that's very very helpful, I think I had lost perspective. The thing is they both enjoy playfighting but neither is old enough to manage it properly. DS1 has just started reception so seems even more charged up than usual

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