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DD1 (2.5yo) hitting/biting DD2 (1mo) - what else can I do?

(12 Posts)
lucasnorth Sun 09-Aug-09 15:40:45

DD1 was lovely for a couple of weeks after DD2 was born - then it all kicked off!
She'll be stroking her gently, all happy and nice, then SLAP. Or helping me change her nappy and as I turn to the bin will bite her toe blush

So far I've been saying no loudly and firmly, moving the two of them apart, then sitting down with DD1 talking about how it hurts when someone hits you, how she (DD1) doesn't like being hit etc. In some ways it is getting a little better - DD1 is trying it on if my back is turned for a split second so clearly knows it's unacceptable. And the slaps are more like little taps now - I think mainly to get a rise out of me.

I try and involve DD1 as much as possible - passing me things when I'm changing nappies etc. And when she asks to touch her sister I say yes (unless there's been a very recent slap).

But it DOES still happen and I wondered if anyone has any suggestions? DH wants to start smacking DD1 which I am totally against (how does it teach her that hitting is wrong?!) but I'm finding it hard to counter his argument that my approach isn't working.


lucasnorth Sun 09-Aug-09 17:57:31


MatNanPlus Sun 09-Aug-09 18:01:20

Keep up with the approach but also move DD1 when you leave DD2 or hold DD1's hand(s) if your attention will be off them for a second.

If there has been recent activity then rather than invite DD1 to join in have her sit out of reach and chat while you do the activity then cuddle both DD's.

frankbestfriend Sun 09-Aug-09 18:11:40

If you think she is doing it to get a rise out of you, why not try removing dd1 from the situation and then lavishing attention on dd2?
Sitting down with her and chatting about it is good, but she clearly already understands why it is wrong. Perhaps if she realises her behaviour will focus the attention on dd2 rather than her, she may stop.

lucasnorth Sun 09-Aug-09 18:14:27

Thanks. Have you had to employ this approach? And if so how soon did you see results(cessation of hostilities)? [hopeful emoticon]

lucasnorth Sun 09-Aug-09 18:16:45

Sorry, cross posted, last was to MatNanPlus.
But same question to you too please frankbestfriend...

becktay Sun 09-Aug-09 20:37:03

i have found that a quick - 'we don't hit!' to ds1 aged 3.5 followed by loads of attention to baby has really lessened the occurrence of attack grin
lots more kisses to baby nowadays as that gets him far more attention.
ds2 is 12 weeks now and we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel with ds1, but there has been some utterly shocking behaviour in our house over the last couple of months!!

lucasnorth Mon 10-Aug-09 15:55:41

Thanks becktay (and sorry for taking a while to reply).

Interesting that you and frankbestfriend have the same solution.

I was a bit worried that denying attention might make things worse (in that DD1 seems to be largely motivated by the fact that DD2 takes my attention), but it's good to hear that it worked for you and I'll give it a try.

MatNanPlus Fri 14-Aug-09 10:30:15

The being 'left out' of the activity changed the behaviour within a week as she really did want to be involved.

Hope things settle down really soon Lucusnorth

readbtweenthelines Sat 15-Aug-09 12:00:11

How much praise and attention do you give DD1 when she does nice thing to DD2? I would try the following:

If you see DD1 do something undesireable make an unpleasant face and use a deep tone saying thats not nice it hurts DD2. Don't dwell on it or make a big deal out of it. Instead If DD1 Bites DD2 show her something nice to do to DD2 like kiss her foot or stroke wher DD1 hurt DD2. When DD1 copies you in doing the nice action, really praise her, kiss her, cuddle her and make a real fuss over how nice she is being to DD2. Tell her how lucky DD2 is to have such a lovely loving big sister she can look up to. Try and repaet this sort of action every timeyou catch DD1 doing something nasty to her sibling but don't give her too much attention over it. Always overpraise her for even the smallest kind gesture to DD2 as this is what she will get the most of Mummys attention for, not for being hurtful.

Also make sure you have one on one time with DD1 'special time' where you do quality things with DD1 whish will give her fun memories and will amke her feel really special. Even if it's reading her favourite book for five minutes. (if that's all you have. But just you and DD1 maybe when DD2 is sleeping.

I hope it helps a little.

lucasnorth Sun 16-Aug-09 18:45:37

Thank you MatNanPlus and eradbetweenthelines; sorry I've been offline for so long. MIL staying and I haven't had much time on the computer.

So, one week on and have been using all your suggestions - lots of praise when being nice (even more than before!), and a stern 'we don't hit' followed by lots of attention to DD2 if there is any violence.

It seems to be working DD1 still 'hits' but it's now almost a ritual - she makes it obvious it's coming and it's almost more of a pat than a slap. I still respond though; hopefully even this will pass... The only worrying incident was that a friend with a one-year-old came for lunch, and the visitor was given a hard thump with a stacking-cup... DD1 hasn't tried anything like that with DD2 though so hopefully it was a one-off.

Thank you all for your help

seeker Sun 16-Aug-09 18:51:29

Oh, and look for opportunities to apply the same rule to the baby too. This sound completely bonkers but it worked for us. If the baby randomly hits the bigger one with a rattle or something say "No, baby - we don't hit in this family" and make a point of taking the rattle or whatever away.

And make sure they are never alone together even for a moment.

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