J.S. asks from Crystal Lake, IL on November 19, 2009
2 Year Olds Struggles over Sharing with Her 11 Month Old Brother.
My 2 year old daughter has recently developed an aversion to her 11 month old brother. Every time he comes to play with her (or even near her) she begins saying "no no no...". She'll pick up her toys and move away from him or, she'll push him over or hit him. She also regularly grabs whatever toys he has been playing with for herself. He adores her and always wants in on whatever she's up to, but all this pushing often leaves him in tears.
I don't understand where her "violent" streak has come from. Our family does not condone hitting, pushing, spanking or any other physical forms of discipline. She's not exposed to it with any other care givers or on TV. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO MY SWEET LITTLE GIRL?
I've tried warnings, taking away the toys she refuses to share, timeouts and now I've been putting her in her room to play alone when she begins her tirades.
Is this to be expected with her age? What can I do to modify this behavior? I'm exhausted and rapidly running out of patience...HELP!!!
1 mom found this helpful
A.F. answers from Chicago on November 20, 2009
I am going through the exact same thing right now -- 2 year old daughter and just turned 1 yr old last week son :) Perfectly normal....not that it doesn't drive me nuts. We push sharing and taking turns. We also do let her watch Dora the Explorer (no more than 2 episodes all day - so like 40 minutes total) and adopted the NO SWIPING chant and do time outs when she just grabs things and isn't willing to give them back. Although she gets upset, it has curbed the behavior. I also try to show her that if she offers her brother something else to play with, sometimes he will TRADE (get interested in something she offers and drop whatever he was playing with that she actually WANTS as we all know a 12 mo old isn't really "trading")...so that has worked too.
Good luck with it -- you are certainly NOT ALONE :)_ HA!
M.O. answers from Chicago on November 19, 2009
I agree it's completely age appropriate. Keep doing what you are doing, she'll soon understanding that hitting is not appropriate.
That said, she probably wants her own toys, space and time away from him. Think of it from her perspective, she's always expected to "behave" by sharing her toys and space and deal with a "baby" wrecking what she's working on. Sounds to me like maybe it's time HE gets reprimanded too. Let her see you stick up for her by saying something like, "No 'Jake', you can't bother her right now. It's her turn to play with the blocks." Protect her, just as you protect him. Consider putting up a baby gate to keep him away from her for a little time each day. Give her space to play without having to worry about him. Just because they are siblings does not mean that she always has to spend time with him or share HER stuff.
Give her special "mommy time" when he's down for a nap. Make sure she gets special toys, crafts or activities that are ONLY for "big girls" and not the baby. That should help her to understand that sometimes she shares & plays with him and sometimes she gets to do her own stuff without him interfering.
Right about this age, and for the same reason, is when I enrolled my older child in preschool. Although my mother was completely against it, thinking my daughter didn't need to go to school at age 2. She soon understood that it was a great move for my older child. My daughter was able to have age appropriate activities, with similar aged/capable friends and learned a lot of things I simply didn't have time for with an infant at home. I sincerely think that a good preschool program will help her flourish and appreciate time with you and her brother AND her time away.
Best of luck.
S.S. answers from Chicago on November 20, 2009
J., This is totally normal. A 2 year old has no concept of sharing. They don't understand that if the toy goes to someone else it will eventually come back to them. In a 2 year olds head when the toy leaves her hand it is gone. Keep reinforcing the we don't hit/push/slapping etc rule. A timeout should be for a child that age 1 minute for each year. so if she is 2 then a 2 minute time out. Time out should be in the same room as you. put a chair against a wall or at the table or a small rug square etc. no toys on it no fun. and put on a timer. So she gets the point that it is a punishment. putting her into her room to play really isn't a timeout.
good luck and in my sister in laws famous words. this too shall pass.
W.M. answers from Chicago on November 20, 2009
That is completely normal, and it will take some time for her to get used to the idea. The hitting and pushing are also normal, and will probably get better with improved verbal skills. One thing we did that helped- I think- is our daughter got some toys for Christmas that her older brother really wanted to try. Then we started telling him she would share her toys, but he had to share his. She actually had no concept of it, but it made him more willing to share and let her play with his toys. Good luck!
M.R. answers from Chicago on November 19, 2009
Sounds like absolutely normal behavior for a 2 year old!
Keep up the warnings, taking away the toys, and removal from activities if the inappropriate behavior continues. It will feel like you need to do these things a million times - she's two and she's testing her limits.
M.M. answers from Chicago on November 20, 2009
I've read most everyone else's responses already so ditto to what everyone has said. I have a 2 year old son and 1 year old daughter. My son has been displaying the same behavior towards his sister but has gotten better over time. We have modeled how to share or trade toys when she has taken something from him; we used time outs for the extreme situations of physical reactions like hitting or pushing. Right now my son is very sensitive to people's emotions so we've identified how it makes his sister sad (it helps that she cries) to make the point to share. But we also acknowledge that it can be hard to share, "especially when sister doesn't ask because she can't yet and she's still learning so we have to help teach her how to play, too." He seems to calm down more quickly when we first acknowledge what he might be feeling and then go into the whole sharing/trading/learning to play together thing. When I've been occupied and can't play with them, I have physically separated them with a gate or something so that he gets some undisturbed time for a bit. As an older sib myself, I understand my son's desire to be left alone. Don't we all sometimes just want our own space? :-)