D.D. asks from Schenectady, NY on April 15, 2007
Calming My Daughter
My daughter is 3 yrs old, she is very visious towards her 1 yr old brother. She hits him, pushes him and is very violent towards him. Im having a herd time tring to tell her that she cant do that to him that she is going to really hurt him. She just screams at me and tells me to shut up or yells NO. She thinks that she can do those thing to him. How do I go about tring to tell her that she cant do those things to her brother.
R.B. answers from Burlington on April 17, 2007
This is a tough problem!
I also had this problem between my first two children. I would recommend not trying to talk to her when it is actually happening and she's angry, but at a neutral time when she is calm.
What worked for me was to tell my son in advance that he was not allowed to push/hit/kick, then when he did it to immediately pick him up and physically carry him to his room or designated time-out spot. I did not try to talk to him or give him attention beyond removing him from the situation while he was still angry. After he had calmed down we talked through what had happened.
If he would not stay in his room I would hold him in my lap with his arms held gently at his sides, (so he wasn't hitting ME) maybe rocking him, but staying calm and quiet until he calmed down, then talked through it with him.
The first few times I did it he threw a MAJOR tantrum because he really wasn't expecting it, and it was tough to sit through! Once he realized I wasn't going to give in, his hitting decreased quite a lot.
I hope this is helpful, good luck!
R. (29 year old mom of three. 8, 6, and 6months)
M.N. answers from Charleston on April 16, 2007
You need to get control of your daughter. I put my child in time out for 3min when she does something wrong to our younger daughter. It works for us. Does she go to dare care? If so ask them how her behavior is and how they correct her when she is not being nice to others. Silly thing to say, but watch how much sugar your daughter takes in. I know when our 3yr old has suger in her, she is in her own hyper world.
K.F. answers from Hartford on April 18, 2007
It could be a few things - if she is trying to get your attention (and succeeding!), it may be wise to put her in some sort of time out to calm her down - however it might work, if you need to hold her and rock her, or if she is fine to sit by herself maybe get her to flip thru a picture book until she calms down. At 3 it is still hard for kids to express themselves with words and instead they tend to use actions - so now is a critical time to tell her just that: "Honey, use your words instead of actions. Tell me/your brother what is wrong, without touching him or getting in his space".
If she shows the same behavior with other children - of any age - start keeping a journal of her behavior to see what might trigger the outbursts. Is she tired? Overstimulated? Hungry? Overwhelmed? Bored? and so on. This will help you figure out what her "triggers" are and how to avoid them.
My 4-1/2 y/o son gets aggressive at times and I have just started keeping a behavioral journal, for my own sake, to see what his triggers are. He has sensory issues which can lead to erratic behavior at times...
Hope this helps you!
D.W. answers from Albany on April 17, 2007
When i read about your obstacle it made think of the crazy household you must have going on. First and formost you are the parent and in NO terms is hitting aloud. Your daughter appears as if she is having trouble adjusting to the new family member and all the attention he is getting. I am presently reading a book about pre-schoolers it is titled "How to behave so that your pre-schooler will to" Highly suggest you look into this alot of advice on how to handle and communcate with the little people. Children can be fun and very helpful if we make everyone feel part of the family. Good luck with being firm when you hand out time out or punishment for bad behavior.
K.P. answers from Buffalo on April 16, 2007
This is such a hard thing to deal with. Sibling rivalry is very difficult, espeically if your daughter was the only child for so long. It's really important to get it under control now though, otherwise it will be a problem forever. If your daughter hits your son, make sure you get down on her level so you are eye to eye with her and say in a firm voice (make sure not to yell because most kids don't respond to that anyway) and explain to her that she is not allowed to hit under any circumstances. Put her into a time out (1 minute for every year of age) and explain to her why she is in time out. After that one minute again explain why she was in time out and make her appologize to you and to her brother (even if he doesn't understand it's the concept of teachign her concequences for her actions.) If she screams and yells at you again get down on her level and let her know that is not appropriate behavior.
She may also be feeling jealous and left out if her little brother is getting all the attention. Try to include her in on taking care of her brother and let her know what a good big sister she is and how you couldn't do it without her help (when she does good things). Also try spending some special alone time with her every day. Taht way she feels liek she is still special and important in yoru life.
M.M. answers from Scranton on April 24, 2007
This is definitely frustrating, I know because I have a 4 year old girl and a 2 year old boy. So last year, this was my exact situation. I think that you should definitely address the issues with her behavior first, as her viciousness towards him is probably just a by product of an underlying issue. And I really feel for you as a single mother, I can't imagine how tough that must be for you. But your daughter needs to learn respect for you first and foremost. Her screaming at you and telling you to shut up should be unacceptable behavior. Time outs have been very effective with my daughter. And I would also suggest spending some one on one consistent time with her every day. Even if it is just sitting down and reading a book with her and chatting a little bit, she will come to expect this special time with mommy that is "hers" and not her brother's. It's tough with kids this age, I know. I am no expert on discipline, believe me. But I think once she knows that you are the boss, and she feels like she is getting more attention all for herself, you may see some of her anger dissipate. And something that really helps with my daughter is talking to her during the day about behavioral issues, not when you are in the middle of a battle. Actually, my husband has more success than I do as far as disciplining the kids, Especially my daughter. He is so calm and somehow really gets his point across when dealing with "WHY" their behavior is wrong. You should give both of your kids a lot of positive reinforcement for good behavior as well. Kids love to hear they are doing a good job, and they will eventually want to behave..(most of the time.) Hope this was helpful.
C.D. answers from Rochester on April 17, 2007
You have to be in charge! You say that you want her to know that she can't do those things to her brother, but why is she doing them to you? My little girl is 4 and does not use the words shut up, they are naughty words especially towards you, her mother. Take control! Have you tried time out? If she will not sit there on her own, hold her there, she will learn as soon as you show her you mean business. You have to give merit to your words and make punishment believeable. Spanking is not illegal either as long as you are not spanking hard enough to leave a bruise. There is also the options of taking away her favorite toys, tv, or whatever amuses her the most. I know it is very difficult being a single parent, I have been there. But you are hurting yourself and her more by not putting your foot down. Good luck and hopefully no offense!