Toddler Constantly Hurting My 8 Month Old

Updated on February 05, 2011
B.K. asks from Austin, TX
10 answers

Why is my toddler (boy) CONSTANTLY trying to hurt (or, is hurting) my 8 month old (girl)? I know it could be jealousy, but this is outrageous. My toddler is normally quite gentle and kind. He is advanced with his vocabulary and communicates well. He has done everything from just rolling over on her while she is sitting in the living room floor to kicking her in the stomach and forcing toys into her mouth. I am stressed out all day long because I am always having to keep an eye on him. I do keep her within arms reach, but occasionally I walk away for a second to get something and he is ready to attack. I feel very sad for her because I feel she is an abused baby. She is otherwise a very happy baby. He is otherwise a very well-mannered boy. I make a point of giving him special attention daily, but I am unable to this unless the baby is napping. I am home alone with them day and night. Any constructive advise?

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answers from Williamsport on

He's doing this because you're letting him. You should be able to walk away and know he will not do this, as well as know he won't just because you say not to. Consequences. Discipline. It isn't mutually exclusive of paying attention to him. You can do both. Do NOT let him get away with hurting the baby EVER without a consequence. If there is no consequence worth avoiding, there will be no reason for him to stop. He gets praise and hugs for helping, negative consequence for trying to hurt. He'll learn.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I would whip his butt like no tomorrow right at the very moment I caught him hurting her, not after. I realize that lots of Moms here will probably say that this is terrible advice but I'm sorry, that's really what I would do.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

The problem seems to lie in the idea that you can only give him special attention if the baby is napping. Your child is jealous. I bet you give him some special attention when the baby is crying as you deal with him however that you do. He's crying out to be as important as the baby is. We understand as adults how needy a baby is. But he's just a child. He doesn't know why he's been de-throned.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I don't have any experience with this, just thought I would give some suggestions. When he does hurt, or attempt to hurt her, are you punishing him, like time out or something? Time outs work great with my son. Its good that you give him individual attention. What about doing something that they can play together. Or make him feel like he is helping with her. Let him feed her, or get wipes to change the diaper. Maybe if you make him feel important or helpful to her, he won't act against her.
Try not to beat yourself up about it, hopefully its just something he is going through and before you know it she will be big enough to play with him, or beat him up! lol
Good luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

anyone that intentionally hurts another whether physical or name calling gets an automatic time out in my house and its longer then the normal amount of time. Make sure his room is toddler proof and when he hurts his sister immediately pick him up put him in his room or another area of the house where he can't see you. Its important that he can't see you because that will be the worst part of punishment for him and the only talking you do is that's not nice time out. As soon as he realizes that the behavior wont' get him any special attention and that he has to be sit on his bed or a chair for a certain amount of time it won't be "fun" anymore and it may not stop but it should lessen quite a bit. He is doing it for the reaction/attention (even bad attention is good to a child) you give him when he does it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Does your older child receive special one on one time with a parent? Is he told things she does that is good? I would sit on the rug all three of you.
I would hold the baby and ask your son to touch the baby in a gentle way. Tell the older child how wonderful her gentle touch is. How much the baby enjoys it. Explain that he is bigger and the baby is smaller and there is different types of touches.
When my kids would get rough when they were very little we always used "gentle touch" and it worked.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Maybe your pediatrician has some advice on how to handle this situation? They are also trained in bahavior and may even have a specialist on staff? Just to get a professional and different perspective and advice.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I also have a toddler and an infant. In our case thr older one was not hurting on purpose, we had to spend some time teaching him how to play with his brother. My toddler simply does't realize how strong he is and did not know how to properly play with an infant. We also use the "gentle play" phrase as a reminder. Good luck and please be patient!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

My son does same thing to his baby sister, its just a phase, I always just ignore it.



answers from Austin on

I would put him in timeout immediately (or whatever works for your son). Let him know that he will be separated from you and the baby, if he is not nice. We had some issues when we brought our younger son home and his older brother was 2 1/2. Once we started the timeouts and used them consistently, things got much better. Good luck.

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