My child is hitting our 10 month old. I am trying to be understanding about this but he is 3 and big and I don’t want him to hurt the baby. What to do?
Ahhhh, yes, sibling rivalry begins. It is tough to be the big sibling, with everyone fawning all over the baby, sigh. It can bring out the worst even in the best kids. Feeling mad is fine. Acting out that anger with violence is NOT.
Ask your 3-year-old how she feels about the baby – REALLY feels. Let her get those emotions out. “You are hitting the baby, that is not OK, we do not hit in this house. What feelings are making you want to hit? You can always tell me or the baby how you feel, but you may NOT hit the baby.”
While the older child may not hit the baby, she can draw pictures of how she feels. You may even see her acting things out with a doll. That is normal. Let her work through her feelings through play, so she doesn’t do it with the real baby.
Be an advocate for your 3-year-old. WE know that the baby is not touching the 3-year-old’s toys just to be a bother, but your 3-year-old doesn’t know that and she will get mad. Step in and tell the baby that he cannot take his brother’s things. Even do a swap out and get your big kid’s toy back. The baby probably won’t care about the swap, and if he does, that is OK. Being sad is fine for folks of any age. What you also will have is a big kid who thinks that you are a hero. The baby does not always have to “win”.
Lastly, have a consequence. Have your 3-year-old leave the room, stand with you until she is safe, have to go to bed early since she cannot make safe choices. Whatever the consequence, follow through quickly. Giving chances only leads to confusion, anger, and tantrums. Your 3-year-old will not be happy, but she will realize that her choices have consequences. All of our choices do.
Let me know how it all turns out for you.
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Brandi Davis, ACC, is a professional Parenting Coach, Parent Educator, and Author of O.K. I’m A Parent Now What? She can also be found on Facebook, Pinterest, and be sure to catch her parenting podcasts on iTunes. The goal of Brandi’s practice is to bring respect, calm communication, teamwork, and FUN into the home or classroom. To discover all that Child and Family Coaching can bring to your family stop by www.childandfamilycoaching.com.
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