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My name's Marie. I have 2 little girls, my oldest, Amber, is 3.5. My youngest, Grace, is 7 months. Amber was fantastic with Grace for the first 5 months of Grace's life. Sharing things, loving her, hugging her, kissing her, playing with her. But now that Grace is getting mobile and playing with toys and whatnot, Amber is angry and doesn't like to spend any time with Grace. I do get 1-on-1 time with Amber fairly often. I just don't know what to do. It all started with Amber getting angry when Grace cried, about 2 months ago now. The first issue was when Grace was crying in bed (me and Amber were lying in bed, relaxing, watching TV, when she covered Grace's face with a pillow. I immediately put her in a timeout, but was told I should have given her a spank because of how severe the incident was (she could have killed her sister).
Grace can't play with anything other than her own baby toys (she can't so much as lay a finger on her sister's things or anything her sister "wants" to play with) without Amber taking whatever it is Grace is playing with away (snatching it, pulling the toy out of her hands, even knocking Grace over to take a toy away). In fact, as I've been typing this, I put Grace on the floor to play, and she grabbed a flyer that DF had brought in before going to work. Amber saw Grace playing with it and immediately went over to Grace, took it away, and pushed the baby over. I asked Amber to give the flyer back to Grace AND gave her a warning. She refused to give the flyer back, so I took it from Amber and gave it back. Amber went back to Grace to hit her (in the face), so I put Amber in a time out in the living room (where we were). Grace could see Amber, so everytime Amber made a sound, Grace would look over at her big sister and smile at her like she does anytime she looks at her sister. Grace loves her sister to pieces. Anyway, Amber screamed "NO Grace, it's NOT funny!" and would leave her timeout to go hit Grace. I'd put her back in timeout, but after this happening 5-6 times, I had to bring her to her room.
I'm just at a loss here. I don't know what to do anymore. This is getting way out of hand. Amber has times that she's very loving towards Grace and shares and hugs her and wants to hold her. But that's quite rare lately. I'm really hoping someone here has advice for me, because I just don't know what to do anymore. Amber has told me that she doesn't love Grace and we should put her down (we had friends put their cat down because she was sick and so this is why Amber's saying that... she knows it means the cat died), or we can give her away. Yesterday she told me she wanted to be her Uncle's kid and me and DF could keep Grace. And when I told her I wanted to keep her, she told me we could give Grace away instead. Aaggghhh! Please help me!!
Marie, married to Richard, parents to Amber (11.28.05) and Grace (9.28.08)
Yes, I agree, a spanking is required for something that dangerous (we would do it for running into the parking lot of our complex). Amber needs to seriously understand that she can hurt Grace with what she's doing. I have a 3.5 yo and a 3 mo and I'm seeing some of the jealousy already.
Second, try taking the toy completely away. If Amber can't share her toys with Grace, then no one can play with them. Tell her the toy has to go to timeout and put it out of her reach, but not her sight. This will likely cause a lot of tantrums, but stick to your guns.
You coudl have two of the exact same item and each girl has them, but if Amber had it "first" it would always be hers.
Sorry, lurking but I agree.. it is completely normal. My boys are about a year apart and it ended up with the little one bullying the oldest one. However there will be rivalry, jealousy and violence... I hear this is common with girls more than with boys, I'm not sure I believe that lol
No matter what, Amber is still adjusting to having a mobile sibling that she ACTUALLY has to share with. Earlier it was easier for her to share coz the baby had no interest in stuff for more than 5 seconds. Now that Grace is mobile and wants to explore everything, Amber might be feeling out of control. She's got to share mommy, daddy, now her toys.
I would attempt to maybe find something creative to keep Amber busy and perhaps separate the two for a time. Let Amber get used to Grace's mobility a little at a time (I know it's hard, but I'm saying maybe coloring for Amber, out of Grace's reach) have Amber help you with Grace if at all possible.
DD is 9 years old but she's jealous of Ava who's expected in August for different reasons (my ex is DD's father, but DH is the one who's raising her. My ex ignores the kids and hasn't spoken to them in a while), I plan on having her help me as much as possible. She'll be so busy trying to guide her, that I don't think she'll have time for jealousy.
*hugs* I know how sibling issues can make you crazy. I have a few suggestions.
First, I would encourage your older daughter to be a "big girl". Give her jobs around the house, show her how she can help be a big sister. If she behaves during the day she can have "big girl" time once the baby has gone to bed. For my DD this would be extra books, snuggling to watch a quick tv show with mom, play a computer game etc. Just something alone with you and something the baby can not do.
Giving them separate things to do but in the same area may help. Give her "big girl" crafts (crayons and stickers are easy) to do at the table while the baby sits in her highchair with her baby toys. Make sure you are there also to have playtime with them.
Have you ever sat with them both and shown your older DD how to play with the baby? Clapping, peekaboo, sharing books etc.
Also sit with them and do something together. Read books, stack blocks etc.
I know that even the best suggestions will not always work. Been there. I am having behavior issues with my 2 girls (4.5 yrs and 3 yrs) and I swear NOTHING works. Sometimes you just need to do whatever you can to keep the peace and keep your sanity. Things do get better and this should pass.
I like the ideas the other ladies have, I agree that spankings can be helpful especially when the situation is severe like you mentioned.
I also have to come in on this and say it's totally normal, yes it can be scary that she's being so "violent" but she's still to young to fully understand that hitting and smothering can do permanent damage, so I wouldn't worry that she has any underlying problems than new sibling issues. I had the same problem with my oldest when my youngest became mobile. At first he was just a toy and didn't get in the way, but when he started intruding into his areas of the house, his toy box, etc we had major issues like you've mentioned, hitting, pushing, smacking, throwing toys. For me I think it sounds like everything you are doing is right on target, and i'd caution you not to give up or think what you're doing isn't working because you don't see immediate results. This is something she's going to have to grow out of in time and learn boundaries for with your guidance and what you're doing with the time outs and occassional spanking is reinforcing that this behavior is not acceptable. Unfortunately all kids go through this whether they have siblings or not, at school, at sunday school, at relatives with other kids, etc. And it takes awhile to grow out of, my kids are 8 and 7 and STILL have a hard time sharing, and they still ocassionaly come to blows over sharing toys, hitting, kicking, throwing stuff. It doesnt' happen very often, but it does.
What I did with my kids is have them have a little section or place where they could choose certain special toys they did not have to share. And any time they recieved a gift they had a period of 2-4 weeks where they did not have to share that toy. It couldn't be a hoard of stuff, but a few things that were really special and they were afraid brother would break, the rest was to be shared. If you were playing with something and set it down to go play with something else and brother picked it up your turn was over, if you set it down to go grab something else to include in playing with the toy and were planning to come back then brother had to find something else to play with until you were done using the toy.
Good luck! Trust me it DOES get easier it just takes awhile
We have the same problems as you! I have a 3 year old & a 10.5 month old & as soon as the little one became mobile, the older one turned violent so to say. We are working on praising her when she does something sweet torwards her little brother. For punishment, we have found that using a gate to keep her in her room works wonders for her "time out" because she HATES that. I have also made "seperate" play areas in the living room for her & him & that has seemed to work well as long as you keep the little one of the older one's play area.