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Whether or not to punish older sibling due to aggrevation from younger sibling

  1. #1
    e-Maternity is offline Registered User
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    Whether or not to punish older sibling due to aggrevation from younger sibling

    My older son (2.5 yo) often has little fights with his younger brother (1 yo). The younger brother loves to take his brother's toys while he is playing. If his brother doesn't give the toy to him, the younger one may pull the older brother's hair, or hit him or push/kick him. As a result, my older son would hit and kick back etc my younger son either to defend himself or to get back at his younger brother. Because he is stronger, the younger one often gets hurt.

    Should I punish the older son for hitting/pushing his brother? The younger son is too young to be punished (time out or naughty corner). So, he often only just gets a "No, don't do that". But, my older son will have to go to time out/naughty corner. Is this the right way of disciplining them? Will it give the kids (esp my older son) a confused message?

  2. #2
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
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    I had a friend with this problem and the thing that mainly worked for her was ignoring it. If it's a sibling rivalry thing then literally walking out of the room (and probably keeping a discreet eye on them at first) that way they work out their own boundaries and neither gets attention for their bad behaviour as at that age they can't really hurt each other.

    The other thing she used if it was really getting out of hand was separating them without assigning blame or paying either of them too much attention, again they probably want to be together in a room with you so they both get an outcome they didn't want from their behaviour.

    And of course lots of praise and attention when they do interact nicely together :-)

  3. #3
    e-Maternity is offline Registered User
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    Thanks jvn for your helpful advice. I particularly like the last 2 suggestions! Will definitely give it a try! Fingers crossed.

  4. #4
    starbucks2 is offline Registered User
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    Hi

    Just my opinion, but I would be doing just as you are doing. Timeouts for the older child and no's and separating for the younger one. I have been trying to get my 2.75 year old and 10 month old to play together and it works well sometimes and not so well others! Generally they are fine but the younger one will take toys off the older one which leads to frustration and tears for both. Not so much aggression (although he sometimes gives her a little push) but more often my older child will snatch toys off his little sister. If he does that then I make him give it back or get his sister something else to play with. And I make them take turns with toys they both want (like an electronic scooter). In my experience recently, whatever my daughter touches becomes the most important thing in the world to her older brother and he needs to have it desperately! I have found that taking turns (even really short turns like 1 min for the younger one and slightly longer for the older one) help with the tantrums of my older child.

    I do like the idea from jvn on lots of praise when they play well together.

  5. #5
    Frenchy is offline Registered User
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    I think you response to the situation is very important, as what the kids get from it is very subtil, and can influence their whole life.
    Teaching them how to manage conflicts will help them later in society, giving them the skills for communication, generosity, share and negociation.

    As parents I think we make the mistake to think our kids are going to love each others from the very first day, but what happens with the second one is jalousy and rivalry, and this is inevitable.

    Taking care of the situation very soon is very important, and better than to wait for it to stop by himself... personal touch, it took 25 years to get along with my brothers !

    I think it's important not to let the kids fight everytime, and that they should't use physical violence.
    Letting them express their feelings, and showing them that you understand is important, without telling one he is right or wrong. You can try to separate them with something like "I can see you are angry at each others, maybe it's time to play separately". If your son can express himself, maybe you can ask him why he did that, and keep on repeating that hitting is not a good solution.

    If you arrive too late, taking care of the child who has been hit, instead of the "guilty" child, as it's a way for him to get attention and show he is still the leader. Also, it could put him in the "bad kid" role, and it will be harder for him to change.

    We are also using the "time out" corner with our older son, but only when he hits his little sister, on purpose. Then he as to say sorry, and tell he won't do it again. During the time out we take care of his sister, which I guess in his mind (our son) is not the attention he wanted to have !

    I also think it's good praise cooperation rather than competition.
    Good luck !!

  6. #6
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    praise good behavior when they are together is definitely a positive thing to do to reinforce the positive behavior. another suggestion I would have is to talking to your older son about what he did and how he thinks it made his younger sibling feel. 2.5yr olds are smarter than we give them credit for. through this communication, we are trying to instill in them that their actions can cause joy and sadness to others and will eventually help them to think about others feelings before they act.

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