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Baby with 'Tude?

  1. #1
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Question Baby with 'Tude?

    When we were preparing to welcome our second child into our family, I thought a lot about sibling dynamics. I had been around children who didn't transition too well when they went from being only child to older brother/sister. I really hoped it wouldn't be the case with my son and as he was already 3-years-old when his sister was born we spent a lot of time talking with him about the new baby and what being an older brother might be like.

    Well, it did turn out that my son did really well with the transition to older brother. He has actually been nothing but sweet, careful and generous with his younger sister as well as gentle. I kind of marvel at how well it has gone.

    But...now little sister is 14-months-old and she has an attitude! She is so, so, so different than her older brother. Her older brother is a sensitive young fellow. He's pretty laid-back, friendly and social. He's the type of kid that while all the other kids are scrambling and fighting over toys will give his toy to someone and say, "Here, you play with it first. I can wait." He's just kind of always been that way. Or when someone comes over to take his toy he'll say, "Let's play together! It will be fun!" He usually can win the other child over. He's really good at conflict resolution in that way. He is sensitive though and has been known to cry at the drop of a hat...however, he settles quickly and doesn't throw fits.

    But, little sister? She is picky about who she will interact with. She's shy and very, very cautious with people she doesn't know. It took her almost a year to warm up to her grandparents whom she sees every week. The only people she will let hold her are my husband and I, our helper and her grandparents. If others so much as try to touch her (even really kind people she sees every single day--such as my co-workers) she'll kind of grunt at them and turn away as in "How dare you even attempt to hold me!" She doesn't smile easily with strangers--even with me she'll "stare me down" despite my efforts to get her to smile. She can be super silly and cute and laugh her head off (mostly at her older brother's antics...which he thoroughly enjoys as he gets to be the center of her attention) but she can also have a total stone-cold stare like she's sizing a person up. Just a totally different personality than older brother.

    The problem I have is that she can be aggressive. For awhile she was looking for every opportunity to bite us. She doesn't bite in anger or anything but she doesn't do it in a funny way either. Is it like a dominance thing? Proving she's "the boss"? She also has started literally head-butting us! Huh? It's like she's been watching too many fight scenes on TV (...she doesn't watch TV) or something. I would think it's funny except it's dangerous and scary and she doesn't do it a lot but when she does it it's like totally out-of-the-blue. It's not because she's angry or anything...it's just kind of like, "This seems like a good time to head butt someone in the face." Again, she doesn't do this to other children or strangers--just to the ones she loves. LOL. She also slaps her brother. If she thinks he's too close to her or in her bubble or she has to share attention with mama she will full-on slap him. Tonight we were sitting in the big armchair together--brother on one knee, sister on other. Everything was going well until sister looks over out of the corner of her eye and sees brother and then takes the hard toy she had in her hand and hits him right in the middle of the forehead with it! Of course, I took the toy away and told her sternly, "No! We do not hit brother." She just gave me that cold-hard stare. Then about 10 minutes later as he's just sitting here peacefully she reaches over and tries to slap him right across the face.

    Anyway, we always communicate things like "Gentle" and then demonstrate by taking her hand and rubbing it gently across our face or arm etc. She gets reprimanded for aggressive behavior and praised for gentle behavior.

    But, I'm just wondering if anyone else has a child who is the younger sibling who act similarly. What has been your experience?
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  2. #2
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    *bump* :)
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  3. #3
    TheQuasimother is offline Registered User
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    Thanka2, our wee one is feisty and generally will not attach herself to strangers either. She takes awhile to warm up and will only let a few she has seen and knows from regular outings to pick her up. She's started throwing things when she doesn't get her way and pinching her older brother. We've been using our cat to demonstrate the importance of gentleness and she's quite rough with him at times, and it'll give her 'a bite'. So she's had to understand how important it is to be gentle.

    I think it's because from birth, everyone has had to tiptoe around her as she was so little (in size) and be gentle. So she's got confidence a plenty. Ours is definitely learning, we've been using the same phrase(s) we've used with her brother when dealing with her but in reverse now on her.

    Good Luck!
    “If you want to get to the castle, you’ve got to swim the moat.” Richard Jenkins in Eat Pray Love

  4. #4
    Honkyblues is offline Registered User
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    She sounds like quite a handful! And there's me thinking that those with girls have it easier!!

    I have three boys, and they vary between being incredibly loving towards each other, and extremely aggressive. There's a lot of attention-seeking behavior and a lot of fighting about who gets to sit on mummy's knee. The one-year-old will quite angrily shove the 4-yr-old off my lap if he wants to be on.

    We've had biting phases from all of them - though no head-butting, thank goodness. With the biting, it was an immediate time-out. I think your daughter is old enough and smart enough to understand a time-out in the cot every time she head-butts or bites? The key is to be consistent, and I'm sure you are. It might be that words of gentle rebuke are not enough and she needs to really feel a consequence (e.g. a timeout).

    Just hang in there! Things will get better. And be glad that she has a "personality" (albeit one that might need taming). But better a lively, feisty child, I always think, than a "blobby baby". :-)

  5. #5
    BeaMae is offline Registered User
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    I have a 19 month old girl, and she is a definite handful. So I am not sure girls are easier, it depends on the girl! She also has become aggressive, she throws anything and everything, sometimes in anger, sometimes in fun. She will often tell me when she is about to throw something so I can, at times, talk her out of it, other times not. She also has started to get mad at other kids, often for no reason. There is just something she doesn't like. She understands what gentle is, but often ignores our request. Her older sister is getting a bit fed up with the shouting and pushing. Hopefully it's just a phase, but I am not to excited about entering the 2s and 3s with a kid who is already having fits on the floor and shouting her head off! As for having a kid with "personality", yes it's great and she is a lot of fun, tho I sometimes wish for the "blobby baby" :)

  6. #6
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    Thanks everyone for your replies and input. I will have to think about the time-out option. Truth be told, we have never once in 4 1/2 years used a "time-out" with my son. We honestly have never needed to. He was really high-maintenance when he was a small baby up until his toddler times but I'm starting to realize that actually he's pretty much a very, very well-behaved boy now. Like I said, he doesn't throw fits. He generally obeys when he's told to do something. He apologizes if he hurts someone and feels genuine remorse. The only reason why he ever "gets in trouble" is he just gets overly excited about something and stops listening to instruction--but that's normal. He's just a normal, energetic boy with a very happy disposition.

    So, I'll have to talk with my husband and helper about the "time-out" option. We'll see how that goes. I have to say that my daughter spends a lot of time being carried or worn--much more than my son ever did. Partly because our baby carrier is so much better than the one we had when my son was small. That means that my daughter is very "transportable" and she goes everywhere with us--so, I don't know about doing "time-outs" while we're out of the house a lot. Something to think about.

    Thank you again for your insights!
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

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