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18 month old hitting 1 month old!!!

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  • 18 month old hitting 1 month old!!!

    My 18 month old has had issues with hitting ever since he was about one. Its always been a big deal to me, but I feel especially distressed about this since my daughter is so small! I am feeling like I dont know how to handle this. Prior to reading these threads, I was doing time outs and reacting very angrily to his hitting his sister and I feel our relationship was suffering. This past week I utilized many of the tips people gave, and I definitely notice a change in his demeanor. He seems happier and is responding better towards me. I am not doing time outs, and am instead trying to respond mildly and explain hitting hurts and try to offer lots of love and affection. I also try to redirect and distract. I guess my dilemma is when he hits the baby (usually in the face!), or pulls her hair, or tries to bite her, I am wondering should I be doing time outs still? Before when I did them I would stay in the room with him, then went to standing outside the door because he would continue to try and hit me. (We have a door thats in two parts, top and bottom, and I only close the bottom so he could see that I am still there.) I guess I'm confused if time outs are appropriate or not. I read about time ins, but the problem with that is that if I am nursing the baby or holding her because she is fussy, that doesnt work, because me trying to be close to him, which is what he wants most of the time, leads to him continuing to try and hit her. So instead I let him know hitting hurts and try to give him a kiss on the head or something. But I feel that although he is happier and feeling more secure, the hitting has increased, and I am letting the baby be hurt. He always wants to see the baby and hold her and kiss her, and I try very hard to never deny him her, but he goes from hugs to slapping in a flash. He gets very upset if I keep my hands by his to try to stop hitting, but how do I not? I need to protect the baby. So when I try to intervene and stop him, it just makes him hit more and harder. Whenever she is asleep, I spend as much time with him as I can to compensate for when I have her. To make things harder, we live with my boyfriends family, and they all do time outs and say no all the time, so I feel a lot of pressure doing things differently, even though I believe its right. I guess I dont know if what I'm doing is effective, or if there is a better way. Help please!

  • #2
    Naomi Aldort has some great suggestions for this on one of her CD's, I'll try to recreate it here.

    She was having this issue with her son and she would take time one on one with him and play out the hitting on a doll, encouraging him and being totally accepting of his behavior. (Show me what you want to do to the baby...) After a few sessions like this, the boy came to her before he hit the younger one and they played it out on the doll. Then after a while he actually started to do fun things with the doll.

    Time outs will not help him, he is having strong emotions about having a sibling (or other things) and he needs support. Of course, you have to do your best to protect the baby and let him know where you stand in the matter, like, "I love you, I will not allow you to hurt baby." Said calmly and matter of factly.

    I hope this helps!



    • #3
      thank you for sharing that! awesome idea!
      i would also add that hitting is developmental, something many toddlers go through, and so it's something that he will, more than likely, outgrow, regardless of punishment, so try to work through it like you would any other developmental milestone: AIDING him as he struggles, rather than FIGHTING with the development.

      also, he has NO IDEA the ramifications of his hits. he's not thinking, "i'm going to bring serious harm to my baby sister so that she is scarred for life". he only knows he's frustrated, angry, sad, whatever the emotion, and this is his gut reaction.

      hang in there! it sounds like you're in a tough situation and are taking "hits" from all sides, your son, your family. i'd be very clear w/your family that timeouts are not acceptable to you and you do not want them using them either. your son needs consistency from all of his caregivers.


      • #4
        It sounds like a really hard situation! I'm glad you're working so hard to make sure both of your kids' needs are met.

        Just remember that he doesn't know what appropriate behavior is. He is expressing his emotions the only way he knows how. Try to help him put a name to those emotions and let him know how he CAN get his needs met in a way that works for everyone.

        It is very hard when family members discipline differently than you. You can't control what they do, but you can control how you react and set an example for them all.


        • #5
          Siblings Without Rivalry has some great points about how it feels to have a new sibling. A lot contained in it applies more to older children but the general concept and way of thinking about a sibling relationship is very helpful.
          You might want to look into getting it

          Other possibly helpful links
          Supporting Sibling Friendships
          Sibling Solutions

          From The New Baby
          By Elizabeth Pantley

          And just how do you encourage sibling friendship from the beginning? One way is to understand and validate your older child’s feelings. Things have changed, and not just for you. The next time you’re holding the new baby, take a moment to look at an older sibling while he or she is unaware of your gaze; you might just catch a glimpse through the window of your child’s eye. Like you, your older child may be more tired than usual, a little more stressed, a little touchier. It’s a natural reaction. The baby does require much time and attention, and will indeed dominate and disrupt family life for a while. Just be sure to let your older child know you’re aware that he is struggling with this concept—and that that is okay. Simple statements like, “I know it’s hard to wait for Emma to wake up until we go to the park” will help your child hear that you care about her feelings.
          Encourage your child to vent feelings, good and bad; let your child know that negative feelings are a natural part of the puzzle so that she doesn’t feel “bad.” Ask her what she thinks and listen without judgment. Commiserate with your child and reassure her that this phase will pass, that things will seem more “normal” soon, and that the baby eventually will become a child who will talk, play, and run with her.


          • #6
            Most excellent suggestions! I also loved siblings without rivalry.

            You are very wise to notice that reacting angrily to your son's pleas for your attention were hurting your relationship. He is lucky to have such a loving, committed mama, especially in the sleep-deprived time you must be going through!

            I would add that I tell my kids "I wouldn't let anyone hurt you, and I won't let you hurt others." so that they know they aren't being singled out, and that the baby is the only one getting special treatment ("Don't hurt the baby!!!!").

            I also try to point out cool big kid things that the baby doesn't get, to make my bigger kids feel important and less threatened by the new kid on the block. For example, recently we went somewhere where they had a little train for the kids to ride, but you had to be able to straddle independently. So, my 4.5 year old and my 3 year old went on the train (with their dad) while I stayed back with the 16 month old. they felt SOOOOOO important after that. Babies get away with a lot, but they also don't get cool big kid stuff.

            I also ask for their help. My daughter LOVED wiping my son's legs with diaper wipes while I cleaned his private parts during diaper changes. She was extra loving to him. And when I nursed my 3rd, my son would climb up in my lap and help me, all the while proudly saying "I'm helping." My heart melts thinking about it. AND he is the same boy who poked her in the eye when she was 1 week old. Point being that I feel certain that he wants to help you and be your little man and share in the love.