No announcement yet.

Need help stopping hitting and tantrums between siblings

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Need help stopping hitting and tantrums between siblings

    Any ideas what to do bout 21month old hitting 3year old sister. They squabble all the time eg'she hit me'
    'no she hit me' 'tell her off mum!' Did tell off 21month old but now getting silly and so we have started saying to 3yr old oh just ignore her it didnt hurt. Sometimes I tell 3yr old to tell 21yr old that she wont play with her if she hits. Is this right?
    I do say each time 'we only touch gently' and then i show her how ro touch but doesnt seem to be working. Sometimes i put her in a different room or on a chair, sometimes i lose patience. Its equally difficult with sharing. Lots of tantrums and crying all the time.With sharing the same toy weput on the timer. This works quite well. Have crying and tantrums all day but gets particularly bad round eating times; Husband against AP so is starting to blame me. Maybe doing lotss of things wrong need advice. They were both high need babies especially the 3yr old. We are always trying to catch them in the act of being good with one another and we praise good behaviour. Will the bad behaviour just go awaY?
    Also what do we do about crying to get things? They both cry straight away to get what they want.

  • #2
    we sometimes have hitting, too, and it makes me batty . i am hoping that it goes away eventually. i usually just state that hitting is unacceptable, attend to the injured person, and then try to break down the situation, i.e. "what happened?" "how can you both get what you need here?", and then try to point out "isn't it great that we could work that out without hurting each other?"

    as for crying to get things, could you be a bit more specific? i say yes to my kids most of the time, unless i have a REALLY good reason to say no. in those times, i empathize, 'yes, i know you really wanted that. it's disappointing to not be able to have what you want.' and then move on to the next thing.


    • #3
      We had a lot of trouble with our youngest (now 4) hitting. I have two boys, now aged 4 and 5, and whilst they generally get on very well, there is obviously a certain amount of bickering.

      It was helpful to try and figure out why he was hitting. I think it is often out of frustration, that he couldn't express what he wanted in words (and he was very verbal - just hitting came easier when stressed!). Occaisionally out of anger - and sometimes he was just being friendly...!

      Each "kind" of hitting needed addressing in a different way. If it was frustration because he wanted something etc, then we would explain that hitting was unacceptable because it hurt people, and that he needed to use his words to explain what he wanted - and try to model the word that he should be using: "please may I have a turn with that toy now? " "I was using that brick, please give it back" " I don't like you doing that, please stop" etc. This did eventually work quite well, and he is now far more likely to use his words to explain what he wants, although he will still hit if this is ignored / unsucessful. I have also tried to help them figure out ways to share between themselves - offering alternatives "why don't you play with the other sword and then we can play together" " do you want me to help me look for x so you can play with that" or "if I let you play with this now will you promise to give it back after 5 mins?"

      Hitting out of anger was more of an issue with my elder son, and with him it was helpful to explain each time that whilst it was OK to feel angry, it was not OK to hit people. But it is OK to hit other (non-breakable!) things if it makes you feel better. He sometimes finds it quite useful to go upstairs to his room and hit his pillows until he calms down. He will also hit the floor / sofa / cushions or throw soft things. I think it is good to acknowlege the feeling, and help him find acceptable ways to express and deal with it.

      The one which was harder in a way, was hitting out of affection... My youngest is a very sensory driven child, if there is such a thing! I honestly think that he does not feel pain in the same way as most people. He is constantly jumping, running, climbing etc and loves rough physical play. I think that for a long time he simply didn't realise that hitting hurt people - it just felt good to him. He will run across the room and headbutt your legs, or jump on/at you when you are sitting down - climb up your back while you are trying to put someones shoes on etc etc. And just hit / kick people casually whilst sitting next to them. This took a lot of explaining that other people just don't like to be hit - that it hurts them and isn't fun for them. There were a few occaisions when he hit his brother and really hurt him, which horrible to say were actually quite helpful. He was genuinely shocked by the screaming / angry reaction and was quite distressed and scared that George was hurt. On more minor occaisions when it doesn't really hurt, we have tried to help the older children not to over-react and to carry on the "coaching" - "please don't hit me - that hurts" "what do you want - use your words" "I don't like you hitting me - please stop" etc. Also trying to address his need for sensory input in more positive ways. Lots of big hugs (often when he is playing up - just picking him up and cuddling him calms him down a great deal) - or "rough play" holding him upside down - tickling him, wrestling etc. Also, "stroking" him firmly at bedtime gets rid of a lot of the fidgets! It took me quite a long time to figure out that he just needs a lot of physical input (which is totally different from my other son who from a very young age has been fiercely independent and really needs his own physical space).

      Oh, and you mentioned mealtimes being a particular trigger. I have found that hunger is the underlying cause of much misbehaviour in small children. It makes them really grumpy! Perhaps more frequent snacks might help?

      Sorry that went on a bit - hope something in there is helpful!


      • #4
        Originally posted by terque View Post
        My youngest is a very sensory driven child, if there is such a thing!
        There IS DEFINITELY such a thing! I work with children with sensory needs. It's very helpful to understand Sensory issues as they trigger lots of behaviors.


        • #5
          Thanks PaxMamma! Funnily enough he is fine at school - he seems to be able to hold it in there! But at home, this is definitely what drives him a lot of the time. He has been far more manageable since I figured it out and accepted and tried to meet his needs in this area.


          • #6
            Thanks everyone for your helpful input. I think im on the right track because I do most of all that was said. We were just getting a bit impatient to see the results and we lost patience with our kids. Since writing the message the kids have suddenly started really cooperating with each other and finding solutions themselves. Feel really relieved that in one message someone said that its ok to say yes to most things as my husband is starting to get worried about spoiling theories. They are still crying for what they want a lot. I do say 'ask in your nice voice. we dont cry for what we want'.but then we give it anyway. Should we abstain from giving them the drink or whatever it is until they have stopped crying and they ask nicely? Jessy (22months) might not stop crying for a while.
            Lily starts crying as soon as dad gets in the door usually. She seems to do it on purpose. It is starting to get on his nerves and he is losing patience. He does give her a hug but most of the time she refuses it. She usually cries straight away for anything. instead of asking first.
            At dinner time dad started putting her on the sofa to calm down. This kind of worked but im not sure it is a very loving thing to do. Today I went to the sofa with her and stayed with her until she calmed down then we went back and things got bit better. Its not tiredness because it happens even when she has had a long lie in/ i think its more like an overload of stimulation and perhaps attentionseeking.