Hitting and kicking a younger child... how to handle?

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Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368
Hitting and kicking a younger child... how to handle?

So as you all may know, I recently started looking after my nephew a few days a week while my SIL goes to work (she's subbing, so, some it can be 4 days a week, or just one or none- not regular). Beni is obviously used to being home alone with me and having all my attention. My nephew is used to the same! He is 5.5 mos old, not yet mobile, and kind of high maintenance (my SIL tries really hard to keep him on a schedule, which means she spends what seems like hours bouncing him and walking him around and stuff, when I would just feed him or let him sleep, cause to me it seems he's either tired or hungry! I noticed these things in the two weeks that we lived with them.).

So, today, every time I put him down (like to pee) Beni would go over to him and hit or kick him. She's pretty much totally fed up with him. I can understand her not appreciating him being around because it means she has to share me, but obviously, her way of showing it is NOT ok. I have no idea what to do though. She also takes away every toy I give him.

I totally caught myself this afternoon getting REALLY angry with her, and almost exploding at her, because it just pissed me off so badly that she was literally just laying down on the bed with her feet to him and kicking him in the head (while I was peeing- which I obviously tried to finish as fast as I could to rescue him!). I tried putting her in a time-out, but she was just getting up and running away. And, she just laughs when I hold her legs or something when she kicks him. I just don't know how to handle it.

I'm so glad now that we HAVEN'T gotten pregnant before now, because holy heck, I don't know what we would have done- her jealousy is out of control!

Anyone have any advice on how to proceed? I just feel totally clueless about how to handle this.

Joined: 01/18/06
Posts: 1626

I think at this age, what I'd do is just redirection as much as possible with a firm 'we do not hit/kick. Hands are for hugging'. But hopefully avoiding the situation as much as possible, too. Is there a pack and play or high chair he can go in while you need your pee time? Jealousy and a lack of awareness of how she's actually physically hurting him are pretty common at this age.

It still sucks though. Sad I hope you all find it eases up the more time you spend together, the three of you.

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Yeah, right now unfortunately, we don't have any high chairs or pack and plays or anything. I know my BIL and SIL looked at a pack and play at a local store, but it was SUPER cheap and nasty. My BIL is going to Kuala Lumpur this weekend, and he was going to look for one, but I don't know if that is still happening.

I really do hope it eases up as well! He's not that big a fan of being worn anymore, and it's the only way I can think to keep him safe otherwise!

julieanddanny's picture
Joined: 03/06/03
Posts: 248

I'd remind him to look for one. You're going to find it super helpful for when he starts getting mobile too. But safety first! And he could nap safely there too.

For now couldn't you just put them in separate rooms when you are 'occupied'? Smile

I would continue to firmly remind her that we do not hurt our friends and remove her/redirect her. Chances are it less out of malice and more for your attention/reaction so keep that in mind too.

julieanddanny's picture
Joined: 03/06/03
Posts: 248

Did you get rid of your co-sleeper? Doesn't that set up as a pnp? maybe not all of them do...

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

"julieanddanny" wrote:

I'd remind him to look for one. You're going to find it super helpful for when he starts getting mobile too. But safety first! And he could nap safely there too.

For now couldn't you just put them in separate rooms when you are 'occupied'? Smile

I would continue to firmly remind her that we do not hurt our friends and remove her/redirect her. Chances are it less out of malice and more for your attention/reaction so keep that in mind too.

I completely agree with that!!!! I think that is all it's about!!!

carg0612's picture
Joined: 09/23/09
Posts: 1554

Redirection is very good at this age. We also will take Mason's hand and gently rub it on our arm or face and say "soft and gentle, this is how we touch".

When he hits I use a firm "No!", and follow up with "that hurts my body" (or "that hurts her body" - you get the picture). Using consistent language is important.

I agree - remind them about the pnp. I hope it eases up a bit.

You can also try turning on a favorite video so one of them can watch while you give the other attention and then reverse it.

GL!

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Julie, my cosleeper is in the States. We never brought it abroad.

Guess I'll just have to try harder with the redirection...

Joined: 10/17/09
Posts: 160

Lucas was hitting my niece who is 6 weeks younger for a while. He did it for her reaction. It's a bit different with him, because before the implant he wasn't getting enough language to understand what we were saying. We did a lot of redirection, and modeling nice behaviour.

Since the implant, we will take his hands and help him to touch gently and tell him to "be nice" or "gentle touches" and "no hitting". We keep it short for him right now to improve chances of him understanding it. This also applies to the animals, because he can be rough with them too. Now he will go up to Madeline or the cat and say "Niiiiii" or even sometimes "Nice" while petting them gently. It's taken a lot of keeping on top of the behaviour and recognizing when he's thinking of hitting and stopping him before he can. If he does manage to hit, or take a toy away roughly, then I remove him from the situation for a few moments, and make sure to give the toy back to Madeline.

As annoying as it is to not have privacy at all, I'd try maybe bringing Beni into the bathroom with you to keep them seperate until you can trust them a bit more. Hopefully your BIL will pick up a pack n play soon. That will make life so much easier for you!

reeveslady's picture
Joined: 11/23/05
Posts: 1423

Ditto what everyone said, and I would do exactly as Tonya and take Beni with me to the toilet. Think of it as preparation for potty training!

Please don't stress and worry that she'll act this way when it's her turn to be a big sis. She knows that Gabe isn't her brother although she may have some vague idea that he's family. I'm pretty sure things will be very different when she gets her very own brother or sister. She'll have plenty of bonding time even when your new little bundle is still in your tummy. Not to mention she'll be older then (hey, a few months make a big difference in the early years!). Plus, there's nothing like sibling love!

Wow, I just re-read what I wrote and noticed the "she'll be older" sounds like I think she'll be much older. I'm hoping only 9 months for you, girlie Biggrin

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

"reeveslady" wrote:

Ditto what everyone said, and I would do exactly as Tonya and take Beni with me to the toilet. Think of it as preparation for potty training!

Please don't stress and worry that she'll act this way when it's her turn to be a big sis. She knows that Gabe isn't her brother although she may have some vague idea that he's family. I'm pretty sure things will be very different when she gets her very own brother or sister. She'll have plenty of bonding time even when your new little bundle is still in your tummy. Not to mention she'll be older then (hey, a few months make a big difference in the early years!). Plus, there's nothing like sibling love!

Wow, I just re-read what I wrote and noticed the "she'll be older" sounds like I think she'll be much older. I'm hoping only 9 months for you, girlie Biggrin

I never close the door to the bathroom... Beni is in there with me 99% of the time, but, I guess I feel bad closing the door when I've left my nephew on the bed... I suppose I should leave him on the floor...it's just it's the tile and whatnot... but yeah... I'll just have to keep her away from him.

Suzanne, I hope it's only 9 mos too...but still, it's a pretty big difference between a 16 mos old and a 2+ year old, isn't it!? I mean... 9 mos is a long time in the life of a toddler...like half their life! So hopefully she will be much more able to deal when a sibling comes around. And yes, hopefully the growing belly and more talking about a sibling will make her more accepting of her own sibling as well!