Thursday, June 16, 2011

help again?

Seems like I only use this blog to ask for advice these days....

Dorian will be 3 in a few weeks. He is still adjusting to his baby brother who is now 8 months old. But it seems in the last month or so he has gotten very aggressive with Dexter. From the beginning, I think Dorian viewed little Dexter both as a threat and as a toy. And now that the baby is crawling and pulling up on things, Dorian is 1)even more threatened because the baby can get his toys, and 2)seeing Dexter as even more of a fun "plaything" because he can do more things now.

I know aggression between two close brothers is normal, but I am actually worried for the safety of the baby! Dorian does things like knock Dexter down when he has pulled himself up on the coffee table, or lie on top of him, or try to pick him up, or throw toys at him, or forcefully put things in his mouth. Dorian seems to get over-excited when he interacts with Dexter—he gets right in his face and screams, or pinches his cheeks, or buzzes his lips so that he spits all over Dexter.

I have talked to Dorian about how his little brother is not a toy, but a person with feelings and rights. We have talked about how he might feel if someone were to scream at him, or pinch him, or spit on him. I have tried to spend extra alone time with Dorian while the baby is sleeping. I have sent him to timeout 1000 times for hurting the baby. I have praised him for good interactions with the baby. What else can I try? I know he loves his baby brother, but he obviously doesn't feel like he has power over his world right now.


Kelley said...

Pray. It's the best advice I can give.

3in3mom said...

My sister in law has a similar issue happening. . I'll ask her and see what she does.

I think, like Kelley, I'd pray about it and maybe have your hubby do some one on ones with Dorian as well. Daddy is a great ally for older siblings. The most important thing is that they both feel loved and are safe.

Hang in there!

Liz said...

So, I don't know anything about sibling stuff obviously, but I wanted to share that Will didn't really start showing empathy until about 5. He would be rough with the dogs occasionally and we did time outs and lectures. I think it took a developmental change for him to move out of the selfishness of the preschool age. They really cannot see things from any other perspective than their own. I'm sure it will get better and it sounds like you're doing all the right things by showing that it's not acceptable.

Love, Liz

Amy said...

When our son acts out - especially towards his sister - it's because he hasn't been getting enough attention.
Definitely keep up the time outs and the one on one time. Maybe even take the one on one time a little further by taking baby to grandmas and have a mom, dad, Dorian time. Then when baby cries, you won't be running off and away from Dorian. (That is something that worked for us. It made him feel special that "baby" couldn't do the activity with us because it was only for "big" people).
I've heard that sometimes a toddler will hurt the baby to get attention - and that works because usually the aggressor gets the attention first. My neighbor always would say to her toddler, "My job is to keep baby safe and you safe. Until you stop doing "blank", baby and I are going in the other room". Usually they didn't like that one bit. (We tried that also with success). Also, there are some books I've seen out there that might help.
As for toys, we told E that any toy out of his room he would have to share. If he didn't want to, it needed to be in his room. During naps he'd bring things out, but when baby woke up I'd help him take things back in his room. I realize that wouldn't work for a younger kid, but it's possible that Dorian does hate Dexter touching his things. You could try putting a baby gate in Dorian's doorway to keep Dexter out but allow you to see what Dorian is doing in his room. Or I've heard of people getting those big pen areas to put the baby in. (To allow them to play and move around, but to keep them away from unfriendly furniture, animals, or sibling's toys). Remember that it will eventually pass - especially when Dexter gets a little older and starts defending himself or outsmarts older brother. But good luck and I hope you figure out what works for you in the meantime.

Adam and Debbie said...

I finally got to reading your blog and thought I'd just leave a little encouragement that you're doing great and keep it up. I don't have any advice because we don't have sibling issues, but I loved all the comments an hope they work out. You're a great mom, keep it up!

Shirlene said...

I have this same problem with Nathan being too rough with Katie. I pretty much do the same things you do. Let me know if you find something else that works! :)

Quiltgirl said...

Um... good luck with that. You are doing everything right. I like the mom/dad/dorian idea, but i also think you have to be careful not to make him think that is the norm (that the world revolves around him). I think I put up with way too much "normal" sibling rivalry. My biggest problem/heartbreak as a parent is that my children are just mean to each other. I think they'll grow out of it... when W2 dies.