Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Racoon | 2012/03/01


Sibling rivalry

Hi Prof

Hope you are well!?

I have more of a behaviour rather than medical question. As you might remember I have 3 sons, 6 yo, 3 yo and 1.5 yo. The littlest one is quite a little monster, lovely friendly little person, but he is very tough on his older brother who is 3 yo. He has a strong personality and takes whatever he wants when he wants is. The 3yo has no chance against him. I am disciplining him when he does that, and the result is a tantrum and lots of tears (as expected). It is so bad that my 3 yo has nightmare upon nightmare every night about his little brother taking things off him. Also, the little monster loves hitting his brother as he always gets a very satisfying reaction. What more can we do to lighten the load on the poor 3yo? He almost never stands up for himself, so it a lovely target for the 18 month old''s attacks.

Many thanks!

Expert's Reply



Your poor 3 year old is the typical cheese in the sandwich, squeezed from both sides, although I presume his older brother is OK. Your 3 year old is taking a great deal of strain and the fact that he is having nightmares about his baby brother is of concern.So you have to tackle the source of the problem, the little fellow who is ruling the roost it would appear.He is now old enough for the time out method which must be applied each and every time he oversteps the mark.Speak once in a clear firm voice. Tell him to stop whatever he is doing that you don't want him to do. The minute he does not listen he must be taken to his room and the door closed.He will turn on the tears and tantrums but off to his room he goes. He must remain there until he is quiet even if it a long time. Again I emphasise that he must be taken to his room every single time he does not listen and especially when his 3 year old brother is the target for his behaviour.

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user comments


Posted by: Racoon | 2012/03/01

Thanks a stack BMJ! I share your feeling about spanking, so your strategy appears good and sound. Will give it a try.

Reply to Racoon
Posted by: BMJ | 2012/03/01

Hi Racoon

I am also a mom of 3 boys and understand to well your frustrations and concerns. My boys are a bit older now. 10, 8 and 5 - so I want to just tell you what I did that was helpful to me.
You have to be very firm with the lo. It will be very time comsuming initially, but well worth the effort. If he hits his brothers for ANY reason, you pick him up and put him in another room immediately. You bend down and say - NO HITTING. Make sure your body language and voice conveys that you mean it. Then turn around and walk away. He will most likely follow and throw another tantrum or go right back and do the same. You have to keep repeating the cycle. I do believe in spanking. When my little one was so young, I would allow 2 offenses, then if he did it again the same day, I would give him a smack on his bum. Only one and not to kill him, just enough t be a deterant. I would also insist that he had to go to his brother and ask him if he can bring him a toy or a juice. To basically teach him to show kindness for the violence of before.
Our rule in our house is still, that if a toy belongs to another child, the brother may only play with it if he asked first. We also said the owner may only refuse with good reason - like he is currently playing with it, or if it was a very special toy. If a child grabs a toy, he must immediately return it, say sorry and he may not have it for the rest of the day. I would also suggest that you explain to your little 3y old that his brother is still very young and learning to share and not hit. He can be your helper by being a good example to his younger brother and make sure you give him lots of love and affection when he was being bullied. Remeber to also praise your lo when he remembers not to hit and to ask nicely. Your lo will still get is wrong lots of times, but he will learn eventually and it will be a lot more peaceful at home. i am not saying you should smack your child if you are opposed to it. I would also recommend that if you do, make sure you are explain to him that mommy have warned you twice now that hitting is wrong. Now mommy is going to give you a spanking to help you remember that you must obey mommy.

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