When your toddler is thrashing the younger sibling..
A two year old does not need punishment, they need more 1:1 time & understanding towards how they feel. Also, using time out or sending them to their room only increases their negativity towards the younger sibling, whom they now resent even more. Tell them the behaviour you want to see. ‘We treat each other nicely in this house, sisters are for loving, not for shoving’.
Reducing Challenging Behaviour
The more you notice what they have done (instead of what they have not done and you praise them, the more good they will do. Positive reinforcement of good behaviour – increases the good behaviour and less attention to difficult behaviour reduces that also. The more good attention you give – the more good you will see!
What’s the feeling under their poor behaviour?
They feel less loved, wobbly and insecure – so meet their need and instead of discipline (which makes them resent the sibling even more) – try love bombing them. Life’s is tough for them right now – and the behaviour will stop. Their behaviour was a cry for help – are you seeing it & responding to it? Instead of Time Out – how about time into the feeling that lies under the behaviour.
Acknowledge how they feel ensures they feel understood
Take the opportunity of speaking with them ‘do you feel I have less time for you now that the baby is here? I cannot let you hurt the baby, but when you feel that, you can come to me and I will make time for you’. Perhaps it is time for the elder child to have an extra privilege – as they may feel that since the new arrival things have gone downhill for them.
Tantrums are about frustration and attention seeking – and never reward a tantrum with your attention – or you will get more tantrums, The best response to tantrums to to be kind, firm but not cross. Approach calmly and quietly, come down to their eye level and make eye contact and speak calmly and gently. ‘ I cannot help you until you calm down, when you calm down, I can talk with you’.
Toddlers need adults to help them regulate their ‘big’ feelings
Sometimes they need ‘time out’ but this is not a punishment – settle them into a chair with a blanket to calm, and notice as soon as they are calmer and give them your attention. Remember, a toddler can be overwhelmed with ‘big’ feelings and they need you to help them to regulate their feelings.