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How should I react when my 3 year old son kicks, pushes or hits my 9 month old son?

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mandielynn23

Asked by mandielynn23 at 12:18 PM on Feb. 25, 2013 in General Parenting

Level 19 (6,641 Credits)
Answers (11)
  • Tell him NO and be a PARENT
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 12:18 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • With swift and firm discipline, I hope. Kicking, pushing, hitting are all unacceptable behaviors towards anyone, much less an infant! He may be having some jealousy issues, but you need to let him know that, while you still love him, this will not be tolerated.
    hootie826

    Answer by hootie826 at 12:21 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • Time out until he can control himself. He could seriously hurt an infant that way. Then maybe try to spend some alone time with him as well so he can overcome his jealousy.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 12:26 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • I put my now 4 yo son in timeout when he is rough with his now 2 yo sister. He has to sit on the stairs until he is ready to apologize to her and play nicely. I make her do the same when she is rough.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 12:28 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • I would recommend that, rather than "reacting" with the degree of upset & anger you probably (and understandably!) feel, you respond with as much connection as possible. Think of it as a problem to address from the root causes first, because this will be most effective. Try to think of this as NOT responding in a way that creates more of the negative feelings that are driving the behavior. (Thus, helps to address the underlying cause rather than exacerbating it & adding to it.)
    Recognize that your three year old needs help with his/her feelings & that you will need to be there on hand to intervene. Frame it as helping him/her & keeping everybody safe. Validate the feelings while providing a clear physical limit (you are holding the child's arm so she can't hit, so that SHOWS that hitting is not OK. At the same time, you are VERBALIZING acknowledgment of the upset feelings, rather than focusing on verbalizing that hitting=bad.)
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:35 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • Be there to intervene. When you couldn't intercede in time, forgive yourself & acknowledge the lapse by saying "I'm sorry I didn't get here in time to keep you from pushing brother."
    To be connection-oriented in your response, come from a problem-solving perspective. See what happened in context. (The context doesn't make what happened "acceptable" but it gives you a realistic framework for understanding it & responding in a way that is attuned, or relates to your older child's intentions & experience. This makes contingent communication more likely.) Notice that he/she shoved/hit the baby when he crawled over & knocked down the blocks, took a marker, etc. Acknowledge what happened & that the older child's personal limits are important to you. Recognize too, that the violation happened because the 3 year old didn't know how to defend those limits peacefully. Give that information: show understanding & model what you DO want.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:42 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • When you recognize WHY something happened, you can respond in a solution-focused way that shows understanding: "Let's think of what you can do when..." (Color at the table away from baby, etc.)
    With an impulsive 3yo who may also be feeling a lot of threat (rivalry, jealousy) that will drive him/her off-track more frequently, your problem-solving may focus on "Ask for help" (as in, "When you feel like hitting/grabbing/pushing, you just need help, so ask for help. HELP, MAMA!!" And realize that you need to be on-call & available (especially when they are just together "playing") so you're already right there, but reinforcing "asking for help" when he feels that way.
    This gives you an effective way to respond TO the hitting too (acknowledging "You needed help" and observing "hitting hurts; I want you to ask for help." This too is modeling what you want 3yo to do when frustrated...communicate in response, rather than retaliating.)
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:53 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • Not leave him alone w/ the baby- ever. Every time he is mean to the baby, he gets punished. Show him nice touches & reward him for being nice to his baby sibling.
    mrsmom110

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 1:00 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • girlwithC has a helluva better answer than I do. I would have reacted badly to that.
    staciandababy

    Answer by staciandababy at 1:22 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

  • Crate training.
    ABeaverhausen

    Answer by ABeaverhausen at 1:31 PM on Feb. 25, 2013

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