Don’t Bite Your Brother!

When I collected the children from the childminder on Thursday LMM had a bite mark on his head.  That’s right.  A bite mark.  On. His. Head.

Shock horror!  My baby.  Who did this to him?!  None other than his dear sister.

Apparently she was trying to draw and he kept trying to grab her paper.  That sounds like LMM.  He’s very curious, and persistent.  While no doubt this was frustrating for LLC, the punishment she administered did not fit the crime.

Back at home I had a chat. Why did you bite your brother?  If he’s crowding you or frustrating you ask mommy, daddy or Clarisse (childminder) for help rather than resorting to violence.  He’s very little and doesn’t know better.  You know biting is not friendly, and you could really hurt LMM.  She stares at me with her big brown doe eyes and then tries to change the subject.

LLC, do you understand me?  This is important.  That behaviour is not acceptable.

Grudgingly she turns back to me.  I do.  I won’t do it again.  And then she’s off.

Yet instances like this keep happening, with what feels like increasing frequency over the last month or so. They’ll be playing nicely together and then -

LLC will drum (i.e. hit) LMM on the back.  Her version: I’m just patting him.

Or she’ll push him over.  I was just trying to get through.

And then there’s her not so friendly greeting / face squeeze. Helloooo little LMM.

Where is my sweet little lady when this roughhouser comes calling?  Most of the time she’s so good with him.  Plus she’s young, a bit jealous of the attention he gets and learning to assert herself.  Is this natural in a burgeoning sibling relationship?  However you cut it, I want her to learn being rough is not cool.  Plus if she teaches him these habits, when he’s a bit bigger he’s going to bop her one.

I’m trying to keep my cool with her in these moments.  To explain why the ‘said behaviour’ needs to go or to issue warnings or sometimes loss of privileges.  But it can be really frustrating!  I feel like she knows what I’m saying but just doesn’t listen.  Is it pure testing?    Whatever it is it’s trying and I’m off again to the next room to hiss a string of frustration and expletives under my breath.

I know with children phases pass, I hope this one does sooner rather than later.

 

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6 Responses to Don’t Bite Your Brother!

  1. Alice Harold says:

    I’ve had a couple of similar incidents, though they mostly happen when H pulls E’s hair by accident and she doesn’t like it! It’s difficult, isn’t it? I’m not sure E completely understands the consequences of being rough with her little brother. Hope it gets much better for you soon xx

  2. Circus Queen says:

    This sounds very frustrating for you. It also sounds like rather normal behaviour. I have on my reading list this year Siblings Without Rivalry. It’s supposed to be really good. Worth checking out? x

  3. AHLondon says:

    Keep your cool. Always best route. Then remove her from his company the second something happens. Say something like, “if you can’t play nicely with your brother, then you can’t play with him.” No yelling but with clear disapproval. Not only does this convey disapproval but it also makes time with little brother a privilege, something to be desired. It might be a couple of long days for you keeping the separated, but it works pretty well if you stick to it. Oh, don’t overly comfort little brother either. Obviously if he’s hurt tend to him, but don’t make a big show causing her to get jealous of the cuddly attention he gets. Good luck.

  4. Fabtastic mummee says:

    My two and half year old is recently getting very violent with her 7 month old brother. It’s hard trying to explain rough play just can’t be done with a 7 month old. She just doesn’t realise her strength.

  5. Bump2Basics says:

    Fabtastic mummee, it’s tough getting them to understand. I feel like I keep repeating the same messages over and over hoping it will sink in.

  6. Bump2Basics says:

    Thanks Alice – we’re working on the consequences thing…both in that she wouldn’t like it if that was done to her and that it’s just not appropriate and makes mommy cross etc etc

    Adele – thanks for the suggestion. I am always open to a new and interesting read

    AHLondon – interesting idea about the privilege but that make sense and might help her with the whole cause and effect thing…i.e. roughness means separation from her bro

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