Older Kids Hitting Younger SiblingsJul 04, 2022
When a new sibling arrives, the older child feels like their world turned upside down. He feels like he now has to share his beloved mom and dad with this random new addition. And no one even asked him if this was ok... to drastically change his life like this. And BECAUSE of that addition, his parents now yell at him and get upset with him.
It’s true that he shouldn’t hit his brother. BUT we do lash out when no one understands us and tries to make us feel bad just for expressing our feelings.
What can you do?
“Yar kitna mushkil hota hai na jab aik chota sa baby aa kai aap kai baba mama share kar hai!” (It’s so hard for you to have to share your mom and dad! It’s like this random baby came starring sharing your mom and dad!) Find other phrases to validate his feelings of jealousy... do it frequently when you see him struggling.
BLOCK THE HITTING
Try as best as you can to proactively prevent the hitting. That means, standing/sitting close to the baby when your older child is with him. I know it's not always possible but whenever it is.. if you block the hit, you don't even have to say anything.
If he does hit, again put your arm or hand in the front, blocking his hit and saying neutrally, "Main aap ko maarnay nahi dai sakti.. baby ko kaisay kaisay touch kr sakty hain?" (I cant let you hit...I wonder how else you can touch the baby) Let HIM tell you how he should touch the baby. It's VITAL to keep your tone even and neutral and encourage him to figure out alternatives to touching the baby.
This is NOT distraction. Redirection means we accept the feelings behind the action and find a safe way for our child to express those same feelings. So if he’s angry and jealous.. and needs to take that out.. what are some safe ways he can get that frustration out?! Hitting others is not ok.. but how about punching a pillow or throwing safe things?
The other day my seven year old was mad at all his siblings. He pushed his brother. I brought him to my room and told him this is a safe place to express his feelings.
He was saying a lot of angry things and started to throw clothes sitting on the floor around the room. I asked him if he can throw them into the laundry basket so that I don’t have to clean up later. He actually listened even in the middle of his anger! Ha!
Alongside, I kept listening and validating. He expressed anger at everyone and everything.. isn’t that what happens sometimes when we’re upset? We talk about EVERYTHING that has EVER made us mad!
Finally when he calmed down a little, he and I fantasized about what it would’ve been like if it was just him. I laughed and said wow that would’ve been so much easier! He also laughed and then said, “But it’s more fun to have them.. I know sometimes I get mad at them but they’re cute...” 🙂
So really it’s understanding and trusting our older kids. That this IS hard for them. The hardest thing in the world. They had no choice in this. No say. How would we feel if that happened to us? If someone changed things about our life without even asking us and then expected us to accept it with a smile.. I think we’d definitely feel like hitting someone too!! 😬