Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sibling Rivalry

It had seemed that I was able to trust Sam with Natalie more during the past week. Until this morning.

I was at work, but the word from my husband is that Sam got angry with Natalie for not cooperating with a game he wanted to play, so he purposely banged her head with the closet door. I haven't seen it yet, but the report is that she has a big goose-egg on her forehead.

This sort of thing has happened regularly since Natalie was born. Earlier, it happened unprovoked, out of jealousy, and that part seems to have resolved itself. But now that she's mobile, she will often take a toy away from Sam or get in his way when he's trying to do something, and then he retaliates with physical anger. I've been working on teaching him (what I think to be) the appropriate response - and at this point, that's "Mom/Dad, I need help" or "Mom/Dad, take Natalie away, please". Of course, when they get older, I plan to help them learn to work out their own issues, but I think they are both a bit too young for that at this point. My goal right now is only to keep everyone alive and well.

Sam seemed to be picking up on this. A few times in the last week, he has asked for assistance instead of reflexively belting her. Now he seems to be regressing.

I've heard a lot about a book called Siblings Without Rivalry, and that is next on my reading list. I'm afraid it's going to be geared towards older kids, though, and that it won't be helpful at all for really young children.

Has anyone else dealt with this? Any suggestions?


Mommy Vern said...

I can only imagine. (I will be reading for updates, so I can follow your advice for myself in the future!)

Wish I had some words of wisdom for you, but I don't...

I do bet thought that much of it has to do with their closeness in age. My younger sister and brother were 15 month apart and my sister was pure evil to our brother. She was pretty sly too so it was hard to correct something after the fact, except talk about what type of behavior is appropriate and ask them to alert you when something bothers them as you mentioned.

Good luck, I hate to say it...but I think it's going to be a long ride.

Carol Beth said...

I am dealing with some of the same stuff...but don't have great advice for you! I can tell you I read another book by the same authors ("How to listen so your kids will talk and talk so your kids will listen" or something like that) and though it was geared towards parents of older kids, it still helped me with Ana. I'm guessing this book will be similar. Probably very worth reading!

Tabitha said...

My advice would be to continue to encourage Sam to use words. Sometimes we have issues with Addison taking a toy from Laura. Laura has now learned that she needs to redirect Addison. Now these are girls and are they different? However, Laura went through a bitting stage not with her sister but kids at daycare. Angie uses the approach of giving the afflicted extra attention and giving the bad behavior the attention. I agree with that to an extent depending on the severity. That is my two cents probably a bunch of blah blah.
Good luck!

Tabitha said...

That is not giving the bad behavior attention.

Becky said...

I always thought the closeness in the kids' ages would be a great thing - they'd like the same toys at the same time, etc. The problem is, they like the same toys AT THE SAME TIME. We have enough toys to fill a Toys R Us, but whatever toy one finds, all of a sudden the other one can't live without. So I agree that the closeness in age does play a part in this too.

It's always helpful to hear that others are going through (or have gone through) the same thing. Sometimes it feels like I must be doing something wrong, since it seems like no one else's kids seem to be trying to harm each other every time their back is turned.