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  1. #1

    What to do with my 5-year-old daughter who always hurt her 1 year old sister?

    My 1 year old daughter was born 4 years after I conceived my eldest child. These 4 year gap makes it difficult for me to handle my two daughters. The eldest who is 5 years old always hurt her sister. Its either she will spank her or kick her. And the poor baby just cried. My eldest daughter doesn't want her things screwed up which her younger sister would always do. Sometimes they would play together and were happy but after a while my eldest just hit her with no reason. I always talk to my 5 year old not to hurt her sister but after a few days she forgot what I told her and started hurting her sister again. What should I do?

  2. #2
    Hi,

    Sibling rivalry is very common. It does generally tend to lessen once the new sibling is over 12 months old.

    You could try to have some dedicated time each week that you just spend with your older child. Is there someone who could look after your 1 year old for a few hours whilst you spend some one-on-one time with your 5 year old doing an activity that she enjoys? This will help your older daughter to stop trying to get your attention by turning on your one year old.

    It's best to not leave children together alone when an older child is reacting like this. You should also try to stop any kicking/pinching/poking etc as soon as possible. I know it's hard though. Your older daughter had much more of your attention for so long that she is feeling jealous. Some mums find it helps to emphasise how much you love your older child (telling them this frequently and having cuddles together etc) - that you don't love her any less now you have the new baby.

    Another technique which can be helpful with dealing with sibling rivalry is to ask your older child to help you with the younger one. For example, she could bring you changing equipment or clothes for the baby. Your older daughter may then see herself as helping mummy and having an important role, rather than having to fight for your attention.

    I hope it gets easier for you.

    Best wishes,

    LJ

  3. #3
    Hi Sheryl,

    LJ gave some really good suggestions. You'll want to be sure that your 5 year old isn't feeling resentful that she has to watch the baby while you're busy working or making dinner or doing something else. It's one thing for an older child to want to watch the baby to help Mama out, and another when that child feels like she is left to look after the child while Mama is busy.

    I think it's important to make sure that you are caring for your 1 year old as much as possible right now. This might look like having a play pen for the 1 year old to play in, with her own toys, while you're working at the computer, making dinner, cleaning the house, etc.

    While your 1 year old is occupied, then you could have your 5 year old work along side you. You will be training her to clean the house (she can help clean bathrooms, fold laundry, dry and put away dishes after meals, etc.). Once your 5 year old is more involved with you and what you're doing then I'm guessing she will actually enjoy playing with the 1 year old when it's time for her to do that.

    Again, this would be only for a short time - maybe 15 minutes at a time. But not an hour.

    But when you notice your daughter being mean to her baby sister, then this is absolutely serious and should be treated as such. It doesn't matter how frustrated she is or how upset she is, it is NEVER okay to hurt someone else.

    You will need to correct this behavior by using some form of correction which makes a big impact on your daughter. This might mean taking away TV and computer privileges until you notice that she is being kind on a consistent basis.

    Hope that some of our suggestions help because you need to protect your 1 year old from being hurt.

    Warm regards,

    Kate

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