HELP! very jealous 2 year old
:thanks: Our youngest son is nearly 3 years old. We recently (5 months ago) began fostering our nearly 4yo niece and 5 & 7 yo nephews. We will be adopting all three. Our problem is that our almost 3 old is SOOOO jealous of our niece. He is constantly hitting her, pulling her hair or throwing things at her. We are always putting him in time out, putting him to bed early and giving other consequences for his behavior but it doesn't seem to be working. Tonight, I had to take my almost 4yo to the urgent care because he threw a toy at her face and she bit through her lip! (luckily needed no stitches!) He always says he is sorry afterward but he seems so angry to have to share his room and parents (not to mention big brothers). He also pees on her bed when he is sent to time out in the room that the 2 of them share. I have made him help clean the bed, given him a swat, and tried talking to him- he still does it nearly every time he gets in trouble. Any advice?
It can be hard for a child who had you for himself for 2 years to adjust to the added kids because now he has to share you and typically toddlers don't like to share. I know it might be difficult to achieve, but you do need to spend alone time with him and each of the kids. It doesn't need to be hours, but some timedoes need to be made for each. This will help because he needs to feel he isn't being replaced or pushed out. He is old enough for a chart with stickers that shows consequences and rewards. He needs to have severe consequences for this behavior every time it happens and the child that is the brunt of the action needs a big reward where 3 yr old can see it. So if he throws a toy, the toy goes away to TO, he is in TO and the hit child gets ice cream. The stickers chart can help because you can do a daily rewardfor his good behavior. Don't forget to praise him for any good behavior he does either. Sometimes we forget adn just scold for bad behavior, but rewarding good behavior has a greater effect toward changing their actions than anything else.

My time out is severe. You must remain in the spot for the time, you can not whine cry or otherwise talk while in there either. Every time you get out or cry, the time starts over and while you're in there not following the rules, the other kids often get to do something really fun.
Thank you! Good ideas.
I would suggest that you not only time him out but ask him to express how he's feeling. Give him a crayon and tell him to draw a picture of how he feels. He may not be able to express what's going on so he acts out in frustration.

Give him lots of praise for appropriate interaction. He may be feeling displaced of course because this could be overwhelming. These three children may have a pecking order that he may not have been included in.

Made a rule that there is no hitting period in your house. Have them come up with other alternatives to express frustration. Sit them all down and say something that we are a new version of our family so we all have to come up with some rules.

You may be surprised what they come up with. Get all the ingredients out to make cookies and have them focus on that while you talk about the other issues. Divert their attention to something that creates a reward they will have to have patience to get.

Explain that the rules are for the time it takes to bake the cookies they need to find something to do that will include all of them and do it without any hitting.

Small steps.
One thing to also think about is that time outs may actually be exacerbating the problem. Time outs, except when used as a time to calm down, are behavior moderating because they deny the child relationship time with the parent. It's one of the big reasons that many parents who are focusing on attachment don't use them.

Even with a securely attached child, if he is feeling anxiety because he is losing time with you, or possibly feeling replaced by his cousins, time outs could serve as one more indication to him that he in fact can lose your love or relationship (of course that's not true, but feelings and true so rarely hang out together...)

Children's behavior is communication. If looked at through that lens, what might he be telling you about how he is feeling, and how might you meet those needs? It's not that his behavior is okay, of course it's not, but it sounds like punishment isn't working and it's probably because he feels so intensely there isn't a consequence that is painful enough that will cause him to stop his behavior. It's also possible - wait, he's not quite 3 yet, right? I would say it's very probable that in the moment of his intense feeling he has no access to the rational part of his brain that tells him there will be a consequence.

If you are a reader there are some very good books (both adoption and non adoption related) that I found really helpful. Mary Sheedy Kurchinka has several that are good and I also really like Becky Bailey's "Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline. I also really like Karyn Purvis' work - her website is very good.

My very challenging dd is now almost 8 and I can testify to the power of non punitive, non consequence based parenting. There are the occasional life consequences that happen for which I offer lots of genuine empathy and stand with her while she lives through them, but all in all, figuring out her needs and helping her manage what she is feeling has worked really well for my very intense kiddo.

She's sick this week and is feeling crummy and it's showing up in some behavior. It's giving me a trip down memory lane. We have come a LONG way Smile

Good luck to you all!
All times are GMT. The time now is 2:28 pm.