It’s a common scenario that a 4-year old shows his dislike for the 9-months old sibling. We can term it jealousy, frustration or anger; and most of the parents expect it happen. What most of the parents don’t expect and want to see is that 4-year old becoming a cold-blooded bully who wouldn’t hesitate to hit the younger baby just for the fun. That’s where most of the parents would consider that older child as a little monster.
The truth is that your older child is not a monster. He is just a kid who just wants you to be there for his help. Nevertheless, parents usually find it very difficult to help kid with the big feelings. The reason is that most of the parents would not have got help in their childhood. So, they usually have no idea what to do when their children start crying, making tantrums or hit the younger siblings. Hence, they punish the children or simply forbid them from making tantrums or hitting the younger siblings.
One thing to take into consideration in this regard is that simply forbidding wouldn’t be helpful in long term. The big feelings of the elder child are still to be addressed. And, hence, he is more likely to hit the younger fellow again. But, that elder brother sometimes gently pats the back of younger sibling. It simply means that he just wants to care about the younger fellow, and it’s just the big feelings which are inciting him to be a monster.
There are some ways you can reach the child and help him raising sympathy in heart instead of big feelings.
One of the big reasons a child hits the younger sibling is that he thinks he has lost his importance with the arrival of young baby. So, reconnecting with that elder child in healing ways is surely going to calm him down.
Let the child vent his worries and aggression through play
This one is the wonderful trick. There are two factors which make the elder child hitting the younger sibling, i.e. big feelings and the resultant aggression. So, when you bring that child into the playground for some game which would require hyperactivity, the aggression and big feelings are definitely going to be vented out. At the end of the play, you will find your child giggling.
Attend the child who is hurt after being hit
Most of the parents go instantly to the hitting child in order to give some punishment. Remember, what the hitter child requires is certainly not the punishment. It’s the help he needs to manage the big emotions. So, instead of going to punish, you should attend the child who has been hit. This way, you will be able to convert the anger inside you into sympathy and, at the same time, you will be able to rethink about the way you are going to deal with the elder one.
Support the good side of the child
You know that your elder child sometimes care about the younger baby by patting the back or cooing over her. You can remind him of that session in a very sympathetic manner.