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Friend’s 2 yr old grandson causing her concern.

(41 Posts)
Katek Tue 16-Mar-21 15:06:21

My friend has 2 small grandsons - one just over 2yrs old and the other 6 months. The older boy is constantly hitting or scratching his baby brother or throwing himself on top of him. Their mum is having to put the baby in a travel cot for his own protection when he’s playing. The boys are in a side by side twin buggy and the baby is being whacked in the face by his sibling whenever they go out. These episodes are coming without warning, Gran can be sitting with the baby on her lap and the other little one will just casually walk by and scratch tge baby’s face. He’s been given lots of extra attention and cuddles, his parents get down to his level and tell him no, he’s been removed to his quiet corner but nothing is making any difference. Recently he’s started to hit at nursery as well. I can’t really offer her much in the way of advice as my lot were much more spaced out ( 5 and 6 years apart)

Hithere Tue 16-Mar-21 15:21:00

It is normal for non verbal toddlers to hit as a form of communication.

NotSpaghetti Tue 16-Mar-21 15:26:15

He is obviously feeling usurped.
I feel sorry for him. I'd spend all my energy on the 2 year old and leave the baby "alone" whenever possible.
I think he needs to take "ownership" of the baby in some way. I'm sure the parents are doing their best but it's probably exhausting.

Maybe gran can ignore the baby for now and make the 2 year old truly "special". We didn't have babies so close in age but I had a friend who did. It was very very hard on the toddler.

B9exchange Tue 16-Mar-21 15:28:41

It is such a difficult situation, the two year old has had all his parents attention for two years, and suddenly there is this small being taking over half their attention away. He is angry and upset. My DH's uncle was caught heading down the garden with his new brother, announcing he was going to drown him in the 'soft water tub'!

I am sure your friend is making a big thing of how proud she is of her 'big boy' now, and how much he can do compared with the baby. It might help to try and get the toddler to help out as much as possible, eg 'please could you bring me a new nappy for this messy boy, and then we can sit down and read a book together?' that sort of thing.

I have one DS and DiL expecting their second child in April, I am sure they will be facing the same thing. Once the baby is big enough to play with, the older one will have got used to having him around. But they will probably squabble for the rest of their lives, it is what brothers do!

Joyfulnanna Tue 16-Mar-21 15:30:43

It's jealousy.. Nothing will be solved by telling him off. One things for certain, the baby will be tough!!

Hithere Tue 16-Mar-21 15:37:32

The eldest could be bored too.

TrendyNannie6 Tue 16-Mar-21 15:38:48

My first two children were exactly two years apart to the month and my daughter did show a bit of jealousy only for a couple weeks though, even though she was shown a lot of attention and was bought a doll and crib for her new dolly, at the time of the birth, when her brother was new born I had put him on my bed turned to go to other side of the room and when I look back she’d got him in her arms and was putting him under the bed, there you go she said you are making too much noise, we involved her in most things but was never left alone with him, never scratched or hit him though, it sounds like a bit of jealousy, I can understand why their mum is having to put baby in travel cot for protection though, patience is needed and lot of cuddles for the eldest, spending extra time with him on his own too on a one to one basis, his parents are doing the correct thing in getting down to his level and telling him no, my daughter at 2 years old was saying lots of words and understood when no meant no, it must be strange for the eldest to suddenly when been the centre of attention have another child come into the family,

Katek Tue 16-Mar-21 21:05:45

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions - hopefully time will reduce the issues. Thus little boy has been late in talking which may be part of the issue. No wonder his parents are tired out!

Tangerine Tue 16-Mar-21 21:39:47

I had a similar gap between my children. I tried to pay more attention to the toddler than the baby when my toddler was present.

Yes, baby needs attention but not in quite the same way.

They became firm friends and are still friends now.

Teacheranne Tue 16-Mar-21 23:39:13

I don’t have any advice really as I went through this with my younger children, just 13 months apart. I had to put the baby in his cot then shut the bedroom door, put the crib in the middle of the dining room table and move the chairs away to stop his sister climbing up and also put baby in a playpen to allow toddler to run free! I also had a four year old so didn’t have much time for playing individually with the toddler and she was too young for using a naughty step or trying to reason with her. Protection was my aim!

In those days, supermarket trolleys were very basic, only one child seat so baby went in car seat in the trolly and toddler in the baby seat. I thought I was in control, carefully putting shopping around the car seat - until my daughter took a tin of beans of the shelf and dropped it on babies head!

It was awful at the time and very tiring but the phase did not last long and they soon became best friends and are still very close now as adults.

Gwyneth Wed 17-Mar-21 08:11:24

Actually I would be very concerned and worried for the baby’s safety. I had more or less the same gap between my children but never experienced this situation between them.

25Avalon Wed 17-Mar-21 08:25:42

2 years and 3 months between my two girls. Older sister used to stroke the baby’s head saying “nice baby”. Baby would scream because it was actually a knuckle being ground in! I never dared leave them alone after that. Sibling rivalry is quite common.

H1954 Wed 17-Mar-21 08:41:32

2 years and 3 months between mine. The eldest was 'included' throughout the pregnancy. She would stroke my bump and talk to baby and loved to feel baby kicking.

After DD2 was born, DD1 was given a new doll. She was also included in new baby's bath time, being dressed, feeding etc and soon began to understand that new baby was a human being not a toy. When new baby was sleeping DD2 had our undivided attention. We would 'help' her take care of her new doll.

As they grew, they did have their little spats but were always protective of one another, they still are to this day. They both adopted the same approach when they started having babies too.

I think the little boy is feeling left out and jealous of his new sibling. Maybe if his parents included him in the care of the baby he might change his ways.

Katek Wed 17-Mar-21 09:43:03

I think part of the problem has been mum trying to establish breast feeding. The baby just would not feed, sucked for a while then pulled away screaming. They persevered for weeks until baby’s weight became a concern and silent reflux was diagnosed. He was eventually put onto formula but still wasn’t the best of feeders. It was taking up to an hour to get him to take 1oz. All sorted now and he’s a big, healthy 6 month old, but it must have been so hard for the older boy as it wasn’t just a new baby but a very difficult and time consuming new baby.

Marjgran Wed 17-Mar-21 10:40:39

What a kind sensible person you seem. I agree with others, toddler very pushed out. I know that one advice Penelope Leach gives is not to over do the big boy stuff but baby the toddler a bit, and show him photos of when he was a small baby, tell him stories of him at 6 months. Hopefully it will ease. BTW not having much language at 2 is not uncommon - my GD had almost none until 3, she specialised in action! Frightened us all at the time but she has made up for it now. Another friend has a just 4 year old hating her 6 month old little brother, can’t be left near him. They think she has been anxious during Covid (mother a doctor, father v stressed, very cramped accommodation) and the baby is just too much for her to bear. Really hard on parents. Need to protect the baby whilst helping the older child manage their feelings, find words not actions, and find a new place in a bigger family.

greenlady102 Wed 17-Mar-21 10:49:20

I'd be getting child and family guidance advice

Notright Wed 17-Mar-21 10:59:29

When my daughter's little girl was born her boy was 3 years old. She had spent a lot of time during the pregnancy talking to him about 'his baby', note the 'his'. This baby was coming to keep him company and play with him. And you can help her learn about the world and help me look after her.
From the day she was born he took ownership, willingly and protectively. Whenever I visited I would greet him and then ask him where his sister was and could I see her, which he was happy to do.
Their relationship is the closest brother and sister I have ever seen. He would move heaven and earth to protect her. She is now 23 and he is 26. They both have loves of their own but the love for each other has not stopped. I am very proud of them and their mother.

leeds22 Wed 17-Mar-21 11:07:18

We had a GC like that. Couldn't be left alone with baby sister or cousins. When he was about 7 he took a flying leap and landed feet first on my stomach when I was lying on the lawn. His parents gave him lots of one to one time which he lapped up and it seemed to make him worse as he got more attention if he behaved badly. He has improved, thank goodness but I can't say I am that keen on him!

barbaralynne Wed 17-Mar-21 11:27:48

I haven't really got any "words of wisdom" to impart that haven't been shared already but, my second daughter was born 16 months after the first. When the eldest came in to the hospital to meet her sister for the first time, her first words were " Cassy go back"!!!
Says it all really.

Caro57 Wed 17-Mar-21 11:49:01

Is the ‘lot of attention’ actually rewarding his behaviour. Nursery will have experienced this before - they may be able to offer suggestions

Jo1960 Wed 17-Mar-21 12:05:24

I feel for these poor parents and gran, however there is a huge difference between ensuring that the elder child still has time with his parents and rewarding his behaviour. If the baby was an animal no one would suggest ignoring this behaviour. I feel strongly that the 2yr old boy needs to know his behaviour is unacceptable, not in an angry way but firmly and kindly using his level of understanding. Distraction only works if it is used before the scratching etc happens otherwise it is confirming to him that scratching brother gets a nice reward; the opposite of the hoped for reaction.

kwest Wed 17-Mar-21 12:19:06

I am concerned that the baby, the pre-verbal child is suffering possible psychological damage. The older child is being rewarded for bullying.
I would be inclined to, immediately an incident has happened,
to take the older boy and hold his arms firmly by his sides and in my sternest voice say "NO, we do not hit babies, Do you understand? Now you must very gently say "sorry" to your little brother. He needs to feel safe when big boys are around. When you have done that we can have a cuddle.
Boundaries are very important and the earlier they are understood the easier life becomes. This may not be fashionable advice but I have seen children who have not been offered boundaries and always asked to choose what they want to do to find all those decisions exhausting and overwhelming.

Ladyleftfieldlover Wed 17-Mar-21 12:33:32

My son was born on his sister’s 2nd birthday (and their grandmother’s). I don’t remember any hitting but my daughter always wanted something as soon as I started feeding. However it wasn’t too long before she was checking I was doing all the right things with her baby brother! When I was expecting son 1, I bought a book about a new baby coming into the family and it was fortunate that lots of my friends were having babies too. By the time son 2 arrived, it was a piece of cake!

StephLP Wed 17-Mar-21 12:55:54

This little boy of only 2 not only has a new baby disrupting his life but is also 'sent away' to nursery knowing that the new baby is with 'his' mummy. It's a lot for him to deal with. He is too young to understand his emotions and is lashing out. Keep involving him - bringing a clean nappy, listening out for the baby monitor etc. Let him know that when he is at nursery you are washing up, making beds, vacuuming etc - don't mention the new baby but stress he is having more fun at nursery while you clean the house. Good luck!!

olliebeak Wed 17-Mar-21 13:02:54

When I had my youngest, I'm afraid that she spent the time 'in between feeds' in a carry cot - out of reach - to keep her as far as possible from her 13mth old 'old brother'. He was barely more than a baby himself, and used to scream 'MINE mummy!' to let the baby know that I belonged to HIM and not her sad.