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Old 05-21-2011, 10:52 AM   #1
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My 5 yo is pinching the baby!

I need advice on how to handle this.

My 5 year old LOVES her brother. She wants to hold him all the time, help with everything, etc. But she doesn't want any one else to love him. She's jealous if I'm holding him or nursing him. She seemed to be fine in the beginning, and I thought she was getting over it.

But then she started waking him up if I'd leave him asleep somewhere. I wasn't sure what she was doing, but I knew she was waking him intentionally. And then the last couple of days I've seen her pinch him a bunch of times, and squeeze him with the intention of hurting. I think she's been doing it for awhile, honestly. I just couldn't see it (my mom or DH have been holding the baby when I've seen it). She always asks to rub him, but she'll pinch him then.

I've really made an effort to make sure both DH and I have one on one time with her, let her talk about her feelings, and do activities she wants to do. I'm not sure this is a factor, but DH isn't her biological dad (and she knows) so maybe there is some excess jealousy there? I've been putting her in time out when she hurts the baby, and obviously not leaving them alone together. But it kind of freaks me out.

Any tips?

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Old 05-21-2011, 12:12 PM   #2
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Re: My 5 yo is pinching the baby!

<I only have limited experience with older kids> - but have you asked her directly why she's doing it? Maybe she's not doing it maliciously, but has just figured out that it's a good way to get a reaction from the baby. Have you tried explaining that it hurts the baby?

I would limit her exposure to the baby in an effort to help her understand that she isn't in charge (that sounds harsh, I don't really mean it that way) - like, she needs to understand that the baby is your responsibility, not hers, KWIM? Can you wear the baby when he's sleeping and you need to get other stuff done? And obviously, only let her touch/hold/rub the baby with supervision, at a time when you/DH aren't distracted by anything else so you can monitor her carefully.
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Old 05-21-2011, 10:37 PM   #3
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Re: My 5 yo is pinching the baby!

There has to be boundaries set and set now. She is 5. That is old enough to know right from wrong and pinching the baby is wrong. This is not a time to play with her and hope it gets better, it's a time to lay down the law and make it known that hurting the baby isn't going to fly.

I know you probably feel bad for her and want to make the transition as easy as possible and that is completely normal feelings. I've been there and done that many times but by going out of your way to play extra with her and doing what she wants to do, you're basically showing her that she's in charge. Try instead to make her the big girl. Give her more responsibilities, talk to her about being a big girl and what that means. She isn't to young for chores and to learn to play by her self.
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