Wednesday, March 9, 2011

We're going through a phase

Jack his hilarious and energetic and creative and loving. But right now he's killing my soul. And I mean that in the nicest way.

He's a great listener when I ask him to sit in his seat for a meal, put trash in the trash (or recycling in the recycling), he holds hands in parking lots, washes his own face and hands after meals and helps me cook by pouring and measuring. This is what makes it so frustrating. He's totally capable of following instruction and often does not need to be asked more than once or reminded.

But I feel like I'm constantly trying to pull him and Henry apart. I know Henry's mobile now and his development is really taking off and that must be really threatening for Jack because his toys are no longer 'safe' but I can't take it anymore!

A month ago Jack hardly heard the words "time out". Now I'm sneering them at him 20 times a day because for the millionth time in a row as soon as I say "Jack, please do not push/hit your brother" he does just that.

I'm not sure what to do. Part of me doesn't want to make excuses for him and let him bully his brother because I'm afraid of what it could mean down the line. But part of me wonders if I should be putting him in time out over and over and over because it's clearly not having the desired effect. Maybe he'd respond better to "Henry, are you okay? Did Jack push you? He did. That was not nice." Instead of "I just told you not to push your brother, GO. SIT. IN. TIME OUT."

Most of what I've read online talks about praising them when they're playing together well, and I do quite a lot of that. Please tell me it's going to get better. I don't expect them not to fight, I just would like to be done with the disciplinging Jack at least once an hour every waking hour of the day.

I'm open to any suggestions or pep-talks about how it will get better!


Brenna said...

I think sibling rivalry lasts forever. While I can't give you hope that it will get better, I can say that changing up strategies works for disciplining Amedeo.

Time outs stopped working for us, so we added taking away a beloved toy plus a time out.

I think it's great that you want things to be fair and even for your two. They'll appreciate it later.

Kate said...

I would agree that if the time outs aren't working than you need to adjust your strategy. If the altercation is about a specific item than I'd start by removing whatever that item is (placing a sheet over bigger toys works pretty well). It can be for a pre-determined period of time or even for the whole day. We used to do this with the kids I taught and it worked pretty well.

Something that Field's mom used to do was gate off the landing on the stairs so that he could play there with whatever "special" toys he wanted and his little brother couldn't get to them. He still talks about it to this day so I would suggest making sure that Jack has a safe space he can play without Henry interfering. I know he has his room but being sent to your room (even to play) has such negative connotations. The pack and play might work if you could re-cast it as his special fort or something like that.