I can't win... - FamilyEducation
I can't win...
08/11/2007 at 19:48 PM

I have a  3 year old boy. He is the oldest of my 2. His brother is 1 which means he's learning to play and such but the problem is that my 3 year old is always trying to hurt him. He likes to hit him and scream in his face and I have noticed that he's been putting pillows and blankets over his face and seems to enjoy the screams that are comming from underneath. I was wondering what really went on in their room so I set up the camera, which revealed something that scared me to death, when my one year old was playing on the floor my 3 year old jumped on his back and began to his him with a car. But this wasn't as disturbing as the smile and the facieal expressions he was making when he was doing it. And when I told him to stop that wasn't nice he just looked at me and smiled an evil evil smile. It really scared me.

I would have your three year old evaluated for what is going on. I had a step-niece that was doing that to my daughter around the same age. She was jealous of my daughter and my father because of things my great aunts were saying about my daughter being more important because she was my dad's actual grandchild. We had to put a stop to their comments and things went fine after my dad let her know that she was just as important as my daughter. Watch closely so nothing too extreme happens. You might try having a special time for each child to let your three year old know that the other child isn't taking his place. I know you probably do but having a sibling so close in age may be making your son feel that he isn't as important.



Congratulations on both! You really want to be aware of the emotions of your three year old at this time. Your actions are much louder than your words. If you tell him he is important, but, spend much more time with the younger one, he will believe you don't really care. He will not put it in those terms, but try to remember, to him, he is still the center of the universe, and you are now spending much less time with him. 

Momo5406 had great advice, and I will add to it. You can try to get the older one to be involved by letting him help you care for the baby: "Honey, don't hit your brother. Can you help me change the sheet in the crib? Thank you; you are being a big help. Would you like me to read you a story after we are finished?"  He gets to help, and be an active part of the process, and you get to tend the baby while at the same time be with and focus on the oldest... he should be happier with that.

Be careful not to overreact to his aggressive behaviors. Attention, even when negative is still attention. If his behaviors are because he thinks he is not getting enough, you may be feeding the beast. Telling him 'no' and that he shouldn't do something is fine, as long as you follow it with a pleasant experience as an alternative. Physical intervention (smacking) is mostly ineffective at this age if the intent is to affect a behavioral change beyond your immediate point in time. For lasting behavioral change, you need to change his experience from negative to positive. Hopefully things will improve, but, if his aggressions continue or get worst, get him to a specialist for evaluation.

DaMoKi Bob



I have a similar problem.  I have a 12 year old girl who likes to call my 6 year old boy mean names and he bangs his fists on doors, window.  She does this almost every day and I am afraid he will hurt himself badly.  Does someone have any information or advice?  He has been banging his head on the walls since toddler whenever frustrated.  Also, he will hit my toddler (almost 2 years) the more the 13 year old teases him. He will keep drumming on the toddler's stomach and I tell him to stop and he ignores me. I am afraid this problem will escalate. 


Tell me what you have done about the mean sister.  Have you made consequences for her name-calling?   


Dear rain009,

I am a mom and I know how challenging it can be at times. However, I choose not to scream, I don’t even say NO. I am positive all the time and show lots of love and respect. Instead of forbidding, I divert attention and encourage something else which I find more appropriate. My child feels she has all the freedom in the world to do whatever she wants. The truth is that I have given her freedom within a structure, within certain limits. But she feels free to choose and is happy.

Children have to know the consequences of any action. And you can explain this calmly and respectfully. We know what we want from them and we  simply force our will onto kids. We don’t give them any explanation of why is it that we want it this way. You may say they don’t understand. Oh, they do understand everything from the moment they are born. They feel what we feel and much more.  


You say how your children behave. Can you observe your behaviour to them?

Do they get your attention when they are well-behaved? Do they get lots of affection? How often do you scream NO? Isn’t No the first word they learned from you?

Do they know that they are allowed or do you only tell them what not to do? Do you play with them? Do they ever see you on their side or are you an obstacle for them?


Your children behaviour is a normal reaction to your behaviour. How would you react if your partner yelled at you all the time and limited your freedom of choice? Would you be happy and contented with such a treatment? Would you feel loved by him?


Think how your children feel. Do you see the chain reaction? You scream at your kids. The oldest abuses the younger one. The middle hits the youngest.

When one feel weak and helpless they vent it out to somebody they consider  somewhat of a lower rank.


Please have a look at my answer to Jenn. I have given a list of a few incredible books. If you apply them you will definitely succeed. Not in winning and them loosing but all of you winning. Your children also need to feel that they got what they wanted. Instead of seeing you as an enemy you can be their friend.   


You can email me at happyjoyfulsunny@yahoo.co.uk


Sometimes you need to say no. There are no guarantees. Sometimes there really is not time for calmly and respectfully doing anything. Sometimes our wells of patience and rationality are empty. Children can cope with those times. Be patient with yourself, too.


Dear Proud mama,   You have a serious problem that will not go away with time. Please take him to a good child psychiatrist ASAP. Your son has a serious problem with empathy and he has not learned to control his aggression. For your own sake get him and you help.    Gerald E. Nelson