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My daughter hits her little brother 

My 5 year old refuses to share with her 2year old brother. Whenever he tries to take her toys, she hits him and pushes him away. We gave her time outs, had talks about being nice to her brother, we even took away her toys but it doesnít seem to work. She screams out "I had it first!" then she cries and pouts but doesnít learn from the discipline. We have tried just about everything, except spanking- my husband thinks itís the only way to get through to her but I disagree. I donít believe you should use spanking to teach a child not to hit. We are not getting anywhere with our daughter, can you give us some suggestions?

Laura

Toronto

Dear Laura,

Punishing your daughterís actions is ineffective, if the motive behind it is not addressed. Focus on why she hits her brother. Older siblings often think that their parents allow the younger siblings to get away with far too much (which is true in some cases). She may be jealous of the attention or the extra privileges she perceives baby brother gets from mom and dad. Acknowledge her feelings and give her strategies to cope. You can say: ďI know it bothers you when brother grabs your toys. You donít have to share if you donít want to, but itís not ok to hit him. Next time tell brother please donít take that, itís mine. If he doesnít listen come to mom or dad for help.Ē She can also place her most treasured possessions out of baby brotherís reach. Your goal is to help her to understand that her little brother is not acting maliciously, but is too young to play nicely. Help your daughter develop patience and empathy. Praise her when she shares toys or shows compassion towards her brother.

Mr. Oak
Parent Tree Panel


 
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