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Discipline Problems with 3 1/2 yr old
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Discipline Problems with 3 1/2 yr old

I need advice on what to do about my daughter who will be 4 in May. She has a little brother that will be 3 in June. She has a very dominant personality while my son is very laid back...more of the follower while she is the leader. She picks on him constantly and it's getting worse and I can't find a solution.

Main problem: He is still in a crib and lately she has been throwing toys at him in the crib at night and hurting him or if we take the toys out of the room she slaps or scratches his face. We have kept him the crib because we fear that if he is in a regular bed she will do something to smother him (she has tired to sit on him and put pillows over his head) but now she just climbs in the crib with him or throws things at him.

Her father and I have put her on time-outs, taken toys away, taken tv and video away but she still does it. We have even spanked her and she laughs. We can't seperate them as we live in an apartment. She will always admit what she has done and says she is sorry but she's smiling and laughing the whole time.

Tonight I go in the room and there was a heavy toy on his head and he is knocked out. I didn't know if it was from sleep or if the toy knocked him out. I asked her and she said that it didn't hit him and that she was sorry but she was laughing. He woke up and seemed ok.

During the day she will also run up to him and grab him around the neck and knock him to the floor or walk by and slap him. If he plays with a toy or book she will run over to him and take it. We have explained sharing toys and she does have moments where she will share but for the most part she bullies him. He seems to only be happy if we separate gets to be in the living room and one in the bedroom but we can't do this all the time. He barely talks even though he knows how because she will talk over him. She can't stand for him to get any attention. Hubby has even started taking father/son outings so he can get away from his sister and he loves it. He will come home dancing and singing and talk up a storm but as soon as he sees her he retreats....he acts scared of her. He even flinches if you approach him as if he is afraid he will be hit. It's breaking my heart to see him this way. He needs to be able to grow and flourish and feel safe at home, not scared.

Does anyone have ideas on what to do? I hate spanking but hubby was raised that way and thinks that's going to solve things but I feel like solving violence with violence doesn't make sense.

I am pregnant again and worry that she will do something even worse to the baby. I could really use some advice. Thanks!
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Spanking works the other way it is confrontational you are teaching her its okay to hit othersso she does it to him..She is obviously jealous of him she sees him getting all the attention whilst according to  your post she gets punished , her father going on father/son outings whilst she is left out,so the envy and jealous feeds on itself. I suggest some parenting/family counseling here .Try focusing on her positive side and praise her when you see her doing something right, pushing her away will not work it will get worse .good luck
I let out an audible "aaaugggg" when I read your last paragraph.  And then I clicked on your profile picture hoping to get a look at these two kids and I said "aauggg" again,   involuntarily.  A picture is worth a thousand words,  and those pics are worth about a billion.

You HAVE to separate them.  He cannot continue to be physically and emotionally bullied all the time,  and physically assaulted in his bed -  he won't mature and grow into a confident healthy boy.  

I think first step,  a very competent behavioral therapist for her.  And I would also get her out of the house for big blocks of time so he can get some relief - maybe even full time daycare for her until he's old enough to at least escape her attacks.

In the meanwhile I think you need to devise a gated room in your home - maybe the kitchen or something like that,  in the center of the home - where you can gate her off.  So that she can still see and interact with the family and she's not in a "cage",  she's in a room,   but she can not assault him.   One of you can even be in there with her,  cooking dinner,  working at the table,  whatever,  he needs big blocks of  time where she doesn't have access to him and he knows it.

Of course,  she needs blocks of time where they have access to each other but the moment she does something mean (really mean,  some taunting is expected of older siblings) she's back separated.  She can be in the kitchen,  her room,  wherever her choice,  but she can not have physical access to him again for awhile.  

She needs to be locked out of his room while he's sleeping.  I don't know what the set up is in your apartment,  but even if that means she sleeps in your bedroom,  that's the way it needs to be.  He needs to have a very peaceful crib area where he feels safe and comfortable and she's not going to climb in there and assault him while he is helpless.

I know this is blunt,  but this is really what you need to hear.  Sibling often have rivalry and that's life,  but this is a one way continuous stream of bullying that you would in no way allow your son to suffer from at the hands of a child he was in playgroup or nursery school with.  

Best wishes.

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