Sarahsmiles's picture

Rivalry between a 1 & 3 yr old

I am having problems with my step daughter who is 3, being mean to my one year old. She is very jealous of any time or attention the baby gets. She has been pushing and hitting her when she doesn't want her around. And she is always telling her "no", even when the one year old picks up her own toys. We try to give equal attention to both children, but Madison just seems very angry that her little sister can now get into all the toys and what not.

We have told her that soon her sister will be able to talk and play games with her. We have also been giving her time-outs for hitting and pushing. This doesn't seem to be changing anything. It is also very difficult because Madison is only with us for part of the week. It feels like every weekend we have to start at the beginning again. I have also been try to tell her that we will tell her sister when she can't do something and that she can tell mommy and daddy if Ava is bothering her.

Any suggestion on how to help them get along, and stop the hitting??

acitez's picture

Very close supervision.

Your baby gets to spend all of her time in just one home with her mommy and daddy. Your step-daughter's life is more chaotic. She has to adjust to two different homes with different physical layouts, different rules, and different women in charge. She only gets to see her daddy part of every week. I'd be pretty ticked off, too. Equal attention for the short time she is with you doesn't begin to make up for the situation she has to deal with.

Begin a celebration when she walks in the door. Be SOO GLAD that she is here! As she grows up, yes, you will have expectations about her behavior, doing her part around the house, but mostly she should be an honored member of your family.

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Make sure your step-daughter's dad spends quality time w/ her alone. Also, when she is w/ her step-sister, try to get her to help w/ your daughter. This will make her feel important. I agree that your step-daughter's situation is difficult and confusing. Try to make her time w/ you as pleasant as possible. Redirect her negative behavior by allowing your step-daughter to do things she enjoys, rather than focusing on punishing her. Of course if the incident is severe, your step-daughter needs to understand that her behavior is not ok and she must face the consequences of her actions.