Sometimes there isn’t a parenting solution and that’s ok.

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From looking at the photo you might think ‘ahh what a loving big sister.’ Well, the reality is very different and I spend most of my days guarding this sweet baby from her very jealous big sister.

We’ve had biting (where she drew blood!) kicking, hitting, eye poking and various other physical expressions of anger from my lovely 3 year old. More recently it’s been verbal assertions: ‘I hate Hope,’ ‘I want you to throw Hope in the bin Mummy.’   It’s constant, it’s stressful. I am on high alert ALL the time and the saddest thing is its taking away some of the joy of Hope’s baby days.  At the same time I look around on facebook and see lots of loving sibling photos with captions like: ‘she loves her baby brother so much,’ she’s such a lovely big sister,’ He adores his baby brother. ‘

I think to myself what have I done wrong here? Well the answer is nothing. My 3 year old is just coming to term’s with her ‘baby of the family’ position which has been usurped by a tinier version called Hope. She’s struggling. I know that. I understand it is very hard especially when you have all the threenager influx of hormones which happens at this age. The thing is that understanding doesn’t make it easier at the moment. I have tried everything, every parenting solution you can imagine.

A few things I have done:

  • One on one time without the baby (lots and lots of it)
  • lots of cuddles, reassurance, speaking her love language: words of affirmation.
  • Time outs
  • Time ins
  • Empathising with her and putting words to her feelings that she can’t verbalise yet because she’s only 3.
  • Setting boundaries around any contact with Hope
  • Getting her involved in looking after Hope so that she doesn’t feel left out.
  • Putting her in extra preschool sessions to limit her interaction with her.
  • Lots of love and acceptance,
  • Did I say time outs (lots of them) and more, than my sleep deprived brain will recall right now.

Yesterday I cried after a very difficult day. I thought maybe things were getting ever so slightly better but when putting Abigail to bed she said ‘ I want Hope to die mummy.’  What do you say to that? I didn’t know what to say so I just said ‘thats not very nice Abigail,’ which was weak I know, but, i’m being worn down by it all.

However, I am reminded of a time when my oldest (now 6 and a half)  was very jealous of his baby sister who was only 17 months younger at the time. He was similar and we pulled our hair out for….. ..about 1 and a half years!!!!…..eek!  And then; overnight, he just STOPPED! We had also tried the above list with him too and more. It was what first prompted me to read all the parenting books and frantic googling at 1am. NOTHING I did changed anything and NONE of the tactics worked.

He. Just. Stopped.

This too shall pass.

So i’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes there isn’t a solution to the problem/issue you are facing with your child, you’ve just got to roll with it and maybe you’ll wake up one morning and it will be ok. And then you’ll have to deal with the next phase your child goes into which may be a delightful one or maybe it will be harder. Who knows.

Sometimes we need to just chuck out the parenting books and admit defeat from these tiny humans we’re raising. We haven’t got it all together and neither do they.

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