Lately my 2-yr-old daughter has really escalated her scratching and pinching of her big sister (age 5). My 5-yr-old recently broke her leg, so I have to carry her quite a bit and that is likely making the younger one jealous. Also, she is definitely struggling to use her words. But to my horror my older daughter’s face looks like a cat attacked her! It’s awful! And the little one even appears to be smiling after she scratches her. The older one gets very upset but never, ever retaliates. Folks have told me that the older one just needs to scratch her back… But I don’t think that sounds like a good approach. I’ve tried taking away the little one’s favorite pink shoes when she does this, modeling “gentle touches,” telling her she needs to use her words and telling her how much this hurts her sister… But I’m wondering if you have an approach to nip this in the bud? Whatever I’m doing (or not doing) doesn’t seem to be working.
Thanks on any advice you may have!!
What a tough situation for everyone! It’s so hard to know what to do; most books I’ve read on the subject tend to say things like, ‘try to see it coming and step in to prevent it.’ Obviously if that worked, you wouldn’t be writing! So, here are some ideas for you to try. I’ll talk first about how to respond when it does happen, and then about how to help prevent it from happening so frequently.