Toddler Being Aggressive Towards Younger Sibling?

May 10, 2013

Toddler Being AggressiveToday my four year old daughter kicked my 13 month old son in the head. When asked why she did this she said" because she wanted too." She has never done this before. What should I do? I'm a old fashion husband and I know what my dad would have done, but I feel there's a better way. Any suggestions?


By Jordan


May 11, 20130 found this helpful

It is not unusual to see toddler aggression. It is a result of frustration, among other things, from not being able to communicate properly their needs, and not being able to do things they want. Has your daughter seen this on TV or has she had some change in her life?

This will pass on it's own, but of course, you don't want to leave your baby around the toddler, unsupervised, or in a vulnerable position where the baby could be kicked again.

Here is a link I found for you to read and see further some ideas that will help, along with what to say and do when this happens.

Blessings, Robyn

May 12, 20130 found this helpful

First never ask why, little kids are just impulsive and really don't know why they do stuff. Make it clear that hitting, kicking or hurting others is NOT acceptable and will not be allowed.


Tell her that as a dad your job is go keep her and everyone else safe. I would not recommend physical punishment as that would only show her that bigger people can hit littler ones.

May 17, 20130 found this helpful

I think your daughter is jealous of the attention the baby is getting. Be sure to give her some one on one time. Also, tell her that the baby is "her baby", too, and she needs to take good care of her baby. Then give her some ways she can help in caring for the baby. Be sure to praise her good behavior and remind her how much you love her.

May 17, 20130 found this helpful

One more thing, if your children do anything hurtful again to their siblings, really make a big to-do over the hurt sibling. The one doing the hurting doesn't want the other child to have all the attention and probably wouldn't repeat this behavior.


Just make sure first though that the offense really happened.

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3 More Questions

Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

April 7, 2014

My 3 year old step daughter is very aggressive with her younger sister, who is 22 months old. She is always hitting, biting, kicking, pushing and pinching her. There have been multiple times when the little one has even shed blood at the hands of her sister with scratches and bites. Once she even pushed her off the bed, resulting her in biting through part of her lip.

We tried timeouts, and standing in the corner, and extra chores for being naughty and other forms of punishment, but nothing seems to affect her. Today she crossed a line when the little one started screaming bloody murder, so I ran to the room.


The oldest had her hands wrapped around her sister's head, and was pulling with all her might. When I asked what she was doing she said she was trying to take her head off.

Her father and I are not violent people. My kids do not watch violent TV, so I don't know where all her violence is coming from. I fear that soon my little one will get seriously hurt, if something doesn't change. I don't know what do to. I am completely at a loss. If anyone has any advice on what I can do to show her it's not okay, and to make her stop using her sister as her punching bag, I am all ears.

We do not spank or hit our children. We don't handle violence with violence. So I am looking to peaceful ideas, please.

By C.Mariah


April 8, 20141 found this helpful

Please talk to your pediatrician about this situation. I think your child should be evaluated by a professional.

April 8, 20141 found this helpful

Please seek professional help immediately. You are putting your younger child in danger every time you leave them alone. There is something wrong and you need to find out what it is before you lose both of them.


Please get help right away. I've seen this before... you have no time to waste.


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April 8, 20140 found this helpful

I also urge you to seek professional help. I would suggest a child psychologist, but if you have no idea how to access such a health care professional, you should see your family doctor and find out.


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April 9, 20140 found this helpful

Please, please get professional help, for all your sakes before it's too late and don't leave them alone. You say step daughter, did her mother die or walk out on her? Sounds like heartbreak, anger and jealousy and and a three year old doesn't know how to deal with all that. Try not to blame her (I know that's hard when she's doing these things to her sister).


Although she 's the eldest she's not much more than a baby herself, she's too young to understand her actions.
You're at the end of your tether, please get help. God bless you all.

April 9, 20141 found this helpful

Please don't wait another minute. Your older child will hurt the little one. Get help from your Dr. asap! Do not let them alone for a minute, that's all it will take for permanent damage to be done.

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May 12, 2011

My 4 yr old has become very verbally aggressive and mean mostly to my daughter who is 2. No matter what punishment I have used nothing phases him. His mother and I have been apart for almost 2 yrs and she has moved 4 times in a year and a half. I understand anxiety may play a part in this but what can I do? I am totally exhausted.

By Jeremy


May 13, 20110 found this helpful

Sit down with your child and have a talk. Talk to him about hitting. Why would someone hit you? How do you feel when someone hits you? Is hitting good or bad? What should happen if someone hits you? Then turn it to talking about him and his sister. Why would you hit your sister? How do you think she feels when you hit her? Is hitting good or bad? What should happen if you hit her?

Come up with some consequences for hitting. Do about five. Make each one more severe than the last. First could be a warning and go over the list together. Second could be a four minute time-out. So forth. Use the first one for the first offense, second for the second offense, etc.

If it's fights about toys, remove the toy and put it in a "naughty box" or "toy jail" for a couple of days. Also, be sure to praise positive behavior. "I like how nicely you are playing with her and sharing toys" Praise both kids a lot. I have heard that you should use nine positive statements for every negative one.

Good luck and God bless you, Daddy.

May 13, 20110 found this helpful

This same strategy can be applied to the verbal aggression.

May 14, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with garnetgirl9. Also get down on his level and ask him about his anger, how he feels about moving so much, etc. Let him talk about what makes him angry or sad. Most of the time, acting up is a result of a young child not knowing how to communicate to adults that they are unhappy, angry, etc. Help him verbalize his emotions. Don't get upset at anything he says. Tell him you understand how he feels and why he feels that way.

Also give him "safe" ways to let out his anger. I used an old pillow for my son. He was allowed to hit the pillow as much as he needed. You could add a pillowcase with an angry face drawn in permanent ink. Let him know that is the way to be angry, not by hitting people.

With all the changes in his life, make sure to keep his life as routine as possible when he is with you. Children need routine and limits. It makes them feel safe. Always make sure to get down on their level physically when you talk to them and really listen and validate what they say.

I have a 20 year old son and a 12 year old daughter. I feel by giving them more positive the ways to cope with anger and other emotions they have grown into very good people.

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July 22, 2019

My 3yr would grab his brother's head and kiss it. This was very new and different for us because he took becoming a brother very hard and would stay as far away from baby for so long. The baby is 7 months old and crawling now, so my 3yr old seems to be more OK with him being around. Yesterday he kicked his brother from walking along the sofa and of course got in trouble. He later went over and kissed the baby on the top of his head, but also shook his head. The baby didn't care at all, but we told him to be nice. But today he did it again, but I noticed he grabbed his head so tight his hands were shaking and he had his mouth open pushing his teeth down on his head.

Of course I ran over and stopped him, but it's like he does it when he is excited. He has done it a few times now and I don't know what to do. He has been hitting his toys and started on our shoulders. We tell him don't bite that hurts and he'll stop. I honestly don't know what to do anymore. We don't have any family who come over so they aren't around kids or grandparents. Any advice is good. He is also going to be going through speech once we approved so he doesn't talk very much.


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July 23, 20190 found this helpful

I would bring this up with the pediatrician. Your son may need behavioral therapy. He may not realize how hard he hits. You certainly dont want him hurting the baby.

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Parenting Toddler and Preschooler BehaviorMay 13, 2013
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