"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

Toddler Trouble


What do I do to toddler sister who pushes down sister who is learning to sit and stand?


Keep a closer watch over the sisters. Seriously, there's not much training beyond removing the temptation that will work at this stage, which truly doesn't last forever. Redirect her attention, remove her from the proximity of the younger sister, and don't over-react when she looks you straight in the eye and gives sister a push.

Older sis is learning her independence but at 2, she hasn't developed empathy for others. Her pushing down the younger sis isn't malicious as much as it's fun for her because younger sis probably cries or wails, etc. So redirecting older sis's attention and removing her from playing by her sister when she starts getting pushy will help.

Of course, reminding her to be "nice," and that she "loves her sister" will help reinforce your family values. But outright punishment (i.e., spanking, confining to her room) will have little effect, mostly because a child's memory doesn't begin to truly form until age 3, and so it's difficult for a child to actually understand/remember what she's being punished for.

Let me know how it goes, and hang in there!

Sarah Hamaker, Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
Author of Ending Sibling Rivalry

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