In response to a parent's question about her toddler's aggressive impulses toward her newborn sister, Janet suggests strategies for encouraging our children -- beginning in infancy-- to communicate their innermost thoughts, feelings and needs. This parent and her husband have followed Janet’s advice on siblings and believe they are “doing a decent job supporting them both – keeping our baby safe while acknowledging our toddler’s feelings.” And when their toddler acts aggressively, both parents are diligent about being present, calm, and physically intervening “without judgment or fanfare.” A few times a week, however, when the toddler is alone with her mom, she will calmly say things like, “When H gets bigger, I’m going to knock her down,” or other imagined acts of aggression. This mom wonders why her daughter is telling these stories – whether she’s asking for help, or if it’s something else.
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