20 month old Biting, hitting, pushing, pulling hair, taking toys away, just awful! What to do!?

Samantha - posted on 09/10/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Hello. I have an almost 20 month old who has definately hit the terrible 2s stage but their is so much aggression with it, and I have tried timeouts, positive reinforcement, spanks, biting back etc. and NOTHING is working, I am an exhausted mom who runs a child care out of her home and this needs to stop! Help me!

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Anita - posted on 09/15/2009

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The other thing is...I really dont think your lil man should be punished ..we all know that he just wants a little more special time with mummy and lots of cuddles and I dont believe all kids head towards the terrible 2's or 3's (i thought my lil boy started his terrible 2's early but it never really escalated...it just depends on how u"deal with the issue)..at 20mths he understand everything you have to say...spending 5 min b4 u head in2 work and explaining to him about ur job and how special he is to u can help...but keep it simple...by the way he's a handsome lil fella..

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My 22 mo-old son has been doing these similar actions at daycare and home off/on for the past few months. It is completely frustrating, esp since he has been the sweetest kid until now! It typically happens when he doesn't get his way. He's talking more and communicating more every day, so we've seen improvement, thankfully.

Our usual form of punishment, if you will, is to firmly say no, keep it short (not too wordy of a rationale as he's just too young to process it), and we started a time-out approach where we put him on the rug by the front door (no toys, distractions, etc). He now knows that we mean business when we put him there. He will cry, but he also actually stays there for a brief few minutes until we say ok. Unfortunately, at daycare they don't do the time-out thing, which is probably confusing for Bradley bc it's at daycare where he bites, pushes, etc more! Everyone says it's a phase, and thankfully he's improving. If he bites 3 times, then we get called to pick him up early, which is NOT convenient. This has only happened once!

How's it going on your end? Getting better?

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Saskia - posted on 09/30/2009

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My son now is 19 months and we are always round my sisters who's son is 24 months they constantly take each others toys.

What we found helpful was swapping just give him something he likes more!

With the biting and so on, I choose the naughty corner and stuck to it.

It took about 2 weeks to get used to it.

At first I had to put him back 10 times before he'd stay there.

He hardly ever bites now (been doing it for 3 months) and he was well bad he bit his cousin until he would bleed several times!

Nowadays all i have to say is "stop or you go in the naughty corner" and he'll stop or go there voluntarily lol

Be persistent and calm it will stop one day.

Always treat him the way you want to be treated if you bite back and spank you send the wrong message.

You basically say its OK to spank and bite but that is exactly what you don't want!

Samantha - posted on 09/14/2009

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Wow, thanks to everyone for all of the advice! I am definately learning a lot, and I am going to try my best and use all of this advice! thanks to all of you again for helping, I needed to hear all of this!

Nicole - posted on 09/13/2009

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The only things I could suggest on top of everyone else's ideas is pick a form of punishment and stick to it. You mentioned that you have tried timeout, spanks and its not working could be because it can take quite some time for a behavioural change and if you change tactics it can send things backwards. I also think that trying to fight aggression (spanking, biting back etc) with aggression will only make things worse. Being 20 months, your child is right at that age where they cant say what they want/ feel and they need you to show them the right way to express themselves.

I'd try what Brittany said about getting to eye level and talking about it and also make a big fuss over the hurt child because getting frustrated at your child will only reinforce that they will get attention out of it.

My daughter was awful with biting and fighting from about 15mths till nearly 2 but she did grow out of it. The advice I have written is information I learnt through a childrens course at TAFE and all of the above helped my little girl settle down over time. As for the taking toys, that part of their brain wont actually develop as such till they are around 5years old so the best thing you can do is provide a good influence and encourage the good behaviour. I honestly take my hat off to you though for being a childcare worker in your own home, I know how hard it is having 2 children let alone more! Good Luck with it all :)

Anita - posted on 09/13/2009

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hi sam..I agree with jennifer...becos u deal with other children and giving them some needed attention running a childcare, your most likely not giving much attention to your own child..you lil man just need that special one on one time with you...maybe b4 you head in2 work or the childcare building spend a lil one on one time with him (5min or so ) in the car with lots of big cuddles and how u looking forward to the end of the day to spend more one on one time together..cuddles makes them feel warm inside and very special...

Brittany - posted on 09/12/2009

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Oh dear. That is exactly what I was thinking before I read your full post.. terrible twos! It hard for them because they are just learning how to express themselves.. They cant always tell us what they want or need.. so in turn they get frustruated. I've been nannying full time for the past 6 years and what I usually do is be calm.. get down on eye level, and try to talk it out.. ask them what they need.. or whats making them upset.. When my 16m/o throws a complete tanrum and nothing helps I either walk away or hug her tightly so she does not hurt herself.. or me!

Amanda - posted on 09/12/2009

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Samantha don't worry, it will change once he begins to talk, toddlers often bit, hit, and push because they can't communicate their wants & needs. It's often a way to get your attention, what they want, and other things could cause such behaviors. It will change with time, just hang in their. My first child was busy and loved to fight, he's four now and he doesn't fight as much now, he can communicate his wants & thoughts now. I wish you the best and keep your head up.

Jennifer - posted on 09/10/2009

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Please realize that he is doing it out of pure jealousy. He wants your attention because your giving most of it to the day care children. He is going to extremes to get what he wants. Try to spend some quality alone "special" time with him after all the other children are gone. He needs you to himself a least for a little time every day. Hope this works for ya!

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