Is this normal behaviour for a 16 month old?

Anita - posted on 12/01/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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I have just discovered this wonderful forum and I have sooo many questions but the main question I have at the moment is whether my 16 month old son's behaviour is like all 16 month old's? From the time he wakes up (between 5am and 6am) he whinges all day until he goes to sleep at 7pm. He has a good sleep during the day so he is not winging because he is tired (I know when he is tired..). He has always been very demanding, maybe this is my fault? I also have a 6 month old daughter but he was like this before she was born. I have noticed however in the past few weeks he has been trying to poke her in the eyes and stick his fingers in her mouth and up her nose. The other day he had his fingers down her throat and she was choking (and my back was only turned for about 5 seconds). I can't get anything housework done because I am constantly checking to see what he is doing to her. Today I actually had her in her swing on the kitchen bench so my son couldn't reach her. This is so exhausting. He never use to be like that, it's only in the past few weeks he has become really aggressive towards her. He use to cover her in kisses and cuddles, now he just hits her, stands on her, pokes her.. the list goes on...I don't know what to do, I keep saying NO in a deep tone of voice and once I even smacked him (& regretted it straight away) but I just got that much of a fright when he had his fingers down her throat and I am so exhausted from looking after both of them (they are 10 months apart.... and hard work..). I know people say 'reward good behaviour and ignore bad behaviour' but what happens when that bad behavour is dangerous. All it takes if for him to poke her in her eye and that's it. or if he bashes her with something which he has tried (the broom, saucepan lid, a bat... the list goes on....). I have stopped him about 30 times from nearly poking her in the eye but he just doesn't seem to listen. We even tried putting him in his room for a few minutes and he just screamed that much that he had a coughing fit. and then tried to poke her in the eye about 5 minutes later. just before he actually got his finger in her mouth and tried to rip her mouth off. She is only just turned 6 months old and the poor little thing has put up with so much and it hurts me because she just loves him so much but he just bullies her.
I also give him plenty of attention during the day (this is why I am exhausted lol). My whole day is spent just looking after and entertaining both of them, I don't go out at all other than to do the grocery shopping. My partner takes my son to playgroup twice a week for a few hours and to the swimming pool once or twice a week so he gets to do plenty of things. Like I said he is extremely demanding.. are all toddlers like this?
My daughter is so different to my son, she has never been hard work like my son has. She sleeps well... unlike my son who up until he was 12 months old use to wake up every 20 minutes. She also hardly cries or whinges.... unlike my son who constantly whinges and cries. When he whinges I make sure he is not hungry, not wet, no poo nappy, not thirsty, not in pain... usually he whinges when he cannot have something (like my mobile phone or anything he is not allowed to have). I try to ignore it but he just keeps whinging. .... I am sure most toddlers are like this but I am more concerned about what to do with my son poking and prodding his sister. I am hoping someone out there has some answers.....

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Trish - posted on 12/15/2009

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Hi Anita,
Sounds like you really have your hands full with your little ones! There's about the same age gap between my older brother and myself. The way you describe your son is the way our mother talks about what my older brother was like. He was 18 months old when I was born and quite a well developed little boy. He had always been very smart and energetic. When I came along his personality completely changed, he stopped walking and talking and was violent and nasty towards me. One day he even poured his potty all over me whilst I was sleeping! My mum had to do the same as you and watch him like a hawk! This went on for about a year and once my brother finally realised I wasn't going anywhere he eventually calmed down!
It was later discovered that my brother is a borderline genious! He's extremely intelligent/compasionate and gifted and has gone on to lead an extremely successful life. We get along with each other wonderfully now and our mother thinks that he was such a trying child because he is so intelligent! Hang in there Anita - Sounds like your little boy may be very similar. It will pass and you'll be able to look back and laugh one day soon :-)

Nicola - posted on 12/08/2009

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I BELIEVE IT IS JUST A TODDLER THING.MY SON IS 22 MONTHS,HE BITES,HIT,KICK THE WHOLE WORKS.DON'T WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT IT,THEY WILL EVENTUALLY STOP,JUST KEEP ON GIVING HIM ALL THE LOVE YOU CAN,HITTING HIM IS NOT GOING TO MAKE HIM STOP.

Naomi - posted on 12/06/2009

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My son Damian (22 months) is very much the same with the attention seeking and the whinging!! He doesn't whinge all day but it sure does feel like that...it was actually worse back a few months ago but has started to slow down....your little one will probably just grow out of it... I felt at times that i too unintentionally ignored him which resulted in some agro behaviour...he started hitting me and headbutting me to get my attention...but the funny thing was that even when he had my attention he would still do it...good luck with everything and i hope everything settles down soon :)

Shannon - posted on 12/06/2009

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I dont have two kids, but my son (15 months) too pokes at other kids and puts his fingers in everyones mouth and digs the inside. It is a toddler thing. My son too is very smart. He likes to help pick out everyones clothes, help with putting laundry in the dryer, sweep, vaccum, you name it. Firm boundries and a firm door to put his nose on have helped me. It helps me that he is also interested in potty training so I am able to take him potty with me to keep him out of trouble.



Keep your head up. My son is so much diffrent than my niece was.

Amanda - posted on 12/06/2009

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hi i have twins 18 month & i think the poking & probing the face are normal toddler things. the only thing i can even think to do is i put the offender in a crib time out. I use the others crib for this. maybe use the pack & play to give a time out so that he will start to relize that when he "explores" his sisters face or anyone elses this is what happens

Sara-lou - posted on 12/06/2009

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hi my boy's are 13months appart the oldest just turning 2... Taylor (the oldest) sounds actually the same as your little boy he's so clever for his age an is a typical boy, He is very demaning and clingy he has 2 have your attention all the time. i had simular problems when Ty was younger taylor would sit on him etc. I told him this was wrong and that he'd hurt the baby and even sometime when his behaviour was really un exceptable did smack him... everytime he hurts the baby make him say sorry and give kisses and cuddles. My 2 get along so much better now they are older they still have there days where the bicker (as any siblings do). Is he like this with other chlildren or just your little one...?

Anita - posted on 12/06/2009

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Quoting kelly:

Im sorry but i dont have much advice for you. I have two children that 20 mths old and nearly 8 mths old. my olderest son is very aperactive, his on the go all day until he goes to sleep. he does some of the things but not as bad as what your son has. my advice is to see your doctor. i hope there is nothing wrong with him. i hope you can find the problem out sooner then later. sorry i couldnt help you. so good luck.



Hi Kelly, your two are 12 months apart I see. it's hard work isn't it having two so close together.



My mum actually suggesting taking him to see a doctor too, but I am waiting a little while because they won't know if there is anything wrong until he is a little bit older I think (so I have been told). I think it might just be a boy thing, being on the go all the time. I also find that he is a very clever littel boy (too clever if you ask me!)... he even did the vaccuuming for me today .. and I am NOT joking. He only has to watch you do somehting once and knows exactly what and how to do it. so i think part of his problem is boredom but I cannot physically entertain him all day long, its impossible. .....I might buy him some games for xmas that will keep him amused (hopefully...)

Kelly - posted on 12/05/2009

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Im sorry but i dont have much advice for you. I have two children that 20 mths old and nearly 8 mths old. my olderest son is very aperactive, his on the go all day until he goes to sleep. he does some of the things but not as bad as what your son has. my advice is to see your doctor. i hope there is nothing wrong with him. i hope you can find the problem out sooner then later. sorry i couldnt help you. so good luck.

Anita - posted on 12/05/2009

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Quoting Sarah:

Have you tried giving him a doll to learn to be gentle with when you are working with the baby? This is what we did with my 2 yr old and my now 5 month old. Have him help with what he can with your daughter too. Such as, throwing the diapers away, getting things for you when you need something for her, even have him help you "cook" (a bowl with a spoon to mix works great!), or pick out which cereal your daughter is going to eat that day (I am guessing she is on solids?)
Make sure you also have at least one partial day a week where you have him and you time with no little sister around. Have dad take her for an hour or so and you take him to the library, park, out for a dinner, whatever.
I agree with Valerie that you need to be strong and firm when he hurts his sister. Make sure that whatever you do, he knows WHY he got into trouble and that you are consistant. Make sure at the end he apologizes to both you and his sister. And make sure he knows that you love him too. Hope this helps a little bit and good luck!



A doll sounds like a great idea, might try that. Just hope he doesn't get a tendancy towards playing with dolls lol (he already pulls my bikini out of my drawer nearly everyday and prances around the house in it, and he loves trying to put on his sister's shoes even though they are 3 sizes too small for him lol..). I do find that when I include him in things such as getting clothes out for him and his sister and picking things up and putting them in the bin etc he is much more content.



I will try and do that one day a week thing. I would love one day a week with neither of them lol.



Thanks Sarah

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Have you tried giving him a doll to learn to be gentle with when you are working with the baby? This is what we did with my 2 yr old and my now 5 month old. Have him help with what he can with your daughter too. Such as, throwing the diapers away, getting things for you when you need something for her, even have him help you "cook" (a bowl with a spoon to mix works great!), or pick out which cereal your daughter is going to eat that day (I am guessing she is on solids?)
Make sure you also have at least one partial day a week where you have him and you time with no little sister around. Have dad take her for an hour or so and you take him to the library, park, out for a dinner, whatever.
I agree with Valerie that you need to be strong and firm when he hurts his sister. Make sure that whatever you do, he knows WHY he got into trouble and that you are consistant. Make sure at the end he apologizes to both you and his sister. And make sure he knows that you love him too. Hope this helps a little bit and good luck!

Anita - posted on 12/04/2009

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THanks everyone, some great suggestions there. yeah I have just realised that I have been ignoring him unintentionally which is why he was being aggressive, so today I was careful of what I said to him and made sure I included him in everything and it seemed to work, he wasn't as agressive towards his sister, he was actually quite loving today. Kerry.. I like your idea about going out for the whole day, I think I might ask for this for xmas lol! .. even just to get my haircut (which I haven't had done since Joe was born about 16 months ago...). Jessica.. I would looooove to put Joe in daycare , even for 1 day but as we live on an Island there are no daycare facilities here, there is only a primary school. I am going to take Joe to his music playgroup next week instead of my partner as I feel I am missing out on things with him. Thanks again everyone....

Jessica - posted on 12/03/2009

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Ok for the whining I recommend ignoring him or redirecting him. Don't feel bad for spanking him. He has to know he can't do that. It is a safety issue. He obviously still feels left out or neglected so you may need to give him more one on one. I have a 16 month old little boy and a 3 year old girl. My daughter regressed a lot when i gave birth. My son has just learned to pitch a fit and throw himself down so some of his behavior is normal. Maybe if you can afford it you might want to put him in preschool for a couple days a week. It will help him learn to share and give you a small break.. I think instead of your partner taking him to things that you should and let your partner stay behind with your daughter. I know that may be hard if you are still nursing. This is just my opinion i have had a day care in my home and I saw how children treated there parents to get attention. Don't feel bad just stay in charge and give lots of love and discipline. Good luck.

Kerry - posted on 12/03/2009

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Hi Anita, I too have a son who is very demanding! He is our second son and sounds just as attention seeking/boundary testing as your son. I have learnt not to compare him to our first because it only builds resentment and have learnt it doesn't help the situation. We just have to be a bit firmer (ie VERY clear boundaries) and consistent discipline. We started using the "naughty spot" (a small circle mat) with him when he was only 13 months. Even putting him in his room was too stimulating so we found the small mat better. Have you considered using a playpen for your little one so you can at least go to the bathroom in peace?!

I am starting to see a few changes in my son (19 months) and can see him getting the hang of things. It might seem like an eternity now, but it will pass especially when he realises his sister can have fun with him, hang in there mom!!
Oh and tell your hubby your going out for the whole day for a break!!!!!!!!!!

Anita - posted on 12/03/2009

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Quoting Valerie:

Well first off, congratulations for having the courage and taking the time to share in detai about your concernl...I would say that whining all day long is not normal and may be a bad habit that has been unintentionally reinforced. By the way that he is treating his sister I would say that he is jealous and perhaps angry that she is there...by the things that he is doing I would say that he is partly curious and exploring her body and partly testing your boundaries and what you will do...you need to keep the baby safe and out of harms way as much as possible...you need to have stronger consequences when your son doesn't respond after going to his room for a few minutes... don't worry about the coughing fits even if he vomits...it may be his way of getting out of his time out...it may be a kind of game for him which is a normal response at his age as he can't fully understand or process...you need to be stern and even loud if necessary for him to get that you mean business...you also need to give him attention frequently to take his attention off of attacking his sister...greet him enthusiastically when he wakes up and give him a big hug and offer to hold him whether he is whining or not...show him attention aby asking what he wants for breakfast and what he wants to do today...now that you have his attention let him know that you need him to be gentle and kind to his sister...show him how by being kind and gentle to him and to one of his toys...this will not change in a day or two...you will need to do this for a few weeks to get the change and he will have relapses...what are the things he likes to play with, activities he likes, treats...and let him know that he can have one for being kind and gentle around his sister...and let him know you will take one away if he starts to hurt her...be strong, be firm, hold him down if necessary and expect him to apologize to her and do something nice for her each time...i hope this helps...



 



Hi Valerie,



Thank you so much for replying to my post. As you can see by the delay in getting back to you I don't have much time on my hands these days lol. I tried what you said today by showing Joe how to be gentle and it seemed to work for about a minute until he bit me lol. but I will keep trying. you are right about him being jealous, I didn't think he would be like that because when Milla was born he was all kisses and cuddles with her and it's only lately that he has started to get aggressive with her, maybe it's because she is starting to become more vocal and more alert now? I have threatened him a couple of times with 'do you want to go to your room' and he stopped what he was doing straight away (we have put him in his room a few times and he hated it... so he obviously remembers it!). you are also correct in saying that its a game to him because he seems to laugh and run away when I try to either dress him or go mad at him or anything really lol. He was actually quite good today because I lavished attention on him all day, even when I was feeding my daughter her bottle I was still interacting with him, it's hard but it seems to have worked. Thanks again Valerie for your words of wisdom.





 

Valerie - posted on 12/01/2009

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Well first off, congratulations for having the courage and taking the time to share in detai about your concernl...I would say that whining all day long is not normal and may be a bad habit that has been unintentionally reinforced. By the way that he is treating his sister I would say that he is jealous and perhaps angry that she is there...by the things that he is doing I would say that he is partly curious and exploring her body and partly testing your boundaries and what you will do...you need to keep the baby safe and out of harms way as much as possible...you need to have stronger consequences when your son doesn't respond after going to his room for a few minutes... don't worry about the coughing fits even if he vomits...it may be his way of getting out of his time out...it may be a kind of game for him which is a normal response at his age as he can't fully understand or process...you need to be stern and even loud if necessary for him to get that you mean business...you also need to give him attention frequently to take his attention off of attacking his sister...greet him enthusiastically when he wakes up and give him a big hug and offer to hold him whether he is whining or not...show him attention aby asking what he wants for breakfast and what he wants to do today...now that you have his attention let him know that you need him to be gentle and kind to his sister...show him how by being kind and gentle to him and to one of his toys...this will not change in a day or two...you will need to do this for a few weeks to get the change and he will have relapses...what are the things he likes to play with, activities he likes, treats...and let him know that he can have one for being kind and gentle around his sister...and let him know you will take one away if he starts to hurt her...be strong, be firm, hold him down if necessary and expect him to apologize to her and do something nice for her each time...i hope this helps...

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