Help, my 2 year old hits and throws things when he's upset!

Lorena - posted on 12/30/2009 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My calm and sweet baby has turned into a demanding, short tempered, and sometimes aggressive toddler! If his sister or cousin happen to knock over his blocks, he slaps them. Sometimes my 18 mo. old niece will be walking by and he'll hit her for no reason. If he gets frustrated with a toy or if we take something away, his hand is the first thing up, ready to hit. I'm using time outs and I have spanked him on a few occasions. Now, whenever other children come over, I'm nervous that he'll hit them. I need some advice!!

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H.J - posted on 01/02/2010

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Lorena you are describing a fairly normal 2yr old child, and Amanda the last thing you want to do is return your child's violent behaviour with violent behaviour. You will only perpetuate the cycle. People will throw names of books at you with big long fancy words, being a child care worker and a mum, I normally put parents at work onto the user friendly ones or onto websites that are quick and easy to use because I know that parent's really don't have the time to read a novel on the subject. Parenting SA has wonderful easy to read parent easy guides on a range of subjects. http://www.parenting.sa.gov.au/pegs/ it's much easier than reading a book for a parent who doesn't have time and it is the simplified version of Jean Piaget and would reiterate what Darla Ferris Miller. says in her book. I have done many courses on the subject and the one thing they have in common is consistency and to talk talk talk to your child. This is a crucial stage for your child and the last thing you want to teach your child is that it's okay to hit somebody if I have a reason because mummy / daddy hits me when I hit so it's okay to hit when I get hit!

[deleted account]

I would recommend to every single parent to purchase and read the book: 'Positive child guidance' by Darla Ferris Miller. I has literally saved my life and given me so many tools to deal with situations that come up and make me feel helpless, both in the school I work at and at home!

Veronica - posted on 12/30/2009

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Are the sister /cousin older or younger than him? Are they knocking the stuff over on purpose, or accidental?? I have 5 children, and this is a constant battle. But I use edifying - which seems to help. What I mean by this is, for instance, if one of the kids were to knock over the blocks - i would comfort my child by first being positive - uh oh they accidentally knocked over your tower - why dont we rebuild it and make it a super tower! -- get them distracted and excited. As for the kids that knocked it over - i would say something along the lines of - i know it was an accideent - but you know how hard your bro/sis is working to build their tower - please be more watchful and respectful around him - you wouldnt want someone to ruin your things. (etc.) those may sound kiinda dumb - but im just trying to give you an idea. With hitting - i ask them if they like being hit - they will say no - and then i ask them why they would hit someone else then? does it hurt you? yes, then why would you hurt them -- stuff like that - association type of things. A lot of reverse psychology, education, examples, teaching, etc. You will do great, sounds like you are doing great already. Toddler stages are hard too - because they dont know the words to express themselves either - so they vent by bad behavior. Talking to them about it is really good - my third oldes was this way - so when he was going on a tantrum i would say stuff like - is that making you so mad!? and i would express a little anger - or sad? or whatever showing him the emotion - to help match what he was feeling - that really helped me out big time!



The main key is consistency- an always consequence to certain actions and behaviors. Stern, love, and education. We are teachers for our kids - we need to teach them how to be - and we have to watch ourselves too - how are we reacting to things? make sure you are on your own best behavior too ;) You will do great - I wish you luck - pray for guidance, strenght, and knowledge/wisdom.



Take care,

Veronica

Stacey - posted on 12/30/2009

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Hi, I am sorry that you are having to go through this. What I would say is that when he hits, throws etc, hold his hand and tell him that is not okay. I know he is young, but now is when you want to set boundaries with him. Depending on how smart he is, you can ask him why. Kids are good with the why questions, so it might catch him off guard if you ask him a why question. Try to find out what his reasoning is for wanting, to throw, hit, or whatever. From there you can talk to him about better ways of dealing with his frustration. Truth be known, he may not even realize why he is doing it. He may feel like he has no other alternative to make his point. I do agree with the time out and spanking too. Though start by holding his hand and reminding him that it is not okay to hit. If he is verbal, he can say something like "that wasn't very nice of you to knock over my blocks". I know it sounds nuts, but it worked for my son. Of course you know your son better than I, so you know what he is capable of understanding. I wish I had better words of advice for you hon. Good luck with this.

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Rhiannon - posted on 01/03/2010

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First of all dont panick, its just a phase that he's going through babe. No need to worry, he will get over it. My son is 9 yrs old, and he went through all sorts of phases. He got over them. My tip to u is take something he loves and adores off him everytime he slaps or throws his toys, and only give it back to him wen he starts behaving. It worked with my son.xx

Angela - posted on 01/02/2010

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I agree...very age appropriate, but you must, must be consistent...every single time you have to instruct him to go time out or whatever it is you decide to do it...I was doing it inconsistently based upon my stress level or energy level and that did not work...as soon as I decided to stick to it regardless of my energy level, it worked and those behaviors stopped...it took a couple days of really cracking down and making sure I was paying attention for it to sink in with my son when he was that age...it was very difficult and he screamed bloody murder several times! We still have the occasional time out that looks like that (and he's 5) but now his vocabulary is also quite a bit larger and he will tell me that he hates me in a heart beat...they can be very emotionally and physically draining, but it is worth it in the long run! Hang in there and good luck!

Christelle - posted on 01/02/2010

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Quoting amanda:

i am so glad someone asked this my little boy has been like this since he was 9 mo and when I asked the pediatrician about it he told he it is a phase and boys usuallly start it sometime between 9 mo and 18 months, my son is now 17 mo old...and now he is starting to bite I have told him no, tried asking questions and spanking him, I hate that and nothing works. The only way we can get any result is to put him in a play pen by himself with no toys in his play room. Its so sad I hate it...and to make it worse I cant figure out where he picked it up at, could it really be just a phase?



It is very common for children between the ages of 12-24 mos. are in the sensorimotor stage.  That means that they interact with their environment by using their senses.  Many times children at this age bite because they don't have the words to express their frustration. 



Like I told the other mom, physical punishment is not going to help if your child does not have the capability to understand why you are spanking.

Christelle - posted on 01/02/2010

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I know that tantrums can be challenging, just remember not to get frustrated. If he knows that he can get your attention (regardless if its positive or negative) he is getting what he wants. Spanking really doesn't help, because if you think about it... you're telling him it's unacceptable to smack people, but mommy does it. Children can not understand between the two. Two year olds have just entered the preoperational stage of development (Jean Piaget's theory). In this stage the children focus solely on what is relevant to them at the time. So if your child is hitting family members when they come near his belongings, it is just his way of saying what is his.



I would suggest that you sit down with him when he's playing and spread the toys out saying "one for you, one for me". Talk to him about how it makes you feel when people take away your toys. If he acts appropriately and shares with others, give him positive remarks. If he continues to hit, remind him to use his words, not his hands, "I don't like when you take my toys". If that doesn't help, I would recommend taking toys away from him until he is ready to treat his friends nicely. He can earn them back a little bit at a time as he meets appropriate expectations.

H.J - posted on 01/01/2010

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Teach him the old one of "Stop" as it gets better then you can add " I don't like it when you..." also use it when he hits and then put him into time out, always... always tell him when you are putting him in time out why he is going into time out and when you let him out of time out explain why he was in time out and get him to tell you what he could have done instead of hitting (he would probably say use my words). If you see him about to hit remind him gently to use his words before he lashes out... It is what we use in child care and if you use it consistently it does work!

[deleted account]

I agree on the time out thing. In addition to that, I've found that my son just can't "hear" me when he is upset. I keep him in time out until he's calm (and let him know that "when you calm down you can come out and we'll talk). afterwards, I ALWAYS talk to him about why I put him in time out and what he could do instead. e.g. "Aidan, Mommy put you in time out because you hit daddy. I know you were upset, but if daddy makes you mad you should say "please stop". then I ask him what he can do if he is mad next time. If he does not repeat "please stop" then I repeat again. Don't forget that we not only have to address the bad behavior....we also have to teach the appropriate one. they usually act badly because they don't know what else to do.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/31/2009

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Talking is important and if he doesnt listen after the first warning put him in his room on time out with the baby gate up so he cannot get out. The most important part is telling him why he is in his room ...do it calmly and patiently and eye to eye so you arent towering over him.



My daughter is scared just of the threat of being put on timeout ..so she listens and she is 3 1/2.

Lorena - posted on 12/30/2009

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Thanks to all of you for your wonderful advice. I am going to keep up with the time outs and do my best to be consistent. I'll have to try having more talks with him. His speech is somewhat limited, but it's getting better every day. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again!

Megan - posted on 12/30/2009

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I am having the same problem with my 2 year old and he gets mad and hits his older brother.. I have tried giving him a spanking and the most affective thing right now is standing in the corner with their noses on the wall!!! I hope it helps you ........or i send them to their rooms and make them si on their beds with no toys thar works too..........

Amanda - posted on 12/30/2009

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i am so glad someone asked this my little boy has been like this since he was 9 mo and when I asked the pediatrician about it he told he it is a phase and boys usuallly start it sometime between 9 mo and 18 months, my son is now 17 mo old...and now he is starting to bite I have told him no, tried asking questions and spanking him, I hate that and nothing works. The only way we can get any result is to put him in a play pen by himself with no toys in his play room. Its so sad I hate it...and to make it worse I cant figure out where he picked it up at, could it really be just a phase?

April - posted on 12/30/2009

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Just tell if he hits any body that mommy and daddy. Will take away all his toys and he would sit in time out. And tell him that it is not nice to hit any one.

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