Please Help me!!

Ashley - posted on 01/11/2010 ( 46 moms have responded )

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my 16 month old son is being really aggressive. I have tried time out but it's not working. This morning he began sitting on a little ten month old and punching him, scratching him, and even tries to shove his fingers down the boys throat.. I don't understand why he is doing this. He used to be such a good kid. Is there something I can do??

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Jeanette - posted on 01/14/2010

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I would like to tell you what I did, many years ago, with my grandson when he started that. I made 4 pictures and put them on the front of my refridgerator. 1. Large STOP sign (with stop printed on it), 2. a Brain (with think printed on it), 3. Thunder clouds and lightening (with anger printed on it) and 4. light fluffy clouds and rainbows (with peace printed on it). I would sit him on a chair and make him stare at the pictures, telling him when he could stop and think and control his anger and find peace he could get up. It took many times on the chair, but the pictures remained until he was in 2nd grade of school. When He would get upset, he would grab a chair and sit himself down and stare at them. He is 21 now and tells me he still pictures them when he gets upset. He is the most even tempered person you would ever meet.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/13/2010

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Read a few parenting books, remove him from the situation, explain that it hurts, tell him no and wait. Nothing will "work" right away. This normal behavior, in one form or another, is what all people go through when they are growing and investigating how the world works. Try not to worry, it will stop. Most likely when he is more cognitively developed and can understand why he shouldn't do these things. I don't think time out really works at this age unless the time out is just to remove him and sit with him to help him calm down. I like the book How To Talk to Kids So They Will Listen and How To Listen So Kids Will Talk. It's good for this age on up to teenage years.

[deleted account]

Hi there. Your son may be allergic to wheat. I know that sounds crazy but my son is and that is how we figured it out. Exact same age. Wheat was like crack for him. He can tolerate a little now but it still makes him weird. Just try eliminating it and see if it helps. I KNOW it sounds crazy. Just try it.

Sherwood - posted on 01/11/2010

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I agree with time-outs, but don't use it as a punishment- behavioral psychologists have found that punishment REALLY does not work (just look at the prison system). Anyways, timeout should be a chance for him to have his very own space and time to get his emotions under control so that he can express himself in a healthy way (Leah said it well). Laughing at him will encourage the behavior and ignoring him is the best form of negatively reinforcing the negative behavior- meaning you don't react and thus reinforce the negative behavior, obviously, if he is hurting someone else or himself, you cannot ignore it. I really agree with what someone else said, that his feelings, at this point, are more complex then he can explain, I also believe that kids are a lot more capable then we give them credit for. Understanding and having compassion for him is the best way to teach him to understand and have compassion for others. Good Luck to you!

Leah - posted on 01/11/2010

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I wanted to say to Darcie; one insight I've gotten that has really helped me is that at that age they understand a lot more than they can express, so the emotions come a lot quicker than they can find words for. My second daughter had a really hard time with that. I give her some space untill her tantrum diffuses a bit and then I talk to her clamly and say something like " It makes you mad when..... doesn't it. If you use your words to tell me what's making you mad, I can help you fix it. Something along those lines anyway to let them know you are there for them and you care about their problem.
I think it's also important with an issue like aggression not to spank them for it, or in their mind, hit them and then tell them not to hit. Make sure he knows it hurts you when he hits and kicks you.
Hope this helps!

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Donna - posted on 01/19/2010

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Hi Ashley, i know what your saying my son is doing the same thing but he is only 14mts we where out the other day in a playgroup and I left early because he bashed 2little girls. He was so good and as soon as he turned 1 he changed don't know what to do.

Erika - posted on 01/16/2010

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well he has to understand its not ok. dont ever put your child in his or her highchair or even crib for time out. they cant differentiate if its time out or time to eat, sleep, or play. make a special time out chair for him and sit there with him while he has his time out. at 16 mo he should only be there a min at 2 its 2 mins at 3 its 3 mins and so on..hope it helps

Kim - posted on 01/16/2010

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I would try looking at diet. Food intolerances and mild allergies can cause very aggressive behavior. Make sure that the ingredients are additive free, as simple as possible, as little processing as possible to start with. Try an elimination diet and see if you can find a trigger for this behavior. Things like orange dye on Cheetos or in sodas and candy can cause behavior changes. Sometimes as kids get older we offer them a wider range of food and problems can ensue. If it is food at least you can fix it - I know there are lots of possibilities but try ruling out food as the culprit - it's easy.

Susan - posted on 01/16/2010

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I agree consult your family doctor. There could be a number of reason this is occuring and you will have to narrow it down by process of elimitation. Also a firm NO when the inappropriate behaviour is occuring then focus your attention to the person injured this way he is not getting your full attention for a undesirable situation. Hope things get better

ROBIN - posted on 01/16/2010

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at 16 months, when you notice aggressive behavior, I feel the only thing you can and should do is remove them from the situation.

Mel - posted on 01/16/2010

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Sounds like he needs some strong discipline. OUr daughter is 21 months and she hits our dog with her hands, her wooden hammer, everything she doesntunderstand she is doing something wrong either. The only way is to do it back to him and tell him that hurts you dont dothat to other bubbas. You have to be consistant. Its like if a baby pinches you pinch them back or bites you bite them back. If its things you cant do back to him because of his age like punching etc just give him a smack on the hand or leg and tll him its naughty

Mindy - posted on 01/16/2010

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If he is not used to being around other children he may be jelous that he is taking your attention , and is doing it cause if he is naughty then you are going to pay attention to him . But what worked with my boys is try to have him take his hands and scrach himself or put them in his mouth and then ask if he likes that , and most likely he will not . Or alot of the time if I told them not to do that because it makes mommy sad and mommy does not want to have a bad boy. But he definently needs to be removed from the situation at sat down and told he was BAD !! When I told them they were bad and that I did not like bad boys they usually got upset and said sorry mommy . Good Luck it takes alot of patience , My boys are 8,6, and 4 and now a day does not go by where they fight and wrestle and everyone just tells me they are just boys .

Tracy - posted on 01/15/2010

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as a grandma I've seen a lot of this also as a mom-just keep letting him know gently that is is not the way to behave-with out yelling or laughing-calm him down and remove him from the area.Remind him that we do not hit,kick scratch or bite{what ever is being done } make him say I'm sorry and keep a very close eye on him when others are around.This is not a two year old issue but a little boy who is just trying to figure how far is acceptable. keep it consistent what ever you say or do he'll quickly get the message

Julie - posted on 01/14/2010

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In response to Sherwood Dunlop: Cognitive psychologists actually encourage the use of time outs as part of a consistent discipline plan. The problem is most people don't use them correctly. For a child Ashley's son's age the time out should only be for 1 minute. Then you need to talk with your child about why they got put in timeout and what would have been a better way to handle the situation. Of course this is very hard when you have a child that young that isn't communicating yet. However children understand more of what we say to them than what they communicate to us, so I think the common thread of what everyone is saying is that when children are frustrated they act aggressively. If we can notice in advance they are getting ready to hurt someone, distract them. If we don't notice it in advance then by pulling them out of the situation and giving them a "timeout" we are allowing them a chance to calm down and think about what we're trying to tell them. Our therapist also always recommend trying to focus on the positive. When you see your child doing something good praise them. Make a really big deal about it. When they do something bad be consistent with discipline, but don't get emotional. Sometimes kids just want our attention and they figure out really quickly that they get an immediate reaction when they do something bad. They don't care that it's a negative reaction. I think a lot of the time when my 23 month old pinches or bites it's because she wants to see how I'll react because sometimes she'll act like she's going to bite me or lightly place her teeth on my arm or knee without biting down and if I get mad or say "no" loudly, she just smiles or laughs. Anyway I've noticed with all my kids that when I praise them they soak it up and try to do more things to get that praise and attention. Even children this young love to be praised and if you praise them when you see them playing nice and not hitting I think it eventually helps them to understand that's how they're supposed to act and if they hit they get pulled away from toys and have to sit still which is physically impossible for children under 3. Their bodies have to be in motion so they don't like sitting still and even for 1 minute really is a punishment for them. Another thing I just thought of is to watch for a pattern when he's aggressive. Is he hungry or tired? Is the other child playing with his favorite toy? Kids this age are incapable of sharing. They are very attached to their toys. Maybe when the other child is in the same room put his favorite toy away. All of us get cranky when we're hungry and/or tired. Sometimes I've done time out in the crib and by the time 1 minute was up my child fell asleep. Anyway it's all trial and error as each child is different. A few of my girls were biters, but none lasted this long so Emma is proving to be a challenge.

Julie - posted on 01/14/2010

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I wish I could tell you. It's so hard when they're not old enough to communicate what they're frustrated about. My 23 month old pinches and bites and we've tried time outs, talking to her etc. She even got bit herself on the nose really hard by a little boy in the church nursery and she came home and bit her sister. So even knowing how much it hurts she still does it. If you find something that works share it because I'm in the same boat.

Carrie - posted on 01/14/2010

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Jeanette, that is a fabulous idea! kudos! I think I'll try that one out soon...

Nakita - posted on 01/14/2010

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You should never laugh at bad behavior!! then the child see's you laughing and thinks what he/she is doing is funny, and keeps doing it, and not knowing what they are doing is bad.



( I seen that someone said that they just laugh or ignore bad behavior at the begin of this post. )



As for what i would do im not really sure cause im not at that stage yet, but if you believe in "spanking" , not hard or anything, just a little tap on the bottom to let them know your being serious or on the hand. some times that don't work either cause i've seen kids get a "spanking" and laugh at their mother/father. And i think the reason they laugh at you is because your obviously not going to hit them hard enough to make them cry.

Jess - posted on 01/14/2010

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A good family friend had this problem with her son but he was a few years older than your son. It turned out to be the bread he was eatting.



Bread has some really bad additives, im not sure which one it was exactly but I will find out for you.



This little boy would be an angel and then have his lunch which included a sandwich, you would think that is a perfectly appropriate meal for a child... He would then come back from lunch and start beating up his friends. He told his teacher he didn't mean to but he couldn't stop himself.



The doctor ran some tests and discovered his allergy ! Personally I bake my own bread so I know whats going into it !

Carrie - posted on 01/14/2010

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I agree with Ellen, it could very well be his diet. I have read several articles on diet affecting a child's temperment....might be worth checking out with your Dr.

Ashley - posted on 01/13/2010

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Thank you all for the advice. I would like to say though this 10 month old is not my son's sibling. It is my room mate's child. But that is why I am so upset about this. I know about sibling rivelry but I have never in the time I have been watching children seen someone elses child get this aggressive. I fear my son will try to beat on everyone if I can not curb the behavior. As for calling the doctor I have tried that and they told me he is too young for behavior management stuff. I just pray I will be able to get through this stage without anyone getting seriously hurt by my son.

[deleted account]

This is simply so sad and scary! I feel for all of you. Please know I cannot relate to the actual story as my children as further apart, however they have had their fair share of attacking each other. Even though he is young, emotions of truth are powerful. Let him know how it makes you feel to see him treat his sibling in that manner. Truth can reach his heart. This week I told my 3 year old that I think it is sad to see him choose to hit his toys when he is angry and I began praying for him "God please help him choose to use his words when he is angry" and I repeated this over and over through tears. My prayers are with you.

Annalyn - posted on 01/12/2010

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Do try to know when his aggressive behavior starts, from it you will know what is the real problem, how and why he developed such behavior. Try to trace and talk to him often, touch therapy may help.

Rosalyn - posted on 01/12/2010

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physically restrain him. it's legal. then he will learn that the inability to do ANYTHING is the result of his bad behaviour.

Shamila - posted on 01/12/2010

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My daughter used to shove, hit, scratch and bite people. She also used to hurl things on the floor. Now we are down to screaming and the occasional scratching and biting. Hang in there, it will get better. Just keep telling your son, that the other baby is getting hurt. It's not a good thing, etc. Make him say Sorry. Eventually, he'll understand. :)

Doris - posted on 01/12/2010

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I don't have a personal experience -yet, but I think Casey Thomas has a good approach that may work and turn out well! You are his mom and you know him best!

Pam - posted on 01/12/2010

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I don't think popping his hand is going to teach him anything other than if you POP someone you are the winner of the fight....Remove him from the situation and put him in a time out spot that he doesn't really care to be. Be sure you are giving him as much attention as possible. Remove him-put in time out and ignore.

Heather - posted on 01/12/2010

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I'm the meanie mommie I guess.....I don't think time-outs work at this age. It is most effective when used for kids the age of 2 or3 and older. but that's just my opinion. You can definitely use it if you feel its working. I personally would remove him from the situation and STERNLY tell him that is not nice and we don't do that. If he continues I would remove him from the situation again and slap his hand and tell him no, that is not nice.

I know a lot of moms don't like using spanking to discipline their kids and I think that is fine and every moms choice. I don't think one kid turns out better than another because of the discipline action you decide to take. It all depends on the personality of the child. I could just threaten my daughter with a spanking and she would straighten right up. My son is a different story. Spanking doesn't phase him. His best punishment is taking away his favorite toy. I do believe in spanking and have been using that method as punishment when needed since my kids were 18 months old. I've also been told that my children are the best behaved kids in their day care classes and they are the most well-mannered children they have as well. Children are very smart and learn at an early age what buttons to push and what gets a reaction out of you. It's up to you to figure out the best way to handle it for YOUR child. Like I said...spanking works for my daughter, but not for my son. So, figure out what works for your child.

Good luck! Discipline is always one of the hardest hurdles to overcome when you have children. when they are first born you can't possibly imagine ever getting mad at them or ever seeing them doing anything wrong at all. Then, after about 15 months old they start testing their limits and pushing you to figure out how to stop them....haha!

Elizabeth - posted on 01/12/2010

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The thing they dont' tell you with time outs is ... you have to do it consistantly and it takes MULTIPLES times to work when you are first using it. I use time outs in my daycare. And once I started using it, it seemed I was doing it every day all the time for the same behavior. After the first week, it got less and less.
Also, explain why going in time out and after time out. If you decide to give warning, make sure you explain what he's doing wrong. Using, as another responder said, it in away that he would understand ("would you like it if mommy did ... to you?"). As with time outs, it's going to take some time. But it is completely normal!

Sharon - posted on 01/12/2010

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My friends little girl did this and she would move her straight away and tell her no-one wants to talk to her if she isn't going to be nice and then would ignore her for 2mins, no eye contact or anything for 2 minutes even if she acted up whilst on time out she would ignore her completely and make everyone else ignore her. She took about a month to get out of it, she soon learned that if she was going to be nasty no-one wanted to talk to her.

Courtney - posted on 01/12/2010

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With all the different emotions going on with your little one and not able < at this point > to vocalize them, we found ourselves, in this situation to com it all down and use the words he understands and keep it in a low tone. Timeouts' are a great tool but sometimes the child needs to " walk it off " and work it out. Yelling, spanking or yanking the child away only further deepens the damage and probably creates a level of fear that we simply do not want to develop. No magic anwser but hope it helps. Hang in there.

Casey - posted on 01/12/2010

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I worked in child care for almost 9 years and found this was a very regular occurance with children under 3. I found that noise was usually a great method to use, figure out a noise your son is shocked by and use this when you catch him being aggresive, it used to work for me, we were not allowed to shout at children or tell them NO in the centre, distraction is a good alternative.

Helen - posted on 01/11/2010

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my 2 yr old use to do the same thing. Is he a only child? cause that was my sons problem he was not happy when we brought his brother home from the hospital and he was meaner that ever with him and I just made his say sorry and gave him a time out and after a while and i mean a LONG while he stoped but he still gets jelous sometimes and shoves his brother over or hits him or takes his toys but its slowly working. Wishing you the best of luck...

Emma - posted on 01/11/2010

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Its hard, but you must remove him from the situation. Put him in a time out chair, in a seperate room. He only needs to stay there once he has stopped crying for about 1 1/2 min. Every time he gets up, calmly put him back and walk away. Repeat until he sits there, wait for any tears to go away and start the time out. Then go to him and tell him "hurting other people is not nice, would you like it if (insert name of someone bigger) does it to you?". Timeouts do work, eventually but you need to figure out how to do it. I am a mother, but when not that long ago I had to babysit a boy with severe behavioural problems who would physically hurt his younger siblings. The second he was caught (and he was nine at the time) a tantrum would happen, I was told to not start the time out til he stopped his fit. It took months for us to get the pattern through to him. Thankfully when my stepdaughter went through this it didn't take as long and I used a similar pattern for timeout. She went from throwing things at me, and hitting me to sitting in her chair and then waiting for me to come and get her. We would then talk about why she was in timeout and she stopped doing it.

Sarah - posted on 01/11/2010

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He is use to being the only child and doesnt know how to handle mom's attendion is divided!! My 2 boys had the same problems but the way I got it to the point were is was very rare is I would do things that I made bothof them do together! Like playing with blocks. One would take their turn then the other then I! So it started team work. Then beyond that I would tell my oldest the he has to be kind and the little one protecter!! And that made him feel important and now that their 4 and 5 I have no problems with that with them or if other kids are around they remember that they have to protect and help littles and it really seems to work!! Also any time either one of them are mean or anything in that way i make them say sorry and give a hug!!! and if they dont want to hug then they cant play!! but hey try it andd if it doesnt work try something eles but i swear by it!! hugs heals every thing in my house

Ashley - posted on 01/11/2010

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my son used to throw temper tantrums and would kick and scream and hit me. its difficult to deal wiht. but what i did with my son was remove him from the situation and if he tries to throw and temper tantrum or hit you simply walk away and ignore him untill he calms down. then try to explain to him that that kind of behavior is unacceptable, eventually he will understand. it took a while with my little one and a lot of hard work but he eventually got it. good luck

Kate - posted on 01/11/2010

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I have no answers, but I feel for you. Try whatever feels right to you from the advice above.

Denise_mcentee - posted on 01/11/2010

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There is a book series you can get one from the library about some behaviors like tails are not for pulling, teeth are not for biting, etc. I think there is one for hitting. If you check it out or buy it you can read it to him on occasion every day or whenever- as it might help remind him. My son was aggressive at a young age but for him I realized he was only like that if he had an issue of some sort - usually teething, tiredness, or hunger. So definitely remove him from the situation and calmly reinforce that 'we don't hit hitting hurts' or whatever appropriate for the behavior, and get him somewhere to calm down and try to determine if this is a factor. Don't overlook teething also- lots of parents do- but each child is different and some teeth harder than others. Offer ice chips or frozen peas or something if you remotely suspect this (he could be working on 2 yr molars). Best of luck!

Leah - posted on 01/11/2010

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Part of the problem is he doesn't understand this is hurting the baby. The best suggestion I have is explain to him (as simply as possible) that he is hurting the other child and ask him if he would like it if someone bigger did that to him. "Would you want mommy to sit on you?" "Would you want mommy to scratch your eyes?" As dumb or as bad as it sounds, it helps him put it into perspective. It may not fix it right away, but it will help get the point accross.
Good luck!
Leah

Jenny - posted on 01/11/2010

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He may be copying someone elses's behavior.. could be an older sibling or a friend in daycare. Try giving time outs, believe one minute per age of child. Good luck..

[deleted account]

Some doctors can treat children for acting out ask your chids physican about behaveral managemant..Or your childs doctor may be able to help.

Marquita - posted on 01/11/2010

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yeah u can pop his hand to let him no u have the upper hand and that it is not right to hit on his little brother or u could sit him n a room and turn the t.v and light off and tell him to take a nap he needs to no that he is not the baby any more ad he need to try and be a big brother now . try letting him help makin the baby bottle or food and see how he do to see if he start listening.

Shannon - posted on 01/11/2010

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He's still very young so hopefully it is a passing phase. When my son began to speak he swore (f%$k) all the time to point I could not take him out in public. This lasted for almost a year and then it just stopped and now he never uses that word. If he is an only child perhaps he is still learning to socialize with other children?

Jalisa - posted on 01/11/2010

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I ran a daycare for 3 years and dealt with alot of that ...but there's really not much you can do until you identify the problem... once you do that getting him to stop will pretty much be a walk in the park..... you really need to look at his behavior at home and kind of start to pick it apart ... then when he gets around other children watch and see what changes as far as his interaction with people. i know its hard to deal with not knowing whats going on but i went through it with my daughter and with just about every toddler that came to my daycare!

Darcie - posted on 01/11/2010

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my son is 19 months old and is going through a similar thing. he hits me and kicks me and screams at the top of his lungs when he's mad, he's also pushes me. if his 11 month old cousin comes near me or is playing with something he wants he will shove him to the ground or push his face. he also used to be soooo good but i think it's the terrible 2's starting early.the only thing i think we can do is be patient. i laugh at my son or just ignore him. because really nothing is working.

Karen - posted on 01/11/2010

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hello Ashely

My 23 month old does this as well to his 10 month old sister he has since he was 15 months. We make him say sorry, tell him to be gentle and remove him from the situation. If he does it again he goes to time out. Good luck

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