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The violence has to stop (18mo)

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
When DS gets mad he gets violent...like, sometimes REALLY violent. He wants to hurt you. I know it's "age appropriate" or whatever but I cannot do this anymore.

We're talking hitting, pinching to the point of bruises, biting, scratching, grabbing and digging his nails in (I cut them and he always manages to get me anyway), kicking, etc... My arms are starting to look like I own a wild animal.

We've tried everything in our parenting arsenal. Yes, even spanking. Here's the breakdown:

- Remove myself from him: He follows me to continue to hurt me. AND I've had some horrible back pain this pregnancy (I'm seeing a chiro when I can afford it) and sometimes it gets so bad that I have trouble walking. So, if I'm in that kind of pain I can't exactly jump up and walk off...

- Time-out: He screams, gives a hug when his time is up (we're talking 60 seconds), and then repeats the action when he's mad 5 mins later. So, not working.

- Distract: This child is not easily distracted. If he's really mad there isn't much you can do to change his focus. I mean, I can hand him a cellphone or something...but he'll inevitably do something on it that requires me to take it again and start it all over.

- Giving him words: I try to do this ("I know you're mad" etc) but he's not verbal yet so it doesn't do much.

- Health considerations: It can't be teeth each time. It's too constant lately. He does have dairy issues and we avoid it 90% of the time...but again, too consistent to be just diet.

I miss the screaming.
post #2 of 59
Short on time right now, but my ds2 was/is like this. I am having him evaluated for early onset bipolar disorder.
post #3 of 59
Oh mama. Hugs. Lots and LOTS of HUGS. And commiseration. I dont have any answers. One day at a time is all i got. But usually, when one of mine gets through a stage, the other one starts. No reprieve and it STINKS!

All I can really say is from what I can see, your doing everything RIGHT. Its a process.
post #4 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
Oh mama. Hugs. Lots and LOTS of HUGS. And commiseration. I dont have any answers. One day at a time is all i got. But usually, when one of mine gets through a stage, the other one starts. No reprieve and it STINKS!

All I can really say is from what I can see, your doing everything RIGHT. Its a process.
Yeah. Once a week he has a REALLY GOOD DAY and is loving and cuddly and cooperative. Sadly, I spent that day nesting and cleaning all day long.

I'm really trying not to spank him...we did it a few times and it felt like I was spanking him all.day.long. So, now it only happens when I'm too frustrated to react differently (more often than I'd like but not so much I feel like the worst parent ever)

The thing I have zero tolerance for is biting. I'm not sure why that's my breaking point but it is. Maybe because my younger brother was a biter... I dunno.
post #5 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
I'm really trying not to spank him...we did it a few times and it felt like I was spanking him all.day.long. So, now it only happens when I'm too frustrated to react differently (more often than I'd like but not so much I feel like the worst parent ever)
I was never a big spanker, it happened maybe only every few months, but always out of my own frustration over not knowing what else to do. Would you like to know what it took for me to stop spanking once and for all?

I just looked my violent little boy in the eye and explained to him that hitting is never ok, not even for mommies. I promised him that I would never hit him again. And I haven't.

Whether or not your LO has BPD or is just in a wee bit of a "bratty" phase, hitting will only model angry, violent behavior to him. Please try with all your might never to hit your baby again. (((hugs)))
post #6 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
Yeah. Once a week he has a REALLY GOOD DAY and is loving and cuddly and cooperative. Sadly, I spent that day nesting and cleaning all day long.
Ahhhh, yes. But if hes impossible and needs your undivided attention the other 6 days a week, when are you supposed to get the cleaning done?
post #7 of 59
s from Jan ddc! My son's about 5 mos younger than yours, and we've been dealing with 'no kicky mama' for months now. I also have spd, and it's just painful. His tantrums have been increasing in frequency and severity as he's gotten older, and my patience has gotten thinner.

Have you tried exhausting him? Up and down the stairs? A walk in the morning, or even drive to the park and let him run around there? I'm in texas as well, and the whether is just now getting good; but there are some days where I cannot walk from couch to kitchen! We also practice gentle touch, and I let him beat his heart out on his stuffed animals.

I can't wait until DD is born, and he'll have a new target for his toddler angst.
post #8 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
Have you tried exhausting him? Up and down the stairs? A walk in the morning, or even drive to the park and let him run around there? I'm in texas as well, and the whether is just now getting good; but there are some days where I cannot walk from couch to kitchen! We also practice gentle touch, and I let him beat his heart out on his stuffed animals.
Yeah, when he's exhausted it's actually worse...he HATES to nap so he gets overtired.
I actually can't take him on walks lately because of this behavior. He doesn't listen and when I try to pick him up (to keep him from running in the road or something) he gets violent. We usually stay in the apartment complex but 500 yards is a long way for a pregnant mama to walk holding a 27lb toddler that is grabbing and pulling on her hair.
post #9 of 59
One thing that does stand out to me is if you don't think his hitting you is appropriate, then your hitting him certainly isn't either.

I think it is very hard to explain to children that it isn't ok to hit Mama, but it is ok for her to hit you.

While there may be something else going on with your son (I am certainly no expert), I can promise you that hitting him for hitting you will only make the situation worse.

How can we expect our children to learn to deal with anger and frustration without physically acting out if we can't?
post #10 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post
I was never a big spanker, it happened maybe only every few months, but always out of my own frustration over not knowing what else to do. Would you like to know what it took for me to stop spanking once and for all?

I just looked my violent little boy in the eye and explained to him that hitting is never ok, not even for mommies. I promised him that I would never hit him again. And I haven't.

Whether or not your LO has BPD or is just in a wee bit of a "bratty" phase, hitting will only model angry, violent behavior to him. Please try with all your might never to hit your baby again. (((hugs)))
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post
One thing that does stand out to me is if you don't think his hitting you is appropriate, then your hitting him certainly isn't either.

I think it is very hard to explain to children that it isn't ok to hit Mama, but it is ok for her to hit you.

While there may be something else going on with your son (I am certainly no expert), I can promise you that hitting him for hitting you will only make the situation worse.

How can we expect our children to learn to deal with anger and frustration without physically acting out if we can't?

This might come out snarky because I'm having a really rough day and I don't mean it to...

I almost didnt' mention that I'd ever spanked because I don't want the entire thread to turn into "you shouldn't do that!!!!!!"

I know you guys are only trying to help. I just really need advice and ideas...not a lot of "well THAT was a bad decision" comments.
post #11 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
Yeah, when he's exhausted it's actually worse...he HATES to nap so he gets overtired.
I actually can't take him on walks lately because of this behavior. He doesn't listen and when I try to pick him up (to keep him from running in the road or something) he gets violent. We usually stay in the apartment complex but 500 yards is a long way for a pregnant mama to walk holding a 27lb toddler that is grabbing and pulling on her hair.

do you have anyone who can exhaust him for you? My parents will take him for 2-3 hours in the evening, and he's asleep in the car on the way back home. Maybe even a library/tumbling class. You need a break mama!
post #12 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
do you have anyone who can exhaust him for you? My parents will take him for 2-3 hours in the evening, and he's asleep in the car on the way back home. Maybe even a library/tumbling class. You need a break mama!
Not at all. We can't afford classes or a sitter or anything. Family is 1.5 hours at the CLOSEST (and that's not even the family he's super comfortable with...they're 4 hours away) DH works all day...he's home at 5pm at the earliest (unless it's a Tues or Thurs and then he's home after 8pm because he has class)

Pregnancy is def contributing. When I'm not in pain I'm exhausted. The slightest amount of heat causes me to feel overheated and sick. And DH and I are going through some emotional marital stuff right now (we're both in therapy) so when it feels like my little boy HATES me I can't function.
post #13 of 59
I 2nd the suggestion to have him evaluaded. BiPolar is a possiblitity, but so could adhd. Could also be that he'sjustextremelyboreed and needs TONS of physical exercise and going places.
It "seems" from your post that youre not 100% consistant in method of discipline. Cant try it for a few days and then switch to something else.

If you chose to use time out, Id put him in a playpen for 2 minutes, and sit and read near him. (not allowing yourself to be engaged by him for that time)
Time out instantly for all negative behaviors with you simply saying, "no hitting. Hitting hurts."

Another suggestion I have came from an adoption/attachment parenting site and worked VERY well w/my adhd boy. http://www.processes.org/processholdings.php

Not sure how feasable it'd be with your mamabelly but..you basicly just hold the child to you as firmly as you can, pining flailing arms and legs
(think of curling him in to a ball with your body wrapped around him) and tucking his head so he cant bite. You hold him until he melts against you. You follow up with lots of kisses and loving words.

The theory behind this is that an out of control child is a scared child and one who is unable to get control of themselves.
By you holding them, you help them gain control in a loving and safeway.

Taking walks safely can be done with a sling end tied to his beltloop or a safety harness. He definately sounds like he needs to be worn out and have a change of scenery. (I know cabin fever makes me crabby!)
post #14 of 59
Thread Starter 
How do you tell the difference between a bored/normal toddler and one with an emotional issue (or whatever you call ADHD and BPD)?

How do I know the difference between my hormonal/emotional mess of a brain overreacting and a problem?

We don't have a ped...we haven't been able to find one we like.
post #15 of 59
Yes I was not trying to pile on. To be honest I only mentioned it at all because in your post it seems like you are still spanking him sometimes and I tihnk in order to see improvement from his end there must be some from yours.

Do you have a playpen or crib for him? If he is that violent and out of control I would put him in the playpen. I am not normally a timeout person but if he is so out of control that he is leaving bruises on you something has to give.

To me, it is more important right now to keep him from hurting you then to try to validate feelings ya know? Pregnant, exhausted and in pain does not seem like a good base to work on a huge dynamics shift. So hugs to you.

I also think a huge increase in exercise of some kind for him could help.

I am assuming from your name you are an Air force wife? Can you possibly reach out to your local MWR liason for some assistance? There may be a play group you don't know about or a local Moms group that meets at a playground.
post #16 of 59
I don't have a good suggestion, but I wanted to let you know that my 8-year-old had very violent tantrums at that age, where she'd bite me, try to scratch my face, and even go for my eyes like she was going to gouge them out. She did outgrow it and is a very peaceful 8-year-old now, and she doesn't have any special needs, so I wouldn't assume that is the problem. She has always been high needs and intense, and she's still emotionally intense, though it shows up more as a mood rollercoaster now instead of as violence. It's much easier to work with.

What helps with her moods the most is to make sure she has plenty of protein, and particularly that her breakfast is protein-based. I don't know how much solids your ds gets at this point, but it might be worth a try if he's having many to increase the proteins and particularly in the morning to see if it helps.

Just wanted to give some hugs! It isn't easy and I can't imagine dealing with it while pregnant. I just muddled through each tantrum, one at a time, until she got past them. Which took a while, though her tantrums weren't as bad even at 2 as they were at 18 months.
post #17 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post
Yes I was not trying to pile on. To be honest I only mentioned it at all because in your post it seems like you are still spanking him sometimes and I tihnk in order to see improvement from his end there must be some from yours.

Do you have a playpen or crib for him? If he is that violent and out of control I would put him in the playpen. I am not normally a timeout person but if he is so out of control that he is leaving bruises on you something has to give.

To me, it is more important right now to keep him from hurting you then to try to validate feelings ya know? Pregnant, exhausted and in pain does not seem like a good base to work on a huge dynamics shift. So hugs to you.

I also think a huge increase in exercise of some kind for him could help.

I am assuming from your name you are an Air force wife? Can you possibly reach out to your local MWR liason for some assistance? There may be a play group you don't know about or a local Moms group that meets at a playground.

We tried putting him in a pack-n-play for time-outs. We did it a few months ago for a week or so...he stands and screams and then gets out and the behavior doesn't change. Like, if he wanted a book on the mantle and I told him "no" he would *insert behavior*, go in time-out for a min, come out, point at the book, get told "no" and lather/rinse/repeat.

Exercise *might* help but, again, I can only do so much and it's only me during the day.

We don't GO anywhere because we only have one car. We tried getting up with DH so we could take him to work and have the car all day...but DS hates it when DH leaves so a lot of times that turns into an hour or so of damage control on my end. Same reason DH stopped coming home for lunch or whatever. Sometimes DS does okay (if I can manage to distract him with videos of himself or something) but sometimes not.
post #18 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I don't have a good suggestion, but I wanted to let you know that my 8-year-old had very violent tantrums at that age, where she'd bite me, try to scratch my face, and even go for my eyes like she was going to gouge them out. She did outgrow it and is a very peaceful 8-year-old now, and she doesn't have any special needs, so I wouldn't assume that is the problem. She has always been high needs and intense, and she's still emotionally intense, though it shows up more as a mood rollercoaster now instead of as violence. It's much easier to work with.

What helps with her moods the most is to make sure she has plenty of protein, and particularly that her breakfast is protein-based. I don't know how much solids your ds gets at this point, but it might be worth a try if he's having many to increase the proteins and particularly in the morning to see if it helps.

Just wanted to give some hugs! It isn't easy and I can't imagine dealing with it while pregnant. I just muddled through each tantrum, one at a time, until she got past them. Which took a while, though her tantrums weren't as bad even at 2 as they were at 18 months.
This is a bit comforting

We try to eat in the morning and periodically throughout the day. However, he's still in that stage where he's famished one day and then just wants milk the next (raw milk...it doesn't affect his dairy issue...weird I know)
post #19 of 59
Thread Starter 
Just as an addendum: At this very minute he's playing quietly by himself with his dump truck. Doesn't want/need my attention or anything. He's totally fine.
post #20 of 59
I think this is completely age appropriate behavior. My ds was exactly this way at 18 months and he outgrew it completely. I have known MANY 18 month olds who behaved this way. At 18 months this is very normal stuff to do to mommy. Also, you sound stressed. You sound isolated. He is feeling that. He is reflecting it back to you. I know because I was there too!

You need boundaries.

Do not spank him. Decide you will stop, and stop. If you can't stop, how can you expect him to stop?

Keep removing yourself from him each and every single time he does it. Every time, get up and walk away. Go in your room and close the door. Stay there until you both calm down. Do not argue. Do not yell. Do not engage back. Once you are both calm, go out and tell him "No biting" and move on to something else. Repeat as often as necessary. I consider this harsh at this age but you are in crisis and hitting him is far worse and far less effective. You need a way to enforce a boundary. Removing yourself will give needed space.
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