Originally Posted by Shami
To me, this is more of a hey, parents! come watch your kid! issue than an issue with the kid himself. Some toddlers are really rough. Mine went through a year of pinching which turned to biting. I had to shadow her constantly and even with shadowing all i had to do was look away for a second and she'd pinch/bite. Ugg it was horrible as a parent to have YOUR kid doing that! Toddlers are going to push, kick, scream, pinch, bite, bang, etc. .... Most parents of the toddler who is hurting others feel really bad and embarrassed even though it really is a normal toddler behavior. Again, your real issue is that you feel the parents aren't watching him or doing anything about it.
I have a very spirited dd who went through the biting, pinching, hitting, throwing, kicking, pushing phase for one and a half years. It was horrible. I was a first time parent trying to practice gentle discipline and I had no idea what to do with my child. We were attending AP playgroups regularly and no one knew what to do with my child. I read, read, read everything I could get my hands on. I tried new technique after new technique. Nothing worked to correct the behavior. The only thing I could do was shadow her every move and try my best to prevent her from hurting others. It was exhausting. It was frustrating. It was hell. I was embarrassed, I was mortified, I was sad. I knew my dd to be a very special little person, but all of her great qualities were over shadowed by her need to physically interact with her friends.
Now, I do not know how your in-laws are feeling or what they have tried, but I do think that it is very much worth a conversation IF you want to maintain a relationship with them and your nephew. They may be so exhausted, so fed up that they just cannot figure out what to do. Or they may think that what is happening is fine (a "boys will be boys" attitude) and that you're fine with it since you haven't said anything directly yet. The best thing that someone could have done for me would have been to approach me with sympathy and constructive ideas.
Originally Posted by ssh
Being aggressive is normal toddler behavior. It sounds like the child is just trying to play or get your children to play with him. He may not realize he is being rough. Lot's of toddlers, even ones that aren't aggressive haven't figured out boundaries yet. Even some preschoolers deal with frustration by being aggressive. Some toddlers don't play well with peers until they are much older. Saying it's not the kids fault or that he will grow out of it is not a cop out, it's just saying that the responsibility lies with the parents.
Yes. Some of us are blessed with kids that never hurt anyone or anything. Some of us are blessed with spirited children that have a constant need to be physical. These are just variations of normal. It is not a cop-out and the quicker parents can realize this, the sooner a resolution can be found. I'm not saying this if FAIR, but if you would like to work with the situation to make it better for everyone right now, then you may have to be the one to pick up some books and come up with ideas. I would suggest starting with Raising Your Spirited Child. Otherwise, you may very well have to wait until your nephew turns 3 or even 4 before he can better control himself. My dd is now 4.5 and I haven't had a situation with her hurting a peer in a long time.
Originally Posted by insidevoice
His being a different size shouldn't matter- he is about the same age, and developmentally they don't DO playing nicely together in this age bracket without a lot of help from adults.
If you don't trust the other parents to help supervise the kids, then you and your husband can swap off. You can involve grandparents. You can enlist your 14 year old and your nine year old.
I see this from the POV of a parent of a big, tall, solid brute of a nearly three year old with some language delays who knocks his little brother over on a regular basis. I get the visceral reaction to seeing your youngest being hurt, but he won't learn unless the family works as a whole to teach him. It is not ok that my son clobbers his brother, but it IS developmentally appropriate and being upset with him would be a waste of energy that is better used to teach him to do things differently.
Also, what you describe of this boy, forceful pushing/throwing/jumping/falling etc is very much sensory-seeking behavior. When you have sensory seeking behaviors, it's not as easy as saying 'don't do this.' They NEED to find an outlet, and they need the input, and the adults have to give them appropriate ways to do that. What if, when he started jumping too hard on people, a pile of couch cushions was made on the floor and he was taught to jump on those instead of on other people? What if, when he started pushing other kids, he was taken outside to a wagon full of heavy blocks and allowed to pull those all over the yard? There are some really simple ways to work through this that don't involve painting this baby as a bad kid whose parents aren't good at parenting him.
I agree with everything said here. I know you said you don't want to diagnose your nephew, but the reality of the situation may be that he does have sensory seeking behaviors (a form of Sensory Processing Disorder). If this is indeed the case, he may need extra help to deal with his impulses. A good place to start is reading Sensational Kids. We sought out an evaluation for my dd and while she had many of the red flags and the OT thought she could benefit from occupational therapy, she didn't make progress with their techniques. So, in her case, she does not have SPD, but is highly spirited. Knowing all this information, however, and going through the process has allowed me to understand her better and come up with new strategies for dealing with her behavior. It is a learning process for us all.
All this being said, I can feel your frustration and anger. I get it. I do. Especially if your in-laws are simply choosing not to educate themselves or try anything new. I just strongly believe that parents and especially families need to help each other out, support each other, and work together to find solutions for the good of everyone. Compassionate parenting for a compassionate world.
Edited by Jaimee - 4/26/11 at 9:59am