I'm genuinely a little shocked with all the responses from different angles why this discussion hasn't taken more of a focus on this kid's communication skills in any way. He isn't even two. If he doesn't have enough words to verbally express himself, he will use his hands. That's what a toddler would do in those situations. OP, you seem really upset at your nephew. And I do understand being frustrated...but you cannot change the parents, your family, or the child. You can only change your own choices, ya know? The way you manage those situations for your family. Be a model for your children, this is a great opportunity to teach them understanding and how to deal with frustrating situations. Make a plan based in practicality and compassion. Usually if you make a choice how to handle it, and stick to that consistently, you won't be so frustrated. It cannot feel good to be harboring such negativity towards a one year old. You also seem quite angry with responses given here...I know its easy to feel defensive about your own feelings you originally shared and want to feel justified, etc. but really, this sounds like you don't want to try to help this child or help the parents help him. We hear ya on it being frustrating. He's obviously feeling frustrated. As a parent and an adult who is often around other toddlers/kids, I always try to assess how a child is feeling and what he/she is trying to communicate instead of focusing on the behavior and how to control it. When they are young, the majority of it is communication and wanting acknowledgment (for sometimes VERY simple things we adults are overlooking). It does require a little shift in attitude sometimes and some thought, and know it won't always be easy, but you could totally end up building a kick ass relationship with this nephew of yours because you helped him figure out how to better communicate. Be a model for his parents, yk? I know it is hard when you don't have kids that behaved this way, but really what it is - maybe your kids didn't have trouble communicating like he is? For whatever the reason.
I have been surrounded by young children for the past 12 yrs, and I think some phase of aggression is normal in TODDLERS (1 and 2 yo) totally based on lack of communication skills and their building frustration. There isn't an easy fix - but understanding the cause and where the kid is coming from can be very helpful in preventing and knowing how to address the child. Punishing a child this age is simply not going to work short or long term nor is it helping him with the root cause...would be emotionally unhealthy IMO.
I always used to think other parents were nuts for saying toddler aggression was normal because my first was SO not and I think looking back on myself 3 or 4 yrs ago, I looked down on them and their parents. :blush Not that my kid was perfect, but he understood hitting was wrong and wouldn't ever think to hurt another child...AND he WAS a late talker, so I didn't get it. He figured out other ways to communicate with our help and understanding, he never felt frustrated. But now after having a second, I GET IT. He is a different child - overall happier and friendlier actually. BUT, big but. He hits his older brother. He just turned 2 and this started a few months ago. Up until then, I kept saying how he is following the same communication path his brother did. Hardly any words yet, but communicating well without them and not frustrated. Then, it happened. He started hitting his brother who is almost 5. Granted, he started day care half days and he started having so many more thoughts than he could express, I think all at the same time. But, its happening. And I honestly CANNOT be there to guard him every single second. So we are dealing with it as it happens, and sometimes well, sometimes not. Yes, sometimes it causes real pain - and that sucks. But my older son loves his little brother and knows he is not intending on hurting him, we've taught him to be careful not to tease or use mean tone and also how to anticipate it coming and to protect himself. He knows its a phase, he understands it is already lessening as he acquires more words (that we give him), he sees how we talk to the little one, and we all will be happy when its over.