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Help! Physically aggressive toddler is hurting my kids! - Page 3

post #41 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post

If the parents are in the room or not, I would stop the two-yr old (gently) every-time with words, distraction or physically lifting toddler off and away from my own kids. You have a right, OP, to keep your kids safe and if these parents aren't doing it , and you have to be around them occasionally, you need to be directly involved.

 


I agree with this, and if I were in your shoes, OP, I would directly intervene whenever possible during a kid-fight/altercation.

 

Now I am not a super-confrontational person, but the kind of parenting you're describing w/ your BiL and SiL drives me absolutely nuts. And it's not fair to ANYONE in the family. I've seen something similar happen in my own family which is how I think I can relate. Next time there's going to be a family get-together, maybe you can address it up-front with your BiL and/or his wife. Phrase it something like, I'm looking forward to our get-together, but I'm a little concerned about the kids because of what happened last time (describe the times that your DD was hurt, etc.). Talk form a place of caring about your nephew as well as your kids, and ackowledging that your own kids' retaliatory actions also cause problems, too. I think if you approach it in that way, your SiL is less likely to get defensive because you're not coming to her and saying "hey, your kid is a problem", you know? And also you could frame the conversation in terms of ackowledging that it's developmentally normal for two year-old boys to be.....erm, spirited....but that you just don't want the kids to get hurt like last time, the time before, etc. And then ask what she thinks y'all can do about this.

 

This is honestly what I would do if I were in your situation. You have to just say it right out, but there are ways you can do that that will also protect your in-laws self esteem when it comes to parenting and not make them get imediately defensive or resentful.
 

 

post #42 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnygir1 View Post




 

Hmmm.  I wonder if this is a case of differing definitions?  My children have been fairly well-behaved, but I haven't met any toddlers (including my own) I'd allow to play with a baby without an adult right next to them, for example.  My 19mo is in daycare, and the teachers are constantly intervening to keep them from taking toys from one another, stepping on one another, throwing toys, pushing one another, screeching at one another, etc.  Sometimes their actions are out of anger or frustration, other times not.  I can't imagine that that is uncommon.

 

 

Those things are common and expected.  But, what the OP is describing is different.   

 

ETA (because the computer ate half my post... I'm sure it was me.. but, I'm blaming the computer.)

 

Anyway, if I saw this little boy in a group, I might not think his behavior is aggressive at all.  But, when she was telling her story, I was picturing a tiny little cage fighter barreling around knocking everybody over.  My perception of what she's saying doesn't sound normal.  

 

 


Edited by nextcommercial - 4/28/11 at 11:57am
post #43 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post



Those things are common and expected.  But, what the OP is describing is different.   



The things the op mentioned seem to me to be common and expected:

Throwing things:  My 19 mo throws things all.the.time.  He thinks it is fun and funny and doesn't (of course) differentiate between things that can break or hurt someone and things that are okay to throw.  We have to teach him that.  He also throws things sometimes when he is angry or frustrated.

Breaking toys:  He breaks things too, way more than my dd ever did.  If there is a moving part on something, for example, he might just try to pry it off or bend it in the wrong direction.  When I let him use an old laptop of mine (that doesn't work) I looked over after a few minutes and he had pried off 20 keys.

Pushing:  If I didn't intervene, my children would push each other down a lot more than they do -- we have to teach them how to be polite and gentle with each other.  I think it is totally normal to push someone down when you want their toy or to see how they react.

 

I really don't see anything abnormal in the toddler's behavior from what the op wrote.  As others have suggested, the problem appears to lie with the response (or lack of response) of the adults.

post #44 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnygir1 View Post





The things the op mentioned seem to me to be common and expected:

 


I edited my post abotu vthis oen<---seriously?  I have no idea how that happened either.  

 

(I edited my post above this)

post #45 of 63

Okay, point taken.  I do still think that it is an adult supervision issue at its root.

post #46 of 63

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.

post #47 of 63

Oh, sorry, I thought that talking to the nephew was an obvious part of removing him from the situation. Sheepish.gif Okay, to be clear, I think you should let his parents know that if he moves to hurt your kids, you'll be stopping it from happening, and then you need to be prepared to stop him hitting or whatever and then catch him and use one of the lovely GD phrases like "gentle touching" "you really want the toy, let's tell dd you want a turn. 'DD nephew wants a turn when you're done.'" etc etc etc.

 

Does nephew get chances to rough house with his parents? A lot of parents aren't good with that kind of thing, or don't do it at all. If he's not getting any wrestling/tumbling play at home, it might help matters if you've got a teen in the family with good control who can be a monkey bars for awhile. Or you or your dh could maybe do it? In our family, dh is the one who generally handles letting kids knock him down and scooping them up into the air, because he's got the physical strength and endurance to sustain it for awhile.

 

 

post #48 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2tatum View Post

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. 



Oh man, this is SUCH a good point!  I always forget that most almost 2yo's don't talk very much, b/c my ds talks like a 4yo right now (he's 27mo), and by 20mo was speaking in short sentences.  He's still pretty rough.

 

I also wanted to agree with mom2tatum about the the rough housing.  It's really helpful to my ds if we rough house with him, and teach OK ways to play physically.  Tickling for example is an OK thing in our house until the other person say's "Stop" so he'll tickle me, or the other way around.  It's really fun, and I've seen the difference between when I started rough housing with him (he didn't know when to stop, had little control) to now, and he has started respecting me saying "stop" and understands more of when its time to do something else.  Outside has also been really helpful - if he's worn out from running around and getting dirty he's not as likely to be physically aggressive with me or anyone else.

post #49 of 63
True true the reason that toddlers are more aggressive is because they don't have the language skills to express what they want. This is why they usually grow out of it as they get closer to three. I still think the op's main issue is feeling like the parents are not doing their job, and knowing how to handle the parents while keeping her own kids safe. The op has gotten some great ideas. I hope she comes back to give us an update!
post #50 of 63

I think some how I missed the fact that this little boy is only not yet 2...I had it in my head that he was closer to 4...hmmm weird.  I have to agree that aggressiveness at this age CAN be normal, but that is WHY parents are not allowed to take a lackadaisical attitude towards their children when at gatherings with their familys and friends where other small people are.  They HAVE to be on top of the behavior at all times.  It's their job...and little "we don't do that." now and then is not sufficient.  It is our job to protect other people from our little monkeys.

 

As a PP suggested I would simply swoop the child gently up and deliver him to mom and dad.  Remind them that it is their job to watch their kid.  That two is too young to leave unattended in the care of even a 14 yo if that 14 yo has two almost 2s a 4 and a 9yo in their charge.    I would not get into the direct parenting and teaching of the kid, because as I have experienced it allows them to see you as the designated driver of childcare.  So while they all happily enjoy an evening of adult conversation and wine, you get branded the Babysitter and spend your evening wiping down drooly chins and breaking up fights between kids that aren't even yours.  And they don't even pay you for it!  Plus when you use a methodology they don't like, they get to be pissed off with you for unsolicited parenting.  Not worth it!

 

Yes, violent aggression in the under three set it commonplace, but it also needs to be dealt with effectively by the parents. 

 

OP, I don't see any anger for the boy from you.  I see the frustration you feel for his parents.  You want them to acknowledge their role in the get togethers, that you should not be the only one who keeps on eye on him, that your children too deserve a safe place to just be without worrying about being blindsided by a rough housing tot. If you're like me, you want them to put down the book, or the glass of wine,  and watch their kid, just like you watch yours, get involved, engage with him, instead of sitting there like you don't even HAVE a kid, or acting like he's so innocent and your kids are the one with the problem if they can't handle a little rough and tumble play. 

 

I hear you!    But as a PP suggested before, you can't make other people act the way you want, you can only control how you act.  So if they choose not to actively watch their son while you are all together, either keep your families apart until E is older and has out grown this phase, or work on protecting your kids as best as you can while you are all together.  It's good to vent, now turn that anger into action and get your needs for safety and respect and fairness met.

post #51 of 63

Interesting thread. I'd like to hear a little more about SPD and aggression.

 

My 3 yo DS is the most sensitive, cuddly, gentle guy, yet at times he gets really aggressive, pushing, biting and kicking. I've only seen him do this to adults, and he's pretty strong.

 

He also has food allergies, and Im pretty sure it's related - just not sure how and when...

 

I like the idea of giving him other things to do such as pulling a wagon full of bricks. Don't mean to hijack - but are there any other resources about this problem in particular?

post #52 of 63

Check out the Feingold diet. It's aimed at eliminating things that are aggression triggers and a few mamas around here have had wonderful results with it.

 

I'd also search through the Special Needs Forum for SPD and see what kind of things have been helpful to other kids. You could also post about your ds. I'd recommend asking about it there to get more specific, been there done that, information.

post #53 of 63

Thanks for the resources Sapphire Chan. Had no idea the Feingold diet helped with aggression - It will help me pinpoint the offending foods.

 

post #54 of 63
Quote:

Originally Posted by Karenwith4View Post

 

! - I would resign myself to shadowing this child for a period of time and every single time he gets aggressive I would pick him up saying something like "It's not okay for you to hit, push, whatever other people. You need to use your words and gentle hands" and then I would carry him to his parents, physically hand him to them and say calmly and without judgement - "Your child is hurting other children.  He either needs you to come and help to play safely or to you need to occupy him away from others so that no one gets hurt."  Wash, rinse, repeat. 

 

2 - Teach your older children to do the same. Over time he will either learn that he can't play that way because it's no fun to be constantly interrupted or the parents will get a clue that they need to up their game when your kids are around.

 

^^^^^ For the win!  You get eleventy-seven internets.

We had to do this with a niece who had fast fists and a short fuse from about 2 1/2 until she was almost 4. We all got pretty good at separating her from the object of her wrath and doing a modified fireman carry to the sidelines. She had to take a short "CHILL OUT TIME" (set with a timer) and then could start over.

 

If it happened when she was a visitor, she got removed from the house and we would ring the doorbell and start over.

 

If you are consistent, the incidents should tail off fairly quickly. If you are inconsistent, expect them to stay the same or increase.
 

 

post #55 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by BonnieNova View Post

 

My 3 yo DS is the most sensitive, cuddly, gentle guy, yet at times he gets really aggressive, pushing, biting and kicking. I've only seen him do this to adults, and he's pretty strong.


I like the idea of giving him other things to do such as pulling a wagon full of bricks.

 

How about martial arts classes? If he's only doing it to adults, he apparently wants to vent some aggression and figures that they can defend themselves. Toddler classes are available in many places.

 

post #56 of 63

You've gotten tons of advice so I'll let that part be. But I did want to commiserate with you. I totally feel your pain and I understand your emotions. All of them. Just reading this thread raised my blood pressure considerably as I thought about my own similar situation. I also have a nephew (4.5 yo) who is...difficult. Not in all the same areas (though I know some of the aggressive-with-parents-who-do-squat ones too. Frustrating!), but even though I know that the parents play a considerable role in the behaviors of the child, it's really hard not to feel some disdain for my nephew. It's hard to see him being unfair and selfish and bossy and screamy (boy, can he scream!) and then to have MY kids scolded when they've done nothing (nephew screams, BIL says, "Guys, lets not scream at each other." Yeah, that was verbatim. Or how about nephew throws blocks at my son and BIL picks up nephew and sends my son to time out. Huh?). BIL consistently disciplines my kids in much harsher ways than he disciplines his own kid even when I'm standing RIGHT THERE and he knows I'm a highly proactive parent. Bugs the heck outta me. I'm not saying I'm right in how angry and agitated I get at my BIL or in the distaste I feel for my (mostly) innocent nephew--far from it--but I do certainly understand those feelings! I understand wanting to hang out with family and not be left out because someone else's choices push you away. I understand the stress and anxiety, the mama bear feeling, that comes with every family function. I understand the red-faced, heart-pounding anger that boils up, clouding your judgment and making you wonder if now would be a good time to say something or if you are too angry and irrational. I understand wanting to say the right things at the right time to make a difference, not knowing what or when that might be, but also wanting to preserve the relationship. Meanwhile the relationship, for you at least, is becoming increasingly tainted. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!! It's sad when the parents' parenting (or lack thereof) creates a dynamic in which it requires effort to like a little kid. But we're only human....

post #57 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosomers View Post

You've gotten tons of advice so I'll let that part be. But I did want to commiserate with you. I totally feel your pain and I understand your emotions. All of them. Just reading this thread raised my blood pressure considerably as I thought about my own similar situation. I also have a nephew (4.5 yo) who is...difficult. Not in all the same areas (though I know some of the aggressive-with-parents-who-do-squat ones too. Frustrating!), but even though I know that the parents play a considerable role in the behaviors of the child, it's really hard not to feel some disdain for my nephew. It's hard to see him being unfair and selfish and bossy and screamy (boy, can he scream!) and then to have MY kids scolded when they've done nothing (nephew screams, BIL says, "Guys, lets not scream at each other." Yeah, that was verbatim. Or how about nephew throws blocks at my son and BIL picks up nephew and sends my son to time out. Huh?). BIL consistently disciplines my kids in much harsher ways than he disciplines his own kid even when I'm standing RIGHT THERE and he knows I'm a highly proactive parent. Bugs the heck outta me. I'm not saying I'm right in how angry and agitated I get at my BIL or in the distaste I feel for my (mostly) innocent nephew--far from it--but I do certainly understand those feelings! I understand wanting to hang out with family and not be left out because someone else's choices push you away. I understand the stress and anxiety, the mama bear feeling, that comes with every family function. I understand the red-faced, heart-pounding anger that boils up, clouding your judgment and making you wonder if now would be a good time to say something or if you are too angry and irrational. I understand wanting to say the right things at the right time to make a difference, not knowing what or when that might be, but also wanting to preserve the relationship. Meanwhile the relationship, for you at least, is becoming increasingly tainted. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!! It's sad when the parents' parenting (or lack thereof) creates a dynamic in which it requires effort to like a little kid. But we're only human....


Tell BIL in front of your kids "I will handle disciplining my own children."

 

post #58 of 63

I haven't read all the replies but here is what I've done in the same situation. After he hurts your child, ask your child if he/she wants to play with him anymore. If your child says no, then respect that and don't let them play together. I then would have my child say to him, "I do not want to play with you until you stop hurting me". I would bring books or special toys for my child to play near me. I kept an eye on my child and if the other child approached, I'd ask my child if she/he were ready to play. If the answer was no, then I'd say "she/he does not want to play with you until you stop hurting her/him". I would then redirect the other child.

 

I see the situation as a way of empowering my children. Their feelings and boundaries are respected and I follow their lead. It's about showing my kids that I respect their wishes and that I will protect them.

 

You've been given advise on how to handle him which I think is good. He's young but not so young that he will understand that when he hits, children don't want to play with him.

post #59 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunnielly View Post

I haven't read all the replies but here is what I've done in the same situation. After he hurts your child, ask your child if he/she wants to play with him anymore. If your child says no, then respect that and don't let them play together. I then would have my child say to him, "I do not want to play with you until you stop hurting me". I would bring books or special toys for my child to play near me. I kept an eye on my child and if the other child approached, I'd ask my child if she/he were ready to play. If the answer was no, then I'd say "she/he does not want to play with you until you stop hurting her/him". I would then redirect the other child.

 

I see the situation as a way of empowering my children. Their feelings and boundaries are respected and I follow their lead. It's about showing my kids that I respect their wishes and that I will protect them.

 

You've been given advise on how to handle him which I think is good. He's young but not so young that he will understand that when he hits, children don't want to play with him.



I am not sure that a child who is not yet two has the cognitive skills or emotional maturity to understand this approach, and I'd be concerned about teaching my children a lack of empathy.

While helping children establish and respect healthy boundaries is important, it feels a bit like shunning this child in this scenario versus helping all the children state what they need and working towards a solution.  

I really believe that this issue is more about the involvement or lack of it with the parents versus an issue with the child.

 

post #60 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post





I am not sure that a child who is not yet two has the cognitive skills or emotional maturity to understand this approach, and I'd be concerned about teaching my children a lack of empathy.

While helping children establish and respect healthy boundaries is important, it feels a bit like shunning this child in this scenario versus helping all the children state what they need and working towards a solution.  

I really believe that this issue is more about the involvement or lack of it with the parents versus an issue with the child.

 



Ditto.  It actually feels pretty passive-aggressive to me to ask one child in front of another if he/she wants to continue to play with the other (apparently hoping the answer will be no).  Especially if you believe the other child can understand what is going on in that conversation.

 

That, of course, is different than helping your child navegate a situation in which he/she states independently that he/she doesn't want to play with/be around another family member.

 

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