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Kicking, hitting and biting toddler

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

My son, who is almost 18 months old, has been kicking, hitting (open and closed fist) and biting for some months now and is just not stopping no matter how often I say no and put distance between us (i.e. unlatch and set down on floor, leave the room, etc) and I am consistent. For him it's all just a game. I'm recently a single mom with very little time for myself, and getting most of my support from my 10 year old dd, who needs me, too, in her own ways . . . and my patience with him is growing thinner with each passing day. I realize that this is pretty normal toddler behavior, with testing limits and what not, but it must stop soon or I'm going to lose it. I can't nurse him without being beaten, kicked or bitten at the breast. Nursing him down for the night is the same. He has high energy levels and enjoys the kicking and hitting - it's rarely an angry reaction to anything - and I've been trying to get him to burn off that energy with more physical activity, but he just escalates to a full meltdown for the most part. I feel totally physically abused, extremely resentful and at a total loss of what to do to remedy the situation. We are also in the middle of night weaning now.

 

Help!

 

ETA: cross-posted to Judy Arnall.


Edited by Terrilein - 1/19/12 at 11:05pm
post #2 of 3

Dear Friend,


Thank you for writing in. I will answer within a few days.

 

Best,

Jessica

 

 

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post #3 of 3

 

Dear Friend,

 

Thank you for writing in. Sorry you are struggling in this way. When you are in it, it is so hard to see the way out. And the love is so large that you can't imagine simple limits. Often as mothers we are willing to take a level of abuse that we would protect our children from. You need to imagine that you are another toddler and your son is doing this to another child; you would be firm and swift; it is unacceptable to hurt another. And, it is the same with you. The boundary must as clear and unequivocal. In teaching him how he may or may not treat you, you are modeling relationship that will affect the many relationships in his future. 

 

Once your bottom line is clear internally, you can be calm but clear with him. At the first whiff of a bite, kick or hit, you physically remove yourself. You are not to be trespassed upon EVER. There should be no more hitting, biting, kicking of you EVER. Remove your body. Remove his body. Stop his kick or hit mid-stream, and say, "You may not hit my body."

 

Make sure to give him access for things to kick, hit and bite. Here is an article that may be helpful. The Mad Bag: http://loveparentingla.com/the-l-o-v-e-parenting-mad-bag-a-bridge-to-inner-calm/

 

Be proactive for what you are walking towards: make an art project to tell the story of nursing. Draw pictures, use collage, have him narrate or do it together. Create a story that pictures and describes the nursing relationship that you want. 

 

BTW, here is an article about night weaning that may prove helpful:

http://loveparentingla.com/night-weaning-in-3-days/

 

Given that you are recently single, your son may be processing, releasing, and reacting to some of the other energy in the house. It is important to give support and context for the separation that has occurred. I recommend getting professional support so that you can navigate this transition with as many tools as possible, for your sake and that of your children.

 

It is important that you don't rely on your ten-year old daughter for your emotional support; she is still a child and processing the change in your home as well. As tempting as it can be, and as mature as they can seem, holding that boundary between child and adult is critical to give your child the emotional support she needs in her childhood. I'm sure you are there for her as well, but adult feelings, adult instability, and adult emotions, especially after a separation are too much for a child, even if they seem able to process it. I encourage you to get momma support! There are many free resources that you can find online, including Mom's Meet Ups, Mom's Clubs, Attachment Parenting International, Mothering's "Find Your Tribe," as well as church groups, and other support groups tailored towards single motherhood. Reach out, you are not alone. You will find that you will receive support and you will end up helping someone else that will in turn empower your sense of confidence, ability, and self-worth.

 

You have my blessings during this time of transition.

 

Best,

Jessica

 

 

The Ultimate Parenting Course is a must-have for every parent. This online course features over four hours of video and audio interviews plus a 100 page handbook with action exercises and additional contributions from PhDs, MDs, Naturopathic doctors, psychotherapists, educators, and best-selling authors, in eight essential parenting themes: Identity, Co-Parenting, Sleep, Feeding, Attachment, Individuation, Conflict and Community. BUY NOW!!

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