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aggressive toddler

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I am the mother of a 17-month ds, who is rather mellow physically, but somewhat challenging emotionally. I have a close friend who is a single mom, who adopted her ds from India when he was 8 months old. He is now 2 years. He is just the opposite of my son - very physically active and challenging in that way. He throws many tantrums,which I understand is common for a child of his age. However, my friend's ds is very aggressive towards only her... he bites, pulls her hairs, scratches her hands 'til they bleed, yanks her earrings, etc. I've witnessed up to 10 of these moments in a day, generally at a transition time. Is this typical? It's pretty amazing how violent he is towards her, and I often find myself intervening when I'm with them, as asked by my friend, because he won't hurt me. What would you do if this were you son? What would you do if it were your friends son? (offering any gentle thoughts or suggestions..) It doesn't seem to upset her too much. I figure that if she were upset, she would ask for help. Maybe it's merely my problem. But... is this ok for a child to do to his mom on a daily basis, when he doesn't do this to others?

Thanks for pondering with me.
La Tia
post #2 of 5
Hi La Tia and Welcome,

I was hoping that someone more experienced than I would respond. My ds is only 21 months and one thing I've been noticing is how this drive for independence has almost happened over night. He is very different than he was at 18 months (very laid back, wanted to always be with mama, not possessive about his toys, etc.). Now I can see that this need to be independent is kicking in. He says No a lot, won't let other kids take things from him, is experimenting with defiance and throwing hard objects.

So, I'm wondering if much of the difference is developmental. As for why your friend's ds is only acting aggressively towards her, I wonder if maybe he can only act that intensely with a person (mama) whom he feels completely safe with. Although Finn's not been aggressive with me yet, I do know that I've see the depths of his emotions to a much greater extent than anyone else.

Anyone with more help here???

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
thanks for your thoughts. I'm wondering if the fact that my friends son is adopted has something to do with it. In describing his behavior to antoher friend, she thought he sounded like he was having rages, rather than tantrums, which generally stem from anger (rages).
post #4 of 5
La tia,

I have noticed that children behave very differently for different adults. It is true that a child will feel most comfortable (in the beginning) being aggressive with someone who will love him no matter what. However, your friend must make it clear that it is not acceptable to hit. How does she handle the situation?

In my experience as an early childhood educator, many children who hit their parents, soon graduate to hitting others. I think your friend may need to read some books on positive discipline.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Currently, my friend will tell her son "no sweety, that hurts mama," and put him in a time out when she's in the home. The problem is when she's out and about, and he becomes violent towards her in public. I suggested some sort of restraint to give him. He seems to understand that it's awkward when in public places, because he really attacks her when they are in sticky situations (like going through the airport security system). My concern is that it will only get worse for my friend if she doen'st get a hold of the situation. I believe that her son KNOWS he's got one over her.

La Tia
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