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At the end of my rope with aggressive toddler

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Today I have been melting down nonstop. I'm so completely burned out with how aggressive my 2 year old is. It seems to come in cycles although I can't totally identify why? He has always been aggressive towards his very mild mannered female cousin. Mostly it was biting. Now it seems to be face scratching/cheek pinching. Today I had to take him out of storytime and the playroom for grabbing the cheeks of two different children. For no apparent reason. I wish he was just a pusher or a slapper. But the cheek pinching is extremely embaressing because it leaves marks. I wish I could crawl into his head and find out why he does this. It really feels like he is the ONLY child in my circle of friends/playgroups/etc who does this. I feel like the worst mother in the world. It makes me not even want to leave the house because everywhere we go I have to hover to save my embaressment, only most of the time it happens so quick I can blink and miss it.

Tell me, am I the only one?
(And don't even get me started on how worried I am about how he is going to handle the new baby this spring........ )
post #2 of 12

Does he have any allergies? I have a friend who's DS has a milk allergy that makes him act out.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Doesn't seem to have any allergies. Although I have never had him tested.

He is cutting his last 2 yr molar which could be the reason for todays torture. But for cryin out loud the kid has been teething and miserable his whole 2 years!! Maybe I will see some improvement once this last tooth breaks free.
post #4 of 12
I can totally relate to this. I have been meaning to come on and post about my aggressive toddler too.

My son is 20 months and I just find that pretty much anytime we are interacting with other kids, he always seems to get himself in a physical situation, either biting, hitting, grabbing, or shoving. He is really undistractable too, I always have to remove him from the situation. Today he threw a rock a this little girls head that was standing less then a foot from him. She wasn't hurt and didn't even cry but he could have easily hit her in the eye or something. I am so understanding the frustration too. It makes me feel like I am doing something wrong, here. Like what can I do to help him not be so physical. And why is he that way...he doesn't have any brothers or sisters to learn the behavior from...I just don't get it. I seriously don't see many other kids acting out like him.

I even was thinking about starting time-outs because distraction doesn't work but I want to discipline him in age appropriate ways, yk. Just writing this makes me frustrated. I really don't know what to do about this. I talked to the doctor and he just said that it was normal and that I should tell him a firm "no" when he does something aggressive and when he's older, I can give time-outs.
post #5 of 12
I am right there with you mama, and my little guy is only 18 months. It has become so intense that my friends feel free to yell at him and discipline him when I am standing right there trying to prevent it all. It is insanely embarrassing. I actually have a mental health worker coming to our house to help me to help him. She is watching him interact with my daycare kids (who are both toddlers his age) to see if she can figure out what triggers it.

I have found that if I ask him to give the other child a hug when he is about to attack that it occasionally heads off the aggression, but not always. Honestly, I rarely go see some friends because I know they just don't like my son around their children. It is so hard. I have tried to let him run to get out a bunch of energy, but that just seems to wind him up even more.

Maybe we should all start an aggressive toddler tribe.

ETA: I totally know the isolation that you feel by not knowing any other toddlers like your son. I know at least a dozen kids that are within 6 months of DS's age, and none are even close to acting like he does. It really makes me feel like I have done something wrong, when really I know deep down that it is just his personality.
post #6 of 12
I was getting on here to post this! DD1 will not stop hitting, shoving, stepping on her sister and I have hit a wall today. I am tired of it. Timeouts don't work, spanking doesn't work. She will not listen anymore, the only way I can get her to do anything anymore is to threaten to go inside or not go to grandmas. I am tired of this kind of interaction. What am I supposed to do? She isn't really like this w/ other kids, but I noticed last time we were at a play area at the mall the kids were pushing her and dispite my intervention and explaining that those kids were being mean and not behaving she has just made a leap and bound to being so much worse!! AHHHHH!!
post #7 of 12
I could have written this post.

Seriously I am so frustrated with my two year old. It seems that he is CONSTANTLY doing aggressive things towards other kids, myself and toys/various items around the house. Just as I am writing this post he is being spoken to by my mother because he threw a huge plastic school bus toy across the room. I am not sure where this active little personality has come from but he is the ONLY one out of the kids he interacts with that does this. At playgroup I have to constantly be right there with him making sure that he is not hitting, pushing or whatever he could do that would be dangerous. I think he is really curious about reactions. He tends to go more for the kids who have a larger reaction to his behavior. For example, a little girl at playgroup always screams and crys when he does things to her so he always goes for her. Another girl doesnt react at all and he leaves her alone. This has been going on for a while and I have NO idea how to help the situation. I dont think there is much we can do until they grow out of it-and they do. I try to redirect him to other interesting things and I do have consequences. He has to be alone in his playroom sometimes when he hurts people and it we are out somewhere we will go home if he does dangerous things to other people. Also, I have started trying not to react at all when he does things. For example, usually I get REALLY angry if he hurts his infant sister and it seemed to feed his behavior. Now I simply pick her up and walk away without a word. He moves on. It happens less when I do that. He loves reactions. He is learning through doing and he is having fun figuring people out.

Originally Posted by lotus.blossom View Post
Tell me, am I the only one?
(And don't even get me started on how worried I am about how he is going to handle the new baby this spring........ )
I have a five week old baby. It is hard. Prepare him as much as you can by reading him books about babies and helping. Talk to him about being gentle with the baby. When that baby comes, don't trust him for a second with the baby. Stay right there and hold the baby away from him. It is scary the things Harvest tries to do to her. He is on her like flies on sh*%t.

Hang in there. It will pass. I know it is hard thinking about what other parents are thinking but really, they couldn't possibly know what it is like to deal with this aggressive behavior if their child is not doing it. Protect him from adults who don't understand him. No matter what negative behavior he has, he is a wonderful child who will move past this phase. I try to be positive with Harvest and tell him all the things he did well at playgroup as well as talking to him about hitting Susan. They are still such babes and logical reasoning should not be expected. I try so hard to make him feel good about himself despite this behavior. It is hard. I know. It will pass.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks mamas, I feel encouraged and supported by your posts!

Gavin's Mom- Honestly Time Outs do work for us. I know they are not always favorable here but a threatened time out does divert his behavior (not for the aggressiove thing but for other behaviors) I guess we do more of time ins because I stay with him and talk about it and afterwards we make ammends. But anyway....... Doesn't seem to phase him when its a time out for hurting another kid. He doesn't get mad when we leave the park or when I sit him in a TO then.

Pumpkin_Pie- Good idea for an aggressive toddler thread. I think it is helpful to be able to get our frustrations out and gain perspective from other moms. Especially since this is online. I found myself telling two people over the phone about my horrible day yesterday and my one friend said "Is Lochlan sitting right there listening?" It made sense to me that yeah maybe he is listening and it is reinforcing his bad behavior.

Oceans Eve- I tend to wonder if we have leaders of bullies brewing here!! I have never *NEVER* had to step in and protect my son. I would actually welcome him getting pushed or pinched. Its only happened a few times and he has no reaction to it. He is very tough.

Vermontgirl- I reallllly appreciated your post. So many things rang true for me. I think the best thing you said was protect him from adults who don't understand. I have a great bunch of friends. They are patient and kind and will speak to Lochlan gently if I did not get there in time. BUT I have one parent who took matters into her own hands and stepped in front of me and handled it. It upset me. And I have another mom who has 2 very mellow almost catatonic kids and she informed me on how she would have handled it (they are both spankers) and it made me so sick to my stomach. She has NO CLUE what its like. Its difficult to be pro- AP when your child does not exhibit the desired behaviors.

The thing that stumps me is that he is not aggressive towards anyone but other children his age. He loves loves babies and hugs them and plays with them. He loves loves older children (5+) and he is great towards adults including DH and I. At home he hugs and cuddles and loves on us like crazy. He is snuggly and sweet a lot of the time. But when he is around other children his own age I see a change in his countenance. He is very introspective and thoughtful and his aggressive acts are very thought out. Sometimes they are a knee jerk reaction to a toy being stolen. But often it is unprovoked.......
post #9 of 12
Maybe something subtle like either a food intolerance (probably to a food you eat regularly, like dairy or gluten or maybe eggs or corn) or an intolerance to certain types of food chemicals? Feingold is one diet that reduces certain naturally-occurring food chemicals (stuff that's in healthy foods like apricots and nuts). Those can apparently be really, really hard to identify. Given how enormously stressful this sounds (and big hugs to you!) this seems worth exploring. This sounds really difficult.
post #10 of 12
Just wanted to post quickly....
My #3 WAS very aggressive from about 21mths to 25mths -- we're not an aggressive family, and his older brother and sis are both pretty gentle kids. he was biting, and hitting mostly but would go after big kids too (8yr olds... ) he'd do anything to try to start something. I never could figure out if it was for attention (although I thought I was giving him lots already)...he'd call people "baby" to try to get his siblings to laugh...

Anyhow, it eventually went away. on it's own. We did stop going to library story time and playgroups for a little bit because it was too stressful for me -- knowing that it was only a matter of time before he hurt someone.
But, as I said,...it's gone now...

Really, I think he just needed to mature and learn how to communicate more (he's able to talk so much more now!)

Good luck mama!!
post #11 of 12
My DD was very aggressive from age 18 mo until she turned 2. It was horrible. I had to watch her like a hawk at playgroup or the park or music class, because she'd always try to slap her friends in the face or push them down. It was very tiring. She wasn't aggressive towards babies or older kids, only toddlers (anyone walking until about 3 years old). I would just remover her from the situation and tell her that we don't hit our friends (because it hurts.) When she turned 2, it got MUCH better. Now she's 2.5 and she plays very well with other kids. She never hits, slaps, bites, pushes, etc. anymore. I think it had something to do with language and being able to express herself better (or rather frustration at not being able to express herself).
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
It is a good point about the language skills. He has a lot of words and a few phrases but I think he gets easily frustrated about not being able to communicate.

I hesitate to think that it is food intolerance only because this is such a specific situation. Its not like his behavior is worse after eating certain foods. Its just when he is around certain toddlers. He has a toddler allergy!
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