My 20 mo DS has taken to hitting, pinching, and kicking me a lot. He normally spares everyone else. I've read positive discipline and try to go with that.Sometimes when he does this it is a protest for something he doesn't want (to wear shoes, have a clean diaper, be strapped in the car seat, wear a bike helmet, etc.). to avoid it I give him lots of warning when we have to do those things (in 5 min we are going to..., in 2, in 1...) then I try to make it really fun by singing songs that he knows, asking him funny questions... I also give him the chance to do much of it by himself, give him lots of choices throughout the day and related to those necessity and safety things. I redirect. I show him how to touch his mom gently (when he is acting up and other times too)... If redirecting is not an option I tell him that it hurt and ask him to look at my sad face. I try to keep his hands occupied with other things... I feel like I have tried everything. Sometimes I tell him "mommy needs a time out" and I leave the room" he usually follows and does something sweet like hug me just before smacking me again. At times he giggles, and says "ouchy, ouchy!" as he is hurting me, and it often does hurt, a lot.
Any suggestions beyond redirection? This is really frustrating for me. I feel like I loose potentially special moments with my toddler, and like I don't want to be with him sometimes. If DH is home he reinforces gentle touch and takes over to save me from losing it, but I hate the feeling it gives me not to be able to cope with my own child. Oh, and he is in a wonderful day care 3 days a week, they never have this problem, and DS is kind to the other kids (at least as a normal toddler is) he occasionally will hit or push kids when I show up to pick him up. I just don't know where it's coming from, he is not exposed to any TV and rarely interacts with aggressive older kids. Thanks for any help you can give.
Aug 2009; DS1 Sep 2010; Dec 2012; Dec 2013; May 2014
My suggestion is to physically not let him do that to your body. If he tries to hit or pinch you, either move away from his body or gently but firmly restrain his hands or writsts. I think toddlers need to know that the parent is physically stronger. This does not mean being physically aggressive with the child, bt it does mean not letting them be that way with you. You can also say, "no, you cannot hit mommy." while doing it. Be firm, set your boundaries. As they grow they will get stronger. Better to show them now that they cannot do that to you. Also, by not letting them harm you you are modeling self respect to them.
you can still be a gentle loving parent while also having boundaries that ensure your own physical well being and clear boundaries.
I agree with Snapdragon on this, but would add - don't make a big deal of it. If he tries to hit you or kick you or whatever, just immediately put him down or step away, say "I don't like that" or something else in a matter-of-fact tone, and go about your business. I think the one thing I've learned about discipline with my 25 month old is that verbal messages aren't as instructive to her as physical ones.
snapdragon - thanks for the response, that is really helpful. People have said "don't let him do that", well obviously, but how? Thanks for being specific. Thanks newmamalizzy to, I think you are right about physical action. I can be misled by how much DS understands vocabulary wise so I need to be reminded that action "speaks" to toddlers. Thanks to you both.
Aug 2009; DS1 Sep 2010; Dec 2012; Dec 2013; May 2014
She keeps kicking the cat! I just hate time out and me and the OP have very similar styles of parenting. I think this kind of behavior usually comes when my DD is tired. There isn't much I can do without putting DD to bed. Have you tied a sling? Mine freaks out if I try it when she wants to be nursed but I can sometimes level with her. Like: "mama can't nurse but let's rock to sleep" sort of talk. Works sometimes!
I also am noticing that modeling really makes a diff. Our cat is going bonkers-- he's old so we have been yelling at him for jumping on the table and eating our food when we walk away Arg! As bad as a dog! So DD is picking up on this-- my theory.
Mama + Daddy +DD (12/20/09) =
Expecting #2 in September!
DD (27 months) has started hitting and kicking when I'm putting her to sleep at night. (she sleeps in a crib side-cared up to our bed). This happens when she's laying with me on the bed as she tries to go to sleep. She's not very aggressive about it, it's obviously her trying to get me to interact when I'm pretending to be asleep. I've been trying to just set very clear boundaries with her during bed time now: she can either be in her crib (pretty much doing what she wants there) or snuggle with me to go to sleep. No running around on the big bed - she's either in the crib or laying down nicely with me.
When she started hitting my first response was to just leave the bed and sit next to it. That didn't work at all - just made things worse. Now when she hits I put her in the crib. She usually crawls right back onto our bed, and sometimes is ready to just snuggle. If not, I just keep putting her back in there if she does anything but lay calmly and nicely with me. It seems like it's really starting to work.
I'm not advocating throwing your DS in a playpen every time he hits. DD is not being restrained in her crib, I'm just setting her boundaries. If a child throws something we take it away; if they hit we remove what they are hitting. The difficult thing is to do this in a way that isn't communicating that you don't love them when they hit you. I think if you are calm and matter-of-fact when removing yourself from being hit it does not communicate that message. You are not punishing, you are outlining the boundaries.
Work at home, homesteading mom sharing child care 50/50 with my wonderful WAH DH. DD1 born Jan. 2010. March '12. DD2 & DD3 (twins) born Feb. 2013