The violence has to stop (18mo) - Mothering Forums
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Gentle Discipline > The violence has to stop (18mo)
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 02:39 PM 10-21-2010
When DS gets mad he gets violent...like, sometimes REALLY violent. He wants to hurt you. I know it's "age appropriate" or whatever but I cannot do this anymore.

We're talking hitting, pinching to the point of bruises, biting, scratching, grabbing and digging his nails in (I cut them and he always manages to get me anyway), kicking, etc... My arms are starting to look like I own a wild animal.

We've tried everything in our parenting arsenal. Yes, even spanking. Here's the breakdown:

- Remove myself from him: He follows me to continue to hurt me. AND I've had some horrible back pain this pregnancy (I'm seeing a chiro when I can afford it) and sometimes it gets so bad that I have trouble walking. So, if I'm in that kind of pain I can't exactly jump up and walk off...

- Time-out: He screams, gives a hug when his time is up (we're talking 60 seconds), and then repeats the action when he's mad 5 mins later. So, not working.

- Distract: This child is not easily distracted. If he's really mad there isn't much you can do to change his focus. I mean, I can hand him a cellphone or something...but he'll inevitably do something on it that requires me to take it again and start it all over.

- Giving him words: I try to do this ("I know you're mad" etc) but he's not verbal yet so it doesn't do much.

- Health considerations: It can't be teeth each time. It's too constant lately. He does have dairy issues and we avoid it 90% of the time...but again, too consistent to be just diet.

I miss the screaming.

blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 02:46 PM 10-21-2010
Short on time right now, but my ds2 was/is like this. I am having him evaluated for early onset bipolar disorder.
~Charlie's~Angel~'s Avatar ~Charlie's~Angel~ 02:47 PM 10-21-2010
Oh mama. Hugs. Lots and LOTS of HUGS. And commiseration. I dont have any answers. One day at a time is all i got. But usually, when one of mine gets through a stage, the other one starts. No reprieve and it STINKS!

All I can really say is from what I can see, your doing everything RIGHT. Its a process.
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 02:52 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barbie64g View Post
Oh mama. Hugs. Lots and LOTS of HUGS. And commiseration. I dont have any answers. One day at a time is all i got. But usually, when one of mine gets through a stage, the other one starts. No reprieve and it STINKS!

All I can really say is from what I can see, your doing everything RIGHT. Its a process.
Yeah. Once a week he has a REALLY GOOD DAY and is loving and cuddly and cooperative. Sadly, I spent that day nesting and cleaning all day long.

I'm really trying not to spank him...we did it a few times and it felt like I was spanking him all.day.long. So, now it only happens when I'm too frustrated to react differently (more often than I'd like but not so much I feel like the worst parent ever)

The thing I have zero tolerance for is biting. I'm not sure why that's my breaking point but it is. Maybe because my younger brother was a biter... I dunno.
blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 03:03 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
I'm really trying not to spank him...we did it a few times and it felt like I was spanking him all.day.long. So, now it only happens when I'm too frustrated to react differently (more often than I'd like but not so much I feel like the worst parent ever)
I was never a big spanker, it happened maybe only every few months, but always out of my own frustration over not knowing what else to do. Would you like to know what it took for me to stop spanking once and for all?

I just looked my violent little boy in the eye and explained to him that hitting is never ok, not even for mommies. I promised him that I would never hit him again. And I haven't.

Whether or not your LO has BPD or is just in a wee bit of a "bratty" phase, hitting will only model angry, violent behavior to him. Please try with all your might never to hit your baby again. (((hugs)))
~Charlie's~Angel~'s Avatar ~Charlie's~Angel~ 03:03 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
Yeah. Once a week he has a REALLY GOOD DAY and is loving and cuddly and cooperative. Sadly, I spent that day nesting and cleaning all day long.
Ahhhh, yes. But if hes impossible and needs your undivided attention the other 6 days a week, when are you supposed to get the cleaning done?
texmati's Avatar texmati 03:06 PM 10-21-2010
s from Jan ddc! My son's about 5 mos younger than yours, and we've been dealing with 'no kicky mama' for months now. I also have spd, and it's just painful. His tantrums have been increasing in frequency and severity as he's gotten older, and my patience has gotten thinner.

Have you tried exhausting him? Up and down the stairs? A walk in the morning, or even drive to the park and let him run around there? I'm in texas as well, and the whether is just now getting good; but there are some days where I cannot walk from couch to kitchen! We also practice gentle touch, and I let him beat his heart out on his stuffed animals.

I can't wait until DD is born, and he'll have a new target for his toddler angst.
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 03:13 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
Have you tried exhausting him? Up and down the stairs? A walk in the morning, or even drive to the park and let him run around there? I'm in texas as well, and the whether is just now getting good; but there are some days where I cannot walk from couch to kitchen! We also practice gentle touch, and I let him beat his heart out on his stuffed animals.
Yeah, when he's exhausted it's actually worse...he HATES to nap so he gets overtired.
I actually can't take him on walks lately because of this behavior. He doesn't listen and when I try to pick him up (to keep him from running in the road or something) he gets violent. We usually stay in the apartment complex but 500 yards is a long way for a pregnant mama to walk holding a 27lb toddler that is grabbing and pulling on her hair.
oaktreemama's Avatar oaktreemama 03:14 PM 10-21-2010
One thing that does stand out to me is if you don't think his hitting you is appropriate, then your hitting him certainly isn't either.

I think it is very hard to explain to children that it isn't ok to hit Mama, but it is ok for her to hit you.

While there may be something else going on with your son (I am certainly no expert), I can promise you that hitting him for hitting you will only make the situation worse.

How can we expect our children to learn to deal with anger and frustration without physically acting out if we can't?
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 03:22 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by blessedwithboys View Post
I was never a big spanker, it happened maybe only every few months, but always out of my own frustration over not knowing what else to do. Would you like to know what it took for me to stop spanking once and for all?

I just looked my violent little boy in the eye and explained to him that hitting is never ok, not even for mommies. I promised him that I would never hit him again. And I haven't.

Whether or not your LO has BPD or is just in a wee bit of a "bratty" phase, hitting will only model angry, violent behavior to him. Please try with all your might never to hit your baby again. (((hugs)))
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post
One thing that does stand out to me is if you don't think his hitting you is appropriate, then your hitting him certainly isn't either.

I think it is very hard to explain to children that it isn't ok to hit Mama, but it is ok for her to hit you.

While there may be something else going on with your son (I am certainly no expert), I can promise you that hitting him for hitting you will only make the situation worse.

How can we expect our children to learn to deal with anger and frustration without physically acting out if we can't?

This might come out snarky because I'm having a really rough day and I don't mean it to...

I almost didnt' mention that I'd ever spanked because I don't want the entire thread to turn into "you shouldn't do that!!!!!!"

I know you guys are only trying to help. I just really need advice and ideas...not a lot of "well THAT was a bad decision" comments.
texmati's Avatar texmati 03:27 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
Yeah, when he's exhausted it's actually worse...he HATES to nap so he gets overtired.
I actually can't take him on walks lately because of this behavior. He doesn't listen and when I try to pick him up (to keep him from running in the road or something) he gets violent. We usually stay in the apartment complex but 500 yards is a long way for a pregnant mama to walk holding a 27lb toddler that is grabbing and pulling on her hair.

do you have anyone who can exhaust him for you? My parents will take him for 2-3 hours in the evening, and he's asleep in the car on the way back home. Maybe even a library/tumbling class. You need a break mama!
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 03:31 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by texmati View Post
do you have anyone who can exhaust him for you? My parents will take him for 2-3 hours in the evening, and he's asleep in the car on the way back home. Maybe even a library/tumbling class. You need a break mama!
Not at all. We can't afford classes or a sitter or anything. Family is 1.5 hours at the CLOSEST (and that's not even the family he's super comfortable with...they're 4 hours away) DH works all day...he's home at 5pm at the earliest (unless it's a Tues or Thurs and then he's home after 8pm because he has class)

Pregnancy is def contributing. When I'm not in pain I'm exhausted. The slightest amount of heat causes me to feel overheated and sick. And DH and I are going through some emotional marital stuff right now (we're both in therapy) so when it feels like my little boy HATES me I can't function.
just__angel's Avatar just__angel 03:40 PM 10-21-2010
I 2nd the suggestion to have him evaluaded. BiPolar is a possiblitity, but so could adhd. Could also be that he'sjustextremelyboreed and needs TONS of physical exercise and going places.
It "seems" from your post that youre not 100% consistant in method of discipline. Cant try it for a few days and then switch to something else.

If you chose to use time out, Id put him in a playpen for 2 minutes, and sit and read near him. (not allowing yourself to be engaged by him for that time)
Time out instantly for all negative behaviors with you simply saying, "no hitting. Hitting hurts."

Another suggestion I have came from an adoption/attachment parenting site and worked VERY well w/my adhd boy. http://www.processes.org/processholdings.php

Not sure how feasable it'd be with your mamabelly but..you basicly just hold the child to you as firmly as you can, pining flailing arms and legs
(think of curling him in to a ball with your body wrapped around him) and tucking his head so he cant bite. You hold him until he melts against you. You follow up with lots of kisses and loving words.

The theory behind this is that an out of control child is a scared child and one who is unable to get control of themselves.
By you holding them, you help them gain control in a loving and safeway.

Taking walks safely can be done with a sling end tied to his beltloop or a safety harness. He definately sounds like he needs to be worn out and have a change of scenery. (I know cabin fever makes me crabby!)
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 03:43 PM 10-21-2010
How do you tell the difference between a bored/normal toddler and one with an emotional issue (or whatever you call ADHD and BPD)?

How do I know the difference between my hormonal/emotional mess of a brain overreacting and a problem?

We don't have a ped...we haven't been able to find one we like.
oaktreemama's Avatar oaktreemama 03:45 PM 10-21-2010
Yes I was not trying to pile on. To be honest I only mentioned it at all because in your post it seems like you are still spanking him sometimes and I tihnk in order to see improvement from his end there must be some from yours.

Do you have a playpen or crib for him? If he is that violent and out of control I would put him in the playpen. I am not normally a timeout person but if he is so out of control that he is leaving bruises on you something has to give.

To me, it is more important right now to keep him from hurting you then to try to validate feelings ya know? Pregnant, exhausted and in pain does not seem like a good base to work on a huge dynamics shift. So hugs to you.

I also think a huge increase in exercise of some kind for him could help.

I am assuming from your name you are an Air force wife? Can you possibly reach out to your local MWR liason for some assistance? There may be a play group you don't know about or a local Moms group that meets at a playground.
mamazee's Avatar mamazee 03:49 PM 10-21-2010
I don't have a good suggestion, but I wanted to let you know that my 8-year-old had very violent tantrums at that age, where she'd bite me, try to scratch my face, and even go for my eyes like she was going to gouge them out. She did outgrow it and is a very peaceful 8-year-old now, and she doesn't have any special needs, so I wouldn't assume that is the problem. She has always been high needs and intense, and she's still emotionally intense, though it shows up more as a mood rollercoaster now instead of as violence. It's much easier to work with.

What helps with her moods the most is to make sure she has plenty of protein, and particularly that her breakfast is protein-based. I don't know how much solids your ds gets at this point, but it might be worth a try if he's having many to increase the proteins and particularly in the morning to see if it helps.

Just wanted to give some hugs! It isn't easy and I can't imagine dealing with it while pregnant. I just muddled through each tantrum, one at a time, until she got past them. Which took a while, though her tantrums weren't as bad even at 2 as they were at 18 months.
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 03:51 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post
Yes I was not trying to pile on. To be honest I only mentioned it at all because in your post it seems like you are still spanking him sometimes and I tihnk in order to see improvement from his end there must be some from yours.

Do you have a playpen or crib for him? If he is that violent and out of control I would put him in the playpen. I am not normally a timeout person but if he is so out of control that he is leaving bruises on you something has to give.

To me, it is more important right now to keep him from hurting you then to try to validate feelings ya know? Pregnant, exhausted and in pain does not seem like a good base to work on a huge dynamics shift. So hugs to you.

I also think a huge increase in exercise of some kind for him could help.

I am assuming from your name you are an Air force wife? Can you possibly reach out to your local MWR liason for some assistance? There may be a play group you don't know about or a local Moms group that meets at a playground.

We tried putting him in a pack-n-play for time-outs. We did it a few months ago for a week or so...he stands and screams and then gets out and the behavior doesn't change. Like, if he wanted a book on the mantle and I told him "no" he would *insert behavior*, go in time-out for a min, come out, point at the book, get told "no" and lather/rinse/repeat.

Exercise *might* help but, again, I can only do so much and it's only me during the day.

We don't GO anywhere because we only have one car. We tried getting up with DH so we could take him to work and have the car all day...but DS hates it when DH leaves so a lot of times that turns into an hour or so of damage control on my end. Same reason DH stopped coming home for lunch or whatever. Sometimes DS does okay (if I can manage to distract him with videos of himself or something) but sometimes not.
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 03:54 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I don't have a good suggestion, but I wanted to let you know that my 8-year-old had very violent tantrums at that age, where she'd bite me, try to scratch my face, and even go for my eyes like she was going to gouge them out. She did outgrow it and is a very peaceful 8-year-old now, and she doesn't have any special needs, so I wouldn't assume that is the problem. She has always been high needs and intense, and she's still emotionally intense, though it shows up more as a mood rollercoaster now instead of as violence. It's much easier to work with.

What helps with her moods the most is to make sure she has plenty of protein, and particularly that her breakfast is protein-based. I don't know how much solids your ds gets at this point, but it might be worth a try if he's having many to increase the proteins and particularly in the morning to see if it helps.

Just wanted to give some hugs! It isn't easy and I can't imagine dealing with it while pregnant. I just muddled through each tantrum, one at a time, until she got past them. Which took a while, though her tantrums weren't as bad even at 2 as they were at 18 months.
This is a bit comforting

We try to eat in the morning and periodically throughout the day. However, he's still in that stage where he's famished one day and then just wants milk the next (raw milk...it doesn't affect his dairy issue...weird I know)
AFWife's Avatar AFWife 04:05 PM 10-21-2010
Just as an addendum: At this very minute he's playing quietly by himself with his dump truck. Doesn't want/need my attention or anything. He's totally fine.
heartmama's Avatar heartmama 04:31 PM 10-21-2010
I think this is completely age appropriate behavior. My ds was exactly this way at 18 months and he outgrew it completely. I have known MANY 18 month olds who behaved this way. At 18 months this is very normal stuff to do to mommy. Also, you sound stressed. You sound isolated. He is feeling that. He is reflecting it back to you. I know because I was there too!

You need boundaries.

Do not spank him. Decide you will stop, and stop. If you can't stop, how can you expect him to stop?

Keep removing yourself from him each and every single time he does it. Every time, get up and walk away. Go in your room and close the door. Stay there until you both calm down. Do not argue. Do not yell. Do not engage back. Once you are both calm, go out and tell him "No biting" and move on to something else. Repeat as often as necessary. I consider this harsh at this age but you are in crisis and hitting him is far worse and far less effective. You need a way to enforce a boundary. Removing yourself will give needed space.
ssh's Avatar ssh 04:31 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
How do you tell the difference between a bored/normal toddler and one with an emotional issue (or whatever you call ADHD and BPD)?

How do I know the difference between my hormonal/emotional mess of a brain overreacting and a problem?

We don't have a ped...we haven't been able to find one we like.
With normal problem behavior it goes away with maturity. With mental health issues behavior often gets worse and you have tantrums and outbursts when they are no longer age appropriate. Tantrums can be really normal up through age 3. Have you tried holding his little hands gently and saying I don't let people hurt me.

When my DD is reacting to stress things like painting and playing in water help her be a calmer person. At that age I put DD in a high chair with finger paints. Time outs often just make things worse with toddlers. They don't have the cognitive skills to understand a time out meaning anything. Time ins work well, holding a child for awhile or sitting with them, but wouldn't work if he's being violent.
Super~Single~Mama 04:34 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
Yeah, when he's exhausted it's actually worse...he HATES to nap so he gets overtired.
I actually can't take him on walks lately because of this behavior. He doesn't listen and when I try to pick him up (to keep him from running in the road or something) he gets violent. We usually stay in the apartment complex but 500 yards is a long way for a pregnant mama to walk holding a 27lb toddler that is grabbing and pulling on her hair.
I just posted a thread myself, so I might not be a big help....but here goes.

When I take my little guy on a walk, IF he walks he's also pushing his "teddy bear" stroller (a little doll stroller that a friend gave him, he LOVES it) and has a "leash" on. That way, there is no bolting b/c the stroller keeps him TOTALLY occupied, and the leash provides me with a little bit of a security blanket. (don't flame the leash anyone, it works for us!)

If thats not an option, can you put him in a stroller, walk to an enclosed space (I'm in NYC so all the playgrounds have fences around them to keep the kids in b/c of traffic issues), and THEN let him run? That way you don't have to keep up too much, b/c its enclosed, but he can run as much as he wants, and won't get hit by a car.

Also, I did the pack n play technique with biting, and it took LOTS of consistency. The key I think, was putting him in, and truly waiting until he calmed down and got interested in something else. I would put some cloth books in with him (cloth b/c they don't hurt if they get thrown), and wait till he got interested, or at least stopped freaking out. There were days when it felt like he spent the whole day in there - but really it was just being SUPER consistent with it.
heartmama's Avatar heartmama 04:51 PM 10-21-2010
I agree with the pac'n play alternative to my recommendation to mommy leaving the room. I want to clarify that time out in this situation is not discipline. It is a survival tactic. You need to stay safe and calm. He is not safe if you are not calm. You are not safe if he is biting and you are hurt. Time out is to keep order and calm. Not to punish. Not to teach a lesson, which he is too young to learn.
Super~Single~Mama 05:07 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by heartmama View Post
I agree with the pac'n play alternative to my recommendation to mommy leaving the room. I want to clarify that time out in this situation is not discipline. It is a survival tactic. You need to stay safe and calm. He is not safe if you are not calm. You are not safe if he is biting and you are hurt. Time out is to keep order and calm. Not to punish. Not to teach a lesson, which he is too young to learn.
I realize that alot of people on MDC don't believe in time outs, but I definitely used it as a discipline method. My ds learned that when he bit me, he didn't get to be physically near me. If I tried anything else, it didn't work b/c he could still bite me, and telling him no just makes him laugh and repeat the behavior.

I'm not having any luck with the hitting/kicking and pulling my hair - so if anyone has any ideas on that, please go over to my thread and post some ideas for me to use.
nextcommercial's Avatar nextcommercial 05:37 PM 10-21-2010
When I was a young single mom with a home daycare, my own daughter was a biter.... Not just an ordinary biter. A biter on steriods. At 18 months, she was biting 8-12 times a day.

Out of desperation, I called my favorite family and child author on the phone.. and this was WAY before internet, so I had to track him down using phone books.

He told me to set up a full size playpen (they don't make those anymore) in the corner of the daycare area, put some special time out toys in there, and every single time she bites, or even looks like she's going to bite, I should "Toss her tush in there without a single word". No attention for the behavior, nothing, just put her in in playpen.

I did that. I felt bad at first, but within three days, the biting stopped completely. She was telling me she wanted in her playpen instead. She'd sit in there, turn her back to all of us, and chill out a while with her toys. Or, she'd stick her pacifier in her mouth, and just stare out the window. She never really was able to handle a full day of being around people nonstop, so she eventually graduated to chilling out in her bedroom. But, for that stage, the playpen was perfect.

**************************
You can also firmly grasp his shoulders and bend over (the best you can bend over anyway) and say firmly "NO BITE!" or "NO KICK!". Don't babble a bunch of words because if he's already mad, he's not listening to reason. Just short and quick.

If you have to fight him off, Remove him to another area instead. Don't worry about the timer, put him in there and leave him there until he's ready to come out. He may want to stay for a long time if he has something interesting to do.

If you try the confinement idea, and it doesn't work after a few days, stop doing it... it's not always going to work for every child. I just got lucky that my own child just needed her own space to chill out when she got frustrated. It's not everybody's answer.
quantumleap's Avatar quantumleap 06:53 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
We don't GO anywhere because we only have one car. We tried getting up with DH so we could take him to work and have the car all day...but DS hates it when DH leaves so a lot of times that turns into an hour or so of damage control on my end. Same reason DH stopped coming home for lunch or whatever. Sometimes DS does okay (if I can manage to distract him with videos of himself or something) but sometimes not.
You need to get your hands on a copy of Mary Sheedy Kurcinka's "Raising Your Spirited Child". Your DS definitely sounds like he has trouble with transitions, which is one of the hallmarks of "spirited" children. But, even if he isn't spirited, it's a great read and is filled with lots of coping skills for parents, including evaluation what *your* needs and prefered methods of functioning and then superimposing that onto what your child needs. I think you'd get more out of it if your child was a bit older, just in terms of the questionaires included. My dd is 21 months, and I found a lot of the questions I just could not answer about her (she's too lacking in verbal skills, not in school, etc), but it was super, super helpful.

Also, would a stroller work? I also have ridiculous SPD (and POP, and varicosities, I'm a mess!) and am due in December. We pretty much have a stroller because it's also our bike trailer, and I pretty much never used it until the SPD started getting intense again. It's been a lifesaver though. Your child is contained, and the movement/sights are usually enough to keep the kid entertained for a few minutes, especially if you periodically throw snacks/toys at them. Bonus is, you can lean on the stroller and sort of hobble along. I'm sure I look a sight, but it works. I often bring an ice pack along and then sit on it as discreetely as possible when I get to wherever. Is there anything within walking distance of you? Mall playground, YMCA, military resource center, community center, playground, baseball field, etc, etc? Baseball fields are remarkably wonderful - fenced, typically deserted in the middle of the day, etc - and you can just bring along a few balls. You throw the ball, child chases the ball and sometimes brings it back (yes, this sounds a bit like playing fetch with a dog!), there's no one else around to think you're nuts for sitting on an ice pack (I don't know if that even helps you, but it does me, a bit), and more importantly, there's no other small people for your kid to beat up on, so you can just sit there and make sure he doesn't scale the fence and run in to traffic! My kiddo likes to make grass whistles, bring me rocks, bang sticks on the ground, draw in the sand...

It's so hard to see solutions and an end when you're in the middle of things. Hang in there. Your son doesn't hate you, I can guarantee it! You're just a safe person he can vent to, unfortunately at his age that includes physical violence for some kids (mine included!).
~PurityLake~'s Avatar ~PurityLake~ 08:43 PM 10-21-2010
Between being tired and frustrated, I would think quiet time would help decrease excess stimulation. Not saying he should nap, or you should try to make him nap, but I think turning down the lights, making the home quiet, playing soft, soothing, relaxing music (maybe river sounds) and sitting quietly near him for a good half hour to one hour would be good. If you have a book to read, even better, and if you doze off, even better.

As far as his pinching/biting/hitting, I would grasp his hands to prevent damage to you, not to hurt him in any way, and say, "Hurting me (Mommy) is not a good choice. It's okay that you're (instead of saying you, you can say his name, to help him identify his feelings & action's with himself) angry, but you need to do (insert tactic here) when you're angry, not hurt others." Even if he's not verbal doesn't mean he doesn't understand what you tell him. Enough repetition will help this sink in.
BetsyNY 09:29 PM 10-21-2010
Your child is still a baby--going through a frustrating phase, no doubt, but a baby. He sounds like he's a handful. A bipolar diagnosis sounds, to me, wildly inappropriate. His behavior sounds within the realm of developmentally normal. It's way, way too early, IMO, for a psychiatric dx.
~PurityLake~'s Avatar ~PurityLake~ 09:46 PM 10-21-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetsyNY View Post
A bipolar diagnosis sounds, to me, wildly inappropriate. His behavior sounds within the realm of developmentally normal. It's way, way too early, IMO, for a psychiatric dx.

FatAphrodite's Avatar FatAphrodite 11:00 PM 10-21-2010
I would like to second the use of a playpen for aggressive behaviors. I had a biter....I HATE being bitten. It makes me feel very violent. Pain in general is not good for my mood, but biting makes me crazy. So yes, put him in a playpen or in a safe, baby-gated area. Keep this area with a few safe toys. When he bites or hits, or whatever, put him in this area. You do not have to speak, but if you want you can briefly state something like "you may not hurt me." Then walk away. I would not use a timer. This is not a time out. This is you enforcing your right to not be injured and giving your child a safe space while you regroup. Bring him out when you both are calm. In fact, he doesn't need to be *calm*, just *not violent*. (If it takes more than 2-3 minutes for him to calm down-at least to a reasonable level-something else is going on. This is not a punishment. If he is not calm shortly he may need a snack or diaper etc. You mentioned a dairy issue-food sensitivities caused my (now) sweet and loving dd to act like a demon child from hell. There may be more than dairy at work. Obviously, don't neglect your baby!) My personal experience with this method is a drastic reduction in violence within a day or two even with my dd with food sensitivity. Again, I don't believe in using punishment and i don't view this as such. I see it as giving your child and yourself a safe space to vent big feelings without the opportunity to cause injury.
During calm times practice gentle touch. I honestly would focus on this issue for at least a few days and let everything else go. This is obviously causing you tons of stress, and probably for baby too.
Also, as soon as possible, find an outlet of some kind for yourself. Is there anyone that your husband can carpool with so you have a vehicle, even one or two days a week? Is there a neighbor or friend that will kid swap with you, you know-take your child for a few hours on one day in exchange for you taking theirs a few hours on another day? Can you afford to hire a "mother's helper" for a few hours a week? That way you wouldn't be leaving him with someone, you would be there but they entertain the kiddo for a time allowing you to do some work or relax.
I just realized how long this post is, so I'm going to stop here. Please let us know how it goes. Take care of yourself mama!
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