If you don't use isolation, what do you do when toddlers hit? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-25-2011, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know, I know, prevention, prevention, prevention.

 

But when my 2yo does hit and I can't distract him, I wind up isolating him so he can't hit me anymore.  I put him in his crib with the door open, and his sister can go in (although he's usually so mad by that point that he doesn't want anyone around him).  But still, I don't like resorting to that.

 

Any thoughts or stories?

 

I will say that since I decided that was the wrong way to respond it has gotten better -- he is hitting less frequently and more likely to stop when I ask him to.  It is still a problem sometimes, though.

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#2 of 8 Old 10-25-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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I immediately remove my child from the situation if either one shows any sign of aggression. I then hold them wherever we've moved to, and repeat "I see you are so angry. It's ok to be angry, but I will not let you hit."

If I can keep from sounding angry or upset myself and instead try to connect with my child in that moment, reminding myself that a child needs love most when it is the hardest to give, I can usually reach him. Once we've connected and he understands I am not angry with him or going to punish him, he will usually crumble into my arms, with a downpour of tears. This is ultimately what I want- for him to release those emotions that were scaring him or frustrating him so much he was becoming aggressive.

Once he's calmed down, and I'm calm,, and we've reconnected, I remind him that people are not for hitting. I offer to let him hit a pillow that I will get for him, or the carpet, or some air kicks, karate style, or jumps on our mini trampoline.

I have found that over time, if I can keep calm enough to not resort to yelling, time outs, or threats, the aggression becomes less and less. Aggression is usually coming from a place of fear, so I always try to get to the source of that. Is he afraid the big kids are going to leave him out? Is he afraid the other child will take his toys? What caused the aggression and how can we release it without hurting someone?
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#3 of 8 Old 10-25-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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is he hitting you or another kid?

we've had some success with time ins, but dd has so far not tried to hit us, and there aren't any other kids to hit.  and on the occasion that someone has hit her, we emphasize simply that "hitting hurts," and repeat that if she does try to hit someone just in play. 

i think the thing some people do is say "i'm not going to LET you hit (me/the other kid)" and remove yourself or restrain... or you could distract with something that is appropriate to hit and say "but you can hit the pillow." 

time ins would be going somewhere else, but with your focused attention (which solves lots for us, b/c most of dd's antics are attention seeking). 

 

how is the hitting happening for you?  is it when you don't let the kid do something or are siblings fighting or what?  how verbal is your kid?


Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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#4 of 8 Old 10-25-2011, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks.  The main problem is when he's hitting me and won't stop.  I can stop him from hitting other children fairly easily by distracting him or physically removing him or the target.

 

If I walk away he follows me screaming or hitting.  If I restrain him he freaks out and hits me again when I let him go.  If I put him in his crib, he sometimes calms down and calls for me to get him out, but usually when dh or I goes to get him out he screams no and crawls to the other corner of the crib -- then as soon as I turn around he asks me to get him out -- repeat as many times as I'll do it.

 

Usually the hitting is when he can't have what he wants, unfortunately that is often me holding him when I'm trying to make dinner or something.  He refuses the Ergo, and only wants me to hold/nurse him.  I will stop to hug him, or even hold him a little while, but eventually I have to put him down to complete the task.  I will not nurse him when my breasts are empty and it is painful for him to nurse.  I do offer him water or other beverages or snacks, but often he wants what he wants and that's that.

 

He is pretty verbal -- he has lots of words and uses them.  We do have some frustration with misunderstandings due to pronunciation, but mostly we communicate very well.

 

I think he just gets contrary sometimes and needs a change of scene, but I can't just pick him up and take him for a long walk while holding him when there are other pressing things like dinner half-cooked.  And, of course, he doesn't want dh, doesn't want to swing, doesn't want to play with dd, doesn't want a bath, doesn't want the Ergo, etc, etc.

 

He does the same thing when he's had his quota of probiotics for the day and decides he wants another -- freaks out, doesn't want anything else, won't close the fridge, hits anyone within range unless we allow him to stand there with the refrigerator open, etc.

 

Lots of times we can prevent this or move through it, but there are times when he is intent on hitting me hard and nothing helps.  I prefer putting him in the crib to holding him down because at least I get a break and he is way less hysterical in the crib than being restrained.  I don't know -- both options suck imo.

 

Oh, and I do try things like making a game of having him give me five (for something to hit) or play tag or something, but it usually just escalates back to hitting almost immediately, even if it gets a laugh.

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#5 of 8 Old 10-25-2011, 11:28 AM
 
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i would be frustrated and stumped about what to do, too.  it sounds like you're doing what you can. 

i will offer this, though, one thing that helps us, and i don't know WHAT it is about cooking supper that sets off the child (ours too) and makes this the most needy time of the day...  is if you can let your kid "help" cook dinner (sometimes i have to resort to cutting veggies and letting her put them in a bowl or letting her put stuff in the processor hole) that would maybe eliminate some stress;

OR

at our house, dh is responsible for the work-week cooking so it's my task to entertain the child while he cooks.  (and vice versa during the weekend, unless i am making something the kid can actually help with, thus engaging her)

it really does take two adult people at our house to prepare food.  one for the kid and one for the food.....

you said he didn't want dh, but what if dh offers something fun?  a long walk outside, a game, etc. and get him in the habit of having daddy time while you cook.

 

if he's refusing the sling and screaming to be picked up, you can offer the choice... and just be consistent with the choice (you can be in the sling OR go play in your room)

and the hitting is the one thing i just can't/won't/wouldn't tolerate.  just, i guess, try to nip it as SOON as it starts, explain why he's going to be put somewhere else, give him a chance to stop, but emphasize "I am not going to let you hit me." 

also, another last trick might be to have a super special, awesomely engaging toy that is ONLY for use when you're trying to cook-- (and that's why most people at least have some television or videos-- we don't but my lord at this point i am heavily reconsidering it too)

 

i am probably not that much help, though.. we don't have a hitter, and dd's in the habit of being pretty entertained most of the time while one of us cooks and the other pays her attention.  we don't do isolation but in your shoes, i'd probably do what you're doing, pretty much.  though i'd offer a choice and firmly explain what was about to happen and why. 


Is it getting lonely in the echo chamber yet?

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#6 of 8 Old 10-25-2011, 12:47 PM
 
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Just to brainstorm on the more specific problems you gave...

 

Making dinner... the pp gave some great suggestions (the best being to have it be dh's job!).  It is, by far, the most difficult time of day in most house holds.  One thing I do besides what the pp suggested is to make dinner way earlier in the day, or even make huge batches of *whatever* on the weekend, and then just heat and serve at actual dinner time.  Part of the problem with making-dinner time is simply that we can't give kiddo our undivided attention, but it also has something to do with tiredness at the end of the day.  I've had a lot more success doing that kind of work earlier in the day, when kiddo is in a better mood and better able to deal.

 

The probiotics... what about changing the routine around when you give them.  We had a similar thing with vitamins at one point and I instituted a rule that "they are for once you get in the stroller/carrier", ie. the vitamin was only given as we left the house.  That way by the time the vitamin was finished we were away from the source (bottle of vits, fridge containing probiotics) and onto more exciting things.


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#7 of 8 Old 11-02-2011, 07:24 PM
 
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I tried putting my son in his crib. I tried holding both hands firmly but not a death grip either, so he couldn't use his hands and told him "We don't use our hands to be mean, we use our hands to be nice" or "We don't hit!" Those didn't work. Tried lightly slapping him back on the hand he used to hit, didn't work, he'd just either laugh or hit back again. A couple weeks ago I decided to try something new. He loves giving high-fives so when I saw him gearing up to hit, I put my hand out and said "Gimme five!" with a big smile on my face (reeeally hard to do the first few times when I could almost feel smoke coming out my ears wink1.gif). It sort of threw him off and he smiled and gave me a high-five. Then I cheered and clapped and he moved on and totally forgot he was just getting ready to hit me in the face. It's been about 2 weeks and he's stopped hitting! Hang in there! smile.gif

Formerly known as "JessicaRenee".  hang.gif  Single mama to Jude (Sept '09)!  biggrinbounce.gif

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#8 of 8 Old 11-02-2011, 08:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you, thank you.  I appreciate your replies and support.  We will get through this peacefully.

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