I'm totally and completely at a loss with discipline/teaching with ds. Wow, he is completely unlike his sister in temperament and I'm flummoxed. Dd was/is a total rule follower and very in touch with her emotions from a young age. With discipline with her it pretty simple to parent her with AP principles. I could explain to her why what she was doing wasn't working, tell her how it made me/others feel and she got it. With ds, I'm lost. All weekend he was physically hurting everyone. An example: he came up to his dad and bit him in the leg, then smacked dd in the head and ran right to me and upturned all my freshly folded laundry. I physically removed him from the room, sat with him in another room and told him that he wasn't being safe with his hands and he was hurting us. He said, with a smile on his face, "I like hurting Mommy". He seems totally unfazed by all the methods that worked with dd and I'm really lost. He's so physical and just in.to.everything. He grabs scissors and comes up to me smiling saying, "I got scissors, dun dun dun" He chucked his Kleen Kanteen water bottle at me while I was driving today. He's constantly picking fights with his sister. I've tried taking toys away, physically removing him from the situation, he doesn't care. I feel like I'm not getting through to him. Outside of these examples he is a very loving, sweet boy. This all started a few weeks ago. (right before he started school for the first time... maybe a part of it) Suggestions? HELP!!!
mumma to sweet 7 year old girl
and darling 2 year old guy
First, hugs to you. What you describe sounds difficult and frustrating. A few ideas below; you may have tried this, but if not I hope these ideas help!
How is he adjusting to school in general? One possibility is that he is having feelings about the adjustment that he doesn't know how to express. If so, maybe giving him so ways (drawing, throwing pillows, etc.) to express those feelings might help.
Also, I wonder if part of it might be that he sees that he's thinks he's getting a bigger reaction or more attention from hurting someone than when he is acting in positive ways. One thing I've tried is to increase my reactions when my DD acts in a positive way. That way, you can still respond when he hurts someone, but the reaction is smaller in contrast. I also try to make my reactions to difficult behavior in a calm, neutral tone, so it's not interesting to my DD.
In terms of the scissors and similar items, can these be put out of his reach? And conversely, can you put some items that are of particular interest within his reach? Maybe rotate out an an item on the bottom shelf each day to keep it interesting for him? (even if you have just 3 or 4 items, the rotation would probably interest him...what's new, what's not there, etc.)
Sending good wishes to you!
How much one on one time are you getting with him? Those sound like attention getting behaviors to me. Have you tried using any Playful Parenting games with him on specific issues? I find that really helps ds(5.5).
Ahh, sounds like my ds :) He is 2.5 and has always been very physical! Dd was too, so I don't have such a clear opposite to play off of, but he is ALWAYS into something. I have to put the scissors up high, but that doesn't always stop him! He used to pull a chair around to climb up to the kitchen counters, but now just scales the drawer handles instead-sigh! Hitting, particulay of his sister, is also an issue. It has gotten better in the past year or so, but definitely still comes out when he gets bored, tired, and/or just wants her attention.
He does much better outside where he can just go go go, but also is known to pick up sticks to whack people with. Like yours, OP, he is a sweet, cuddly little guy outside of these behaviors!
As far as discipline goes, if he is hitting or otherwise hurting people, I will put him in a separate room or away from dd and/or myself and explain that he can go back to playing when he remembers his gentle hands. Usually he will show me how to touch gently and then go back and hit again almost immediately, so it takes a few repetitions until he finally stops. Like i said, these are longstanding things so my only advice is just to keep being consistent and, particularly on the hurting people thing, keep separating him from the situation until he gets that if he hurts people, he can't play, period. He will get it :) We are getting there slowly, but definite improvement from when he was 1.
As for the getting into everything, I think this is mostly a toddler/preschooler thing and fairly normal :) I know it is hard to keep everything out of reach, since then your dd can't use it without asking. It is the same at our house and I sometimes feel bad that dd doesn't have instat access to scissors, glue, markers, etc, but it is just a disaster if those things are left in reach of ds-ask me how I know!
I've been looking into sensory stuff for my 2.5 year old and they mentioned that using "heavy work" activities can help ease aggression. I don't know too much about how this all works yet, but it may be worth trying to add some of these activities into your son's day. Can't hurt, right? Heavy work activities include pushing and pulling, hanging on monkey bars, etc. An internet search will get you better info, but I just thought I'd mention it. My daughter doesn't have the same issues as your son, but she has her own array of difficult behaviors that I seem to be able to head off with appropriate sensory activities (in her case spinning and pouring sand/water work well).
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