what to do about throwing and hitting? losing my mind - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 10-25-2012, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
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DS is just past 2 years and the last month or so has been absolute ... you know. Some specific examples:

Dinner. Occasionally he'll eat. More likely he'll throw the food. We take away the food. He cries and screams. Or he'll put food in his water glass. We take away the glass and/or give him a sippy cup. He cries and screams. If he's just acting out of control we take him out of his chair. The thought being, fine, let him go play or whatever. But 95% of the time he then tries to climb on me or daddy while we're trying to eat. Then cries and screams when we don't let him.

Throwing (in addition to the above). He throws things all the time, happy or angry. He gets a warning - if you throw your toys mommy puts them away. Doesn't matter, he throws again & I put them out of reach. He cries and screams. I was also putting them out of reach if he wouldn't put them away but I've stopped doing that. It seems like the more things we take away the more possessive he's becoming. But what's a different consequence?

Hitting/kicking. This is a BIG issue right now. Again, sometimes when he's happy, occasionally when he's angry. When he does it to me all interaction comes to a halt and I walk away from him, saying I don't like to be with people who hit or some such. Sometimes he'll say 'sorry mama' after 5 minutes or so, sometimes not. An even bigger issue - he's hitting the cat and dogs. For this we encourage gentle touch. Occasionally it works for about 1 minute, most of the time I have to forceably move him away from the pet. I don't really think my dogs will bite him, but ... they're dogs and he's hitting them. The cat is tiny and old and he's scaring the poor thing.

The rest is the usual description of the terrible twos. Angry about everything, wanting everything, not wanting to do anything I need him to do. I'm trying to give choices (the red shirt or the green shirt? no, no) and letting him do things (do you want to brush your teeth? no) but most of the time I find myself wishing I could ship him off to finishing school. I don't want to be around him bawling.gif This is so not what I expected.

Loving mama to A (8/5/2010) R (1/3/2015) and DSD (16).
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#2 of 5 Old 10-26-2012, 08:56 AM
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My 25 month old is going through several of these behaviors. Two is still too young to understand consequences and warnings.


For the eating issue -- what has worked for us is when he starts throwing food off the plate, take it away, briefly walk away and remove ourselves (he is safely in a high chair), and then come back and give just one or two pieces of the food. Then, give one or two more. It's true -- you have to be ready to get everything out of reach -- sometimes there is a huge mess!!


With the animals, the best thing we have found is modeling. Our problem is 2 year old trying to pick up the kitten. I do my best not to pick him up when 2 year old can see, and model gentle touch. I try to be there when he is touching the kitten to help show him gentle. I just keep repeating gentle and petting the cat gently. I try to give great positive feedback when he does it right. When he can't contain himself and just tries to scoop him up, I physically open up his hands to make the touch just a pet. If he continues, I remove him. Granted, if I am not around to supervise (like while in the bathroom taking care of business this morning), I am pretty sure he reverts right back to the rough touch, but I just don't think they can control themselves on their own yet.


For the throwing, we also remove the thrown toys, but then quickly divert attention to a different activity. Distraction is key! Of course, DS1 was much less distractable than DS2 is, so this definitely depends on the child, but if you find something else fun enough, they will change to a different activity. Sometimes, that might be throwing a ball outside where it is appropriate. Other times, that isn't possible, but you can do some pouring of water into cups, etc.


And, let me just say, as hard as this stuff is, it pales in comparison to what comes next! LOL! Our first son got really hard at the end of the twos and into the threes. The willful defiance and constant testing is very hard to manage!! At just over two, they are just exploring behaviors...

Mama to angel1.gif angel1.gif angel1.gif angel1.gifangel1.gif

DS1 (6) jog.gif , DS2 (3)sleepytime.gifbaby.gif DD is here!

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#3 of 5 Old 10-26-2012, 03:12 PM - Thread Starter
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It gets worse?! yikes2.gif

Thanks for the very useful advice! Hopefully there will be more too!

Loving mama to A (8/5/2010) R (1/3/2015) and DSD (16).
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#4 of 5 Old 10-26-2012, 10:19 PM
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Does he get enough exercise? My kids do more destructive things like messing with their food, throwing things, etc. when they have pent up energy. Try spending a few hours outside every day if you don't already. Definitely go for walks. Walk then run a bit. Does he still take a nap? If so maybe drop the nap. It will make things worse for a bit but he might not need it and it's giving him extra energy.

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#5 of 5 Old 10-27-2012, 05:17 PM
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For the throwing, we've had success with replacing unacceptable projectiles with acceptable ones.  She's allowed to throw "indoor balls" and things that are "soft and squishy" - like stuffed animals, felt food, etc.  When she throws something she's not supposed to, I tell her that if she feels like throwing she can throw _____ (acceptable thing).  More often, I will go get her the acceptable object and hand it to her. 


With the dinner issue, I know you've posted before about having a hard time getting him to eat dinner.  Is it possible that he's too tired to handle a family dinner?  Dinner is my daughter's worst meal of the day, too, but I know it's because she's too tired.  She has her dinner early, and I sit and engage with her while she eats.  We often listen to a kid's tape, too.  Those really calm her down and direct her focus when she's tired at dinnertime.  Her Dad and I eat together after she goes to bed.


I have a very similar tactic for hitting/kicking, which works well for us because my daughter can't stand being away from me for 2 seconds.  With her, I do go back after a few minutes and ask for an apology and reiterate that she may not hit me, but she can hug me and give me high 5s and touch me gently, etc.  With the animals - he may just not be able to help himself.  I mean, even I can't control myself around a kitten :)  I think you're right to stick to a very firm gentle touch only rule and lots of supervision with the animals for now.

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