My 2yo stabbed me in the forehead. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 02-28-2013, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi fellow moms,

 

I'm almost in tears.  I don't know what to do.  I'm not a spanker, but I feel like "time outs" are meaningless at this stage.  My son will be 3 in May, and he is a very sweet and affectionate boy.  Recently, he's started "attacking" me in ways that a "time out" isn't strong enough for, I think.  Yesterday, he didn't want to come inside, so he started throwing fistfuls of dirt at me and the baby, so I couldn't come near to him.  Today, he got ahold of the blade in the baby blender, so I frantically tried to get it away from him, kneeling down (with the baby in the carrier) and he swung his arm back and literally stabbed me in the forehead with it.  It gave me a good bloody gash, and also clipped the baby on the head.  I didn't know what to do.  I just said, "That's a timeout," brought him over to the timeout mat, and rushed off to the bathroom to stop the bleeding.  I explained that it was an "ouch" and you shouldn't hurt Mommy, and he did seem concerned about my "boo boo."  Later today, he was playing with rocks, throwing them from the place where they belong into our landlord's yard... so I said it was time to go inside, and he launch a rock up at me (also holding the baby).  

 

He is also spitting at us & throwing toys, coloring pencils, anything at us if we try to ask hin to move them to another place or clean them up...always using a gentle tone.

 

What am I supposed to do?  My landlord (who is German) said that American kids are spoiled these days,...and what they need is a good hard spanking.  Spanking is actually illegal now in many European countries, and I've always been against it myself.  But...how do I get this behavior to stop, and quickly?  I can't allow him to hurt us...especially when his baby sister could get hurt.  

 

Thanks for any suggestions!

 

Emily


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#2 of 8 Old 02-28-2013, 12:54 PM
 
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Do you think he realized he was holding something that could hurt you and the baby so badly? I'm imagining him attracted to something because it was metal and shiny and interesting, then you trying to take it away, and then him freaking out trying to keep you from taking it, and you getting hurt but him not intentionally cutting you up with a blade. Would you agree with that?

 

I think I would keep things out of his reach that he could hurt you or himself or anyone with, regardless of what it is, and only let him play outside if you can sit out there and watch him to make sure he isn't throwing rocks. A lot of toddlers are very physical (I had one who was and one who wasn't) and those who are that physical will throw things and react to the world in a physical way. I think much of it the way to handle it is supervision and damage control, because he has to understand what is wrong for him to learn not to do it, and until he's old enough to understand what he's doing, punishment won't help, and when he does understand, punishment won't be necessary to get him to stop.

 

I got good at seeing when my more physical child was with something she could use as a weapon and just getting to her before she hit someone with it or broke something. I'd say, "Whoops, this might hurt someone" and I'd just take it and give her something else she couldn't hurt anyone with. It's good to "honor the impulse", like if he likes to throw things, get some beanbags and a bucket and let him throw those. If he likes shiny metal things, find something shiny and metal that is safe for him to play with. But IMO this is more about keeping on top of him and making sure he can't get at anything he can break or hurt anyone/anything with.

 

I know it isn't a fun stage. Spanking can backfire, and especially with very physical kids, because that's how they'd like to handle their problems, you know? "Oh, this is how I get something to happen. I hit someone." I think I'd use the word "gentle" or an equivalent in whatever language you're using with him, to remind him to be careful with things, too. Even "careful." And then give him stuff he can safely be very physical with. Sensory play, beanbags, any kind of physical or sensory stuff would probably get that urge satisfied in a less dangerous way.

 

It must be very hard to keep up with a baby that physical when you're taking care of a baby as well! How old is the baby? Do you have any family nearby? It sounds like you are living someplace you aren't native to. I'm hoping some other people will chime in with ideas of ways to keep the toddler occupied by himself safely more. My kids were spaced much more than yours and I'm at a bit of a loss of how to handle a toddler who needs that level of supervision while you have a baby! I'll keep reading and I hope some people with closely spaced kids chime in with some ideas. Hugs!

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#3 of 8 Old 02-28-2013, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, that is so helpful.  I think I shouldn't have gotten so frantic when he had the blender blade, and tried to take it from him so quickly.  I didn't want him to cut his little hand!  It's hard to even let him outside, while supervised, because we ARE in a different land--we've moved to Costa Rica.  There are scorpions and many poisonous snakes that I'm afraid he'll come into contact with (he would try to pick them up).  When he escapes to the garden, I tell him to come inside and do something fun, and he turns and runs in the opposite direction, or holds firm and hurls dirt towards me.  

We go swimming every day and I usually take him to town to walk around or play in the park there, so it's not like he is cooped up all the time.  

I do agree that he did not know how badly that swing at me today would hurt.  I think he was as surprised as I was when I started bleeding.  It just hurt my feelings,...made me feel "unloved" by him at that moment, but I know he does love me... It's so hard.  

My baby is 6 months old.  I feel like he still is the more "needy" child--always wanting to be held, rocked to sleep, have endless hugs.  

I see that the "attacks" only happen when we ask him to stop doing something, so we'll have to figure out a way to distract him... but if he choses not to take the distraction suggestion, what do I do?  I don't pick him up and carry him against his will ever--he usually listens on his own.  But, just over the last few days, he's wanting to do the opposite.  

 

=/  


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#4 of 8 Old 02-28-2013, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and as far as keeping dangerous things away from him... I totally agree, but we still have the problem of any hard little object, like a toy car/train/pencil that could still do damage to the baby. Luckily, he's never tried to hurt her, but I feel like this behavior towards us needs to stop immediately, to prevent it from extending to her.


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#5 of 8 Old 02-28-2013, 01:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MommyBluebird View Post

Oh, and as far as keeping dangerous things away from him... I totally agree, but we still have the problem of any hard little object, like a toy car/train/pencil that could still do damage to the baby. Luckily, he's never tried to hurt her, but I feel like this behavior towards us needs to stop immediately, to prevent it from extending to her.

Why not take away the hard little things? Pencil or whatever he throws. If he throws one colored pencil then he cannot have any. If he throws on car then take away the cars. Eventually he will figure out that if he throws or hurts people with his toys or wht ever then he doesn't get to play with that anymore.

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#6 of 8 Old 02-28-2013, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Take them away just for the day, or until the behavior is gone?  I guess I'll need to find some safer activities for in the house.  Love the bean bag suggestion.


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#7 of 8 Old 03-01-2013, 03:14 AM
 
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I think just what ever works for him. Test it out he might not care they are gone or he might
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#8 of 8 Old 03-01-2013, 09:25 PM
 
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Ouch!  I'm glad you're okay and that it was an accident.  At least he didn't intend to gash you with it.  

I'm wondering about your tone of voice and the words that you use.  Some consistent language might help for safety situations.  It's impossible to keep everything dangerous out of their way, so it's good to have a few key phrases.  Ouchie!  Hot!  Danger!  Stop!  And not in a calm, cute or gentle tone of voice.  You have to convey an immediate seriousness.  Then when the danger is past and you are calm, you can talk about what happened or reteach the right behavior.  

 

It's more than "you shouldn't hurt mommy."  It's "you may not hurt mommy (your sister, other people).  It hurts.  I feel sad and it hurts.  I love you so much, and I can't let you hurt people like that."  Maybe he can make it right with an apology, a hug, a kiss, a card, etc.  

 

You said you don't, but is it possible for you to pick him up and carry him to a time out place?  The physical act of stopping whatever he's doing and moving him elsewhere sends a strong signal.  If you can't do that but you can put the baby down, an alternative is a bear hug time out.  Sometimes I'll just wrap my arms around DS until he's had a minute to think about whatever it is and is calm enough to do whatever we're doing.  (Did this in a mattress store recently.  Mattresses = trampolines to 3-yr-olds.)  It keeps him immobile and safe while he gets his act together.  

 

Now that you know what triggers it (having to leave somewhere), you can prepare in advance.  Explain when you will leave, or under what conditions (if you throw rocks or dirt).  And notice when he does it right.  Focus on the good transitions as much as possible.

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