dealing with 16 month old aggression - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-24-2008, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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so, i have a 16 month old boy who is very active & wonderful. he was a cruisy baby & most of the time he is very sweet, but more & more often he's been hitting, pinching, & throwing things at his dad & i. (and let me tell you, he's got a good arm...)

i try doing all the usual "hitting is not okay," trying to change the scene, & talking about being gentle, but it seems to have little effect. often he laughs or gets a devious smile on his face. i'll raise my voice & make it more stern until he gets the picture & seems a bit sad about it. but he keeps doing it. i know that redirection tends to just be a broken record for a while when they're this young, but the problem seems to be increasing.

his dad says that this doesn't seem to be working. he's always been around animals a lot & has noticed that if, for example, a puppy nips at mum, mum nips back & then it stops. he doesn't want to spank or anything, but if ds slaps him in the face, he'll tap his face back. not hard, but firm enough to try to get ds to understand what what he's doing feels like. he only mirrors what ds does...he doesn't do anything physical to punish for other naughty things or anything like that.

i can understand in theory what my partner is saying, but in practice it seems cruel & not an effective way to teach a lesson (the right lesson, that is). we just want our son to understand that what he's doing hurts, but have different approaches to doing so. my partner thinks if he could just undertand what it feels like to be treated that way, he'll stop. we both have the goal of teaching empathy.

any thoughts or ideas for dealing with this? thanks!

mama to 2 busy boys (may 2007 & december 2008)
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#2 of 10 Old 08-25-2008, 05:49 PM
 
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I will be watching this thread. I have a usually sweet 16 month old boy as well, and he is doing the same thing. I think he learned the hitting from a friend of ours, but regardless, he's been hitting me (not DH) and other little friends of his. Usually I take his hands and kiss them after he hits and say, "gentle to mama... show me gentle" or " Ow! That hurt! Can you kiss mamas ouchie?" Today I was watching another child his age and he kept hitting her so I put him in his room, angrily... he kept doing it (I'm talking more than 20 times he smacked her) and he wasn't taking me seriously when I told him no hitting or be gentle, so when he smacked her on top of her head I did exactly what your DH did.... mostly out of frustration but also as a means of enforcing myself. This is why I'm on MDC right now... I cannot believe I did that (not that it was hard, just the same as he did to her. I can't let him hit other kids when they are in my care. He's hitting with objects, too... like a glittery wand, recorder, wooden whistle). I need advice!!!
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#3 of 10 Old 08-26-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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It is just a stage, mine started doing that around 16 months. I personally didnt waste my time trying to *fix* it. I just dodged it. If I did anything at all to acknowledge it, he liked it and did it some more. So I completely ignored it, didnt even look at him. He doesnt do it anymore

Your partner is wrong. It sounds good in theory but it doesnt work.
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#4 of 10 Old 08-26-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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You described my 15 month old exactly. I try redirecting, emphasizing that it hurts mommy when he does that, etc. I will be watching for more ideas as it doens't seem to work on him at all! I know it's his age, but still... it's frustrating. I just try to be consistent.

Kirsten, mama to Monkey since May 2007 and Bean born 11/7/09
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#5 of 10 Old 08-26-2008, 03:23 PM
 
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Ok, so I understand how ignoring the behavior would work if it was directed at an adult, but what about when your child hits other children? Should that be ignored as well, because I really don't think that teaches them anything... If it happens at another person's home I simply tell him if he can't be nice to his friends we'll have to go home and then we leave after, say, three times. I know he doesn't understand this yet but eventually he will make the connection. What do you do when they hit other kids at this age?
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#6 of 10 Old 08-26-2008, 10:44 PM
 
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This is my son exactly. He is constantly hitting, pushing, throwing things at adults and other children. I am so frustrated. I realize it is a stage, but my son is absolutely frantic about it. He is in a frenzy of activity for about 90% of his day, and it is not a good frenzy. He is literally on the verge of meltdown for nearly all of our days. If I remove him from hitting another child, he will completely tantrum in my arms. If I ask him to not hit me, he will giggle, and shriek and hit me again while screaming "NO!" at me.

I have definitely found that he is much worse with this type of behavior when he is hungry or tired, and he is also a much happier kid when he gets tons of outdoor running around time. I once heard that some kiddos need to run outside like a dog, and while I was slightly offended when I heard it, I have come to realize that this describes what my son needs to a T. He needs to be outdoors, running, running, running for at least half of his day. I am dreading winter and being cooped up inside for most of our days.

Anyway, not much advice here, mama, just lots and lots of commiseration.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#7 of 10 Old 08-26-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astromama View Post
Ok, so I understand how ignoring the behavior would work if it was directed at an adult, but what about when your child hits other children? Should that be ignored as well, because I really don't think that teaches them anything... If it happens at another person's home I simply tell him if he can't be nice to his friends we'll have to go home and then we leave after, say, three times. I know he doesn't understand this yet but eventually he will make the connection. What do you do when they hit other kids at this age?

Your approach sounds good. Is it working at all?

Yikes, I just read your first post. I have no advice I did a search and seems like everyone has your problem, but no solutions.

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...hlight=hitting
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#8 of 10 Old 08-27-2008, 12:20 AM
 
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We run here, too. In fact, dd has been starting to run laps around the house when she gets crazy. I don't tell her it's because she's crazy, I just say, "okay, go get your shoes!" and she does all excited and runs her laps while I "time" her. She thinks it's great, and comes back in all red in the face, smiling, and...much calmer. (c:

16 months is pretty little. One of the things I do when ds pushes and shoves against me is I say, "If you push Mama, you will fall" in a not harsh but very serious tone. Then when he does it again, I quickly plop him on the ground, and even give him the sensation of falling (although he's not hurt in the slightest...I just move really quick and give him the feeling of weightlessness), and I step back. Then I say, "When you push Mama, you fall down. Don't push Mama." And I pick him right back up. It never takes more than 3 times when he's going through a spell of it before he stops pushing me.

I truly don't believe that socializing, especially a young toddler, is important at all. So, I'd just stop playing with other kids if I could. I won't hold a kid who hits me. No talking about it, no nothing. Just see ya later. So, I'd plunk him down out of reach and tell him you don't play with people who hit. I'd do it over and over...refuse to let him near me if he was hitting me. (With one that young, the whole ordeal would be over in about 20 seconds, and we'd be cuddling again, until the next time. "plunk. mama doesn't play with people who hit.") He'll be surprised you don't feel like lecturing, and I'd scoop him right back up and move on to something fun. Again, I'm pretty matter of fact. And it's not really something to make abig deal out of. We just don't hit. Plunk. I don't feel like it has to be an emotionally charged event...he's not headed for jail on charges of assault. I think kids feed on our emotions...if we're tense about something, they will be, too. He can sense this is a really, really big deal to you. So, I wouldn't let it be, just, again, I'd be matter of fact and the let it be over right away and make sure he's enjoying a fun time with you, not just bored on your lap being invited to hit again.

Just Me.

Oh, and I wanted to add that MY experience with animals is that when the puppy nips the mother, the mother NAILS the puppy, leaving no true injury, but also no doubt who the boss is. It's not about teaching empathy in the animal world...it's about establishing authority...bigger and badder, so to speak. I think a better way to teach empathy...if your ds were 3 and not only 16 months...would be to show him times when someone/something hurts something else or takes a toy, etc. You can really start to talk about feelings, I think, after you've had success helping your dc identify their own. Until then, it's all just words, and at 16 months, I'd guess he doesn't have many.

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#9 of 10 Old 08-29-2008, 08:41 PM
 
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I've set up the playpen recently for this very reason. When he hits, he goes in the playpen. Seems to work a lot more than my attempts at "gentle with mama" modeling etc. With the other stuff he just laughs and does it repeatedly, but it usually only takes 2-3 times of him being plunked in the playpen for a minute to get bored of that game.
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#10 of 10 Old 08-30-2008, 05:27 AM
 
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A puppy nipping at it's mother is not necessarily aggression. Dogs communicate in very different ways than humans. It sounds like your partner is extrapolating a lot from his observations.

In my opinion, the best reaction to "aggression" from a toddler, is to start by stopping them from hurting you and protecting yourself (calmly), and explaining that what they are doing hurts. If that doesn't work, distance yourself from them so they get the picture that what they are doing is making mommy/daddy go away.

Hitting back, however lightly, is just reinforcing hitting. Actions speak much louder than words. Emphasize appropriate "gentle" touches by touching them very gently, and using their hand to touch you gently. I always try to avoid attaching negative intent to their actions as well.

Active toddlers can get very bored and frustrated, and I've found this can lead to very aggressive behavior. Getting my daughter around some other people/scenery usually is quite effective. Try frequent trips to the park, or the mall play area.

If a toddler is hitting another toddler, and they can't control themselves, then they just need to be removed from the situation. They sometimes simply don't have the control to deal with whatever is causing the aggressive behavior (frustration, tiredness, hunger, stress, pain, etc.)

If my toddler hits once, I use the modeling, etc. methods, if it continues, I remove her from the situation.
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