My son, who is almost 18 months old, has been kicking, hitting (open and closed fist) and biting for some months now and is just not stopping no matter how often I say no and put distance between us (i.e. unlatch and set down on floor, leave the room, etc) and I am consistent. We also have problems with him throwing things. I've had to put most of his hard toys away for the time being. Still, he'll throw cups, forks, basically anything in reach at us, too. It's too much. For him it's all just a game. I'm recently a single mom with very little time for myself, and getting most of my support from my 10 year old dd, who needs me, too, in her own ways . . . and my patience with him is growing thinner with each passing day. In the meantime I have totally lost it and swatted his backside, screamed in his face, and this is just NOT what I want to be doing. It's probably making things worse, and spanking isn't even legal here.
I realize that this is pretty normal toddler behavior, with testing limits and what not, but it must stop soon or I'm going to lose it again. I can't nurse him without being beaten, kicked or bitten at the breast. Nursing him down for the night is the same. He has high energy levels and enjoys the kicking and hitting - it's rarely an angry reaction to anything - and I've been trying to get him to burn off that energy with more physical activity, but he just escalates to a full meltdown for the most part. I feel totally physically abused, extremely resentful and at a total loss of what to do to remedy the situation. We are also in the middle of night weaning now (nearly 2 weeks in). It seems to me like he just wants more attention, but I only have so much to give.
Me 41, single mom to dd 4/2001 and ds 7/17/2010
Wow. You have a lot on your plate. Your 18 month old sounds pretty spirited, but is exhibiting pretty normal behaviour for a young toddler. However, he seems to be more on the aggressive end of the continuum. You have probably already done this, but if you havn't, take him to a medical professional and check out any food allergies. If he checks out okay physically, there is not much more you can do to stop him, other than accepting that this is a phase he will develop out of. Please keep doing what you are doing: Say "No!" Put him down and walk away. He has very little, to no self-control at that age and punishments will not help. It often makes children more aggressive because of their anger that they can't express. The most important part is to control yourself and your actions. In parenting, that's the only thing under our control! Lean on your daughter for support during this trying time. Children love to help if it's temporary. Lean on friends for respite. Look at ways you can get some time to yourself and take care of yourself. You have a son who is intense, and in order to parent him effectively, you have to pamper yourself, and at least take care of your basic needs for food, sleep, and emotional support. Join or form a support group of like-minded parents of spirited children. Try to get through each day, control your anger, and keep teaching him not to hit. That's all you can do. You are a great parent and will get through this trying time. :-)
Author of "Discipline without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery"
Author of the print bestseller, Discipline Without Distress: 135 tools for raising caring, responsible children without time-out, spanking, punishment or bribery, and the new book, Parenting With Patience: Turn frustration into connection with 3 easy steps. President and best of all, Mom of three adults (in university) and two teens! Judy just co-founded Unschooling Canada Association