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DS being aggressive towards grandmother

4049 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  SmilesALot
Hi fellow GDers,

I am really at the end of the rope with this issue and would appreciate your valuable suggestions.

My ds is 3 yrs and 2 months old. He has a sister who is 6 months old. The biggest button for me that gets pushed is that he does not have a good attitude towards my mother who is staying with us to help me out with my baby. My father is also here. My mother is very affectionate towards him and loves him very much. For some reason, he does not seem to warm up to her. This morning, he went and hit her in the head saying that she stinks! I have told many many times to him that he is not supposed to hit my mom oranyone. No hitting in our home. We do not hit him at all! WHen he hit her this morning (i could hear the hitting thud), i was really mad that I grabbed him and asked him to say sorry right there. He refused to and got upset with my handling him. Then realising that i was going out of control, i stepped away for a few minutes while he was screaming and then came back and dressed him, speaking to him calmly about me getting mad with his action. He was ok when we rode in the car until i left him in his class and said goodbye.

Other factors in his life are that, he has been recently moving from a toddler class to a preschool class and is quite clingy with me. We tried the preschool class in his school where he was attending the toddler program and that did not go well - constant crying and trying to run away from the class. We moved him to another school this week (since yesterday) and he felt better yesterday since he has a few of his very good friends in the same class.TOday ofcourse, i upset him in the morning with my yelling when he hit my mom that he was screaming when i dropped him off at school!

My question is how do you teach kids to respect the no hitting rule even if you are REALLY mad at something or someone. He is 3+ and i don't want this behavior to go unchecked or i am afraid that he may turn out to be an aggressive person. We don't put him in front of the TV for kids programs. I am very anti-TV but others in my family are not. Recently with my parents around, the TV has been on for more than the normal viewing which was when dh gets home later in the evening from work/school - he watched TV for about an hour. As a result, my ds may be unconsciously imbibing the images from the TV.

Has anyone seen this kind of behavior in kids towards their grandmother eventhough she is quite a kind person? It totally beats me. My parents have been here for 3 months now. Before that my mother-in-law got the same treatment except that he did not hit her. He was much better behaved with my father-in-law who played with him and told him stories. my M-I-L did not come anywhere near him since she got upset with his indifferent behavior towards her right in the beginning of her arrival a month before the new baby was born. My mother likes my ds very much that she tries to interact with him and be endearing to him and he asks her to go away! She has never seen this behavior from other grandkids who are in India and really feels sad that he is not bonding with her. He is attached to my father who plays a lot with him and entertains him a lot.

I am desperate for some good and sensible advice since I want to do the right thing for my son in the long term and teach him to be sensitive to people's feelings!!

Thanks a lot for your support!
Peace and Love!
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*sigh* Sorry things are tough right now. I'm no expert, but...

I find it helpful when DS is in a difficult emotional space, to look at what could possibly be fueling the behavior, rather than the behavior itself. Often times the behavior is simply an irrational reaction to something within (i.e., don't read to much into it, but try to alleviate the cause). As to that, just a few random thoughts (feel free to discard as needed

Could your DS possibly be feeling a little jealous/resentful of his new sibling? Perhaps he sees your mom (or MIL) as a person you've set up to keep him occupied, and feels that it's just one more person in between you and him? You mentioned he's been clingy lately and having troubles with school. The hitting could very well be just another clever way of letting you know he needs some extra attention right now...

Would it be possible to have a conversation about how he might be feeling lately and what you both could do to alleviate some of the stress? I think I would try to avoid mentioning the hitting per se, but perhaps try to get underneath the issue. I do wonder if just some good, quality alone time with mom (as often as you can manage), may be just the thing. I find that there's nary an emotional ill that quality time with DS can't cure.

The only other thing I can add with regard to the hitting, is to give him an appropriate alternative. If hitting helps him to relieve stress, than by all means "hit the drum/floor/pillow/pan as often and as hard as you like. People are not for hitting... but there are plently of things you CAN hit." Sometimes DS just needs to release frustration, plain and simple. Indeed, words are nice but not always an adequate way of expressing emotion at such a young age... maybe an alternative would help?

Best of luck to you. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate right now.
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Thanks so much, Embee, for your insightful comments. It is great when someone can look at the whole picture from a different perspective and the people like you on this forum are the best people I can see GD advice from! I will definitely allocate some mom and son only time so that he feels he is able to spend time with me. As I read your post, i can understand why last nite when we were going to sleep he wanted our dd to be with dad!! I was myself sleepy and did not honor his request since my dh was busy with his school work.

I do spend time talking to my mom so may be he is feeling jealous about that!! Good point.

Also, i will give him a drum or something he can really hit and have a letting it all out session now and then.

Thanks again!!
Peace and Love!
Another thought -- it sounds like there are a lot of adults in his life taking responsibility for him right now. That can be a great thing, but sometimes I can imagine it might seem confusing to a young child. It seems like some small children are the sorts of kids who need strong attachments to just one or two adults -- so that they can feel safe in secure in the knowlege of who is in charge.

I agree with Embee that more 1:1 time with mom will go far in alleviating his stress.

Rather than giving alternative things to hit I would work on giving him alternative ways to express his feelings. For some kids, hitting objects can just magnify their anger and take them further out of control. Its hard -- but I would work on getting to the bottom of his feelings, and encouraging him to set boundries and express feelings verbally instead of physically. Give him the words and allow him to say things like, "I want my mom," or "Give me some space!"

Good luck. It sounds like a hard situation!
Hope things are better for you over there!

Just wanted to add that Mamaduck *as usual* brings up a great point about the words vs. hitting thing. I do imagine that an alternative hitting obejct for some kids could get them more worked up rather than help than channel energy however...

For us, it works--DS needs a hitting outlet and he LOVES to play his drums. I find on days where he doesn't play his drums (say, like this weekend when we were over at my folks) his behavior towards others becomes very physical in a not so nice way. Not angry or outwardly aggressive, but playful in a "punchy" way as he gets excited or worked up in play. Giving him an outlet for this kind of physical behavior seems to allow for more appropriate behavior with other people, animals, etc. Like I said, for us it really helps.

Of course, working on words is important also which we do as well now that he's more verbal than ever before (as in never stops talking!
). Hope you find your way to something that works for you.
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It sounds to me that there has been a lot of change in his little life. The aggression towards grandma is quite probably because she is there taking your place for him, in his mind. He'd rather have his mommy!

I agree, find time for just him. Also, focus on the postiives, not the negatives.

If my child had had the big upset just before preschool, I think I'd either keep her home, or send her in later. Is he feeling that he's being shoved out to preschool because you have the new baby? This was one of many reasons that we didnt find a preschool for dd before I had the baby. I felt that she would connect the dots and feel that she was sent out the house for the baby to be with mummy. So we keep her at home.

Maybe consider giving preschool a miss for a while and spending time with him, gelling as a family.

Good luck, it's tough dealing with two adn trying to see things from a three year old's perspective!
I feel a lot more energized to read your suggestions and feel eager to put it to use.

First thing i am doing is giving him time just focusing on him and cuddling him. That seems to be helping both of us. I normally don't blow my top off except when it comes to hitting. I am usually easy on him and my dh and I have a contention that this is leading him to behaving in an unacceptable manner(like hitting grandparents). That is why i get so worked up when he does actually hit someone! part of my reaction also has to do with my anxiety that he may turn out to be the aggressor if i turn a blind eye to it or just tell him in my normal soft tone! if there are better ways to react please let me know.

As Britishmum mentioned, my mom does take care of part of my responsibility - the kitchen - so may be he thinks she is there taking my place! But with two kids and my job, i am a lot peaceful with my parents' support.

My son has been going to daycare/school since he was 18 months old as I have been working out of home. So I don't stay home with the baby either. We continued with the school so that one part of his life stays stable. There are going to be days off in his school and I will be spending those days with him at home.

Embee, my son has a drum set too and playing that seems to keep him mellow sometimes i.e prevent him from reaching a point where he runs to hit someone when he is upset. I have to observe more closely to see if there is any relation between the two.

I agree that he is going thro a lot for his age and I have to be there to support him and help him navigate this phase.

Thanks again for all the great feedback. It has given me peace of mind.

Love & Peace!
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