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I'm not too sure if I'm going about this situation in an appropriate way. I'm just looking for some tips, info. I've never posted in here before.
Here is some background:

My brother and his girlfriend have an 18mo dd and a 5yo ds (SIL's from a previous relationship). SIL grew up in an abusive home and always yells/spanks/pinches her kids. My brother seems to have picked up on her ways too, though not as rough...


When we visit with 14mo ds (he hardly gets to see other kids and actually interact), I always feel a little awkward. Ds just wants to play, but his 18mo cousin always pushes, hits, and kicks him.
And when she does, SIL comes over yelling and then spanks her or something. I've already asked her not to hit her kids in front of ds, but she still does, and yells a lot. Their environment really sucks I've realized. My brother's friends are always there, lazing around and influencing the kids in not-so-good ways.

My questions are:

Is it normal for 18mo kids to be so "violent" (feels like the wrong word, as it seems like she's just repeating what she sees, experiences) whether or not the child lives with abuse?

Do you notice direct effects of a child who lives with abuse, like displaying more of those behaviors? (or am I off here...?)

Do you follow your child around to make sure older kids dont hurt them? If another child hurts yours, what do you say/do?

*Sometimes SIL isnt around when her dd hurts ds, and I've just said things like "Oh, look how sad he is! He's crying because you pushed him and it hurt him. That wasnt nice." and I comfort ds. Any other tips? Is that appropriate?

TIA!
 

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i work in the infant room at a daycare, and alot of our pre-tods do act out like that- hitting, pushing, biting. i think to a certain extent its normal, but it shouldnt be happining ALL the time. it does get worse at around 18 months- but thats the time they move up to the toddler room, so alot of it in my situation is the kids getting too old for the room and acting out because theyre bored

as for the following them around part- we cant really do that with 2 adults and 9 kids, lol, but we do redirect them- "i dont like that when you hit xxx, it hurts him. here come play with this instead"
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by shell024 View Post
Is it normal for 18mo kids to be so "violent" (feels like the wrong word, as it seems like she's just repeating what she sees, experiences) whether or not the child lives with abuse?
From what I have seen in daycare and playgroups, absolutely normal. This includes biting, pinching, hitting, pushing, pulling hair, forcing another child off a toy... This occurs especially if a child is unable to verbalize his desires or emotions. 18 month old children often cannot talk much so you can imagine that they might just resort to this behaviour. But it is not just the 18-month olds. The 29 month old that my DD plays with in the afternoons is TERRIBLE for this kind of stuff and his parents are very GD.

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Originally Posted by shell024 View Post
Do you notice direct effects of a child who lives with abuse, like displaying more of those behaviors? (or am I off here...?)
No, I have not noticed this but then I don't have knowledge of children who have been abused. I know plenty of toddlers who have very permissive parents (which I consider to be more than just GD) and who are aggressive. I often think that it is the fact that their parents have been permissive that make them more agressive because noone lets them know that this kind of behaviour is not acceptable.

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Originally Posted by shell024 View Post
Do you follow your child around to make sure older kids dont hurt them? If another child hurts yours, what do you say/do?
Yes, I do. If another child is or is about to hurt mine, I intervene and let the other child know in no uncertain terms that his behaviour is NOT acceptable. At that point, the child's mother is there and removes the child from the situation and often forces the child to apologize to my DD.
Of course, I also intervene if DD is manifesting violent behaviour but this has (so far) been rare as she does not (yet) have that kind of temperament.

Quote:

Originally Posted by shell024 View Post
*Sometimes SIL isnt around when her dd hurts ds, and I've just said things like "Oh, look how sad he is! He's crying because you pushed him and it hurt him. That wasnt nice." and I comfort ds. Any other tips? Is that appropriate?
I think that is appropriate but I don't think you should be afraid to use a stern voice to indicate that you are indeed serious and that the child's behaviour is not acceptable. You don't want the child to think that you are treating the offence lightly.
 

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This sounds very similar to my nephew! His parents are huge spankers, though they seem to have lightened up lately. When he was 2-3, however, it was awful to visit them.

I think he was in a pattern of getting punished a lot, but not getting very much other attention. He was kind of a wild, active kid, he didn't get enough rest, and they were in the worst power-struggle dynamic I've ever seen. So as soon as he figured out that hitting my dd provoked a reaction/punishment from his parents, he did it all the time. Mostly it was just pushing or light taps, unless he thought no one was watching. I think that was his genuine anger welling up, and he would really hurt her if he had the chance. Fortunately, she was pretty fast and has always been pretty strong, and mostly got away from him.

Anyway, I think you're going to have to shadow your child constantly. That's what I did after I realized it was worse when they were alone. I either kept them apart or literally had myself between them where I could catch his hand and prevent him from hitting her.

Also, I disagree with using a stern voice or trying to discipline her. I would concentrate instead on preventing her from hitting. Every time I brought attention to the fact that my nephew had hit dd, it would just mean more violence, in the form of him getting spanked, which sounds like your situation, too. Plus, she's only 18 months old, so I would just say something like, "Gentle, gentle. Here, why don't you play with this?" or some other distraction technique.
 

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I think that the "violent" behavior is normal at that age. DD has never been spanked/hit/pinched, and she hits and pinches and pushes. She is just not very verbal, so she is very physical to get her point across. I dont know of any kids who are/have been abused, so I dont know if it's different with them. WIth dd, yes, I watch her like a hawk in a group setting. I know she has the propensity to be the 'dominant' one, so I make sure she is playing nice.
She will very rarely hit or otherwise hurt another child if she doesn't know them. Her 'love taps' are reserved for me, and her bf S. The two of them go to town on each other sometimes! If she hurts someone else, I say, DD, I?this child does not like to be touched roughly. You need to use your gentle hands. Can you show me gentle hands?" If the other child is crying or very upset, I will apologize for her since she is not very verbal. I also ask her if she would like to try to help make the other child feel better. Since she is so young, I usually offer a suggestion, like "How about you give S a hug?" or "How about you help S swing to make her feel better?" or "How about we let S take a turn with a toy?" If she doesn't want to, I let it go. If she is continuing to bully (I hate that word for her, but you know what I mean) I distract her to another part of the playground/house/toy. At that point she is usually tired or hungry or ready to stop playing. Or she may just need one on one time to reconnect. If she is the one that was hurt, or is being bullied, I give her the words she could say. For instance, "Abby, S hit you. If you dont like it, tell her 'STOP! S, I dont like it when you hit me.'" This gives her the power, and gives her something to do other than hit back. If she is not really bothered, I let it go. I do try to prevent as much as possible. That is first line of defense. HTH
 
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