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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going CRAZY from my DD who is 21 months and abusing me daily, today I was trying to put away groceries and she came in and I accidentally knocked her over by the fridge(where I was putting stuff away). When I picked her up to console her, she ripped my neck with her nails and "choked" me. I am the only one she does this to and it has become a daily behavior, I have tried redirection, ignoring, asking her about her feelings"why are you upset with Mommy?" etc...NOTHING has worked and it continues, I has in fact gotten worse, and now I pretty much am at a loss on what to do except cry and think my DD "hates" me. Of course we are together <i>all</i> the time, but it doesn't matter if DH is home or not, he's here right now, but she still does this. I am pretty much lost, and I am one unhappy mama.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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My 20 month old son has the same tendency (and he does the same things with his dad).<br><br>
Most importantly, don't think of it as being mean. It's coming from a place of anger/frustration/need for attention, not cruelty!<br><br>
The way we (ideally) deal with it is to say something like "You are very angry, but you MAY NOT hurt Mama", pry whatever body part is stuck in my flesh at the moment out, put him down, and then take a few steps away. If he comes at me again (or if it's bedtime and I'm not going to step away), I firmly restrain his hands/legs/whatever body part he's hitting me with and say something like "I know you don't like it when I hold your hands, but Mama has to keep us safe."<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">:<br>
It's really hard to feel like you're under attack all the time. It's OKAY to protect yourself- think about it from a behavior modeling standpoint. I want my son to see that he doesn't have to let others hurt him, that he can have strong boundaries, but also that he doesn't need to respond with anger or violence. The first part is just as important as the second, in my opinion.
 

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Wow, sorry you are going through this. It sounds like you've tried a bit of everything!<br>
Here's my 2 cents.<br><br>
if it were me... I would adopt a real behavior mod. approach at this point, with consistant and definite consequences. I'd give a warning and then a time out every time she acted out in this way. the time out will be a kind of redirection, not necessarily a punishment. Try to be as neutral in tone as possible, so as not to give either positive or negative attention to her behavior. after the time out, explain (briefly) that what she did was wrong, and she cannot hurt mommy, but you needn't go into it any deeper at this point. This is what I would do any way, at least until you get a better idea of what is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies, I definitely have to start doing a warning and a time-out. I have been doing the time-outs occasionally when she does this, but sometimes it is impossible to do(i.e. we're in a store or something). She can be pretty awful at times, and I am hoping it is just a phase and that she will stop. I have been pretty stressed lately and have been a bit cranky(with her and DH), so I can see that my own behavior has been also causing this. I've had way too much on my plate the past few weeks and now finally today am going to have a relaxing day at home w/out any obligations. I do think that is part of the reason it has been worse the past few weeks.<br><br>
Anyway again thank you, hopefully we can find something to remedy the situation.
 

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i am more of a consensual living type mama and don't like timeouts. what i do is the formula from the book "easy to love difficult to discipline". (i am of the alfie kohn "punishment" family)<br>
1. give the behavior good intentions. this is the hardest because in our society we so easily see kids as being "bad." instead i tell my daughter something like "oh you wanted mama's attention."<br>
2. tell child what NOT to do. so i would say "we don't hit in this family because hitting hurts and i need to know everyone feels safe."<br>
3. tell child what to do. this is the big step. kids don't understand what to do just by saying "don't hit" or "be gentle." so i would say "you want to tell me how angry you are. you can tell me or we can go hit a pillow or run around."<br><br>
this takes time but i just don't see a 20 month old understanding timeouts
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well I should say more of a "chill out" is what I like to do, my DD is very high spirited and needs a couple minutes to calm down. I have been doing a chill out moment for awhile now and I personally am just fine with it. When these episodes usually happen it is more of a "power struggle" than a cry for attention. It usually is when we are doing something that is not what she feels she should be doing, going somewhere or doing something that she feels unnecessary and not fun.<br><br>
I don't see my DD as being bad, I see her as trying to act out her frustrations with me, and I know that much of her frustrations come from me being a frustrated person at times. As I stated from the beginning, I have done so many different approaches with her and most don't work, and I am slightly at a loss. The only thing that does work is a few minutes of mellowing down, be it her having a screaming fit with me sitting next to her trying to console her while she scratches and sometimes bites at me. Most of the times I am really at a loss, because it seems everything I do is wrong<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Norasmomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11587068"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Well I should say more of a "chill out" is what I like to do, my DD is very high spirited and needs a couple minutes to calm down. (.</div>
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that's a really good way to put it!!<br>
I don't see it as a punishment, but a way to remove a child from the situation and refocus/ calm down. most kids don't know how to do this on their own, and a "chill out" is kind of a learning tool. when I give a time out, I give a warning, which I frame as a choice "you can either stop hiting mama or take a time out". I think this gives them a sense of control.<br><br>
another good trick is to look for warning signs, or triggers (they are different for all kids). if you see your little one headed in the direction of hitting maybe, for example, she starts yelling first, or geting frustrated. time out these behaviors, so he doesn't get to the point of losing control and hitting.<br><br>
My little guys caught on really quick, and to be honest, at this point in time, they end up earning maybe 1 time out a week between the 2 of them (and they are really young and very high spirited).<br><br>
I think that the key is, whatever you do, be consistant, so your little one knows what to expect.<br>
Good Luck
 

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I think it's the age - and really, truly, she's doing it to youand only you simply BECAUSE she loves you and trusts you more than anyone else in the whole world. Really. She's not hating Mama, she's loving you with all her might, while also trying to exert a little independence.<br><br>
DD has taken to swatting at me or pushing my chin away when I'm rocking her down for a nap in a face to face bear hug sort of way. When she hits, I put her down in her bed, and say "I don't like to be hit, and I won't let anyone hurt me." I walk away and close the door. Since she naps in her crib, I know she is safe and cannot hurt herself or destroy her room or anything. I leave for about 2 minutes. I know she's only doing it because she's tired and fighting the sleep, and here's Mama trying to HELP her fall asleep? Well, I'm the enemy for that moment.<br><br>
With the kitchen example, I'd assume she was trying to help you, and she had no idea she got knocked down on accident. If I was trying to help you and you pushed me down (or I thought you intentionally pushed me down, or I don't have the mental faculties to distinguish between the two), my first reaction would probably be agression, too.<br><br>
Just be consistent in not allowing the agression. Say you won't allow anyone to hurt to you, and walk away.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lurve</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11586478"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">i am more of a consensual living type mama and don't like timeouts. what i do is the formula from the book "easy to love difficult to discipline". (i am of the alfie kohn "punishment" family)<br>
1. give the behavior good intentions. this is the hardest because in our society we so easily see kids as being "bad." instead i tell my daughter something like "oh you wanted mama's attention."<br>
2. tell child what NOT to do. so i would say "we don't hit in this family because hitting hurts and i need to know everyone feels safe."<br>
3. tell child what to do. this is the big step. kids don't understand what to do just by saying "don't hit" or "be gentle." so i would say "you want to tell me how angry you are. you can tell me or we can go hit a pillow or run around."<br><br>
this takes time but i just don't see a 20 month old understanding timeouts</div>
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Thank you for this! I am trying to find the specific way of using unconditional parenting philosophy as my 14mo starts getting this "fits" where she flails her arms and hits anything close, but often mama or herself, and then goes "ooooh" all angrily. I knew what I wanted to do, but you helped me see some more of how I can help her handle her frustrations. She's a VERY bright and VERY verbal 14mo, and I think she gets very frustrated b/c of this... esp as everyone thinks she's more capable of controlling herself b/c she can communicate so well. I try to remind folks that just b/c she can understand almost anything said to her does not mean she has any impulse control! So I really needed to read about someone else doing this! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My DD is now almost four and past this particular stage, but for awhile she would hit and kick when angry. Time-outs didn't work for us; she was far too stubborn and we were spending much more effort than we wanted to try to make them work. If I walked away, she would follow me and continue to try to be violent. I'm not going to run away from my kids.<br><br>
Instead, what I ended up doing was taking a step forward instead of back. She would hit me and instead of walking away I would sit down and hold her on my lap, in a tight bear hug, sometimes with my legs wrapped around her legs. I would sometimes rock gently as I whispered in the most soothing voice possible that I knew she was upset but I would NOT let her hurt me. I told her I would hold her as long as necessary, but she may not hit or kick me. She could kick the couch, kick her bed, lie down and kick the floor..... but not a person. I whispered that when she was able to calm down we would move on with our day and do something else, and I could eventually get her to participate in the planning of the next part of our schedule.<br><br>
I don't know if this method worked out better than any other. I do know that when we were trying to do the time-out way my DD could scream bloody murder for an hour straight. In the bear hug she never cried for more than ten minutes, maybe because she had my full attention and it was harder for her to stay mad and feel injured when I was hugging her? We only had to do this a handful of times before the violence stopped, but it's just as possible that she simply grew out of the phase, not necessarily that this was a magic solution.<br><br>
What this did do for me was to stop MY anger and make me refocus, rather than a screeching time-out that usually set me even more on edge. So it was a better solution for me just based on that.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Norasmomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11580941"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have tried redirection, ignoring, asking her about her feelings"why are you upset with Mommy?" etc...NOTHING has worked and it continues, I has in fact gotten worse, and now I pretty much am at a loss on what to do except cry and think my DD "hates" me. (</div>
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It's the inconsistency that's getting her to repeat the behavior over and over, escalating in aggression. <a href="http://www.natickpediatrics.com/healthykids/toddlerhitsme.html" target="_blank">Take a deep breath, and read this article entitled "Why Does My Toddler Hit Me?"</a> You're doing fine, mama - just stop moving the walls!
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Norasmomma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11587068"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The only thing that does work is a few minutes of mellowing down, be it her having a screaming fit with me sitting next to her trying to console her while she scratches and sometimes bites at me. Most of the times I am really at a loss, because it seems everything I do is wrong<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">.</div>
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I think you should stop trying to console her phsyically when she acts like this.<br><br>
I think that what's happening is that she's having tantrums- she gets overwhelmed with her emotions and needs to vent. Give her space to kick, scream, etc, and then console her AFTER she's calmed down. Trying to touch her while she's in the heat of her emotions will probably do more harm than good- you're blocking her from being able to fully let off steam, and she's pushing you away violently because she doesn't know how else to tell you <b>she doesn't want to be touched</b> at those times. She needs to blow off steam and won't be ready to accept comfort until she's done so.<br><br>
Stay nearby, ready to comfort her as soon as she's calmed down, if you can listen to her tantrum without getting sucked into her negativity. There have been times when I've walked away just to maintain my own equilibrium, so that when the tantrum ends we can resume a healthy, happy interaction. But if I'm feeling strong that day, I'm able to listen to the crying and screaming and not take any of it personally- mentally tune out but still be there physically- but not actually touching and not within kicking or biting distance.<br><br>
At least, this has been my own personal experience. Others have shared how they've tried to give the child space and the child has followed with more violence- in which case another approach is needed. I'd try this first though- take a step back, out of kicking distance, and see if she calms herself down within a few minutes of not being touched. If that doesnt' work, try the 'bear hug".
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the replies, I guess I have had some inconsistencies in my own behavior, I just sometimes don't know what is worse. Her behavior or my reactions. Ugh...I guess I just need to keep trying with all of this. This has been one of the hardest things that I have had to deal with.
 

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Sounds like a really tough phase <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Be gentle with yourself, mama.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> my DD has special needs so it's a bit different (behind verbally so "talking it out" isn't an option). she's nearly 3 and has been through this phase several times. it really hurts, not just physically but emotionally. it adds even more insult to injury when you are trying your best to raise your child in a gentle, loving environment and they are violent towards you. My dd is the same- hardly ever hits anyone else and if she does it's more like a swing in the air- but to me, she bites, hits, scratches, pinches, basically attacks me like a little animal. no one else. it has brought me to tears several times and yet I still do my best to respond lovingly and in a way she'll understand, and none of it works.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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"i just don't see a 20 month old understanding timeouts"<br><br>
actually, kids get it much earlier then you would think. I started time outs with each of my boys when they were around 14-15 months old, and they both got it within a day. Nobody can believe how quickly they understood and how young they were.<br><br>
but again, time outs, if used properly should really never need to be used. It takes a few days of being consistent about giving them, but then the bad behaviors should really taper off. again, I have a 2 year old and a 16 month old, and I give maybe 1 time out a week between the 2 of them. and they are VERY active intense kids. I time out is a way for them to refocus and learn to control their own behavior.
 
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