BTDT moms of toddlers

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thenamezkrista's picture
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BTDT moms of toddlers

Do any of you have an abusive toddler? My son just loves to hit me and yell in my face all the time. I really cannot come up with a good discipline technique to get him to stop. I am in dire need of some tips!!!:help1:

mlle_carrie's picture
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I'm not a mom (yet) but I work with toddlers and preschoolers. What do you do or how do you react when he does this?

The twos are really a time when kids are starting to assert their independence. You will probably find that he says "no" a lot and wants to do a lot of things for himself.

How is his vocabulary? Is he able to express his wants and needs? Sometimes kids will act out physically if they cannot express themselves verbally, due to frustration.

I'm just throwing some ideas out there, but I guess I need a little more info. Like when does this occur? How do you react? Is he in child care? etc?

PAmom2boys's picture
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I suppose you have tried time outs.

I love the Supernanny technique for timeouts. I think its very effective on my kids. Thats what works for Ethan(my little stinker, causing all sorts of trouble).

Edit: For Jacob I would take away his favorite things. That worked for him but he is a pleaser type kid and dont have to use timeouts for him.

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My Liberty is 2 1/2 and she's definitely tried to smack me (and succeeded!) and hit me if she's mad at me. Please don't overreact to what I'm about to say... I'm old school so I smacked her hand or leg and tell her not to hit, and that worked for her. I told her firmly, "No, you can't hit mommmy." Of course she was super upset, and I immediately held and hugged her after and explained why she was disciplined. This worked for me when my parents did it and worked wonders for my kids!

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:lurk:

My daughter went thru that same phase right before she turned 2. I noticed that when she was hitting she was usually overstimulated. I normally, if I was holding her, would put her down and walk into another room for just a few minutes and give her time to cool off. If I wasn't holding her, I would stick her in her room (we have a baby gate over the door so I kept the door open but closed the baby gate) and let her have just a few minutes in there (3-5 minutes). If you don't want to do that maybe you can have a 'cool down chair' or something where he can sit down and just calm down.

Now, I've also smacked her hand and said "NO!" to her too.

I'll be totally honest and say that nothing I've done has TOTALLY worked. She is about to turn 3 and she still smacks sometimes, but it's far less than what she was doing. I really think it's a phase.

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~ Lurker ~

I too am a toddler teacher/preschool teacher.
I have a class of 15 of them in one room and I've honestly had about 50% of them that have hit me, kicked me, bit me, spit at me and some have actually sworn at me. :eek:
Yes SWORE at me and used the word in the right way too (obviously they've heard it many times before). With that said, they can be such sweethearts too, you just never know what will set them off so quickly and most of the time, they don't know either.

First you have to find out "why" your son is resorting to physical violence and why he feels that he needs to "hit" you. Most of the time in my classroom, it's out of pure frustration and they don't know anyother way to vent then to use their hands to hit or their teeth to bite. Example: a child will take a toy away from another child and that child will automatically use some sort of physical punishment to get that toy back - they don't care if they're hurting someone else, they're attention and focus is on that TOY and that TOY was theirs and they want it back NOW. As soon as a teacher is involved, the teacher becomes the target now. They're not really mad at the teacher, they're mad at the fact that they don't have that toy and the teacher is now taking them even further away from that toy. The teacher is the one that stopped them from getting that toy.

This is what works for us:
Simply, remove the child from the situation, somewhere to another quiet area of the house/classroom. We get down to the child's level, hold their arms/hands at their side and talk in a slow, but firm voice (so they take you seriously), and look them in the eyes. Egknowlege their frustation and anger, "I understand that you are angry and that so & so took your toy BUT and then give your reasoning of why physical violence or "hitting, pushing, biting, etc" isn't allowed. We do have a bad habit of saying, "Use your words" alot in our classroom because a lot of our kids will just scream and cry to get what they want when they have the words to express their anger, frustration and fear. We do use the time-out method as well, to allow the child a chance to "calm down" and remove themselves from the situation that made them angry. After their 2 minutes is up, we still go back to the child and talk to them in a soft voice and explain to them why they were sent to time-out and what they did was wrong and how can we fix the problem -- we show empathy, we show affection, never withhold affection even if a child is violent. We hug them afterwards as well. We want to express to them that "they're problems do matter" and us teachers are there to help them when they need it. When you're consistant with discipline it really does show. In the past two months, our classroom has totally changed. The kids are starting to express themselves so much better, there's less screaming, crying, less temper tantrums, we haven't had a biting or hitting incident in weeks Yahoo The children comfort eachother when another child is sad -- they give eachother hugs and it's the sweetest thing ever. We've taught them the sign for "gentle" -- simply just stroke your arm down with your other hand and say "gentle" along with it.

Good luck Biggrin

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Well said Shannon! The only thing I would add is that when you tell a child to "use your words" you need to give them the words to use. They don't automatically know what to say. So, for example, you may walk the child over to the child who took his toy and model what to say, "Johnny, it made me mad when you took my toy. Could I please have it back?"...or something to that effect. The children won't automatically know to do this every time and it won't magically solve your problems, but it does start to show them how they can solve problems on their own when they reach the developmental level to be able to do so.

In your case, I would just calmly explain that hitting is not tolerated and that it hurts Mommy. And I think sometimes the bigger deal you make out of something, the more the child will try to push your buttons. Let him know that you don't want to interact with him unless he can be gentle with his hands and words.

All that being said, I think whatever method you choose to use, the most important thing is to BE CONSISTENT!

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They don't call them terrible 2's for nothing. We are in the same situation. We tell Nicholas "no, it's not nice to hit" then if he hits again, we say "if you hit mommy again, you will get spanked" (no comments on this please, not meant to start a debate). So we follow through on actions. Honestly, Nicholas is too young for time out. He doesn't understand the concept. We will keep trying time out after a month break or so and see if it works.

I think the trick is to follow through on what you say you will do. If you say you are going to take away a toy, do it. If you say you are going to do time out, do it. Kids need to know that things will happen if you say it will.

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"JuneorJulyBaby?" wrote:

They don't call them terrible 2's for nothing. We are in the same situation. We tell Nicholas "no, it's not nice to hit" then if he hits again, we say "if you hit mommy again, you will get spanked" (no comments on this please, not meant to start a debate). So we follow through on actions. Honestly, Nicholas is too young for time out. He doesn't understand the concept. We will keep trying time out after a month break or so and see if it works.

I think the trick is to follow through on what you say you will do. If you say you are going to take away a toy, do it. If you say you are going to do time out, do it. Kids need to know that things will happen if you say it will.

It took a WHILE for my DD to 'get' time out. Lots and lots and lots of me having to literally sit and hold her down in her time out spot before she finally understood, so keep on trying and TRY not to get too frustrated with it (I know how hard that can be lol) We had to stand right over her with our back turned to her for a good month solid and as SOON as her little butt started to get off her spot we'd turn around plop her right back down (without making eye contact or saying anything to her) and then turn our back again. That age (18 mths to 2 1/2 yrs) was SO difficult for us! Closing in on 3 now and it's still hard but in a different way. I can explain things to her now and she can communicate back and that takes away SO much frustration from us and from her. Hang in there!

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I am a mother of a toddler and a teacher. What I do in the classroom rarely works at home. When My DD went throught this, she was biting me. When she bit me, I would grab her chin, so she could look into my face and very loudly and stearmly tell her "NO BITING. BITING HURTS!" Then, I would put her on the opposite end of the couch, or somewhere away from me (very hard in public- I remember one time sitting in the waiting area of Ruby Tuesday with her on the bench screaming, and my back to her!). The whole idea was to remove her from my presence. It took a few days, but she eventually got it. she bites = NO mommy.

Good Luck!

thenamezkrista's picture
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Thank you all! Lots of good tips here for sure!!

Right now we do time out for two minutes, they say a minute for every year. He thinks it's funny though if he turns around and looks at us. So it's a battle with that. When he hits we have been in the bad habit of raising our voices to say "don't hit!" and we usually spank his diaper or put him on the ground or away from us. But he just always wants attention so it seems like he just does more bad things to get us to yell at him. He's quite a ham so he loves to show how strong he is and hits walls and the stove and of course toys.. Now he has this awful habit of screaming and I do mean screaming at the top of his lungs when we tell him no. He just hauls out "no" back to us as loud as possible. It is beyond frustrating.

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"mlle_carrie" wrote:

I'm not a mom (yet) but I work with toddlers and preschoolers. What do you do or how do you react when he does this? We usually put him in time out or in a seperate place from us after looking in his face and saying "no, you are hurting mommy when you hit like that"

The twos are really a time when kids are starting to assert their independence. You will probably find that he says "no" a lot and wants to do a lot of things for himself. sure does!!!

How is his vocabulary? Is he able to express his wants and needs? Sometimes kids will act out physically if they cannot express themselves verbally, due to frustration. His vocabulary is great when he needs something. He rarely gets frustrated about that.

I'm just throwing some ideas out there, but I guess I need a little more info. Like when does this occur? at least twice a day if not more, whenever he gets angry, or bored, or tired. Tired is the worst. He gets so angry and violent and frustrated with his toys. How do you react? Is he in child care? etc?

Thank you for your help Smile