Please help, my 2 year old is hurting other children.

(36 Posts)
PrincessRomy Sat 28-Sep-13 22:31:33

Dd is 2 and 2 months. New baby brother arrived the day before her 2nd birthday. She likes to hug and kiss him but also will swipe at his head and scratch his face if I'm not quick enough to stop her.

She has started doing this to other children at toddler groups and parties, as well as snatching toys and pushing/pulling over. Grabbed at a boys face today and scratched under his eye. I'm mortified and not sure if I'm handling it right.

I talked to her before we went to the party today explaining that she needed to be gentle with everyone. I praised her loads when she was being good being specific about what it was I was pleased with. When she grabbed at the boys face I took her, said no calmly but firmly then took her to one side and made her stay with me for a while, said if she wasn't gentle again we'd have to leave. Took her with me to say sorry to boy (I said it as couldn't get her to).

She seems fascinated by what she's doing. Often talking about kids 'crying' when they are ones she's hurt. It breaks my heart because I know how lovely she is.

My plan for the next few days:

Before going to potential situation I will give her a detailed pep talk explaining behaviour I want and don't want. Also explain consequences if she hurts anyone - probably leaving the activity and going home.

Praise at every opportunity, and if situation is going well, possibly leave early so it ends on a good note and I can praise praise praise. Watching for signs of tiredness etc and taking her home before she gets too tired (think she was ready for nap when incident at party happened today).

Giving no opportunity for her to hurt/attempt to grab at ds, then praise her loads for how gentle she is.

How does this sound? I don't want to be too soft I really really want this behaviour to stop as soon as I can, but I don't believe that shouting etc works and I'm also aware that her little world has been turned upside down with the arrival of ds and she is so good and lovely most of the time, really accepting him. I don't want her to feel pushed out or rejected by me.

This is happening when in contact with other toddlers. Should I avoid toddler groups for a while? It just seems important to me that she socialises with other kids.

Should I offer rewards as well as praise? Eg after toddler group today we can watch a bit of cbeebies when we get home if you are gentle all the time? Or a star chart working towards a reward? Or is she too young for this and should I be expecting her to behave in an acceptable way without a reward?

Would some sort of time out system help, especially in the house, following bad behaviour?

I just don't know what to do but want it to stop as I don't want my lovely little girl to get a reputation for being unkind sad

If she tries to hurt ds how should I handle it. I initially I was saying a very stern, dramatic 'no' but I think she liked the attention from this. Now I'm trying to give her no opportunity eg holding her hands while she goes to give him a kiss then immediately taking him away then praising her for how gentle she is but if she does manage to hurt him how should I react. I'm just doing a sad face and saying 'no we don't do that' at the moment. Should I maybe put her on a 'naughty step' (although I wouldn't call it that)?

nextphase Sun 29-Sep-13 20:07:59

Now to try and not fuck them up too much... Sounds like an excellent mantra. The other one I like is "Everyone is fed, and no-one died. It was a good day."

Hope you get a couple of good hrs sleep tonight.

snowman1 Sun 29-Sep-13 20:23:15

i could have written your post this time last year! My LO now restricts her roughness to her baby sis but she is a lot better now in public.
One thing I would add is i found my child's behaviour was worse when she was hungry or thirsty. Try and feed them before it bets them into a bad mood. would agree with the other posters that a reward like CBBCs in an hour's time is too far away at this age, they are too in the moment, in 6 months maybe, but not now. Keep the language positive ("gentle hands", rather than "no pushing or snatching" ie tell them what they can do rather than what they can't is better. This too shall pass but you have it very tough right now! oh and get there early and don't be afraid to leave early before it gets to busy/your child has had enough. Good luck!

beachavendrea Mon 30-Sep-13 01:01:01

Don't be too tough on yourself. I used to live at toddler groups and I never got mad if I child was violent towards mine if the parent addressed the issue, it's the ones that ignored it that irritated me.

Don't worry about looking too soft you are parenting your way and be confident with it. I'd much rather be too soft than too harsh, I have seen that over and over again and it's nasty.

I have a 12 week old and a 3 and a half and I am knackered so I feel for you. my ds once threw a bucket at my head and I shut myself in the kitchen and cried no idea why it was the end of a very long day.

Zoogeek Mon 30-Sep-13 20:01:43

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PoppyWearer Mon 30-Sep-13 20:12:13

I just want to add that I wouldn't read too much into the arrival of your DC2 as a trigger for the behaviour.

My DC2 is the same age, no younger sibling or baby on the way and he just seems to turn into the devil-child from time to time, hitting other children. Especially poor DC1!

IME his behaviour seems to be linked to teething. He's in pain, he can't express it, so he lashes out. It's just the age they are.

I'm doing lots of positive reinforcement of good behaviour, lots of bad parenting thrown into the mix too, and just repeating "this too shall pass".

FWIW my younger sister was exactly the same for a while as well at this age. I remember it well!

cravingcake Wed 02-Oct-13 04:54:09

Some really helpful advice on here. My DS is 23 months and in a kicking and hitting, and running off phase. I'm 23 weeks pregnant too.

One thing that helps me at toddler groups is other parents i'm friends with. They help keep an eye on my DS and if they see him do something unacceptable they will tell him off (if i havent been quick enough to stop the situation) and i will do the same with their DC's too. It works for us and means we dont miss out on the groups.

blueberryupsidedown Wed 02-Oct-13 12:09:41

Another tip would be to pay a lot of attention to the other child - the one that has been hurt. When your DD hurts another child, she expects you to pay attention to HER. That's what you don't want. You want to pay attention to the other child, go straight to him/her, make a bug fuss over him/her, make absolutely sure they are ok. Then go to your child, taker by the hand (don't pick her up un your arms), take her out of the room or away from distraction/the playgroup/the other children. Then go down to her lever and tell her in a very firm voice that we never ever ever hit (don't use the word hurt, it's too abstract. refer to what she has just done - scratch, push, punch, hit, whatever) other children. Let her cry is she does, but don't pick her up or give her cuddles. I have seen this way too often, parents picking up their own child after they have hurt anotehr kid and paying all the attention to their own child. It's not in my opinion a good way of doing things. You don't want to give her the message that she will get your attention if she hurts someone.

Then take her to the child that was hurt, and get her to apologise. If she doesn't want to, walk her out of the room again, talk to her again, and get her to apologise. You really need to nip this in the bud and I'm sorry but a softly softly approach might make it worst in the long run.

matana Wed 02-Oct-13 12:39:46

Oh OP, if i had a pound for every one of these threads i'd be a very rich woman! There's some great advice on here and i'm sure you feel reassured.

Just to say that they do come out of the other side - eventually. We've had repeated episodes of hitting, biting, kicking since DS turned about 18 months. He's now almost 3 and those occasions are extremely rare and usually follow some kind of provocation, it doesn't just come out of the blue. He's a very caring, loving and affectionate little boy who sometimes is a little over exhuberant, but other than that he's fine. I wouldn't link your DD's behaviour to your new baby, more a developmental rite of passage!

In the kindest way possible, you are over thinking it. A long, drawn out explanation about behaviour will mean nothing to your DD as her attention span will still be extremely limited. She also can't reason in the same way as an older child. A simple "We don't hit, hitting hurts," and lots of attention for the LO who is on the receiving end will mean she learns in the end - but don't expect it to happen quickly! Around that age i also began asking DS to say sorry because he had hurt someone. I just think if you're the parent of the child on the receiving end it might go some way to reassure them you're on top of it.

PrincessRomy Wed 02-Oct-13 14:40:35

Last two posts make a lot of sense to me.

Dd (and the rest of us) have been pretty poorly last few days, so I've not been to any groups. Positive praise and little opportunity to hurt ds seems to have gone well while at home though. She's been really gentle and loving towards him and I keep praising her for that, even when she's not actively doing it i.e. telling other adults in front of her how gentle she's being and how much I love it.

Next week when we're all better we'll see how things go! Is it awful that I found the day she was illest and quite inactive just wanting to sit on the sofa and cuddle quite relaxing? I'd obviously never wish her poorly

PrincessRomy Wed 02-Oct-13 14:42:13

She is an exuberant girl with a lot of character and I'm not going to use this as an excuse for her behaviour but I also don't want to squash that vivaciousness completely iyswim.

Goldmandra Wed 02-Oct-13 16:49:11

She is an exuberant girl with a lot of character and I'm not going to use this as an excuse for her behaviour but I also don't want to squash that vivaciousness completely iyswim.

Too right!

You just want her to learn to respond to negative emotions in a less physical way and she will, in time smile

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