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Help me help my aggressive 2yo

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  • Help me help my aggressive 2yo

    My son is 2yo almost 3. I have read a few posts here similar to the issues we are having but I am just feeling very stuck at the moment. Whenever anything happens that is not as my son plans or wants, or if we make a request that he doesnt like he will hit at us. I figured this was typical 2yo behavior and we would just redirect and ask him to use his hands in gentle ways. Well the closer we have gotten to three he has become more and more aggressive. I often would pick him up to redirect him to another area/activity but now if I get close to him when he is upset he will hit, kick, grab hair, spit, etc. We do not have a violent house, he watches very little TV, and is only around other kids with parents present. I will talk to him about his emotions "You look angry, you're using your hands to show me you are frustrated" and he will say yes and pull harder. For a while we did 'hit sit' that if he hit we would go sit on the couch. Always someone with him to have quiet time or talk time, which ever he led towards, until he was able to calm down some. Now that just gives him a person close by to attack. I have gotten to the point of setting him away from me (though I am always nearby) and backing away with a simple "I will not let you hurt me" but he will just lunge for me. If I try to get much distance from him he will throw the heaviest/biggest object he can find. I have tried to redirect to hitting pillows, hitting his drums, throwing soft balls, etc but that seems to make him angrier. He is a wonderful child and very laid back 95% of the time. I am just running out of ideas to help him. I dont want to disconnect from him and I want to help him find ways to express his anger but I really dont know how. Ideas, book suggestions, online articles, anything would be very helpful. Thanks!

  • #2
    My second daughter, now 2 y/o, is a lot like this. She is just the sweetest thing the majority of the time, but when she gets mad, she gets MAD!! She hits, throws, stomps her feet, runs away and hides, etc.

    I have found it to be a real key to make sure she's well rested and eating regularly. It seems she's particularly affected by not eating regularly.

    And every time she hits, I repeat that we do not hit. Hitting hurts. I remember her sister doing this same thing -- altho not to the same extent -- and it does sink in eventually. Toddlers, in general, are so full of emotion and have basically no ability to control the actions that go with those emotions.

    I also focus on teaching -- teaching how to deal with emotions, focus on how to problem-solve when things don't go her way.

    When she's in the throes of a tantrum, she also cannot be touched at all and it is better to let her be in solitude -- she'll come back eventually. I find this interesting, as when she is happy and calm, she is virtually attached (always needs touch). But I honor what she needs to calm herself down. Perhaps your child needs time to herself, too?

    This can be a challenging age, as 2 y/o's really want to do everything but know that they can't and it frustrates them. Try to let you child do as much as she can, even if it may not be the way you'd like her to do it. Try to find alternatives for her. Say she wants to pour her milk -- ask if she'd like to "help" you by holding the carton with you.

    Discipline without Distress by Judy Arnall really helps me out in discipline issues with toddlers.