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 Post subject: Dealing with a super aggressive toddler
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 1:35 pm 
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So, on Fridays, the Emperor and I babysit another toddler friend of ours. He's 8 months older than the Emperor, making him pretty close to 2.

He is really aggressive, even for his age. This isn't a huge surprise to me... he comes from a family of really boisterous people. (I love them, they're good friends of mine, but they are undeniably big noisy fun people.) That's part of his personality and that's fine. He's not a bad kid or anything.

However, he does stuff that I really can't handle. He pushes my son over constantly. He rips toys out of his hands. He screams right in his face. I've seen him slap my kid. And today was really the coup de grace... he hit the Emperor in the head with a ROCK. And then right after the timeout he had for that, he hit my kid in the head with a STICK.

When he does something aggressive like this, I've been giving him timeouts, which is what his mom does. They don't seem to have much of an effect for him but they do give ME time to chill out which is important. His mom said I can repeat whatever action he did to the Emperor but I can't bring myself to tap him on the hand much less whack him the head with a rock or push him over, obviously.

I really don't know what else to try at this point. When he's not being super aggressive to my kid, he is very very sweet and we actually have a lot of fun together. And the Emperor doesn't seem to feel any lasting ill will towards him or anything.

But if I can't figure something out that works, I really can't watch this kid anymore. I get SO angry when I see him do stuff to my son. I really want to pick him up and shake him or something, and I know that's not right, and obviously I wouldn't do it, but. I don't feel like there's enough money in the WORLD to let some little so and so beat up my son once a week.

Sorry if this is totally incoherent. I'm trying to write it as quickly as possible while these guys are happy and playing nicely for a minute.

What can I do? what else is there to try? Help please.

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 Post subject: Re: Dealing with a super aggressive toddler
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:38 pm 
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I found it very hard when Reno was 2 to get her to understand what she was doing was wrong. Time outs didn't work, yelling didn't work, nothing worked. Until i did time outs with her. I don't know if this will work for you especially since it's not your kid but I would sit in the corner with Reno with her on my lap and clamp my arms and legs around her so she couldn't move. She would get so pissed and we would talk about what she did and she would stop doing it. To this day if she's not listening I just have to say "Do you want to sit in the corner with me?" She immediately says "No" and stops doing whatever it was she was doing.

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 Post subject: Re: Dealing with a super aggressive toddler
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 3:52 pm 
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yeah, i don't think that the time outs are going to do much good.

the main reason that most 2 year olds hit because they like that hitting produces a predictable series of results, which in this case is: he gets more attention (in the form of time outs, which obviously aren't giving him the cooling off period they're intended to, since you say he went right back and hit emporer again); emporer cries; you react. from his perspective, it is so cool and empowering that he can do these things and get a bunch of attention for it.

which isn't to say that there aren't times when kids hit because they're being provoked, and they think that hitting is a way to respond. i seriously doubt emporer is provoking this kid, so...

what we do here instead, when one of the 2 year olds gets physical repeatedly and we can see that he's doing it to get attention and NOT because he's being provoked, is we give attention to the victim instead, by giving him words to empower himself.

so the scenario goes like this:

kid A: randomly hits kid B
kid B: cries, says ow, reacts
adult: "kid B, what do you say when someone does something you don't like? you say: 'i don't like that,' or 'please don't hit me.'"
kid B: "i don't like that!"
adult: "yes, great!"
kid A: stands there wondering why he isn't getting desired result

this has really worked for us. none of our 2 year olds are randomly hitting each other anymore. in general: we give them lots of positive attention for behaviors we want repeated, and we ignore the behaviors we don't like. it's harder to do than say, seriously, because as an adult, the first instinct is to try and correct negative behavior. that just doesn't work with young toddlers. explaining will work in a year or so but right now they really just want attention, and lots and lots and lots of it, and they will repeat whatever behavior gets them the most of it.


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 Post subject: Re: Dealing with a super aggressive toddler
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Joanna is a genius. It doesn't really need to be said because it's obvious, but sometimes it must be observed.


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 Post subject: Re: Dealing with a super aggressive toddler
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:30 pm 
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LebaLu wrote:
Joanna is a genius. It doesn't really need to be said because it's obvious, but sometimes it must be observed.


NO WAY. i am just passing on the techniques that i cobbled from half a dozen books and 2 dozen websites which i consulted when the kids who were with me, my son included, were being so physical on a daily basis and for no apparent reason, that i was regularly crying and breaking down and saying over and over to my husband: "what are we supposed to DO?" i was in coldandsleepy's position a mere six months ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Dealing with a super aggressive toddler
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:02 pm 
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joanna wrote:
LebaLu wrote:
Joanna is a genius. It doesn't really need to be said because it's obvious, but sometimes it must be observed.


NO WAY. i am just passing on the techniques that i cobbled from half a dozen books and 2 dozen websites which i consulted when the kids who were with me/quote]

And I thank you from the very, very, VERY bottom of my heart for sharing!

Of course, after I posted this thread, the kid we watched was totally sweet for the rest of the day and we didn't end up having any more conflict. But we are going to try what you suggested when he's back next week.

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 Post subject: Re: Dealing with a super aggressive toddler
PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2010 9:07 pm 
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I had to stop nannying for a friend's little girl because I was dealing with the same situation - except that MY kid was doing the beating and snatching and screaming. I had no idea what to do. Having an aggressive toddler around - whether he's yours or not - is incredibly stressful.

I love Joanna's suggestion. Attending to the child who's been hit and not the child doing the hitting makes perfect sense. I also have to remind myself that a lot of this is much more upsetting to the adults than it is to the kids. Of course, hitting with a rock or a stick is never okay.

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