Posted in Behavior, Toddlers

Discipline help PLEASE!!

Anonymous

I am desperate to correct my toddler’s hitting and aggression. I went into parenthood with the idea that I would use gentle discipline/respectful parenting to teach my child the difference between right and wrong. I have read COUNTLESS books on the topic and really believed that this was the way to go (and still do), but the past month or so has really made me question if it actually works. I have a 17 month old son who is hitting, throwing toys, and overly aggressive with me, the rest of my family, and other kids. It seems to be getting worse by the day. I feel like I follow almost all the guidelines of gentle discipline laid out in the modern parenting books. I.e. “use gentle hands” “hitting hurts”, putting the toys in a toy timeout when he throws them, having him take a break with me while calmly telling him that I can’t let him hit and why (I don’t believe in timeouts or spankings) but NOTHING works. I’m at a loss. He starts a MDO program in a month and I’m so worried he is going to hurt the other kids. If anybody has any suggestions, PLEASE comment! Thank you!!

  • Jenn
    Aug 05

    Have you tried time out? When I nannied, we started 1 of the kids in time out around that age because she was doing things she knew was wrong. We had specific spot that she would go, and she had to sit there for 30 secs-1min. Then we would get down on her level and explain why she was there and have her apologize/hug or kiss. The biggest thing is not engaging in conversation during the time out. She will get out repeatedly, but you just get her and put her back, without talking, and restart the timer. Honestly, we gently held her there with our foot (looking away from her) until the time was up. It's a good way to start teaching him what is right and wrong and that doing things like hitting or scratching won't get you additional attention.

  • PK
    Aug 05

    Taking a break with him is kinda like a timeout... except you’re giving him the one on one attention he probably wants. Timeouts have worked for us. We didn’t start until around 20 months though. For the throwing issue - putting the toys in the trash has worked for us. I pull them out of the trash when he isn’t looking, hide it, then put it back when he’s down for bed. I let him throw certain toys though (stuffed animals and balls). I always reiterate that when he throws anything. Praise for throwing something throwable. Warning for throwing the non throwable items. Then the second time they go in the trash. Hitting - I grab his hands and arms and hold them together tightly and tell him no hitting. If we are out and I’m ok with leaving (but he doesn’t want to leave), I will give him a warning and say that if he hits again that we will leave. If this is at home and he’s being really rough with me (but just playing), I will make my comment that he is hurting me and then just walk away from him and hide for a little bit. Then come out and say, “nobody wants to play with you if you’re hurting them. You’re hurting mommy.” My husband rough houses with my son. I feel like he really needs that outlet and loves it. So we always remind him that it’s ok with daddy but not ok with anyone else. So if he is being aggressive but just playing... maybe find someone that enjoys doing that with him and remind him that it’s only ok to do with that specific person and during a specific time? It’ll take time but they will eventually get it.

  • MamaNukesYopolo
    Aug 05

    So if you want to continue with the gentle approach part of it is going to be patience and repetition. I don’t use time out, but I do have them sit in a chair (usually where ever I am, like a kitchen chair, or a high chair) and I talk to them about what happened, but I don’t sit with them. Part of it is going to be giving him other options. He is super young, and has not yet developed brain power for cause and effect and consequences. You can do timeout all you want, but they aren’t thinking before they act at 1.5 yrs old. What you can do is suggest alternatives. My oldest had a hard time with physical reactions (he took longer with verbal skills and to this day at age 4 still sometimes can’t get to his words first, still a work in progress). So I used to give him the “frustrated move”. For us it was one hand a fist, one hand open and he could slap them together. You could suggest anything. Clapping, jumping, punching a pillow, you should pick two things you are ok with and give him a choice. Then when he throws or hits, stop him and I say I see you are feeling mad/frustrated/hurt, let’s try doing your move. If he’s verbal, I would include repeating the word he is feeling. This will help relieve/release the feeling. Gentle/positive parenting approach is all about getting to the root cause of the action and helping your child find a solution. Not creating consequences for “problem” behaviors. Ie, throwing away toys doesn’t fit with that approach. Setting them aside because safety is first and right now our child is struggling to use it safely is not a punishment, it’s simply a safety solution and a reset for the child. I hope this helps.

  • MamaNukesYopolo
    Aug 05

    Oh! And a great resource for gentle parenting approach questions is the fb group “positive parenting village” by afineparent.com.

  • Anonymous
    Aug 05

    I would keep using the gentle approach as he is not going to understand why he is being spanked and it will only work him up more. Plus likely cause trust issues. When my daughter starts throwing toys I redirect her to a different one and hide the one that is aggravating her. When he hits start giving him a firm now. Slightly raise your voice if you have to. If you see him go to hit grab his hand. When my daughter gets worked up, I take her into her play tent and read her to her. Sometimes we sing. It gives her a chance to calm down and is less stimulation. And you can say " don't hit me, or don't hit ____". My daughter started to become a biter and we would always say firmly "don't bite me, don't bite the table, don't bite your blanket" etc. She's still too young to understand frustration, but we know when she is getting worked up because she'll actually reprimand herself and say "don't bite the _____" before she completely explodes into a fit. In the past 2-3 months she has not bitten anybody. She will be two in October.