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2.5 year old vicious hitting - what can I do?

(11 Posts)
bean612 Wed 01-Jun-11 19:42:36

DD is just about to turn two and a half and she has been lashing out a bit for the past few months, but in the last few weeks it has got really bad (and of course she has got stronger and bigger, which doesn't help). She doesn't hit other children, thank god, only me and DH (though he gets it less, probably because he works FT and therefore is around less often).

It's generally triggered either by me reprimanding any bad behaviour on her part, or by her getting angry because I've said she's watched enough Peppa for the day, already had a biscuit and can't have another as it's nearly dinnertime - you get the picture (and I do warn her before the episode starts that it will be the last Peppa/say before I give her a biscuit 'but only one, because we're having dinner in half an hour', etc)

Anyway - she smacks me in the face, pulls my hair (which she knows really hurts because a friend's little boy did it to her once and made her really wail), grabs and twists my glasses, and generally goes ballistic. Apart from the fact that it hurts physically, I also find it really upsetting. Most of the time she is so sweet, cuddly and funny, and she can often be really kind. I honestly don't know what to do. Saying 'gentle hands' etc doesn't have any effect, explaining it hurts makes no difference, being calm and firm and saying 'we don't hit' does nothing - her response to everything is simply 'I WANT to be naughty'.

Please help...

MamaChocoholic Wed 01-Jun-11 19:58:55

have you tried time outs? ds1 didn't hit, but at this age (and since) sometimes gets beside himself with frustration/temper. he'll roll around on the floor and scream. for him, he needs to go be on his own to calm down, and we used to carry him to his room and ask him to stay there till he'd calmed down. we'd shut the door, but he'd never try and get out. he would calm down and then ask for a kiss and a cuddle and it would all be ok again.

it was hard for me to accept that he needed to be on his own. and obviously this is what worked for him, it won't suit every child. but I'd say if she is hurting you she needs to understand there is a consequence to it. what the consequence is is up to you, but once you pick something be consistent. and when she calms down you can cuddle and chat to her about how she felt and what else she could have done with that feeling.

bean612 Wed 01-Jun-11 21:39:54

Thanks, MamaC. The traditional sort of time out, ie. sitting her down on a step, chair etc in a quiet place doesn't work with her because she won't stay there, she simply gets up and comes chasing after me. The only way to get her to stay in one place on her own for a couple of minutes is to put her in her cot, but she will scream and bash the sides for ages. In any case, this won't be an option for much longer as we're about to get her her first bed, partly because she is outgrowing the cot and partly because when I have put her in the cot a few times recently, she bashes and shakes it so much that it's surely on the brink of falling apart...

bean612 Thu 02-Jun-11 09:24:52

Bumping... anyone? Would be great to have some assurance I am not alone!

5318008 Thu 02-Jun-11 10:14:32


you need to develop a sort of rugby swerve to avoid the blow/pulling/glasses snatching

be prepared to block with your forearm, I don't mean hit but to parry

have you considered putting YOURSELF in timeout - I don't mean sit on the bottom stair but rather remove yourself, make a cup of tea, take away your attention, walk away, disengage


DirtyMartini Thu 02-Jun-11 10:23:19

Oh, sympathy here too! DS does this stuff, with exactly the same triggers (as well as a major additional one relating to not taking toys away from his baby sister).

When I take his hand to lead him to his room to calm down, he digs his nails into my hand like claws. If I hold his hand in a way that prevents this, he bites me. If I lift our linked hands out of biting range, he goes boneless on the floor or sometimes, just to ring the changes, swings round behind me and tries to bite my backside hmm

It is v unpleasant, and I hate the chasing-after-me-to-hit thing as it's totally pathetic to be running away from my own three-year-old. Also, I am sometimes holding the baby when it happens.

We do the bedroom time-out thing (no cot) as best we can, and hope it passes. I've tried taking a toy away onto a high shelf for every incident, then letting him earn them back; but yesterday he said "I am going to take one of your things away", and later when he'd been suspiciously quiet in his room fo 5 minutes, I found him holding my keys, which he'd found on the hall table, and building a precarious tower of overturned storage boxes & his bin to climb up on to try and hide the keys on his bedroom shelves shock

He is nearly 4, by the way. But he's only been like this for the past couple of months, really.

walesblackbird Thu 02-Jun-11 10:26:28

When mine were toddlers and prone to slapping then I found that making it into a game of patacake helped. So when the blow is about to land deflect it with your own hand and make it a game. Takes the sting out.

The other thing that always worked with mine was tickling them under the raised arm - always made them giggle and then the moment passed.

Miggsie Thu 02-Jun-11 10:33:09

A friend of mine used this: method and the term "taming" really applied to her boy, he argued and fought against her every step of the way from very early on.

RockinSockBunnies Thu 02-Jun-11 10:38:20

In terms of the time-out thing, I think you have to accept that you'll be constantly replacing your DD in the same place after she gets up and runs off. It's a battle of wills. Just return her, time and time again, to the same spot until she stays there for the required length of time and apologises. Easier said than done, I know.

Alternatively, you could maybe remove the triggers (get rid of TV for a few days, no biscuits - so it's easier to say yes, rather than no, to requests).

skybluepearl Thu 02-Jun-11 10:45:15

instant time out for hitting. a cooling/calming period really helps calm the situation down - then you can quickl/calmly/quietly discuss things and move on.

The first time she gets off step, put her in a boring room with door shut. You need to give her 2 mins - or actually until she has calmed down which could be longer. She may make a last min attempt to regain power by kicking off but stand firm.

Otherwise distraction and playfulness can help. Have you tried making things good fun. Or introducing her to the next exciting part of the day ' we need to turn peppa off cos we are cooking now. look at these big orange carrots!!'

CharlieBoo Thu 02-Jun-11 22:53:18

Hi, my dd has just turned 2 and has the same 'rages' as you describe...its bloomin hard work isn't it?

Like your dd, our dd will just loose it if she can't have that biscuit NOW or I can't push her on the swing NOW because I'm cooking dinner...she lashes out at me, and I just move her hand away (which makes her more mad). She also hits other children if they won't just hand over what it is she wants ... mostly ds gets the brunt of it. He is so good with her though, three times today she pinched him without provocation. I just think she wants a reaction. No matter what I say or do makes any I'll hang out on this thread too if you don't mind? Was just about to start one myself on this, but I'll tag onto this....

Ds wasn't like this, such a timid, beautifully natured toddler, I could always reason with him, so dd is a big shock to us. She is very wilfull and determined, I think its a mix of terrible twos and her personality.

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