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My 2.9 year old's behaviour is beginning to worry me. Help please!

(5 Posts)
ccj2011 Sun 31-Jul-11 19:50:24

I have a very energetic and spirited young son. The phrase "When he is good he is very very good but when he is bad, he's awful!" could not be truer. However, the bad seems to be on the increase.

Examples: when an adult or a child approaches him to say hello I hold my breath. The majority of the time he takes this as an opportunity to scream at them, shout or even push and hit out. Can be so embarrassing and totally unnessary. If he does shout or scream I tell him it is wrong and that he should just say hello or even walk away. Still the shouting continues.

He can be quite aggressive, hitting and pushing other children, normally if they are invading what he sees as 'his space' or getting to close to 'his toys'. At home he often lashes out and me or my husband if things don't go his way. He will always says sorry to the victim after but this really isn't good enough.

I have tried remaining calm and explaining why what he does is wrong. I use the timeout step (which works to a degree with a sorry after), I have shouted (he shouts back - doesn't work but sometime I loose my cool!) and taken away priveleges. The bad behaviour still continues.

I have a 5 month old baby, whom my DS1 is very gentle with, largely ignores and shows no animosity, but my time is now more limited.

I take them to the park every day, round to friends houses, football classes (which he loves) - lots of activities to keep him active and engaged. He is allowed a little TV every day, which he loves (a little too much).

There seems to be so much pent up anger and aggression. He talks and communicates extremely well so I've ruled out any frustration there. When I ask why he does things he says he doesn't know.

Help please! Surely he isn't the only 2 year old with these characteristics? I am beginning to think we should shut ourselves away. I desperately don't want him to become the child that everyone avoids and ends up with no friends!

yellowsubmarine41 Sun 31-Jul-11 20:08:05

Both of my children have been very socially challenging between the ages of 2 and 3 and a bit. I think it's very normal, but some kids (like mine) are pretty intense.

DC1 found it impossible to share (she also had a baby brother born when she was 2.2 years), needed 100% of my attention and had appalling tantrums. She's much better now at 4 years, but these traits haven't left her completely.

DC2 much easier going, but inclined to pinch generally when he's tired or things aren't going his way.

I did and have stopped having people round the house because this is the time when it's worst and try to arrange get togethers in parks etc rather than somewhere inside as they can hope better with this.

Your ds sounds perfectly normal and it doesn't mean anything about his long term behaviour/capacity to have friends etc.

MogTheForgetfulCat Sun 31-Jul-11 20:35:27

Please don't shut yourselves away! No need! I do know that feeling so well - I had it with DS1 when he was about the same age, until he was over 3. He pushed other children, often for no obvious reason, and seemed aggressive. I often left toddler groups in tears of mortification, thinking he was going to be 'that nasty boy' that everyone told their DC to avoid.

All I can say is that it passed. I kept on going to the groups, gritting my teeth, watching him like a hawk (no chatting over a cup of tea for me!) and trying to reinforce the message of behaving in a kind and gentle way, and to model good behaviour myself (sooooo hard some days, when I wanted to rant and rave - and obviously there were days when I did exactly that, out of tiredness and utter frustration).

2 main things that I'd say:

- even if he is gentle with DC2 and shows no animosity, it doesn't mean he isn't peeved with you for upsetting the status quo, and expressing it in challenging behaviour. I often felt that DS1 was testing my love for him - DS2 was born 8 days after DS1's 2nd birthday, and the first year was v tough. DH thought I was mad for thinking like this, but in some ways it helped me (whether it was true or not) - I was determined that he wouldn't feel I loved him less because DS2 had arrived, and it actually helped me to stay calm about his behaviour (well, some of the time)

- this behaviour does not in any way indicate that your DS will become 'that nasty boy'. Fast forward a few years, and DS1 is now 5 - he is the sweetest, gentlest, kindest boy. He makes my heart nearly burst with pride on a regular basis with how nice he is and how kind he can be. Of course he's not an angel, and can be challenging like any 5yo, but he's not generally aggressive, shares stuff really well, is thoughtful and has completed Reception year at school with some lovely friends - at my lowest points, I thought he'd be the class bully when he started school!

He's also very sensitive and a bit of a worrier - traits that I now wonder whether they made busy social situations like toddler groups a bit of an ordeal for him, leading to him lashing out. Maybe the same for your DS e.g. with adults approaching him?

Rambling now, will stop. But please don't feel too bad about this. And remember - It. Will. Pass.

festi Sun 31-Jul-11 20:45:38

my DN has behaved like this, mostly at home and with family or strangers, he calmed down alot and accepted alot of the social niceties when he started pre school, abou same age as your DS. the re school did not ever see him behave like this. He is 5 now and at school and although he has a short fuse at times he is far calmer and has thrived well at school.

My ds would worry he had more deep routed problems etc, but he did grow out of it. she did talk with Hv who was very reassuring maybe have a talk with them to rest your mind. seems like you are managing his behaviour well and he is learning.

EvianBaby Tue 02-Aug-11 14:00:22

ccj2011 my DS is exactly the same age as yours and I could have almost have written your post myself! It's so difficult isn't it? Especially when I see other children the same age acting in a much calmer way. I also have a second child the same age as your second one.

Mog your advice was very helpful. I often feel like he's going to be 'that child' that others keep their children away from. Yet, when he's in his comfor zone he is the most lovely, kind, thoughtful boy.

I'll watch this thread with interest, I am in a bit of a rush right now but I just wanted to let ccj2011 know that she's not alone!

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