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Toddler Stuff - Normal or an Issue?

(21 Posts)
bexster5 Tue 27-Jan-15 20:27:45

DS is 21 months. We now also have DD who is 3 months. Even before DD was born DS was exhibiting some of these behaviours. I am full time mum - don't know if that has any relevance (ie maybe it's me?)

* He is aggressive to me, to DD and randomly to other children at groups (biting and hitting). Sometimes aggressive to DH but not so often. This does vary and some days he's just gentle and lovely.

* When he has a tantrum he sometimes head butts the floor or the wall. This is really disturbing and upsetting.

* After his lunchtime nap he gets really upset, often hysterically so, when I go to get him up. I never wake him up, I always wait until he is making noise, usually a bit of a whiney-cry. I then go pretty much straight in. Same issue at weekend if DH gets him up. When we are over at my parents (usually one day a week) and either my mum or dad gets him up, he doesn't behave like that. He's calm and happy.

Are these normal behaviours? Is there something wrong with him? How do I get him to stop?

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 27-Jan-15 22:03:22

By "full time mum" I'm assuming you mean you're a stay at home mum. Those of us who work outside the home are still full time mums...

All those behaviours sound completely within the spectrum of normal. Probably a bit exaggerated by the arrival of a new sibling. The best way to deal with it is to be calm and consistent in what you do. Don't give the negative behaviours much attention and praise any and all small positive behaviours.

The headbutting is alarming, but they do stop it if they don't get much attention for it. If you can manage it, try and ignore it completely. Unless there is a serious underlying issue (v v unlikely), they don't actually hurt themselves whilst doing it.

bexster5 Wed 28-Jan-15 08:37:57

Yes, sorry, sahm!

Thank you for the reassurance and advice. I find it hard to remain calm all the time (so sleep deprived right now) especially when he is violent towards his sister. I suppose I just need to keep trying... :/

Teabiscuits Wed 28-Jan-15 14:20:04

I have very similar behaviour from my 19 month old DS. He has 2 older sisters and one younger (5 months). It is worrying and exhausting sometimes but very normal. I think our problem is frustration. DS knows what he wants but can't communicate that to us properly, he only has about 10 words but a whole range of emotions that he can't tell us about! He also has limited understanding of the world, so has no idea why I have to insist on changing his nappy, why he can't play with the toilet, why his mouth hurts with teething etc.
When it comes to agression, he is far worse to me than DH, and it's me that's at home with him in the day.

It's very tough, but he will outgrow it eventually.

Davsmum Wed 28-Jan-15 14:29:05

If he gets upset after his nap when you go to get him, but not when your parents get him then you have to look at how you are approaching him.
Watch how they do it and compare it to how you do it.
You may also be apprehensive which he picks up on. Children can be really sensitive to these things.
If your child was naturally aggressive then he would be the same to everyone so again, I think you need to look at your reaction to his outbursts to see if you are enabling them.
All sounds 'normal' due to frustration I think.

bexster5 Wed 28-Jan-15 20:56:47

Teabiscuits yes o think frustration must be a huge part of it for DS too. He's trying so hard with his words but especially when he's in a pickle he really only has urrrr. Which isn't terribly effective. Thanks for reassuring me that it's normal and he'll outgrow it. I hope so soon!

Davsmum that is an interesting - both trying to find out what my parents do and about DS picking up on anxiety from me. Mmmmm some serious thought needed here! Also re what you say about the aggression. But that is reassuring too. How would I be enabling him on his outbursts? What should I look for in myself?

Davsmum Thu 29-Jan-15 09:08:15

Just look at your reaction to his aggression,..All I know is that my nephew gets aggressive with his Mum and will hit and kick. She tends to back off and be sort of intimidated by it or she will hold him away from her and laugh nervously.
When he tried to do it with me I held him back and said 'NO,..you do not hit!' in a very low and firm voice. I then put him down and left him. He came to me and hugged me and we made 'friends' When he tried to do it again I just looked at him and said 'NO!'
I don't know what you do but I have noticed my nephew does it to some people and not others, which seems to be to do with how they respond.

I think they have to get the message you will not accept it but of course it is something you have to explain to him too when he is not being aggressive.

minipie Thu 29-Jan-15 11:39:41

DD is 2.3 and has done/does these all to some extent. Not nice, but normal.

Aggression to other kids: the suggestions I have received are 1) pay attention to the injured party - obviously you first tell your DS very firmly that he MUST NOT hit/bite, but then turn to the other child and make a fuss of them. So DS doesn't get extra attention from being aggressive. 2) be extra vigilant at times when he's tired or hungry eg the run up to lunch/lunchtime nap. DD is also far far worse about this when she's teething - is your DS getting his molars by any chance?

Headbutting floor/wall: DD has now pretty much grown out of this, except on really bad teething days. Not sure there is much you can do except try to move them somewhere soft. Again I would say try not to give it lots of attention or it may become a game.

Nap: Oh yes. DD is still like this on some days. I find she reacts better if I give her 5-10 minutes to "come round" and wake up slowly before I go in. Also what seems to work well is distraction, so if she's being grumpy, I talk to her about the story we read that morning and she usually stops grumping and listens to me telling the story. Your DS might be reacting better to GPs because they have "novelty value" iyswim and so they are a distraction in themselves? My DD also reacts better for Granny, I think it's because she is more exciting so she forgets to be grumpy.

Davsmum Thu 29-Jan-15 12:40:17

Good ideas minipie I think also when you do go in when your DS wakes up - don't go to him immediately, potter about and talk quietly to yourself so he knows you are there and he will wake up properly and want you to pick him up when HE chooses?

minipie Thu 29-Jan-15 12:49:20

Yep I do that too Davsmum agree that works best!

What definitely doesn't work is "oh what's wrong, are you still tired" etc - just brings out the drama queen in her I think grin, much better to act as if she is fine.

Kleinzeit Thu 29-Jan-15 14:52:00

If it’s any comfort to you, when I was little I used to bang my head on the walls during tantrums. Used to worry my mother terribly. But all I can say is, I never hurt myself. I never thumped my head against a corner, which really would have hurt! So try not to worry about it (easier said than done I know)

30andtired Thu 29-Jan-15 16:39:29

My 2.2 DS was exactly as you've described. And I was much like you, he head butted walls, floors, corners, anything inside or outside. I was a nervous wreck around him and he'd be violent towards me too. He was always aggressive to other children also.
I was in close contact with my health visitor who said it was normal and that he wouldn't hurt himself but I was doubtful. One day he had the biggest outburst and head butted for about 20mins, nothing I did could stop him, his forehead was covered (and I mean COVERED) in purple bruises for a fortnight. After that, I put up a travel cot in my living room and put him in there at the first sign of trouble, I'd say "we don't do that, timeout" and then ignore him while he's in there until his aggression turned to upset, I'd get him out then and comfort the crying and tell him it was ok to cry but not hurt himself or others.
Because I was more confident in dealing with him, it reflected in the way he treated me and the aggression towards me and others stopped too. I eventually took the travel cot down after about 4 months but now he has a timeout corner.
Like yours, my DS isn't brilliant with talking and explaining himself, which I thought it was but looking back it was definitely more that he couldn't deal with his emotions.
Make sure you praise the good behaviour when he is good, I thought it would never end, but now only a few months on, he's the most caring, thoughtful, loving and happy little boy.
He's still got it in him to be aggressive but I'm much more in tune to him now and I prepare our surroundings to not cause him to outburst, for example, he likes to climb, I say no, then he tantrums, so now I remove any opportunities for him to climb. As with waking from naps, I'd go in and open his curtains slightly, leave his door ajar and then he'd come around on his own.
I have an older DD who was an absolute angel and I never had to even consider the way I parented or even remove anything from a room to avoid an outburst but if he's happy, I'm happy and life is easier smile it will get easier flowers

bexster5 Thu 29-Jan-15 18:11:08

Thank you everyone for your stories and advice. I tried distraction after nap today, quickly whisking him into another room and looking out the window. Clearly very exciting as we didn't have the usual meltdown!

He IS teething at the moment and I've wondered before, without really concluding, if maybe the biting is worse when he's teething so thank you for pointing that out minipie.

I think I may have to get someone else to observe me when he bites / hits because I THINK that I'm being pretty firm and forceful about it. Maybe I'm too firm about it - I get quite cross if he does it to DD and maybe this attention / reaction is what he's looking for? Maybe he finds it funny?!

That's a good idea about the safe place. Not sure what we'll use but... I'd been putting him in his cot in his room for a timeout but today he climbed / fell out oooh nasty so we won't be doing that again!

I really never thought there'd be so much to think about / worry about!! So naive... smile

Davsmum Thu 29-Jan-15 19:07:25

bexter5 I reckon you will sort it out,.We are all naive when we have a baby but you are really open to ideas and suggestions from others and are prepared to look at your actions and not just think it's the baby. Good luck, I think you sound lovely

bexster5 Thu 29-Jan-15 20:27:37

Thanks Davsmum that makes me feel loads better about things! smile You're clearly very lovely yourself!!

Ineedacleaningfairy Fri 30-Jan-15 06:24:13

My ds did the head banging and tantruming/high emotion after naps although so far he hasn't shown aggression to anyone.

The head banging was when he was a bit younger (some time between 12 and 18 months) he only ever did it when I told him not to do something, it was awful. I probably did the completely wrong thing, I cuddled him, I think actually that is what he wanted, he was sad that mummy was cross and he knew he always got a cuddle if he was hurt so he'd hurt himself sad he just grew out of it eventually.

The grumpiness when waking from a nap still happens (he's now 2) it doesn't happen everyday, probably about twice a week, it happens more often if he's slept for more than 90 minutes so I have started waking him after an hour and 15 minuets and that seems to prevent the grumpiness. If I nap in the day I wake up in a awful mood, I think that some people are just not suited to naps.

bexster5 Sun 01-Feb-15 07:48:05

Ineedacleaningfairy, I wonder if length of nap is part of it? The last few days however, he hasn't napped at all Argh!!!!! So I've not had the opportunity to test this idea...

Davsmum Sun 01-Feb-15 10:07:57

I read an article a few weeks ago that many toddlers do not need a nap and that it can hinder them sleeping through the night. They need about 12 hours a night apparently. Obviously if the child wants a nap that must be ok, but it said you don't have to routinely put a child down for a nap just because you always have.
I suppose you could let your child decide if they want to fall asleep.

bexster5 Sun 01-Feb-15 19:23:21

Hmmm... That is imteredting. But the nap time is so helpful to me right now! I can recharge, nap too, get stuff done! I'd really miss it! But if he doesn't want it... will see what happens this week!

bexster5 Sun 01-Feb-15 19:23:59

Yes very imteredting? ! Interesting is what I was aiming for there!!!

Davsmum Mon 02-Feb-15 13:01:37

Nap time is really useful for getting some peace. I suppose though that we can't moan if it backfires at bedtime or in some other way. One thing though, is that nothing lasts forever and its not long before we start stressing about them being teenagers who won't get up in the morning ha ha!

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