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Aggressive 2 year old

(3 Posts)
Babytalkobsession Thu 04-Feb-16 20:13:31

I'm really struggling and absolutely not managing this situation. DS is 2 yrs 3 months and scratches in a way I've never seen any other child. He grabs hold, gouges and often leaves marks / draws blood. Always the face.
Sometimes it's over a toy but often it comes from no where. Sometimes other children but most often me or DH.

I'm in tears after an absolutely hellish day. It started nicely, DH is away and it's my day off with DS. We had cuddles in bed and he was excited about him little friend coming over.

2 mums and their little ones visited and stayed for lunch. Maybe I shouldn't arrange things like this. He was a nghtmare, trying to hit 8 wk old baby, fighting over toys, grabbing his friends face leaving a nasty mark. He slapped me round the face twice when I was holding him. He enjoyed a lot of the morning and played nicely at times but these incidents were so frequent I was nearly in tears. Other mums are good friends & understanding but it really was unbelievable. If I'd been out we would have left.

We went for a walk in the afternoon (just us), he napped in buggy. We played trains, ate dinner etc (calm quiet afternoon). We were having a cuddle on the sofa when he just looked at me and from no where clawed my face. I grabbed his arm and said no. He did it again and was in fits of giggles. He genuinely thinks it's funny.

What the hell do I do to stop this?! He goes to nursery 4 days a week, eats well, sleeps well at night.

I'm pregnant and exhausted with it all. I dread how I'll manage this with a newborn. I praise when he's good, tell him off firmly, remove from situation and leave for min if poss, make fuss of the 'victim', I've even smacked him bottom (not proud of this, it was more a reaction than a planned thing and logically I know this won't work). I tried so hard through the baby stage, determined that if I never let him cry etc he'd be a calm and contented child but it seems to have made no difference.

Where can I go? Genuinely feel like i need professional help now... Sorry this is so long. Just getting it all out! This 'phase' is close to 12 months now. sad

NinaTneurons Fri 05-Feb-16 14:09:28

Gosh, Babytalkobsession I really feel for you. You're asking all the right questions and it seems you have tried many things. You might want to think about the effect of the following:

1. How does he behave at nursery? Are nursery staff engaging? Do they genuinely tell you what's gone on (RE: DS) in the day? If it's a long day e.g. 9am until 5pm - could this be lessened?

2. How is he developing? Is he talking much yet? How could the behaviours of people in his life be effecting his speech, soft skills e.g. being kind, smiling, responsive?

3. Does he have other interaction from e.g. Grandma/pa etc.?
Do you do any craft type activities with him?

It may be a case of each e.g. you, hubby, and Grandma/pa making more one-to-one time with him to help him get a better grasp of his soft skills and speech so more communication between you e.g. looking at/READING books together that are themed around 'life-lessons' (try googling 'books for toddlers values, morals, life-lessons themed'). I found some examples: How full is your bucket by Rath & Manning; The Juice Box Bully by Dismondy. READING is a great way to shape social behaviours and develop language.

Also, doing lots of CREATIVE STUFF e.g. making craft, painting, drawing etc. might help him to express his hands in more positive way. Quite therapeutic too.

You have got quite a challenging situation with a new baby on the way and I think it's wise that you're focusing on your son's behaviour and could consider prioritizing his one-to-one time with the important people in his life (i.e. you, daddy, Grandma/pa etc.) at the expense of how much time is spent socially (i.e. nursery and your/his friends), which will pave the way for a smoother phase later on. This sounds harsh especially if you rely on some socialising for your own sanity/leisure. However, your son needs some time to become comfortable with what is socially acceptable within his own family unit which will then influence how he represents these values outside his family unit. It may take some time, but you come across as an understanding mother, as my advice is given with best intentions.

I myself have two ADHD children, and they continue to present me with challenges. Children are never predictable and are unique individuals - you have to try to bring out the best from them smile

I hope this helps.

Babytalkobsession Fri 05-Feb-16 20:54:10

Thanks for your reply nina, it does help. In answer to your points,

1. He's in nursery 8:15 - 17:45 for 4 days a week so it is a long day. Me and DH work FT in fairly demanding jobs, but I condense my hours to have a Thursday off with him. That means often on a Mon I only see him to say goodnight. BUT, he is very settled there. And seems to love it. We have had some reports of pushing and scratching but it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue there. He's been spending time with the older children (around 3yrs) and apparently that works well - it's the smaller ones he pushes around. Perhaps I'm not getting the full picture but I don't see why they wouldn't tell me what's going on?

2. His speech is comparable to his peers, he can make himself understood for all basic needs, can put 3-4 words together, such as 'look mummy, it's dark' or 'one more book?', 'more pen' and he understands a lot of what I'm saying. He does get cross when he can't do something but calms easily and understands if I make suggestions e.g try turning it round etc. we read every night. It is hard working FT. We obvs have to do the usual stuff at weekends etc but do try to spend as much time at home as poss. So perhaps swim / park, then home in PM, or if we need to go to shops, shop, cafe lunch then home for more quiet family time. I've had quite a few bad headaches in early pregnancy so probably less engaging with him then but DH is always on hand if I had to lie down for a bit. I would say he has a lot of stimulation. We do role play, he helps with our chickens, We involve him in tasks and praise him and talk about what he's doing. He likes to build Duplo and pretend to go to the shop with his basket.

3. He has grandparents, one set reasonably close, the others live away but see him regularly and spend a lot of time 1-2-1 with him when they visit. He likes to colour, and uses Aquadoodle but I guess we could do more creative stuff - although he gets a lot of that at nursery.

I think for now I will keep our Thursday's to just 1-2-1 activities, and definitely avoid having children over as he really struggled with sharing. Promisingly, he played beautifully last week with his cousin (same age) at grandparents house - I think because it was neutral ground. I can't change how much time he spends in nursery for now, not until I start maternity leave but I can with our days of.

We read 'hands are not for hitting' which he likes and does actions too so will look at your book suggestions. He's been a delight today, good report from nursery and, despite being tired tonight didn't scratch. We played a little with bubble water before books & bed. Slight tantrum getting dressed but calmed without lashing out. So at least it's not every time!

I should add, when he scratches he always strokes afterwards to say sorry, so I think understands that it hurts. He understands the phrase 'gentle hands'. It's like he can't control himself in the moment.

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