He could've killed her...(28 Posts)
My 2 year old has non stop screamed and had tantrums for a week. Screaming, hitting, kicking, grabbing my face. He cries at the moment for around 4 hours every day like this. His aggression is usually towards his 1 year old sister and me.
Yesterday I was cuddling him on the sofa - my best efforts to keep him contained while he was screaming - my daughter went to stand up on the sofa and he pushed her off. She flipped over and landed on her head, she was trying desperately to breathe when I picked her up, but couldn't - her lips went blue and she passed out. When she woke after around 10 seconds (already on the phone to 999 by this point) she could scarcely cry and was very limp.
Luckily she was absolutely fine - but he could've killed her. I can't stop thinking about what's happened and I'm at a total loss of what to do with him now. He seemed oblivious yesterday to the ambulance men being here, just trashed the house - while I was distracted.
He's only like this at home - his nursery teachers seem to look at me like I'm a lunatic, as he's so angelic in front of others - I've taken him to be assessed and they say there's nothing wrong with him. They're seeing a completely different side to his behaviour and I've reached my wits end with it now - does anyone have any advice on how to deal with an angry destructive toddler?
Gosh that's so frightening for you.
I'm no expert but I'd remove anything of value, make safe, grit your teeth and ignore him so he learns this behaviour will not get a reaction.
Is he jealous of the 1 year old?
My DS behaviour changed when my DD was born. The look of disgust of his face towards me when he first met her I will never forget!
He's usually very loving towards her, even when he thinks I'm not looking - he's malicious when I'm watching him.
She was born on his first birthday? So I'm not sure it's 100% jealousy as he really loves her. I think he's hurting her for attention. He makes sure I'm watching, then hits her head off a wall - pushes her over - pulls her hair - the list goes on...
It's just his violent rages he has. It's truly awful.
I think you maybe need to create a safe space for him to be put, and ignored, every time he does this. 2 mins time out and a complete withdrawal of your attention.
Then whenever he is playing nicely (with her or alone) lavish him with attention and praise. Positive reinforcement works wonders at this age and soecifically denying him the attention he is cravi g when he is naughty and he will soon work it out.
Maybe if I put a gate on his room? At the moment he has the run of the hallway and the living room to his room - I think maybe this might work. If he trashes the room he trashes it I suppose?
I wouldn't hold a child having a tantrum. It tends to make them fights against you.
How do they deal with his behaviour at nursery? Can you use the same techniques at home? What starts him off?
BTW it's not unusual for older kids to for eg hold it together at school but meltdown at home as its a safe place to show how they really feel.
I think he's doing it because he knows it's a way to get your attention. At his ages he's not doing it to hurt her, he doesn't even really understand that concept, he's just figured out that when he pushes her etc. he gets your undivided attention...even negative attention is better to him than no attention.
I would explain to him that you won't allow him to push/hit/kick/bite his sister and then supervise closely so you can stop him before he does it. Stay calm, explain that you won't let him hurt his sister and that you will help him to stop (he won't always be able to control the impulse, even though he knows you don't want him to do it, so expect to have to intervebe). Do it gently if possible and stay very calm, matter of fact and try not to make a big deal of if. Give his sister more attention that he gets. Any agression towards him will cause confusion and make him think it's acceptable to be aggressive to others, incl his sister.
I was also offer him lots of attention the rest of the time, 1 on 1 if possible, and give him lots of positive reinforcement for behaviours you do want.
I'll give the withdrawing attention a go - thinking about it he gets told off and sent to his room so I guess that's the attention he's after when he does it.
I don't think a play pen would hold either of the kids plus I literally don't have the space - my house is very small.
I agree with a PP about positive reinforcement, shutting him in his room won't help as he'll feel isolated. I can appreciate how hard it is, my DD3 pushed DS2 down the stairs last year! They get on great, just had a bicker and she shoved him. Thank god for thick underlay!
so it's a recent thing?
maybe take him to the gp, children that age can't tell if they have pain for example. maybe he's coming down with something?
His behaviour has always been like this really, he's always been angry and destructive but recently it's escalated a lot. To the point where he'll ask for a banana and say thank you when you give it to him and he'll throw it. Then he'll cry for another and throw it again.
He screams and cries and hits all day long. I don't know why he's like this. But he's extremely aggressive. I tried taking him for a walk earlier thinking that the fresh air over the fields might help. But he turned around after 1 minute and said "going home" I tried to make it fun. He refused, he wanted to go home. Nothing would sway him.
I wouldn't hold a tantrumming child. Walk away and leave him to strop himself out. They usually lose interest.
Obviously keep checking hes ok but very matter of factly. Do not reward with attention.
Deep breath, OP. At 2 years old there is no malice in this behaviour - he doesn't even really understand the concept of "another person". All he knows is something is distracting mummy from giving him the 100% attention he's used to. So I think the advice you've had so far - playpen to put him in when he does something you don't want to encourage, loads and loads of love, positive reinforcement and attention when he behaves the right way - is spot on.
I wouldn't leave them unsupervised at all, don't give him the chance to push her over or bash her head against the wall.
I have 20 months gap between my eldest two and had to physically stop him from hurting her many times. He was also angry and tantrummmy. I won't lie, I was at the end of my rope.
What helped me the most was other people taking him for a bit and a few hours of nursery. Then when the little one was in a napping routine I got to give him more one to one attention.
But it will pass OP, once my little boy was old enough to understand he never ever hurt his sister and they are great friends now.
I would possibliy consider asking social services for family intervention team support based on risk of ongoing harm to sibling (children can be at risk from other children) - not necessarily because you need the parenting strategies, although another pair of eyes and set of ideas can always be useful, but because the worker might then witness what is happening and help you access further help. Other routes might be local childrens centre or health visitor. Something like Theraplay intervention might be appropriate, but not an expert.
Do you have a double buggy? Take him out in that with his sister for long walks. If he wants to get out he can but thats his choice - walk nicely with you or strapped into buggy. If he thrashes and cries theb tough shit. He doesnt get his way.
Yep so far he's been assessed, local children's centre are helping as much as they can. I really have tried a lot of strategies - Magic 321 method / time outs / rewarding positive behaviour and ignoring undesirable behaviour.
When he was assessed she said "oh he's a lovely little boy, he could have sensory issues" but the next meeting is in April. I never ever leave them alone, my little girl is always following me around. It was a case of he was quicker than I was, my nan was also here and she tried to grab her aswell before she fell... I feel terrible.
I think he is very very strong willed - everything is no right now, gets in the pram gets out of the pram, wants to walk then sits on the floor. He's very indecisive - throws his food continuously every meal time.
We do messy play a lot. But usually it ends in him screaming, same as any other activity we do. I tried to sit here last night pressing the buttons on his toy bus "ohh can you hear that? It's a horn noise! " he was really enjoying it for about a minute and then smashed the bus off the floor repeatedly....
I know he doesn't understand, maybe it was more fun to smash the bus off the floor ... I'll always give him love and cuddles and singing really calms a tantrum down. But this week he has been inconsolable and much more difficult to manage.
Sorry for the long message just thought I'd give you a bit of background. I do also have a double buggy but the bottom buckles are broken- so he gets in and out all the time. I'll have to buy a new buggy I think x
Oh OP. I do sympathise. Maybe he does have sensory issues. I hope you get to the bottom of it
If you have reigns they clip in the buggy - so duel purpose -
Ignore all bad behavior - just remove him - don't even speak to him and give DD loads of praise when she's hurt rather than him attention for doing it.
Stop giving into him
If he sits down - walk on - he'll catch up - then praise him for doing the right thing -
He did have his hearing checked by the specialist when he was first referred, all came back absolutely fine. Yep we also have reigns - I don't allow him to walk without them as he can be very unpredictable, no sense of danger when we are out of the house. The only way I can describe him is jeckyl and Hyde really ... sometimes he is an absolute angel and other days he is really difficult. My brother is 10years old, has autism and is non verbal and honestly his meltdowns are much easier to deal with than that of my two year olds! X
I think you need to stop blaming your 2 year old for this accident. Even if he wasnt tantruming, he could easily have knocked her off by accident or she could have fallen off by herself.
The tantruming sounds difficult, buy I think techniques like time out or 123 magic are unlikely to work at that age. Praising the good and withdrawing attention for poor behaviour is probably your best bet, but you might just need to ride it out til he grows out of it or is old enough for other discipline strategies to work. In the meantime make the environment as safe as possible - lots of safety gates and playpens so you can separate the two of them.
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