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2 year old hitting us when being told off

(6 Posts)
Bellabooboo Sun 23-Apr-17 12:35:20

My 2 year old hit my 7 month old this morning who naturally burst into tears. I swooped 7 month old up and told 2 year old we do not hit people and we do not hit baby because it's not nice. Normally she will say sorry but this time she pulled a sad face and started hitting us. Then she put a finger in her mouth to make herself retch. She kept hitting both me a DH, I gave her a warning and took her to the naughty step and in 2 mins she was fine. I'm so concerned as this is new behaviour (hitting us whilst we are challenging her behaviour and putting her finger down her throat).
I'm so worried where she got putting her finger down her throat from.
Has anyone got any advice please? She's just over 2 and a half.

Goldmandra Sun 23-Apr-17 14:30:53

Ignore the retching and the finger in the mouth, even if she succeeds in making herself sick. Any reaction whatsoever will reinforce this behaviour.

Please don't sit her on a 'naughty step'. What she needs at this point is to be removed from the situation and be given some time and support to calm down.

If she is hitting say "hands down" and distract her by taking her to one side and speaking calmly. If she continues to try to hit you, it's fine to prevent it by holding her lower arms (not hands or wrists) down but use the very minimum force you need to.

Try to acknowledge her emotions and label them for her by telling her you can see she is angry/upset/disappointed but we don't hit.

Don't make a huge fuss of your 7 month old to make her feel bad because that will make any feelings of resentment worse. Her feelings of distress are just as valid as her little sister's even if your instincts to protect your baby make that hard to remember.

When she has calmed down, give her praise for that and ask her if she would like to say sorry. If she is genuinely sorry for hitting anyone, apologising (and that apology being accepted) will help her. A forced apology won't help one bit so, if she doesn't want to, don't push it.

Two year olds are learning about how to understand and manage their emotions. Helping them learn with calm, positive support is much better than any sort of punishment.

corythatwas Sun 23-Apr-17 16:21:16

Everything Goldmandra said. Don't regard it as something worrying; just gently catch her hands or move her away or do whatever is needed to make sure she doesn't actually get to hit one. Tell her firmly that "we don't hit" but don't let yourself get upset about it. And just everything Gold suggested. Well over half the toddlers in my (large) extended family have gone through this stage. They have all grown up into kindly and well adjusted adults.

Bellabooboo Sun 23-Apr-17 17:38:07

It's so hard to know what to do. The retch hit a raw nerve as I have been bulimic in the past, though pre children do not for years.

Goldmandra Sun 23-Apr-17 17:55:37

The retch hit a raw nerve as I have been bulimic in the past

You're going to have to carefully control any emotional response you have to the retching. At the moment it is a behaviour she is exploring, no more. She may have seen another child do it. It is nothing to do with food.

This will only become a problem if she cottons onto the fact that it upsets you.

This is just the same as when toddlers won't eat. It doesn't matter how much you are churning up inside, you have to remain calm and composed on the outside and carry on as if you don't have a care in the world.

corythatwas Sun 23-Apr-17 20:44:57

Once again what Goldmandra said. It is really important that you do not let your own past influence how you manage your toddler: however horrible, she is not responsible for your illness.

My dd did exactly the same when she was that age. No eating disorders in the family. It's just one of those things toddlers do. We let her get on with it and one day she was sick, very brisk clearing up and no fuss, she never did it again.

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