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Toddler hitting, bititng and pushing other children. I am at my wits end!

(10 Posts)
Clare123 Thu 24-Sep-09 12:57:18

Hi, my toddler who is 25 months old is constantly hitting, pushing and biting other children. I get down on his level say no, and then make him sit out whilst I comfort the other child and apologise and cringe. I came home today from play group and just burst in to tears. I just don't know why he keeps doing it. Please, please help if you can. I keep thinking I should just avoid any children until he comes out of this stage but then I would be totally lonely. To make matters seem worst my friend's LO (who we normally hang out with) is so so placid and mild. It is making meeting up a nightmare. I don't want to break my friendship as it means a lot to me, but I spend the time just standing over my child watching. My LO is so lovely and full of energy, but I get the feeling people don't like him or think of him as naughty. Not really sure if any one can help but if you have any words of wisdom I would love to hear it.

minxofmancunia Thu 24-Sep-09 13:05:47

Hi Clare I don't have many words of advice but just wanted to say I know how alienating and horrible this can be. DD has been going through this "phase" on and off since 18 months, it has been v on and off though (she's 3 now) but when they're going through it it's so stressful and horrible I completely empathise.

You're doing all the right things, time him out, make a fuss of the other child, make him apologise, staying calm but it's so so hard.

If people take a dislike to a child of this age then they're not worth knowing imo, in my experience most parents are pretty understanding but that doesn't make it any better for you!

Don't isolate yourself but avoidance of some "hot spots" for a while may be helpful just until he cools down a bit. For instance I don't take dd to soft play it's too overstimulating for her and exhausting for me (I'm not one of those parents who leaves their child to run riot there, I watch her like a hawk and it's far from enjoyable).

Also now I've accepted her and her temperament as it being how she is it's helped me be a little less anxious at least.

Sorry I can't be more helpful. x

Clare123 Thu 24-Sep-09 13:16:03

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I just feel really awful at the moment and I am not enjoying parenting my son. I know this time will pass but it feels so stressful. I want to enjoy him, but I spend so much of my time watching him constantly on edge.

It is good to know other parents have gone through this.

Thank you again

MogTheForgetfulCat Thu 24-Sep-09 13:18:27

I really feel for you - my very first mumsnet post was along these lines, and I have posted others since.

I too know what it is like to come home from playgroup and burst into tears (didn't always make it home, tbh, have blubbed at several local playgroups!), to feel that other mums are judging you, to think people don't like your child and to wonder how the other mums just get to sit around chatting and drinking tea, not even needing to really keep much of an eye on their children!

My DS1 was a shover from quite an early age, and carried on being so for quite a long time (sorry), although it would wane at times, then come back, then wane again. I was constantly on edge at soft play, park, playgroups etc. and, like you, seriously considered not going to those things because it was so stressful. But I figured that he'd never learn if he didn't interact with others and so carried on going...

All I can say is that it got better. Slowly. He is now 3.7 and generally fairly civilised. He has reverted a bit recently as there have been a few changes - he is doing more hours at pre-school than before, and our lovely nanny (I work part-time) has left and we have a new one - also lovely, but DS1 hates change, so I knew it would be a bit bumpy. But I am losing the fear that he will inevitably do something awful when we are out. I also try to react less now - obviously you have to be seen to be doing something if your child has biffed another child, but I try to ignore and/or distract as much as possible.

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen also helped me a lot. Shouting makes things worse with my DS1. Getting him out for a good run around helps a lot - would often try to do this before playgroups, as have found they can be quite crowded, not much room to move freely, which I think he finds frustrating.

I have also become aware that he is actually quite sensitive to lots of people and noise, so if playgroup is really busy, I tend to head for a quiet corner with books or lego, or just leave and do something else.

No real words of wisdom in there, sorry - just tons of sympathy (will probably need some myself soon, as DS2 just approaching toddlerdom!) and solidarity. Don't lock yourself away from others, just hold your head up and get in there. Stiff upper lip and all that. Hope your friend is sympathetic - I have sometimes found that mums with quiet, placid children just don't really get it - how tiring it can be, how stressful and how mortifying when someone else's child is howling because of something your child has done.

Be calm and consistent. It will pass. But it might take some time.

MogTheForgetfulCat Thu 24-Sep-09 13:24:05

Ooh yes, minx's point about accepting the temperament is a good one. I spent quite a while thinking "DS1 will be better once he's older/3/at pre-school" whatever. But I now realise that in some ways DS1 will probably always be difficult - he is very highly strung, very energetic and extremely strong willed. And I feel he and I have a very intense relationship, caused by a tricky start for him - so he has my heart in a vice, which makes me fret about him, whether people like him etc. and so I sometimes over-react because of that.

With DS2, things are so much easier - he is a doddle, a lovely merry little thing, and although I love him just as much, my heart doesn't ache for him in the same way. Maybe it's just a PFB/NSB thing going on, I don't know. But I feel better able to cope now I'm not expecting DS1 to suddenly change temperament, and constantly being disappointed.

minxofmancunia Thu 24-Sep-09 13:29:39

Hi Mog, I have a similar relationshsip with dd caused by my own experiences as a child and her being whisked away from me at 3am the night after she was born for "tests" and me being terrified about what was wrone with her.

I so so want her to be popular and have friends (I was such a lonely sad child because of social awkwardness) I think i get over-preoccupied with it at times. She's v feisty and strong willed and emotional, but that's how she is and she's lovely too!

Clare re your point about not enjoying parenting, I've often felt like this and have even though "what's the point" esp as am now 42 weeks pg with number 2!

Mogs advive v good, hold your head up high and just try to carry on.

lavenderkate Thu 24-Sep-09 13:34:03

Just wanted to say that my DD1 was highly strung, very energetic, difficult etc .

She is now a teenager and in complete contrast is the most gentle, loving, sweet natured girl, so popular with her peers and we all adore her.

DD2 was a breeze as a toddler and is now the demanding one!

Its all swings and roundabouts.

Dont give up hope.
Be consistent in punishing him and be firm.
You have to do so now in order for him to be happy at school, have friends and be liked.smile
Being cruel to be kind so to speak.

MogTheForgetfulCat Thu 24-Sep-09 13:34:20

I was a very shy child too, and also v badly bullied at school - as a teenager, but it has left scars and I just panic so much about DS1 fitting in, having friends etc. I know it doesn't help and I project far too much onto these childish scenarios, but there we go.

42 weeks - wow! Enjoy DC2 - can't be long now!

Clare123 Thu 24-Sep-09 18:34:58

Thank you so so much for your kind words. They really have made me feel a little better. I guess some days seem worse than others and today was a bad day.

Mog - I also think my little boy is quite sensitive (which i know people would raise their eyebrows to!), but he really reacts badly to loud noises. If a child shouts around him, he will often hit out - but I think it's because he gets unsettled with loud noises and busy places. I am definitely going to take your advice on taking him into a corner if I think things are getting too busy. I am also going to try taking him to the park before he goes to playgroup.

Thank you so much. I do really appreciate it.

doireallyhaveto Tue 29-Sep-09 13:34:59

Hi Clare,

Really, really sympathise - and this from someone whose ds was bitten (really hard!) this morning.

From the bite-ee's perspective, the important thing is to get down to their level, make the biter/aggressor apologise (even if this means you doing it on their behalf) and just making sure that both children see that 'justice' is being done. Makes it much easier for both parents and children to move on.

We all know kids do these things without really understanding that they're causing hurt - from what I can see it's usually stress/frustration/over-stimulation or attention seeking. it happens - no point hiding yourself away - your LO needs to mingle to understand how to be with others.

Hope he/she gets over it soon!

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