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So fed up with DS

(35 Posts)
AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 20:54:27

I'm a regular poster under a new name.

I've had problems with DS biting on and off since August, and pinching since Jan. He's 2.5yrs.

We've tried ignoring bad behaviour, very positive parenting, putting down, holding ...
He will NOT stay on naughty step / corner.
He giggles when told off / shouted at - nothing seems to get through.
He doesn't care if shut in his room, even when we take out all toys, books, bedding etc. He'll still just play happily and refuses to come out when his 'time out' is up.
There is NO WAY to get through to him. Nothing touches him.
This evening I smacked him a couple of times, which I hated, but whatever my moral position on smacking, I can't really smack him while saying "no hitting / no hurting".

He generally plays on his own for hours, and doesn't usually like my involvement in his games, so withdrawing attention doesn't do anything.

I know I'm struggling (can't?) control him. I know "I'm the adult, I'm in charge" but nothing gets through.

I enjoy his company usually, and he's intrinsically a lovely and bright lad. I guess he'll eventually grow out of it, and his pre-school have had some success with controlling the biting. I really feel we've tried it all. I'm looking for sympathy and understanding, not really any more suggestiions.

Thanks for listening...

phucknuckle Thu 02-Jun-05 20:57:10

My normally sunny 2 yo ds has been a whining, snotting monster, and even now, is whining in his cot just like he has been whining all day.

And because he is usually so good, I have a low tolerence to whining.

so bags and bags of empathy

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:02:37

The only thing I can think of is trying to find what it is that will punish him. There must be something he loves that you can use. At first he might be like 'ah, I dont care', but if you take it away and do it every time he is naughty he will soon learn.

Ds was the same about the naughty step, so I started restraining him on it - so now rather than be restrained he will willing sit on it! For ds this is punishent enough because he hates sitting still!
At first it didnt work - but after 15 times in one day it started to get on his nerves and now he is rarely on the naughty step.

I know that it is blooming hard. Ds went through the biting stage and we tried everything - you just have to be consistant with your punishment and do it EVERY time. Keep your cool as much as you can.

I do feel for you because ds is in the terrible 2's and is a right monkey.

AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 21:03:43

Actually, any bright ideas of how to explain to a 2.5yr old why he must not bite / pinch / hit / push might help? He doesn't care that it hurts / is antisocial etc. Or that he'll go to his room if he does.

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:09:39

with ds I used to go down to his level, say in a really firm voice "Biting is naughty you hurt mummy". then walk away and ignore him. If he did it again a stint on the naughty step. Like you say at first he was like "not bothered", he used to even sit there and hum Thomas, but I just kept doing it (like you I was at the end of my tether). Then eventually he got annoyed with being on the step and now he never bites. (I have jinxed myself now). I know it sounds pants but it really worked, but took time.

They get the message when the consequences are always the same (iyswim) It was hard at first because I had tried so many different approaches he didnt take me seriously. I think at 2.5 they dont really understand antisocial - they are learning from you so to speak. He will learn mate, keep trying.

By the way what did his pre school do about it?

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:11:59

by the way I found the Dr Phil website really helpful to here

AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 21:20:05

He doesn't care about being naughty, about hurting, and is very happy to be ignored.

We have been consistent - over the 10 months we have had a good couple of months of consistency at each approach!

Goodness knows what pre-school have done. They have an adult with him all the time. He has calmed down generally since starting at Easter - he's been much better behaved at a group I take him to recently, and I think that pre-school can take the credit for that. I've talked to the staff there, but they just tell me to get cross with him, which doesn't work (and I can be very cross - I'm no sweet softy).

I physically struggle to hold him on a naughty step - I can't keep him down as he squirms away. It didn't seem worth trying to persist with, so we just go to his room. maybe I could try restrianing him in his buggy? But why should I be struggling to tell him to sit on the step, when other people manage? I do mean it!

The constant pinching is the worst.

AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 21:20:58

How long did it take you? It's been going on here for 10 months.

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:23:32

the buggy would be ok. It is a nightmare - and I hope that they grow out of it - It sounds like you are doing all you can! Keep punishing him, hopefully he will tire of it. The only thing is it is so tiring for us parents too! SOmetimes I feel like pulling my hair out - You shouldnt have to be physically hurt by your child. I do feel fo you

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:25:23

Ds was a serial biter (he hasnt discovered pinching yet) from 18 month until he was about 2. He is nearly 3 now and in the last year we have had gradual breakthroughs and he has a greater social emphathy now. It took a while but I know how to push his buttons now! For instance he has a thomas toy he LOVES so if he is really naughty I take it away!

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:26:00

(I sound so mean!)

AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 21:41:18

Could try toy confiscation. I do that for throwing toys, or hitting people with them and it tends to work (unless he's tired and grotty anyway). Not really tried it as a general punishment where the crime doesn't involve the toy.

You've really hit the nail on the head: I shouldn't be getting hurt by my child.

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 21:48:09

That could be good - If toy confiscation is what will get him to stop that could work. try it (at first it might make him rebel as such!!) and see what happens. Be consistant and keep at it.

Dont stand for being physically hurt. I know that even at 2.5 they are bloody strong! Especially when they do that thrashing around thing. When ds does it I have to keep thinking "I am in control, I am the parent!" otherwise I would probably end up having a tantrum as well!

I must admit like you I resorted to smacking even though I dont agree with it. But sometimes they can push you cant they! Only did it a couple of times - but it didnt bother him and just made me feel bad! SO have never done that again.

By the way I bet the pinching does hurt because they have such sharp little fingers!

WestCountryLass Thu 02-Jun-05 21:51:33

There is a suggestion for biting here:


AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 21:58:40

Oddly, he doesn't actually have classic tantrums at all (did once, we were so amused, he never bothered again.

Very short fingernails helps a little with the pinching, but not much.

The smacking did actually shock and upset him, and he calmed down for the rest of the evening. Tempting to try it again, but it so doesn't make sense "don't hit" smack "it hurts me" smack no logic - couldn't possibly do it.

You say "don't stand for being physically hurt": how on earth do you "not stand" for it? Do you mean punish each time? But I feel as if I'm "standing for it" as nothing gets through. I feel so helpless.

BTW: thanks so much for hanging around listening - I do appreciate your kindness.

aloha Thu 02-Jun-05 22:01:51

Do you know what makes him pinch/bite? Is there any reliable trigger? Can you avoid it? (sorry if these sound like stupid questions).

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 22:07:40

what I meant (not explaining it very well dh keeps talking to me lol!) is even if you have to walk away know that you are justified not to let him (even if he is in another room from you)hurt you. I would keep punishing him, but I can understand why you feel so helpless. My ds is more of a drama queen so like the drama of rolling around and having a tantrum now.

I dont blame you for feeling helpless, it can really take its toll - but you are being such a great mum - just the fact of all that you have tried already!

AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 22:11:41

Some triggers are obvious: with me, it's often that he doesn't want to be taken away from play to do something (nappy change, sit down for food, bath-time etc). I do lots in the way of warning that it's about to be tea-time, or take toy with us for nappy change, but if he has a dirty nappy I do want to change it. Baby-feeding times are (understandably) sometimes bad times. (BTW - bad behaviour started well before baby, so not directly related, but doesn't help!). Getting dressed / undressed is ALWAYS a bad time.

With other kids it's sometimes wanting a toy - though I've worked hard on not snatching, so now it's usually retaliation when someone else takes something from him.

Sometimes it is completely without any reason whatsoever. He has walked up to kids and bitten them on the back for no reason.

AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 22:15:54

If I keep walking away he never gets a new nappy put on / dirty one changed and he keeps playing uninteruptedly which is what he wants anyway. Frustrating - and there is no way he's wandering around my house without a nappy on.

aloha Thu 02-Jun-05 22:17:21

Oh, how difficult for you. It is at all possible to be hyper-vigilant and hold his arms down so he can't pinch and don't let him get his teeth near you. I would normally say, don't react AT ALL, but he's a big boy and I bet it hurts. But if you can manage not to react and just ignore him he minute he starts, ie just avoid eye contact, do whatever is absolutely necessary and then walk away, this does work sometimes but you do have to keep at it.
With other children I suspect hyper-vigilance is the only way when you are with him - just intervene the second you feel he's about to do something and physically remove him.
Can you set aside times for intense positive interaction as well. So hard with a baby, I know. Does he pinch/bite friends who come on playdates?
Agree than after three social play really does improve dramatically, as does empathy and this will probably help.

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 22:18:21

Ds hates all the things you have put down. The only way he will get dressed, undressed is 1. if he helps 2. if he gets a sticker afterwards!! He has a sticker for every occasion!

bless you, you seem to put in so much work teaching him he HAS to get it eventually or there no justice. Hopefully some other mumsnetters will have some other tips as well. I know that you have probably tried this but do you try distraction?

With ds I have to practically manipulate him! He kicks off when he has to go to bed and the only way I get him up there is by making it a game.
For instance today he wouldnt go so in a massive over the top voice I said "oh Ben, do you want to climb the stairs being a snake or a elephant". Then he moaned, so I said "Oh I bet you want to be an elephant", so he shouts" no I am going to be a snake!" and then he goes hissing up the stairs!! Amazing!

AtLastGasp Thu 02-Jun-05 22:26:22

aloha - I avoid most, but that still leaves me hurt a dozen times a day (almost never tries biting these days). I can't avoid when changing nappy, or dressing him, for example!

We managed not to react for a couple of months last autumn, which didn't cure. I canNOT not react to the pinching, it is TOO painful.

He gets LOADS of positive time with me, DH and grandparents - reading / baking / playing tea parties. I also work on getting the two of them to enjoy time together (things they can do jointly, like sitting together on my lap looking at books - he loves to get baby's finger and point to things in books telling him what they are, and reads the simple baby books to the baby. Also we do 'row, row your boat together etc.

I do hyper-vigilance in groups. Don't do many groups / play dates now he's at pre-school. Pre-school has definitely helped - I think this week is extra bad as it's 1/2 term.

aloha Thu 02-Jun-05 22:26:49

What a fabulous idea Emily! I love it. I can just see him hissing up the stairs

emily05 Thu 02-Jun-05 22:29:02

I know it is very cute! I used to pull my hair out managing ds - but now I have realised that he can be manipulated life is a lot easier (and he is an expert hisser now!)

aloha Thu 02-Jun-05 22:29:22

I hope you didn't feel offended. I certainly wasn't implying you neglected him or anything. It's just my personal experience with a baby that it was hard to find the time to concentrate JUST on my ds and that his behaviour improves when I really dragged my tired old carcass onto the floor to play with him one on one.
I do think this will improve with age and it won't take very long. Three is so different to two IMO.

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