HELP Agressive Behaviour In Toddler

4 Replies
jessie - July 21

Hello ladies. I desperately need advice. I have a 16 month old DS who is exhibiting aggressive behaviour towards other children and adults. IE, he bit DH and scratched him in the face yesterday. Then, when we went to our in-laws for supper, he pushed his little cousin on the floor, hit him on the head twice with the sippy cup, and pulled his hair. When he does this sometimes he looks at us while he is doing it to see our reactions. He seems to do this when he is tired, cranky, or looking for attention. So far, what we have been doing is telling him firmly and sternly that it is not nice and that it hurts people, and to stop it. We have been very consistant with that, but nothing seems to be working. DH and I are very docile people. I have no idea where he learned this behavior and am at a loss on how to stop it. He is otherwise a very happy child, can also be angelic when he is not being such a little monster lol. I have just recently given birth to DS#2, he is a week old, and his behaviour has of course gotten worse. Most of the time he seems to love his little brother (patting his head, kissing him, etc) but when he gets into one of his moods, he is trying to smack him on the head or pinch him. Yea, my DS pinches too. Pinches, bites, smacks, pushes, and pulls hair. EEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Please, if any of you have been through this, let me know what has helped you etc. Thanks so much!


Justine1 - July 21

Congratulations on your new baby. I think some aggressive behaviour is normal esp. once a sibling appears - my DS is 18 months and is generally very gentle but he tries to bite and my DD 2.5 years is normally great with her brother but will sometimes push / kick him / take toys from him. When she does that I tell her No that hurts Nick and say she must cuddle Nick, say sorry to him and sometimes I make her give him a kiss too. She always does that, often without me asking now (she'll say "Sophie hit Nick, Sophie cuddle Nick") and Nick is usually very impressed with the kiss and the cuddle. If she didn't do that which she never has I'ld do timeout next or do something like confiscate one of her toys explaining why I was doing it. The only thing is my DH thinks she enjoys cuddling Nick and feels she can get a free hit -lol! With my DS when he bites I say NO (really loudly) biting kissing and he just starts kissing then - he likes to be able to do something right. Mine are pretty good but I think you need to do whatever it takes to get them to stop though I wouldn't worry too much at the moment - you'll have your hands full already with a newborn. It maybe your older DS needs a bit more attention on him (when he's behaving well) if everyone is fussing over the baby too.


schreck - July 21

I agree he may be having some trouble not being the center of your attention any more. My DD has/is going through some of the same things as your son. We don't have a second child yet but hope to in the near future. What I do when she hits/ bites is tell her what she can do and show her what I 'm talking about. i.e. If she bites I tell her she can give kisses then I give her a kiss. If she hits the dog then I tell her to touch the dog nicely and take her hand to pet the dog. We have start putting her in time out for about a min. for hitting as well. She is very active and doesn't care to have to sit still. Hopefully you find something that works for you! I understand how frustrating it can be.


bubbasmom - July 21

I agree with the other responses. In addition to saying "don't bite/hit," you need to say what you want your son to do (kisses, sippy cups are for drinking). When you say don't hit, what your son really hears is "hit" so make sure to say what you want him to do. Also, reinforce the positive every change you get. Also focus on the feelings of the person being bitten, pinched.


bbmax - July 21

My ds was 18 months when I had my second child. He wasn't particularly aggressive and my dh and I are docile as well. He did have moods and moments, especially when he was teething. He'd do things to test us, like run up and slap one of us to see our reaction. I think this is normal to a certain degree. After our second child was born he also seemed to need extra attention for a while. Now he still has his moments (no biting though) but since he can speak he can understand why he shouldn't do bad things and that helps. Toddlers are not perfect. You just have to be firm in explaining why he shouldn't slap or bite. Also, what worked well for me was teaching my ds that the new baby was HIS baby and that he had to show it a lot of love (like a little job). And NEVER panic when he does do something a little mean because then he's still getting attention. Explain things matter of factly and firmly, but try not to look shocked. Eventually there will be more patting and kissing than slapping and pinching.



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