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Mean baby

My toddler is regressing to violent behavior. He has always been rough, but a few weeks ago started biting again, kicking, pushing, and oh the tantrums! He's turning 3 in a few months, and I'm at my wit's end. Tried time-outs, which work for maybe a half hour (he's in time out for 2 mins, one min for every year) I spank him when he's really bad (one swat, not beating him!) like when he jumps on his 14-month old brother and bites him. Telling him No only makes him more determined to do it, taking away toys results in a tantrum and worse behavior. He's really a good boy, but just acts out and I don't know why. Nothing has changed, the only possible problem I can think of is Daddy works a lot so we rarely see him, but it's always been like that. I would chalk it up to normal toddler behavior, but the biting and hitting worries me. What can I do?


Asked by Anonymous at 12:30 PM on Jan. 12, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

This question is closed.
Answers (13)
  • The "one minute per year" was started by a psychologist who only said it because parents wanted some sort of limit set. I can't even remember his name right now! lol There's no real rhyme or reason for it.

    Leave him in time out until his bad behavior is done (no more tantrum, kicking, screaming, etc). If it takes 30 seconds, great...if it takes 30 minutes so be it. Leave him there and ignore him.

    When he calms down, he can leave time out when he's ready to demonstrate to you correct behavior. For example...he threw a toy. he can leave time out when he's ready to show you (and practice) the right way to set a toy on the floor. He does it once..."okay! That was great! Now show me how to do it again!" He's practicing good behavior.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 3:14 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • Do you put your older son for play more often than not with his little brother? Maybe for his personality he's with baby brother too much. Can someone watch the baby for you to have one on one with the older one? If that doesn't work talk to your doctor.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:34 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • I'm afraid so. No playdates, no kids his age around here. Sounds ridiculous, but babies are a rare occurance in my little-bitty neck of the woods. He knows he has to play soft with baby brother, every time baby wakes up from nap he gently touches his head and says "Baby soft" (because we say play soft with baby) but then baby will take a toy and a war erupts.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:40 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • Sounds like the age to me. I have always thought that three was worse than two. It should be the terrible threes if you ask me. How is his verbal skills? If he is getting angry and biting and hitting, along with his time out or whatever you do for discipline model what he should be saying as well. Please, give my toy back, or please don't take my toy or whatever the situation. He needs to learn to use his words and not his actions. And then if his words do not work he needs to come tell you.

    Answer by JamieLK at 1:13 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • sounds to me like his time outs need to be longer..i know supernanny says 1 minute per year..but thats not long doesnt give them time to think and to relaize..when my daughter used to act out like that i would put her in a time out, she would cry and scream and throw a fit, but until she calmed down and was quiet, i wouldnt start the time..and i usually made her sit there for 5 minutes..but if she started with the attitude again, i would start alll over again..she picked up on that pretty quick!! and stopped acting out (for the main

    Answer by alexis_06 at 1:43 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • It sounds to me like he is wanting attention and the way he is getting it is acting out so i don't know how to combat this behavior,other than time outs and lil swats at the butt so idk.but i'll tell you what allways worked w/ my kids is talking to them and telling them about there behavior and what they done is not nice?

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:44 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • oh i don't even watch supernanny lol, that's something i read online :) we do tell him that his actions hurt people, after his timeouts we have a discussion (well I talk and he sniffs) about why he was in trouble, and ------ hurts people, and good boys don't do that. His verbal skills were slightly delayed; now he's talking quite a bit but not well enough to voice his desires. I know tantrums come with the territory, unfortunately lol, but I hope he outgrows the violence soon. He never watches violent cartoons or sees it in real life, so I don't know where he gets it :(

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:18 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • Okay..that's good! However, he's being released from timeout with no repercussions, so what does he care if he does it again? Talking is great, and continue that...but SHOW him the right behavior, have him PRACTICE the right behavior. It made a huge difference in my three! Especially my 2 year old.

    Most 3 year olds can't be reasoned with. It's just not a skill they possess yet. It comes around 6 or 7 years.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 3:35 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • Thank you, ticcled, all of you. This is why I love CM, I can get advice from been there, done that crowd! Could you explain practicing the right behaviour? Say he throws a toy in anger. Do I pick it up and remind him throwing toys is naughty, could he please put it in the toybox gently? And keep this up until he succeeds, and reward him with a kiss, high five, etc? Biting baby, kicking etc results in time-out until he's calmed down, ignoring him unless he tries to sneak out of time out, then talk to him and have him kiss baby instead, because that's good touches while biting is bad touches? Do these sound about right and if not, please advise away!! :)

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:07 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • You have the right idea!!! It's going to vary from parent to parent and kid to kid. (these are all ideas from my son's psychologist, by the way...helping him to control impulsive behavior)

    When I'm at a loss for "correcting" the behavior I make them pick up the toys in a room.

    The thing is that putting them in time out and letting them out after a certain time gives them an immediate reward...getting out of time out.


    Answer by TiccledBlue at 4:33 PM on Jan. 12, 2009