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Violent Toddler, what can I do?

I understand the "terrible twos" where a child tells his mother "no" and will act out... but this is totally different. My 16 month old, if told "no", will start screaming, then he will run and ATTACK his brother (who is 6) start hitting and screaming at him. Sometimes he will start hitting me or his dad if we tell him no, or if we pick him up to stop him from getting into things hes not supposed to. Last night, he was climbing something at a friend's house, so DF picked him up, and he started hitting him with both hands (just smacking as hard as he could) and when DF restrained his arms he resorted to head-butting. When we got home, he had fallen asleep in the car, and I guess I woke him when I went to unbuckle his carseat, he started flailing at me with both hands just screaming (angry screams). What is going on with him? How can I get him to calm down and understand?


Asked by MunchiesMom324 at 3:37 PM on Jun. 14, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (7)
  • I'm in agreement with some of the other posters. Spanking a child that already has a bad temper and violent tendencies doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's sending mixed messages.

    I'm wondering if he gets over stimulated easily, which make him meltdown so bad. Watch for his triggers, is he hungry, tired or is there a lot of noise, did he sleep well the night before or get a good nap. Does he have allergies or sinus issues?Was that day a busy day, was he getting too much stimulation or not enough?is he sensitive or allergic to any foods ( may be something you really look into. Most everyone in the world is sensitive to gluten and dairy).
    I have a really aggressive little boy as well.
    When he starts tantruming, we make him do the crane yoga pose and count to ten. It really does calm him down. And we also changed his ( and our) diets, significantly. He is a lot calmer and takes things in strides, more.

    Answer by nwdeserangel at 8:55 PM on Jun. 14, 2009

  • To be honest my son was the same way. Only worse. He would not only hit me and others to the point of bruising us and even breaking skin a few times he would also hit himself. He would throw himself on the floor and bang his head. I PANICED!!!!!!! Everyone kept telling me it is normal and he will move past it. That was NOT what I wanted to hear, because I had babysat a lot of kids as a teenager and had raised my niece and not ONE of those kids acted that way. What I did is evaluate everything in his life any stressors(even if I didn't think it should be a stresser) anything hurtful, any changes, I took him to the Doctor. Nothing seemed to work. This continued for over a YEAR! I finally got into a program at WIC that a nice lady came to our house once a week to help work with him. It takes a lot of work and patients.............

    Answer by lilmama4d_j at 3:51 PM on Jun. 14, 2009

  • Well, I'm not sure about your personal beliefs on dicipline, but if he as mine I'd spank him. He's old enough to understand the word "no"... And before I get someone all upset about spanking children let me just say...spanking is not abusing.... There's a very distinct one between the two. Spanking is a sure-fire way to help your children understand that there are consequences to misbehaving.

    Anyway, good luck!

    Answer by trixie.jeanne at 3:59 PM on Jun. 14, 2009

  • I basically had to stand up to him and show him I am your mommy and what I say goes, to you my word is god.(hope that doesn't sound too bad) but it was really hard for me. Now I have a very well behaved well mannered 3 year old little boy. It is not normal for ANY child to act this way, but it does happen, don't blame anyone, it just happens sometimes. Just like adults some children have a bigger temper then others, and that is ok you just have to teach them NOW that they have to control it and show them how. Don't argue in front of the kids or even where they can hear you, don't lash out in anger or allow him around people who lash out. Even little spats can set him off and show him that his actions are ok. When he starts his fit, firmly grab him and tell him "NO now you stop!!!" don't yell and when I say grab him I mean GET HIS ATTENTION! Tell him what you want from him. Don't allow him to control the situation.

    Answer by lilmama4d_j at 4:02 PM on Jun. 14, 2009

  • What "trixie.jeanne" said is true. You can spank and spanking is not for everyone, but with my son spanking never worked during a tantrum. I do spank for other offences however. I had to teach him that his actions were unacceptable and then show and tell him how to properly control his anger. It takes a long time and lots of patients. And if your DF would help and be stern with him also telling him he can NEVER hit a girl and mommy is a girl it could kill two birds with one stone. It did for my son. Oh and my second son hasn't had an anger problem only my oldest. But good luck and hang in there. Message me anytime you want.

    Answer by lilmama4d_j at 4:12 PM on Jun. 14, 2009

  • IMO spanking is the wrong answer. I just don't see how you hurting your child, teaches him that he is not allowed to hit? It just doesn't make sense to me. So I wouldn't do that if I was you.
    As far as your question, I would keep doing what you are doing, and if at any point you are at the end of your wits, talk to your pedi, and ask if he/she can recommend anybody that can help you.

    Answer by LilyandEmmasMom at 6:28 PM on Jun. 14, 2009

  • How can you mothers suggest she hit her baby? That is horrible! The last thing he needs is to be hit!

    My daughter was similar to this when she was that age. Each time I would speak to her clearly, on her level, and say shhh, we have to be gentle, and show her how to stroke my arm, etc. This needed to be repeated for a while. After that, she would still hit, but would kiss me immediately, lol. Now by the age of 2 she never hits or bites.

    A certain level of this is normal. You child is in a stage where he is exploring with this type of behavior. Just be consistent and help him find other ways of expressing himself.

    Voicing hims thoughts for him help a lot too. Say things like "I know you are angry because you can't watch TV right now, but ..."

    It takes consistancy and time, it won't happen overnight. Also, The Dr. Sears Discipline Book is a great resource.

    Answer by Arkaidy at 7:24 PM on Jun. 14, 2009