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Old 01-08-2009, 11:22 PM   #1
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Throwing, hitting, kicking, running away ... HELP!

Margo has decided in the last week or so to throw everything: toys, shoes, silverware, her cup, books, etc. She also has taken to hitting me rather often - arm, face, legs. AND let's not forget the kicking - usually when being held or while on the changing table. Oh, and one more thing ... I used to ask her to do something - pick up a toy, hand me something, etc. - and she would uncomplainingly oblige. Now ... she runs away, telling me as she is going "Running Mommy!" - which in Margo-speak means "I am running away from you, Mommy!"

She is 17 months old. I am at a total loss as to how to discipline or correct for these behaviors. Spanking is a no in our house, I don't 'get' (as in understand) time out, and I don't want to use her room or crib as a place of punishment.

I've tried stern and firm mommy, 'we don't do [insert behavior here]' followed by redirection, angry mommy with explanation, physically handing her item and making her put it away with explanation, discussion about hitting or kicking hurting, etc etc etc etc etc. Nothing works - and she seems to enjoy the little 'rile mommy up' game, even telling me the other night when I asked if she knew why I was upset "Yes, Margo hitting, throwing." SO what to do? I am being so inconsistent and unsure, I know she can sense my fear

As for 'cause' (aside from being a willful, spirited, headstrong, energetic 17 month old), obviously it's when I am asking her to do something she would rather not do, or doing something to her (changing her diaper, cleaning her face and hands after meals, etc) that she would prefer to skip. She has lots and lots of clear language and understands happy, mad, sad, no, so I don't feel like it's a communication problem. HELP!

TIA!

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Old 01-08-2009, 11:57 PM   #2
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Re: Throwing, hitting, kicking, running away ... HELP!

Tough one because she is almost old enough for reasoning with and time out stuff but not yet perhaps. My son is also doing these things some and we are just trying to muttle through biding our time to when we can reason with him and provide just punishment type stuff. With diaper changes i have found employing him in some task...handing wipes, or singing a song with hand motions helps. If I can illicit him in something before he starts kicking and throwing that can help. I also take the thing he throws and say "uh oh. all done." so he seems to be getting that throwing makes the object he is playing with off limits briefly. In the past I would go away from him and act like I didn't want to play with him right then because he was hitting or throwing. I figure his friends won't want to play with him if he does that so might as well model. I actually tried letting him wipe his own face the other day which he seemed to prefer to my doing it. But he said "NO!" then did it anyhow. Also i try to couple things he doesn't like with things he does want...like say "we have to put on our shoes so we can go outside...or we have to wash our hands so we can ...whatever." Good luck! It will get better. Try not to get too upset because it is just a phase.
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:17 AM   #3
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Re: Throwing, hitting, kicking, running away ... HELP!

At this age these behaviors are completely appropriate. She's still to young to reason with. Redirection is your best bet. My 18month old sounds just like your LO. She'll throw a fit for diaper changes, washing up, ect. When I can I change her diaper standing up lol but when need be she has to lay down. I keep a boring air about me and just repeat 'you have to have a clean butt' lol She's also started biting...She got my 3yr old the other day and I'll tell you I threw her little butt in the crib for 1.5mins! My poor 3yr old now has a half-dollar sized bruies on her arm That was the 1st time she's biten anyone but me. When she bites, hits, kicks me I say 'teeth are not for biting ppl', 'hands are not for hitting' ect and ending each phrase with 'that hurts'. Then I put her down and/or walk away. I've been trying to remind myself that she's growing up and making sure rules are the same, needing more independence, ect. so I've been trying to remember to give her as many choices as possible which is hard b/c I still see her as my baby lol I let her pick which diaper she wants, which plate, which socks, ect so she feels she at least has some control over her life and hopefully therefore will not get so frustrated which-for her-is when most of the negative behavior happens.

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Old 01-09-2009, 08:37 AM   #4
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Re: Throwing, hitting, kicking, running away ... HELP!

Very age appropriate. Doesn't help, does it mama?

I think one thing I would work on is clearing up communication. Mean exactly what you say.

We don't throw things here. - this makes NO sense to a child. You don't throw things, but she does! See, mom?

Focus on what you want her to do, give her direction:
You may roll the ball on the floor, for example, and follow through by getting right down and doing it with her. Your words have just been given meaning, and more importantly, you're teaching the subtle lesson that you do mean exactly what you say.

I would say save your discussions. Talking about stuff is GREAT when you are relaxed and have the time to go through it. When a response is needed immediately, that is not the time. Toddlers have receptive language skills like your second year of high school Spanish; you caught the gist of Plaza Sesamo, but you didn't get it all. Your child's the same way. If you talk too much, you risk losing her (especially with the attention span of a gnat already!) or she just doesn't follow. If you need to respond, try to keep your words to five or less, focusing on what's most important. Save the talking for other times, like during a story about the same lesson.

Teach her to follow through with her actions. Throwing means she picks it up, checks it out, and puts it away. Hitting means she makes sure you're okay. The more you give replacement actions, though, the less these will appear. For some kids, the physical outlet is a must. Teaching her some signs is a great way to get her to communicate and release that physical tension. Give her the words she needs - we don't always remember when we're upset or angry how to say what we need to.
And prep her. "After lunch it's diaper change!" Give her small choices to make it more bearable (this diaper or this one?) let her hold on to a toy just for the occasion, and walk her through it with a routine. We used to do a little "sooooo big!" first by bringing the arms over the head over and over, and then the legs up and down as he was being changed. It was fun and giggly and got us through the changes quickly.

Keep a little routine going through the day to help with disaster times - toys always get picked up before lunch, etc. and make things fun. I can get more cooperation if I hop to pick things up, than if I tell a toddler calmly. I get more cooperation if I notice their work than if I praise them ("you put it in the bucket!" with a smile instead of "good job!").

She's not even two, so none of this is going to work consistently every single time. She has a lot of growing and learning about her independence in the next few years, so there will be times when she struggles with the balance more than others. Just relax, be consistent, and enforce house standards.
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:07 AM   #5
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Re: Throwing, hitting, kicking, running away ... HELP!

We have some hitting issues going on too. Here is what we do.

If we are holding DS and he hits then we grab his hand (not meanly but sternly) and say 'We do NOT hit 'whoever he hit'. Then he gets placed on the ground. Sometimes he gets sad and says his 'sorry' which is a lot of s sounds and gives a hug. Other times he hits again. We repeat this process and end it by placing him on a step, or in a corner, or really anywhere safe on the floor and get down on his level and tell him he has to sit there because 'We do not hit and he hit'. He will usually sit there, either laughing or crying or just sitting there. When he is done we tell him we love him and he says sorry and gives hugs and kisses.

This is not a fool proof plan, some days I feel like I am in this loop all day but other days it takes one time and he stops hitting.
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Old 01-09-2009, 01:43 PM   #6
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Re: Throwing, hitting, kicking, running away ... HELP!

Great suggestions so far - LilyGrace, I was hoping you would show up to add your I always like to read your views and suggestions! I agree I have got to clarify and keep it more simple for her - she is so lingual, I think we sometimes overestimate her actual comprehension. I worked hard this morning on some of these ideas and ways of talking to her about the behaviors, and it did seem to help. Of course, this is only one morning ...

ALL other advice and sharing appreciated
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We should remember that if a situation cannot be changed, there's no point in worrying about it. If it can be changed, there is no need to worry about it either, we should simply go about changing it. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
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Old 01-09-2009, 02:27 PM   #7
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Re: Throwing, hitting, kicking, running away ... HELP!

I will admit, parents of 1yos need a lot of patience! I took my 15mo nephew on a day trip last year, not knowing he had a diaper rash. After getting hit and kicked every diaper change now matter what, the last one at 8:30 at night left us both miserable in a gas station restroom. There wasn't a whole lot I could do and my empathy was rapidly decreasing, so when the tears and hits started I sat him up, looked at him, and tiredly said, "look, kid. I know you don't want to be changed. I know it hurts. I'll make you a deal - I'll be really fast and put the cream on if you will just stop whaling on me." I have no clue how much he understood but he nodded very solemnly and let me change him without a fuss. I think we were both just exhausted.

Not my finest moment, but it worked. And you know, at 21mo when I saw him last, it was like he was a completely different kid. Off and going and confident...it's amazing how much they change in such a small amount of time.
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