Subject: is this behaviour normal or a sign of something else
Question: My son is 2 next month.
He has boundless energy & hates to be restricted in any way.
Most recently he has started fighting any attempt to sit him in high-chairs, pushchairs or car-seats, or even to get dressed or change his nappy, to the point that attempting to leave the house is purely exhausting.
Staff at the creche he attends have now given up even attempting to put him in his pushchair at home time & suggest i walk him home to avoid the struggle, as he is physically too strong to fight.
They readily admit that he is the most active child there and needs to be accompanied at all times.
He regularly rearranges the furniture in my living room - The sofa gets moved to the middle of the room or coffee tables and chairs turned upside down. He also climbs everything in sight.
During a temper tantrum he will head-butt the floor repeatedly, slap himself in face or scratch and pinch himself on his face or arms.
His brother is 6 years old, very well behaved, but suffers greatly by my youngest constantly hitting & throwing things at him & fighting him any time he has my attention or attempts a cuddle.
He is very clever at problem solving, but will not engage in activities or play with toys with me for more than 2 mins before throwing them down & is off again.
I am a single mother, working full time in a physically demanding job.
I am exhausted & need advice.
Answer: Dear Nikki,
First of all you need to be ACTIVELY making sure your six year old is not abused by this 2 year old. Sibling violence cannot be tolerated I don't care how young your six year old.
Next, this child needs lots of outdoor activities. He need plenty of opportunities to run and jump and get the activity his brain is obviously craving. I think 2 is a little hard to determine whether or not he has attention deficit disorder which seems to be where you are headed. I wouldn't rule out a screening for ADD however at the age of two and because he is a boy he may just need plenty of physical activity.
I understand that you are a single mom and this may seem like a lot to ask however, meeting the needs of this child seems doubly important now. He cannot be allowed to act out against himself or others.
I suggest when he acts out that you not respond to him other than to protect him from hurting himself or someone else, however, no eye contact, do not engage in conversing with him other than to tell him that when he acts like a big boy you will treat him like a big boy. Walk away from him, let him see your back...then when he is acting like he is suppose to act PRAISE him. Make sure you interact with him in a positive manner. It is too easy with a child who is acting out to begin to feel stressed and even to resent them...children pick this up very easily.
It is imperative that you set him up to have positive experiences with you and his brother. Find the time to get them outside or to a gym where they can let off energy. Boys bodies develop differently than girls. Their muscles want them to stretch and exercise and boys in general have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time. Ask the preschool he goes to to make sure he is getting plenty of active time to climb, and run and play!