Saturday, April 16, 2011

My 2 and half year old is kicking, hitting and pinching! Help!

Questioner: Serena
Subject: 2 and a half year old Kicking, hitting and pinching

Question: I have a 2 and a half year old boy. He is social and happy. Loves to sing and dance...overall a happy kid.

He is very aggressive when it comes to hitting and kicking his dad and I. He is not this way with others children unless things go too far ( very rare)

He seems to be very defiant when it comes to "NO" and explanations of proper behavior. Am I expecting too much from him (3 yr in FEB) or is this a "stage" he will grow out of. Please any advise will be great.

Thanks


Answer: Dear Serena:

No I don't think you are being unreasonable expecting him not to hit and kick. However, you did not tell me what your behavioral expectations of him are and what you are expressing to him when he does hit and kick.

He needs three consistent rules, no exceptions.

1. No hurting himself.

2. No hurting someone else.

3. No destroying things.

Next, I would strongly suggest assisting him with his feeling vocabulary. There are lots of books and games now (do a search on the Internet)which help children identify their feelings. Also ask yourself if you and his father role model expressing your feelings in front of him.

Many times children act out when they are frustrated, annoyed, irritated, mad, etc...because they do not feel heard. The same as it is for adults. However, helping him expand his vocabulary will do great things for him socially and emotionally.

Also, use lots of positive reinforcement. When he handles things well make sure he knows you noticed his "big behavior."

Lastly, check his routines. Are they consistent. Even older toddlers and preschoolers need consistent routines (not the same as a schedule).

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller