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iimstephy88
iimstephy88 , Student, Parent asks:
Q:

Why is my 2 year old son so violent?

I started working when my son was a little over 1 years old. He was such a happy baby and always so good for me, I felt terrible going to work and not being with him. While I went to work 11am-7pm my husband stayed at home with him. After a few months I started noticing a big change in my sons behavior. He started always screaming and yelling and crying, a lot of the time for no reason. He became violent as while, hitting people, hitting our dogs, throwing anything he could, slamming doors. I was just amazed in how much he had changed! He's now 2 years old and I quit working a few months ago to stay at home with him again to help him. It was worse than I thought and a lot harder than I thought. When he does something wrong I usually try putting him in time out for 2 minutes. It doesn't work and I don't want to spank him like everyone says I should because i believe that that only shows him it's okay to hit people. He's even started spitting at people! Sometimes he'll take a drink of his drink and spit it right at someone or on the floor and think its hilarious! I bought a basket of toys from the dollar store so when he did good and helped me out around the house and i thought he deserved a reward i'd give him something. But when he does something wrong and doesn't listen i take something away from him, but nothing calms him down. I took him to get his hearing checked but they say he's fine. I dont know what to do im afraid something is wrong!
Member Added on Nov 8, 2009
Also, when i took him to get his hearing checked they recommended a few hours of day care a day to improve his speech. He says a lot of words but he isn't really tryin to talk he just whines A LOT!! I start nursing school in january and I'm so scared for him to go to daycare.
In Topics: Preparing my child for preschool, Discipline and behavior challenges, Child care
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Hand in Hand
Jan 4, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Parenting a toddler can certainly be a challenge! They are full of emotions and experiments and energy. Your son is very lucky to have you at home with him as he learns more about himself and explores the world around him.

Children need lots of undivided, warm attention from their parents and others around them. They need to be treated with respect. They need play, lots of room to experiment, and lots of positive response to who they are and what interesting experiments they do. They need information about what's going on around them, from the very beginning: their minds work beautifully, and from birth they fully understand the emotional import of every interaction with us. Even when we meet their needs well, there are moments every single day when our children long for attention or for things we can't give them at the moment. When Mommy and Daddy can handle these moments of intense longing gently and with understanding, it makes a huge difference in a child's life.

Parents and caregivers have the power to help an aggressive child. A child’s aggression can't be erased by reasoning, Time Out, or enforcing “logical consequences.” The knot of intense feelings inside the child isn’t touched by rewards or punishment. A child’s behavior out of his control, once he begins to feel disconnected.

Step one in helping a child is to stop the aggressive behavior by moving close and offering a warm connection. Then, listening helps heal the hurt. The child will either laugh or cry, and might tremble, perspire, or struggle mightily. The adult provides a safe connection and the time the child needs to release the fear she feels. The crying and physical struggling and perspiring she does get her limbic system—the part of her brain that sounds emotional alarms when she feels frightened—back in working order by providing an outlet for those unmanageable feelings.

You can get lots more ideas from our website, starting with the links I've included below.

I hope the year is full of lots of close, connected time with your little one,

Julianne Idleman
Hand in Hand Program Director
www.handinhandparenting.org
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Additional Answers (13)

OhioJean
OhioJean writes:
First I will say, I am by no means a professional. I'm a mom and I've been there. The probable causes are one or more of several things.
1. Everytime there is a change in who is caring for a child, there is a change in some dynamic. All kids will routinely retest their boundaries. If the same rules that one parent enforces are not exactly enforced by the other parent then you have some behavior issues.
2. If the pediatrician is suggesting some day care for speech development, you might be working on a speech delay. This can be a cause for much acting out as the child gets frustrated that he cannot communicate his needs.
3. He's two. As he grows and realizes that there is a cause and effect to most things around him he's going to push the limits, hence the term, terrible twos....
Ok, here's what to do. Have a sit down with dad and discuss the rules and your agreed reactions. You two and anyone else you have caring for him need to be on the same page. He should expect the same reaction from you and dad and babysitter when he spits or whatever.
Don't spank him. That won't help. When he hits or spits you tell him no (in a serious, big person tone) and sit him on his bottom. If he's already  sitting I would remove him from the area thus ruining his fun.
I used to have a term called "baby jail" it was funny to a degree but served a purpose. It follows much of the thought of time out and I know that rule about one minute for every year but after two minutes of time out do you think the kid has any idea why he is there? No. A huge mistake alot of parents make is expecting their child to behave like an adult. He needs a moment to himself.
He needs redirection and maybe a bit of speech therapy and some sign language might help in the interim. If you can see him having trouble expressing himself try teaching him four signs, me, eat, drink, and more. They are really easy to learn and teach and it might help.
I used to take my son's hand when he hit the cat and go hand over hand to correct the behavior. I would make him pet the cat as I told him that it was a nice kitty, then i would take his hand and make him pet his own leg so he would relate it to himself. I would use positive reinforcement as much as possible.
One last thought. If you get mad and lose your temper you're teaching him that that behavior is ok. Hope this helps.

Jean
> 60 days ago

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OhioJean
OhioJean writes:
Don't respond to the whining. If you give him what you know he wants when he whines then he doesn't have to talk so why would he? Say "what" and look confused. Talk to him in one word or short phrases. Example, you're holding his cup and he's reaching and whining for it. Don't give him the cup. Say "cup" and wait. If he says cup or tries to give it to him. Remember he will only have the attention span or patience for two-four tries if you're lucky.
> 60 days ago

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dkarpf
dkarpf writes:
I disagree. A firm spank which is given by a loving calm parent teaches them who is the boss. After you spank him one hard spank and tell him in a loving calm voice that behavior is not acceptable in this home, he will remember the next time he tries it. Be consistent and he will stop. After one spank,give him a hug until he stops crying telling him you love him but he is not to do this in your home. It will work. Don't be afraid. A firm spank does not teach a child to hit others (look what he is already doing and you haven't done nor taught him any of these things). It teaches him you are the parent and his authority. Do not let him try and hit you back. Let him know what is unacceptable in your home.
> 60 days ago

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Camiliea
Camiliea writes:
He may of been incouraged by is father. He may have watched the wrond type of tv shows. Did his father let him do what ever he wanted to do? You may not want to spank him, but sometimes children need it. Dont over do it of course but just enogh to get the point across to him that it's not okay for what he does. Hitting people, animals, and other objects is not okay. Maby if you came up with number of how many smaks he'll get for doing something than explain it to him. If you do thins you will be spanked this many time's. My mother spanked us all the time we cam out fine. My oldest brother is finishing his last year of college. My nest oldest if in the Marine core (He was the hardest to disipline and nothing seemed to get threw to him but in the end he turned out fine) I'm in 11th grade. Moving to Az soon finishing school there. Then college. You may not want to but it sounds like its the best thing for him now.
> 60 days ago

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dkarpf
dkarpf writes:
What a difficult situation you are facing and as we all know Mom's want what is best for their children. Try and teach him some skills to cope with whatever is bothering. Outward behavior usually means inward conflict and since he is so young this is the way he communicating. Since you choose not to spank him, you need to come up with an alternative. I myself take my grandchild's two hands and have him look me squarely in the eyes and tell him this is not ok behavior. I think you did the right thing by choosing to stay home. What a caring Mom you are that you are willing to make that sacrifice. Discipline is really about correcting a wrong behavior so try holding his two hands and staring him straight in the eyes and tell him it is NOT okay to hit people nor spit. I would still recommend a spank telling him beforehand that if he does this again, this is what will happen. After you spank him once hug him and tell him you love him. Alot of times we are afraid to spank because it seems like abuse or that we are teaching them to hit when really we are correcting them. Most of us were spanked with no ill effects as long as it is not done in anger or frustration. At least try it and see if it works. You have nothing to lose. But again if this is not your choice I suggest the above.  My prayers are with you.
> 60 days ago

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Chii_bits2009
Chii_bits2009 writes:
i know how you feel, my son is only 9 months old, but he does alot of the same things, he Hits and pulls hair and tries to bite people, he head butts people, throws his toys and screams, throws himself to the ground and just freaks out in general. He's Ahead of most babies his age in development, mentally and physically, he can talk (he just says random words at random times but still) and he's very close to walking, he even yells NO! at me already. he's very big for his age as well, being almost 3 feet tall and weighing at least 22 lbs. i've tried everything, i've tried time outs and putting him to bed, trying to calm him down, feeding him or giving him a drink and so far, nothing has worked. he hasn't really been around anyone other than my fiance and i steadily and i think that may be the problem, but i'm scared to put him in day care because he does throw such horrendous fits. He is a good boy most of the time, but these fits are rediculous, and i've tried research but so far, i've had no luck. I'm guessing this isn't a common thing for babies his age cuz i cannot find any information what so ever on it.
> 60 days ago

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Mark00b
Mark00b writes:
Hi Steph,
Steph, we had some of the same problems with our boy that you have with your little boy. He use to get very violent/ fighting and also started the spitting thing.
First thing we did was we changed the programs he watches ( my boy liked power rangers,ben 10, hell boy movies, rocky even). Just by changing that we already started seeing a difference.
Well, the second part wasn't easy. For about 2 weeks when he did something wrong he got a smack on his bum.
We all cried together sometimes.
He is now 6 years old, he still doesn't watch those movies, he hasn't had a smack in about 3 years now. The best thing now is... we get compliments the whole time on how good he is.
Another thing... pray to God for help and guidance.
God Bless and I hope that I helped
> 60 days ago

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LouiseSattler
LouiseSattler , Child Professional writes:
Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk!

It would seem that you have been doing many great things to help your son and yourself find a calm middle ground.  Your pursuing a hearing test was also very good.  When a child seems to be acting in a way that causes much stress in the family for reasons unknown you are able to ask for an evaluation through the local public school early intervention team.  Ask for this evaluation in writing by outlining your difficulties.  

Perhaps your son has a speech and/or language delay that is not due to a hearing loss.  Also, maybe he needs to have learn some strategies other than his negative behaviors in a multitude of settings, including a structured preschool.

The early intervention specialists that are very much in tune with working with children from infancy to through kindergarten should be able to provide you with suggestions and perhaps resources.

Good luck!

Louise Masin Sattler, NCSP
Nationally Certified School Psychologist
Owner of Signing Families
http://www.SigningFamilies.com
> 60 days ago

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mind
mind writes:
your son is at the age called terrible two. You most teach him to fouces his violent ways towards someting postive,if you can not do that put him in self defance class.Just do not be afaid work him.
> 60 days ago

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whoknows
whoknows writes:
Honestly, I do not think there is a simple answer. I think it depends on the kid. Time out will work with some kids. Other kids will think it is funny or not be bothered by it. Some kids will not change their behavior if you spank them but will freak out if you put them on time out. I think you need to figure out what works best with your kid. My daughter is 3 and she cries hysterically if you threaten to put her on the couch. If you spank her she just yells at you and becomes more uncooperative. My son is almost two and if I put him on the couch he will just keep moving around. He will not sit still. He will be more focused on escaping. He doesn't view it as much of a punishment. If I raise my hand to him and tell him no he will stop what he is doing though.

Some parents say to not spank because it will teach kids to hit and be violent, but I think if a parent does not spank a kid can learn that they can get away with things without much repurcussion. Either way you are "teaching" a kid something. You are either teaching them that they can hit others or you are teaching them that they can get away with things. What matters is what you teach them next. Now you must teach them that it is not ok for them to hit others and that it is only ok for you to spank them. Of course they will not understand why or how that is fair, but they are kids. They will not understand until they get older why it was ok for mommy to spank them but not for them to hit others. One thing that people try to do is reason with their kids, but kids are kids. You cannot always reason with a kid. Sometimes you just have to let them know it is the way it is and that if they don't obey there will be a punishment. When a kid grows up they will see why it was necessary. Of course, punishment DOES have to be reasonable. If you punish your kid because they cant throw a baseball right then the kid will grow up and hate you probably. Your kid may also grow up and form depression.

Now, if you do not spank your kid you are teaching them that they can get away with things if they are willing to take a time out. Timeouts really depend on how a kid takes it. If a kid thinks timeout is the end of the world then timeout is a good punishment. If a kid thinks it is a joke then you may have to resort to spanking or taking away something valuable to them. Of course spanking is always last resort. If you can find a way without spanking great. But if nothing works except spanking then you know what you have to do.

Realistically, violent behavior is not always taught. Acting out violently is a part of human nature when we do not get what we want. Most people just have learned to control that because they know it is unproductive. A parent does not have to teach a kid to be violent for a kid to be violent. Kids already know how to be violent. Basically, if you spank your kid, and your kid starts mocking you, you need to spank them for mocking you. Sure, it will confuse them, but they will understand when they actually have the capacity to understand.
> 60 days ago

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rebeccaone
rebeccaone writes:
Um, I don't have an answer.  I'm LOOKING for answer.
> 60 days ago

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rebeccaone
rebeccaone writes:
Being a daycare provider I can neither spank or do time outs. I never spanked my own kids that much--not sure how effective that is.  
But my ?? is...should you allow the child to beat you silly?  Punch, hit, pinch, pull hair, throw things?  I have a mom that I think just quit b/c when her son acts like that I put him down.  He can't be rewarded for that kind of behavior.  I wouldn't take that punishment from my own kids.  And I told her when she quit, it might be for the best b/c if he ever tries it with the little ones, he'd be out anyway.
Not sure here.  But I think he's doing it to get attention from her.
> 60 days ago

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cracked
cracked writes:
just take him there my little coz the same unitle he what to day care
> 60 days ago

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