12 answers

2 Year Old Pushing and Hitting

I have an almost 2.5 year old that is constantly pushing other children and adults (except me). He pushes for a variety of reason. The reasons include wanting to control a situation, there is someone in his space, they have a toy he wants, he is angry, he is not getting his way, and for attention. I have tried everything to get him to change his behavior and don't know what to do. He definitely has the words to talk and averages 10 word sentences. He is a very bright child who already knows all his letters, sounds, shapes, and colors. Other than pushing, hitting and taking toys from other kids he doesn’t have any other behavior problems. He goes to sleep well, doesn’t throw tantrums, plays well on his own and treats his 4.5 month old brother well. He is unable to control his impulses to push, hit or take toys from other kids. His temperament has always been to be very extreme. He sings the loudest, jumps the highest and is very social. He loves to be around other people and have everyone's attention, although gets upset when someone approaches him. He wants to be the one to approach the other children or adults. Unfortunately we are at the point where he is being kicked out of classes for his pushing other children. We have 4.5 month old and the behavior became much worse when the baby was born. I have also started working Part Time (about 10-15 hours a week). I have tried modeling, time outs, empathy, helping him use his words, positive discipline, praise, and behavior charts.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

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Try reading him the book "Hands Are Not For Hitting" in a very positive manner, on a daily basis. It's very common at that age to have sibling jealousy and to be upset that Mommy is back to work (that may get acted out in other ways), and also not understand that it's not okay to hit. Traditional methods of teaching that hitting isn't okay don't always work, but this book (albeit very simple) is amazing. You can find it at Barnes & Noble, and they have a whole line of similar books - all award-winners.

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R. E I have a 6yr old and a 2yr old and one on the way. I know you are busy. Aren't all of us. If you can find any time to read the book called Love and Logic { I think it is adolescence to six} it is by Jim Faye and his son Charles Faye. It made a tremendous difference in my parenting skills and coping with the stress. I hope it helps.

1 mom found this helpful

It's worth contacting the pediatrician for advice. We did that when our son was just barely three and ended up being referred to a child psychologist, who gave us some strategies for managing extreme behavior. In our case, it ended up we were dealing with a medical condition, but you don't have to be dealing with one to receive the guidance. Medical professionals can be a great source for new ideas.

Also, there are a number of books for kids on hitting that may help. We liked "Hands are not for Hitting."

Good luck! Know that hitting is common at this age, so you're not alone in having a child who's a hitter.

1 mom found this helpful

A new baby & you started going back to work....that's a lot for your older son to take in. Part of his behavior is common for this age....testing the limits & not being able to completely articulate himself are both reasons for his hitting & pushing. That said, if he's getting kicked outa classes, then it's time to take some action & nip it in the bud before he seriously hurts someone & so he can be a good example to your younger son. Disciplining at this age is hard. Continue removing/distracting him but also telling him about being nice to other kids, keeping his hands to himself & using his words. When our son (the same age) pushes or hit, I play up the fact that he made the other child sad & that seems to make it sink in a bit more...especially if the other child is crying. We use teh book '1-2-3 Magic' w/our older son & are starting it w/our younger son. Talk to your ped & maybe get a referral to a behaviorist to get some suggestions on how to deal w/this. The key is to stay strong & be consistent so he gets the message that his actions are nto acceptable. Hope this helps & good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Hang in there, R.!

This is VERY normal to me, and it sounds like you're doing everything you can to try to help the situation. The new changes in his life are having results right now. No matter how hard we try, as moms, to help our kids through adjustments, having a new baby who needs ALOT of attention, and you going back to work are tough for a 2 year old to adapt to.

Just keep consistent and it should eventually discontinue. He needs ALOT of attention BEFORE he gets into trouble to help detour the problems. I'm not sure how you can do that when you work, but I'm sure the "professionals" at Daycare are qualified to help with this.

I was hit by my older son at this age, and no matter how consistent I was about with him, it still took a few months to stop the behavior.

Let the Daycare handle it their way (as long as it's loving, and fair). They HAVEto remove him from situations that could hurt other children, and I'm sure you understand that. He will get to the point where he will stop hitting/pushing because he will get tired of being "in trouble".....hopefully :o)

Know that most boys go through this, and your is no exeception, and it's not YOUR fault for having this behavior, I'm sure, it's just a part of him figuring out how to get what he wants. And how to get good/bad attention.

Hang in there!

:o) N.

We had a similar problem when our first son was a toddler. The lady that ran the at-home day care eventually kicked him out and we moved him into a preschool. It turned out that having more stimulation and being with bigger kids helped a lot. When our son is bored, he's more likely to act out. Good luck!

Try reading him the book "Hands Are Not For Hitting" in a very positive manner, on a daily basis. It's very common at that age to have sibling jealousy and to be upset that Mommy is back to work (that may get acted out in other ways), and also not understand that it's not okay to hit. Traditional methods of teaching that hitting isn't okay don't always work, but this book (albeit very simple) is amazing. You can find it at Barnes & Noble, and they have a whole line of similar books - all award-winners.

He is a boy- boys are physical. When they are frustrated or want to be in control- and ESPECIALLY if they're 2, they are physical. They hit, they push- it's normal- as long as he doesn't actually injure people. Show him lots of love and attention and ACCEPTANCE! There is nothing wrong with him- people don't accept their boys- he may be a future athlete or very powerful man- don't make him feel like there's something wrong with him. Mom of 3 boys and a girl

Sounds like you have tried all the right things. I think that a newborn and you going back to work could have some impact on his behavior. If he's getting kicked out of class it's time to get professional help. A child psychologist could be a big help in dealing with these issues. Bright kids are great to have but they are NOT easy. Good luck to you.

Although pushing and hiting are quite normal reactions to toddlers who are learning how to push their boundaries, if you want to change behaviour you and your child's carer need to be consistent in how you are all dealing with it. If he is in day care talk with them about a plan which you can follow through on at home too. Remember it takes at least 21 days to change a habit so try something for at least a month before you give up the idea and try something else. Your child will eventually outgro this behaviour, bu will probably need lots of reminding on how he should be behaving.

Good luck.

Hi R.,

Sorry to hear about your frustrations, I know how hard it can be. Here's a little information on the development stage your son is in right now...

At this age he is developing his solar plexus chakra, focused on creating a separate identity, thinking and problem solving, and healthy independence. Developmental tasks are to establish the ability to think for oneself, to test reality by pushing against boundaries and people, to learn to solve problems with cause and effect thinking, to express anger and other feelings, to separate from parents and be welcomed back with love, and to begin to give up thoughts of being the center of the universe. One must face ego issues of powerlessness in the victim struggle, the fear of rejection, the need for approval, and manipulative power. Working through these issues brings security, integrity, self-confidence, responsibility, and the empowerment of accountability. The solar plexus chakra governs the area of personal power, strongly influencing the adrenal glands, which are associated with stress. People often experience the most stress when they feel powerless in their lives....

Although I understand how difficult it is to deal with, it is quite normal for children to go through this stage of development. He is also going through a lot of changes in life with the new brother, you're returning to work, new classes and could need more time to adjust. Keep working with him in a gentle way...showering him with affection and letting him know he is loved even when he is acting out. Remember to keep your anger in check, especially when dealing with his anger issues. Here's book that might be worth checking out and you might want to do a little research on understanding the chakras.

Holistic Parenting: Raising Children to a New Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Well-Being by Lynn Wiese Sneyd

I hope this helps some.

I feel for you. I have a two year doing the same thing. Let me kno wif you find anything that works!!

My 2 year old finally outgrew this. Whenever he was aggressive, we would say "be gentle" and put him in time out. He seemed to just outgrow it. My oldest son went through a phase where he liked to push down toddlers and he also outgrew that.

In the meantime, take him out of classes for a while, if possible.

I also recommend Raising Your Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. It probably won't solve this particular problem (probably only time will) but will give you great insight and approaches to raising your son in general.

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