19 answers

Discpline for Aggressive 2 1/2 Year Old

My 2 1/2 year old boy is pretty aggressive with other kids. He is big for his age and doesn't know his own strength yet. Sometimes this is in response to frustration or rejection by the other child and sometimes it is unprovoked. He seemed to be getting better for awhile, but is getting more aggressive again. I have mostly tried time outs and leaving the area (ie. leave the park if the incident happens at the playground). Any thoughts?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the input, it helps to hear I'm not alone in this struggle. I will continue to have him apologize and give a TO, then on the second strike leave the scene. I know the consistency is crucial as well.

Featured Answers

Just give him as much love as possible. I have just started reading a book I got from a parenting class and love it. It's at the library and on ebay. It's called 1-2-3 magic! Love it love it love!!!

I have three children 5 yr boy almost 4 yr girl and a six mon boy

Hi K., you need to talk to my friend, she has a child with similar problems. Call me I will connect you whith her.
A. ###-###-####.

More Answers

Hello K.,

My son is 3 1/2 and can be very aggressive. He goes to a wonderful preschool, Albany Preschool, where we have regular parents meetings with a guest who makes a presentation about a particular topic. That's how I have been introduced to the concept of "the spirited child " and the different temperaments that each one of us is born with.

I've been reading the book " Raising your spirited child "form Mary Sheedy Kurcinka and now I'm taking a class at Bananas, Oakland, called " Living with spirited children".
It really helps me understand my son's perspective and how to share mine to him.
I want to teach him what is gonna be helpful for him for his entire life and at the same time I don't want to encourage destructive behavior. I understand now that energetic kids with high intensity need more effort to control their impulses than kids who have less energy and intensity. I don't think that I can support my child controlling his impulses by punishing him over and over. I want to be clear about what is acceptable and what is unacceptable, but I don't want to bully him the same way he's bullying others.
But of course I'm sometimes worn out and have no patience for understanding an annoying behavior and how to "problem-solved" it.
I'm sure though you could get a lot of checking this book or another that shows a positive approach to understanding you challenging child.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.!

I would absolutely make sure that your son says "sorry" for anything he does that is unacceptable to you. You need to walk him over to the other child he hit, and make him say sorry, if even the other child cannot understand his words. Your son might "hide" behind your leg, or something, and that is fine. But he needs to be accountable for his actions, and apologizing is tougher to do than a timeout.

At 2, he's obviously learning boundaries :o) This is one of those boundaries he will push. You only mentioned that he gets aggressive with other kids when he doesn't get his way, etc....I am wondering if he gets aggressive with you, as well.

As cute as they are at 2, it is a crucial time to let your son know his boundaries, and that you are serious about them.

When you go to the park next time, don't be too far away from him. If/When he does hit another kid, make him say sorry immediately. Your son can keep playing, but if he does it again, make him say sorry then leave.

With your consistency and firm tone, he will catch on pretty quickly.

NOW....if your husband is a "wrestler" and tickler, then you could have a longer battle ahead of you :o) Toddlers can easily learn to "pretend punch" in fun, but carry it out in real life thinking it's funny. They don't always realize that they are hurting someone. It becomes a form of playing to them. So, daddy needs to stick to tickling and not wrestle so much until your son is older and understands better :O)

Good Luck!


Asking him why is a thought. Sounds like he is frusterated about something. Talk to him and see if anything is bothering him. If he gets upset with rejection you can work on that. Tell him it is okay and you guys can play something else or play with someone else. arrange play dates and let the other mom's in on what is going on so they can help too.

Hi K.,

My son also went through this aggressive phase. Luckily, he is growing out of it. Now we only have problems when he is really tired.

I did mostly what you have been doing. We pick up and go on the first incident every time. So, now that he is almost 5 he has mellowed out.

All I can tell you is good luck and he will grow out of it.


Just give him as much love as possible. I have just started reading a book I got from a parenting class and love it. It's at the library and on ebay. It's called 1-2-3 magic! Love it love it love!!!

I have three children 5 yr boy almost 4 yr girl and a six mon boy

sounds like a adhd child. My son had some of the same things. But, we got him a program call MAGIC 1-2-3 and it works. Put him on native remendies for foucs,adhd and bright spark. everyone said they see a different in his behavior. its all nature's choices. No hard drugs. his doctor doesnt want to put him on medication due to his age. He is too young.

I like the leaving the park idea. Natural consequence3s.

I have a 25 month old boy doing the same thing. Our babysitter says it's his dad trying to be too rough with him, teaching him to be a "boy" at home, then my son goes to day care and plays too rough with his friends there. If you learn any thing from anyone on this sight, I can't wait to hear what they say! Good luck!

K. G.

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.