Friends 18 Month Old Pushes My 9 Month Old over All the Time.

Updated on October 11, 2012
K.H. asks from Wausau, WI
19 answers

This question is for me as well as my friend to find constructive ways to stop her daughter from pushing. My friends 18 month old will walk up to my 9 month old as soon as she is set down and will put her hand on my daughters forehead and shove backwards as hard as she can and my daughter will fly backwards hitting her head on the floor and no matter what my friend does her daughter won't stop doing this, even when my daughter is holding onto the couch and her daughter is sitting on it she will grab both of her hands and throw her backwards...we think she is jealous which is a problem since my friend is having another baby in April and won't know how the 18 month old will react. Any advice on what we could do???

P.S. DD is becoming very afraid of my friends daughter and will cry when she sees her now and I really don't want that I would like them to get along.

Ok listen to the people who tell me to stop going there I didn't want to share this but I am a paranoid schizophrenic. My Dr. has told me to make sure I get out of the house and visit someone every day because if I don't I become a shut in and afraid to even open my front door I have spent the last 3 months stuck to my house and I am just starting to get used to being outside and around friend is the only friend I have and my family lives too far away for me to afford the gas to get there...I'm sorry I sound so mad but this is embarrassing and I don't need to listen to people telling me to stop going there. I have asked the Dr. what if I just went to the grocery store everyday to get out of the house and he said no I would need to talk to people and I am WAY to terrified to talk to strangers in person...all this negativity is really not helping my issues with people. Please try to understand...not trying to be rude and thank you for your advise.

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So What Happened?

Suz I'm sorry I didn't add this we do prevent this my daughter will be a in a play pen but we don't want her just to sit in it the whole time we are visiting and we do both yell no and when she is on the floor I put her at a safe distance but this doesn't always work especially when I am out of the room and ask my friend to keep an eye on her for me (say I go to the bathroom) and my friend will be doing something and doesn't see it but if I'm in the room it doesn't really happen cuz I won't take my eye off them, still though I would like to help my friends daughter understand that it hurts people to do this.

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answers from Detroit on

Awe, poor baby!
I think you already know, the kid is just 18 months and still learning.
If it were my kid, I would be right there with her and when I see her going to be forceful, I would grab her and show her how to touch gentle. I have had to do this with my baby LOTS! It will take tons of redirection and work.
Mom needs to stay on top of it and eventually she/he will learn how to be gentle.
It just takes time.
At this point when the baby comes in contact with people and I see that little "I want to slap you" look on her face, I say "Kay, be gentle" and I can see her face getting calmer and nicer. lol She nuts!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I think I'd be done with the visits until this phase is over.

What is preventing you from making other friends? Joining a mom's group? Taking a mommy & me class?

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

At 18 months old the child is just that - a child!!! She is looking at cause-effect. She is not trying to hurt. She is learning if she pushes, she gets two things 1. positive reaction from mom (attention away from her adult friend) and 2. a reaction from your child (screaming, crying, etc).

Your adult friend needs to remove the 18 month old from the situation when it occurs calmly, quietly. Put her in her room, or the playpen. Not the other way around of your 9 month old being confined. Also, it would be a good idea for your friend to be sure she has something for her child to do when you all come. The babies are too young to "play together" your 9 month old is still in parallel play mode and the 18 month is coming out of that and wants interaction. Play dough, finger paints in high chair, etc are all needed for the older child during your visits.

At the very least, you both need to be on the floor with your kiddos, engaging and playing with them separately, while you visit. I know she is preggers, so if she has to sit on edge of couch, etc. I get it, but unfortunately at this age, there is no, sitting enjoying coffee in the next room.
Best of luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

A break of even just a month or two may make a big difference. Right now, it's a game to the older girl. But a month or two of not seeing each other may help them both forget.

ETA: You don't "swat" an 18 month old who is already doing something physical! My goodness, great way to teach her when pushing the baby down doesn't work to get your way or get attention, just hit her instead. That's what the adults do when they want their way or want attention, so I can do it, too. Only "swat" her if you want the behavior to get worse -- she's a baby herself and won't get the connection.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

They aren't friends. They are babies. You and your friend are friends. You are allowing this other child to terrorize your baby and you just HAVE to stop it. Stop wanting them to get along. What you want is something to want for 4 year olds. Not for a 9 month old. What do you do when your baby is slammed in the floor? What does your friend do?

Every single time this 18 month old hurts your child is just PRACTICE for what she's going to try to do to the new baby. The last thing that child needs is practice. NO MORE going over there and giving her practice.

If you want to get together with your friend, leave your 9 month old with your husband and go see her, OR ask her to leave her child at home with HER husband and you two go out for coffee or drinks or a movie.

Both of you need to learn something about child development because neither of you seems to understand that you just don't allow this kind of stuff to happen. Your baby could end up in the hospital and social services would be in your home and in her home when they find out that two adult women could not prevent a 9 month old from getting her head slammed against the floor repeatedly.

Try going to a daycare center and observing for the day. Watch how they handle children. Recommend to your friend that she do it too. She had BETTER learn how to redirect and stop bad behavior before her baby comes or she'll have a little baby in the hospital and buckets of tears.

I hope you will take me seriously here.


4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

why is no one pro-actively preventing this, since you both know it will happen?
your friend's daughter is tiny. she's too young for reasoning or logic. it's no use appealing to her rational processes. the adults in the situation need to take firm control, be watchful, and make sure this tiny girl never has the opportunity to injure the tinier girl.
calmly, quietly and without fuss.
do not let your daughter be repeatedly hurt.
ETA thanks for the SWH. but it doesn't change my answer substantively. your daughter in a playpen is only a very partial answer. there needs to be somewhere for the older child to be contained if you and your friend are not going to be vigilant. the 'safe distance' is clearly not enough, and since you both know the danger, i don't buy the excuse that your friend doesn't pay attention when you're not in the room.
the 18 month old is NOT old enough to understand that what she's doing is dangerous. you can't 'teach' it to her at this age. the only answer is to keep them separate, or to parent them actively. you can't put the onus of this on the tiny girl. it's not her fault. she's tiny. you and your friend need to step up.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I completely agree with Christy. The 18 month old needs to be removed from the situation as soon as this happens. As soon as the response to her behavior changes to something she does not like, she will stop. First, distraction. If that does not work, you friend needs to pick her up immediately after she pushes your daughter tell her gently, but firmly and with a serious tone that you do not push and place her in the playpen or other time out. An 18 month old is not too young for a short time out.

I know these are very young children, but what you are doing here is punishing your child for being hit, while the child with inappropriate behavior is being rewarded with more attention. If this behavior trend continues as she grows, it will hurt her confidence and self esteem which can cause a whole host of problems.

I hope your friend is serious about dealing with this, as it's her daughter who is not getting hit and taken away, so she may not feel as motivated as you to fix the problem because in her eyes it may not be as big of a problem as it is for you.

I'm not going to pretend to understand your fears and it sounds like making new friends is not easy for you to do, but can you talk to your doctor about how you may go about meeting other people? Just saying to get out and see people is vague. I wouldn't be able to get out of the house EVERYDAY and take the time to visit with someone - there just aren't enough people out there waiting for my call and my friends and I are all busy. I'm guessing it's very hard for you, but try not to make this person your only friend. Maybe your doctor can recommend someone who has your same struggles that you can visit with.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Why are you and your friend letting her kid beat up your child?
At 9 months old your child still has some soft spots in her skull and you are both letting this other toddler bounce your kids head on the floor? Repeatedly?
Alright - kids this age can NOT play together unsupervised while Moms chat and visit.
The kids are in your laps (or at least one at a time is) and both Moms physically separate the kids at all times.
It's work - no question - and the kids and their safety comes first - the visit comes second.
Kids can start playing cooperatively then they are about 4 yrs old.
Honestly - play dates before that age are more for the socialization of the parents than of the kids.
SO - if you want a girls time out or visit - each of you hire a sitter to watch your babies so they are comfortable in their own homes and the grown up can go see a movie or have lunch out.
Alright - physically separating the kids it is then.
Visit every day and keep your child on your lap.
She can be in the playpen for a short while.
You get your daily social interaction and your child remains safe.
If one adult has to leave the room - their child goes with them.
You have to balance your needs with those of your child - but you have to keep your child safe.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Yikes! How about buying your friend a nice gift for her new baby -- a play yard. Before her baby is born, you can keep your wee one fenced in and out of harm's way from the 18 month old. It's big enough for your 9 month old to walk around and play with toys. These things are expensive, but people sell used ones in great condition on craigslist all the time. Your friend will probably need it for the new baby at some point.

One of my friends has two kids who who are only 14 months apart. When the younger girl was only 8 months old and the older girl was about 22 months old, the older girl would terrorize the younger one -- even when they were under the watchful eye of their mother. I think it comes with the territory with kids with this kind of age gap. It takes an incredible amount of work and supervision to keep the toddler out of trouble and protect the infant.

Since you plan on continuing to visit this friend, I suggest the play yard and/or keep your daughter with you at all times -- even when you go to the bathroom. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Bark out a really loud no before the child even gets over to where your daughter is. Actually both of you. Don't put your daughter down near the child. Make sure she's far enough away that you'll both have time to see where she's heading. I don't know if the kid is old enough to be jealous - she may just think it's interesting to do. Regardless, she needs to stop. And this is a case where I would swat the hand if words aren't working.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kalamazoo on

Lots of great advice here - you/her need to just watch them like a hawk, which also means that you basically need to be within arms reach too. I like what Molly said about getting that "look". You should be able to tell the minute right before she's going to do it and tell her to be gentle.
My kids are 2yr apart and when they were little, I couldn't leave them both alone for a second!!! One time I left my 2wk old DD in her playpen with my 2 yr old in the room (secured and child proofed) while I went to the bathroom very quickly. When I came back in, my 2yr olds ring stack toy thing was in the playpen. Apparently he had tossed it in to his little sis so she could play with it!!! Jeez! Lucky it didn't konk her in the head!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

My best friends younger son is two years older than my older son. When they were little the same thing happened. Noah seemed jealous that he was no longer the baby when he was with us. Anyway, babies are a lot tougher than people will have you believe. They are designed to fall down, that's how they learn to walk. I wouldn't worry too much. Take precautions, as you have been doing. Give the older child lots of praise and attention for being gentle, but simply a firm "no" when she tries pushing. Take turns seperating them, one at a time into the playpen. It is a phase she will grow out of. I wouldn't stop your visits because of this. Just hang on and wait for it to pass.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

So this little girl is pushing your baby back and she is hitting her head. Your friend needs to stop it, pick her up and take her out of the room.
Who cares if your daughter plays in the playpen for a visit, she is safe. Take her out at home and she can hold on to couches and crawl without danger to her skull. Your first priority is the safty of your baby.
You can also visit without your baby. I know you need people time also. So do I. Just make a safe choice for you little one. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

As long as your daughter is out of a "baby container" ;-) they should both be supervised like hawks. One mom or the other should keep eyes on the two of them at all times and as soon as the older baby moves toward the younger, be ready to intervene and steer her away. Redirect. At 18 months she should understand a lot... her receptive language should be really good and much better than anyone gives her credit for. Therefore, tell her directly that she may not push the baby down.

"McNehvayuh, you may not push the baby. If you push her, it will hurt her and you will not be allowed to play with her."

Then follow through with removing the older child from the situation for a few minutes. After enough times of that, she'll get the message. Three strikes and she's out, too... so if she does it three times in one play date then she's done and before the third time she gets warned that she'll have to end the play date.

"McNehvayuh, you may NOT push the baby. If you push her one more time, we're leaving."

Then follow through.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Duluth on

Wow, lots of negativity! As the mother of some of those aggressive children who push and fight, I'd encourage both you and her to stick with it. My daughter was the pusher with the girl across the street who was 4 months younger. And, in both of our cases, that was one of our rather limited chances to get out too (both being new in town). I agree with the responder who said the 18 month old understands more than people give her credit for, so keep using the verbals--she needs it from you and her mom, assuming mom is on the same page as you, which is sounds like she is. I would also recommend saying something quickly and firmly, and then ignoring it--don't give her attention. If mom is amenable, perhaps even a timeout--for as long as she'll last up to a minute--would work. I'm not a big fan of timeouts, believing we don't use them for their intended purpose, but in this case, the purpose IS to separate the two and to remove the attention from the pusher. Ultimately, I agree with those who said it's developmental. My kids are extremly physical: snuggly, inclined toward hitting, pushing, love wrestling, and NEED physical contact in their day. They express love physically; they also express anger physically. At 18 months it's hard to say whether that's the case or whether she's just 18 months, but if it's the latter, she will need a lot of work before it sinks in...and, as the mom of kids like that, I know I appreciate the people willing to put up with my little aggressors while they're learning to be appropriate and to channel their anger into better responses.



answers from New York on

You just need to stay on top of them!!!


answers from New York on

Can you give the 18 month old a big greeting when you arrive? Pick her up if she will let you. Hug her and fuss over her as if you only came to see her. Bring her a sticker, an M and M, a toy from dollar store. See if that helps the jealousy.
Bring something cool for the 18 month old to keep her busy, Give edible play dough or finger paint. Paint with water books and paint brush.
Go when the 18 month old is napping.
Use the play pen for a time out for the 18 month old as needed.



answers from Minneapolis on

You should join some ECFE classes in your area! Such fun time for you and your little one!



answers from Wausau on

Honestly, it is what 18 month olds tend to do until they learn otherwise.. The only fix for it at the immediate moment is constant supervision. Don't give it an opportunity to happen. An adult should have an eye on it at all times, in close enough proximity to be able to anticipate and stop it, then redirect the toddler.

If your friend is directing her attention elsewhere instead of supervising when you use the bathroom, you'll have to take your daughter with you.

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