Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm Raising A Cage Fighter

My son turned 17 months old (*sigh*) on Tuesday. I remember from way back when my daughter Claire was this age that it is a tough one- their brains are so much faster than their communication skills. I remember a lot of whining and fit throwing.

What I know I don't recall from Claire's past is the hitting. Or the biting. Or the general aggression that I am experiencing with my son Liam. He really likes to do these things. I don't think (read: I'm hoping that he's not) that he is being malicious in these actions. Many times they are a result of being tired and, as I said, not having the verbal skills to relay his feelings to me.

But, seriously, what's a mom to do when Liam picks up the attachments for my vacuum and goes all cage fighter on my little girl? Granted, she's eight and he's so little but there is no way she is going to fight back or defend herself. And I don't want her to! He is still pretty much a baby and reciprocating these actions wouldn't help at all.

So, what do I do? We have tried being stern and saying "no!" loudly and firmly. So far it isn't working. We have feigned crying and he laughs. Really. And then usually smacks us in the face. I call him a redneck but I don't want to raise a redneck! I want him to be a nice, polite, ornery little boy- not a menace to society.

I need your help. Some of you have sons. Is it a boy thing? (That is my leaning, honestly.) And, for the love of all things good and pure, what can I do about these bad behaviors? Please help!


Kristi said...

Since I have tow boys, I can only speak for boy-parenting. I swore that my kids wouldn't be like that and both of mine bit. The rough and tumble has continued (they are now 3 and almost 6) and sometimes I don't know when it's playing and when it's real fighting. I have become weary of refereeing all the time and started letting them fight it out once in awhile. I actually think they have gotten along better because of it. I wish I could be of help, but I stand by "it's a boy thing".

MamaGeek said...

Liam and Claire? Oh, I love those names!

From one cage fighter's mother to another, I have NO advice. I'm HOPING it's another phase. :O

Allie said...

T - 2 words:

John. ?????

He used to do those sorts of things all. the. time. And poor Nick was generally the victim. He, too, was a few years older and therefore not allowed to return the favors (Plus, he was too afraid. Of the 2 year old!). But John has absolutely gotten over it and I think has completely blocked that little stage from his mind. I didn't referee them either - mostly 'cause I wasn't sure if it would help - but also because they learned to work it out. And maybe because I was not the best parents on those matters to begin with. Not to say he wasn't put on time out or scolded or what have you... I'm just sayin' it didn't help a whole lot. He just grew out of it. And yes, it is a boy thing. Love to all!

Missy said...

We are going through the exact same problems over here, I was actually about to write a post about it because it is SO frustrating! Pooky is now 18 1/2 months old and my biggest problem is throwing - he will throw his toys all the way across the room, especially when he is mad about something. He also loves to pull his sister's hair, and pinch. And I will sternly tell him no, yell at him, distract him, and finally slap his hand 2-3 times before he seems to get it, and then he cries, and 5 minutes later he does it again. grrr....
He does occasionally bite too, when he gets excited.
I have no advice either, but if you figure it out, please let me know!

MamaMichelsBabies said...

Um.. maybe Boom is the only girl like this so far but she was fairly aggressive as well.

Time outs. Around here we don't use a playpen for anything but that.

They hit, pinch, bite, kick or otherwise go karate kid on someone at that age we pick them up, we tell them No and put them in the play pen to cool their little jets off for a few minutes. It helps them collect themselves and allows the older kids see that the young ones are punished just as the older one is (found that bit of jealousy out with the first two)

It doesn't stop it completely but it does help maintain some semblence of order. And some parental sanity too!

MamaGeek said...

I must say your words just may my day. I'm sending you an E.

Nap Warden said...

I have a little hitter myself. He's not mean about hit, he thinks it's funny:o I try to calmly tell him "we don't hit." I don't think it's working so far...

Jen(ni)/Fern said...

My boys are both very very physical. My girls are, too, actually, but not to the degree that the boys are, and I blame the boys for the rough turn the girls have taken. It is certainly not my fault.

At that young age, we gave the boys things they *could* assault others with, and put everything that would hurt us away. They are twins, though, and their older sister is only two years older so we had the house gated really well -- it was easier to control access to the harder toys.

Get him some of the squishy balls (not nerf-type, because they'll bite and tear those apart, but the ones that are vinyl on the outside and polyfill on the inside and play dodgeball with him. Wrestle with him, let him jump on the bed... Also, if you see those cheapy foam swords at Kmart (for example), those are good for a little one who hits -- he gets the fun of smacking and swatting without hurting anyone.