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The Terrible, Terrible Twos: Is My Child a Bully?

The terrible twos came early. At 18 months, we are a few months into the stage. Let me give you a clear vision of this — hitting, biting, impatience and being territorial.

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Why do they become little fighters during the terrible twos?

The hitting we have been working on. “Nice hands” and “gentle” are key words in my house. In fact, I feel like I’m set on repeat with how often I use these. We attend a Mommy and Me class once a week, and hitting joins us there as well. If Evan is considering going to a certain area or toy, he gets very territorial. His hands will swipe at his friends, even if they are being kind and sharing with him. Although I’m quite embarrassed, all the moms are understanding. This is a very hard phase and truly tests my patience. I want Evan to learn to be kind and respectful. At this moment, I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong.

Our dog’s life has changed, drastically. Evan will like him one minute and hit him the next. I’m a constant referee. So, should I be concerned? Between the kids at school, our dog and even me, my mister is definitely in a stage of some sort! Hitting can be overwhelming, then add biting to the mix and it gets to be too much. Nice hands isn’t always working — no matter how consistent I am, so we have recently tried the timeout route. I can be in the middle of a conversation, and Evan will hit me in my face. With that being said, Evan will hit me and go put himself in timeout. He gets this cute guilty look on his face and gives me these puppy dog eyes and I melt. Sometimes, if others are around, I laugh. Then he laughs, and it’s a lesson lost. He looks so stinking cute, it’s tough to stay strong and really let him know he’s being naughty. I recognize this doesn’t help. So, I start fresh the next time.

I see it happen all the time: moms being hit kicked and pushed in the market. I see kids screaming at the mall. I realize it’s a normal process, but when will it end? I talked to my pediatrician about it and learned that this behavior is common towards the main caregiver. Testing our patience, so to speak.

For now, we will continue our timeouts and “nice hands.” But I would love your advice! Have you been through the hitting phase before? What worked for you? —Jennifer

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