Mama Megs (peanutties) wrote in parentsoftwins,
Mama Megs

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Disciplining Aggressive Behavior?

Hi All. My b/g twins are 16 mo. now., and I've struggled with one or the other's aggressive tendencies, for about 5 months-ish... and I'm not quite sure how to deal with it. I used to be glued to whichever & any/all books I could find on the subject of toddler discipline. seriously, I've got no less than three collecting dust right now... but honestly, I've found none of them effective when dealing with two pre toddlers at the same time. and, also.... somewhere around the time our NICU follow up dr's started bringing social workers into the equation, because our 5 month olds weren't eating cheerio's yet, and telling us what bad parents we were in general, for no other reason than they were about 2 months behind developmentally, is right around the time when I stopped obsessing about their developmental progress, and just let them develop how they were going to develop. basically, we're not worried that they are just now walking and still taking bottles, regardless if those assholes are.

My boy has always been considerably larger than my daughter... and he's never been privvy to the concept of sharing. So it started out with his brute force against her unfinished bottle, snack or toy that he wanted. Now it seems the tables have turned, and at some point her frustration turned into SMACKING THE HOLY LIVING CRAP OUT OF HIM, when he would take something from her, and eventually because of whatever would frustrate her in general. Given that she's exposed to exactly no other toddlers than her and her brother, we are a tad confounded on this "learned" behavior. More recently, her hitting has morphed into fully body tackles... as her petite smacking was never any match against him in the 1st place...  and (I swear to god) usually just makes him laugh. Even now her "full body tackles" resemble more like "forceful hugs" that typically won't even budge him from his spot.  you know what is actually kind of cute though.... I always tell her to "give brother a kiss" after she does that... and he will get this very serious look on his face and lean in to give HER a kiss, which always just pisses her off like bigtime more. I mean, that should'nt be funny, I know... but we can't help it that it is.

The usual result is her taking it out on whatever/whomever is in her general proximity. I mean to tell you, the girl has a freaking temper, ok?!

At this point, I'm more worried that she's going to hurt herself, than him. I'm also worried that he's going to start adopting her abusive behavior... even though, and thankfully, he hasn't yet. Frankly, I'm worried about him being as abusive to her as she is to him, given that he runs about 5lbs heavier than her on any given day, and easily overpowers her  :\

How did you guys deal with this "phase" ? We don't hit/spank them,  and don't really want to, on principal and lack of effectiveness in general.... yanno? Putting them into their crib for time out, well... hasn't worked AT ALL. Is this something I just get to look forward to for the next 4 years????
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I started putting my rather aggressive (imo) twins in time out at about that age. Time out to me is giving the child time & distance from the issue rather than punishment. ***It will not seem effective at first*** Being a child is very frustrati ng: you're clumsy, you don't recognize a lot of basic cues, nobody does what you want, you don't even know what it IS that you want, and they keep making you do incomprehendable things by manhandling your body. So, time outs start by being a good way to let that frustration ebb. You must be very,very consistent. If a behavior warrants time out once, it always does, and it must happen right away. Tell him/her why, for low long, and leave the space. I just used the bottom stair. Come back, explain the offense, and them a hug to show all is forgiven. Some days it'll feel like you yourself are the one spending the better part of an hour back & forth to time out. It really posts off though. One day, you'll find your most stubborn twin got one or no time outs at all lately and just counting to three in warning has been completely sufficient.

Now, at that age, I usually only say, "redirect, redirect, redirect," and that is still going to be your most effective skill. However, if your twins are like mine, they're going to ignore their favorite activity just to get back to their twin, with no malice in mind, but the battle resumes almost immediately anyway. Do still redirect, but it's a good time to start laying the time out groundwork, our developmental therapist agreed.
Ok, my phone had this awesome program called swype that mangles my words. Do your best reading all that and let me know what couldn't translate.
:) it all translated fine. great info, thanks!
Watching this post as I have a tiny girl twin who loves to bully her much bigger softy of a brother.
How do you even start the time out process with kids that young? We've tried with the girl and she laughs at us. I swear I thought she was too young to be screwing with our heads, but she does!!! A stair wouldn't work because she'd just try and climb them. She's a monkey. :/
It was almost always the same twin in trouble. I would carry him over, explain, then move slightly away, to the sofa so I was nearby when he wandered off. He laughed the first three times he was sat down, every time, then screeched when he realized I was going to make him stay there. At the beginning, I didn't make him stay the full minute, just til he got the idea that this wasn't a new game. Honestly, I let him watch his brother and I continue to play or even tv if it kept him in the spot for a while. You can use a corner or stool. I'm just amazed this worked, because I was never hardcore with making them face the wall, or being angry about it much. They hate time out and now that they have the language to understand, often just asking them if they want a time out quells their behavior. It just takes a LOT of persistence and consistency, but I bet that minus the pain-fear factor, spanking works about as fast.
For disciplining hitting and behaviors like that I pull the kid aside, give them a really firm squeeze of the hand (enough to hurt), make them look me in the eyes and I sternly say NO HITTING! Then I have the offending child walk up to her sister and I help them say/sign "sorry" (a fist circling on the chest).

If it's a behavior I can see coming, I give them a warning first and tell them "No _____, or else mommy will squeeze your hand and use scary voice". My kids are pretty receptive to this so it works for us. I don't know if I'm just lucky or what.

We also started using a kitchen timer really early on with our twins to help them take turns with a desired toy. One minute, and then it's your sister's turn.
Consistency is key here. And I agree, you may not reap the rewards for a while, but if you lay the groundwork, eventually it will all get better.

Find short phrases to describe things, either what behavior isn't allowed, or how they are feeling. I do think at that age so much aggression is because they can't express themselves.

For us, if you're playing with a toy it's yours. If their sister tries to steal it, it goes back to the owner. If they can't play nicely, the toy gets taken away.

Hitting is an automatic time out (to cool down). At that age, mine wouldn't stay in a spot, so we did timeout in their crib. When they could come out and play nicely, timeout was over. I also stressed what behavior I wanted, and tried to praise that when I saw it.
This is all great info. Thanks so much!!!!!
I should say thanks so much although i'm not the OP :) OP - thanks for putting this out there!
Ha ha... no worries... this is all good information !!