Handling Aggressive Behaviour

William took his first steps the other day!  He suddenly stood up in the middle of the room and took four very wobbly steps towards me. It was lovely, I clapped and cheered (rather over-excitedly) and he thought it was really great/funny/clever.

Charlotte, on the other hand, found the whole event rather ‘different’.  All of a sudden she started acting quite aggressively towards the family; she would clench and shake her fists, growling or roaring through gritted teeth, she’d kick and lash out, refuse to eat and run away when it was time to get dressed or have dinner.  She was disruptive, destructive and very, very naughty! Holding hands was more like a vice-like-grip; strong enough to stop the circulation.  A loving, playful tickle would end up being a bruise-like pinch or scratch, then there was the violent kicking and sting-like slapping – it was so unlike Charlotte and I began to worry not only for William but actually for my own safety!!

The trouble was; I wasn’t sure how to handle this behaviour.  I tried punishment and timeout, but that made no difference.  Yelling and shouting back just scared her and made me feel so awful afterwards.  Worst of all there were times when I was SO frustrated and angry that I would lose my temper and smack her legs, when instead I should have walked away from the situation.  Restraint didn’t work; as I discovered that she’s actually stronger than me!  I was running out of ideas.

Then my friend Tamsin came over with Ella, her little baby.  Tamsin encouraged me to ‘observe’ Charlotte and how she interacted with Ella, William and the two of us as we sat at the end of the room. Charlotte would share food and toys with Ella; but NOT with William.  She would watch Ella play and touch her gently with soft words and a smile; but obstruct William with a growl and a firm push.  Tamsin suggested asking Charlotte WHY she behaved the way she did, I hadn’t even thought about this approach.  When I asked her, she replied “Don’t like William walking”.

So there you have it, William was standing and reaching the same height as Charlotte, taking steps and getting attention and praise, attention that Charlotte was jealous of and craving.  Tamsin suggested “mummy-and-daughter” time was needed, so I made arrangements to take Charlotte (only) to Paulton’s Park.  We had such a lovely time, she was polite, affectionate, funny, excited and cute.

Charlotte was back to her old self, well, that was until we arrived home and she kicked both me and William in the face! I’m sure things will improve, or she’ll grow out of it, but have you experienced something similar? What worked for you? I would love to hear your stories…………..


4 thoughts on “Handling Aggressive Behaviour

  1. I definitely think that Tamsin’s suggestion of 1 on 1 time is absolutely the best thing to do in these situations where they get jealous. Another suggestion is for Jez to take William out and then you and charlotte spend some time looking back at her baby/toddler pics or baby book or videos if you have them and whilst looking at them keep telling her how happy/proud/excited you were when she did these things. I have baby books with pictures of 1st tooth, shoes etc and they would love looking back at them Also, telling her about some of the funny things she did as a baby/toddler – they love that too. Just an idea as she is just feeling a little insecure what with starting preschool etc. It happens at various stages – starting infant school may also be another jealousy time as you’ll be with William – ben used to come out of school asking what i had done with Matthew whilst he was at school – could have been just interest but I felt at the time that he may have been feeling a little left out so I always played it down a bit!! Don’t feel too bad about over reacting sometimes – we all do it; regret it; say sorry and still do it again!! She’ll live; soon forget it; and still love you. Mine now say don’t worry mum, i forgive you and i’ll always love you!! that makes me cry even more!! You are a super mum but also only human so don’t beat yourself up. you’re lovely. God bless xx

    • Sandie, you are spot on. I spent some quality time with just Charlotte this weekend and she just seemed so much happier. I know it’ll take more than just a few hours to fix the problem, but I’m gonna try to make it a regular thing. I’m a lot calmer too as I’ve been praying into the situation (should have done this at the beginning – how typically human to pray as a final resort!) Anyway, I’m so grateful to you for your advice and think you make an excellent role model to us other mummies. Lots of love, Jo xx

  2. It’s so good we don’t have to walk this parenting road on our own and fantastic God gives us others to help on our way…….sounds like you are doing all the right things, enjoy this new stage! xxxx

    • Grace, I could hear you laughing as you typed “…enjoy this new stage!”. But, you are right, it’s wonderful that God puts people in our lives who can help us, and I’m sure He loves watching us learn together as we look after His children. We really have the best job in the World and although sometimes I feel like I’m the only mummy to be going through this, or that, I am actually surrounded by such an amazing bunch of mummy friends that God has blessed me with…….and in abundance, that we can all work together looking after these little ones through the great and the difficult times – it’s just so wonderful. Love to you and your crew! J xx

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