This behavior starts at bed-time and only when his dad and I are both around. We go through his usual bedtime routine, read him a story and he'll be calm all that time. Then as soon as we turn off the light, he will start hitting me or his father - not like he's angry, but like he thinks it's a game and wants to provoke us. We have tried stopping him from hitting in a loving manner, explaining that it hurts, ignoring him, time-outs and even spanking him on his behind. Nothing has worked and sometimes it will go on for an hour. By the end of it, everyone is frustrated and he goes to bed crying.
Strangely, this never happens when his father his out of town. Last week my husband was out of town and I never had a trouble putting my son to bed even once. As soon as dad comes back, it starts again.
If anyone has ever experieced it or can give some insight on why he could be doing this, I will be very grateful.
Well, that is odd about Dad being in town and the behavior. Does Dad get him wound up at night? Do you have more of a quiet routine before bed time when Dad isn't there?
Well, I'd work on your bed time routine ------- possibly add in some deep pressure. Tight squeezes, lay him on a floor and place some pillows over him and gently press. This can be very soothing to the nervous system. Then I'd have dad go for a walk or somewhere else in the house. Could just be a phase and you need to get over the hump. If he goes down fine when dad is not around, just put him to bed yourself.
I have no idea if that was helpful, but I tried. LOL good luck
We do have a quieter routine when Dad isn't home. Your comment makes a lot of sense. Even if Dad tries to be quiet and not playful, I guess the little one associates daddy with play and fun. We will try the pillow method to calm him down and keep dad away for a while. Thanks a lot for responding :)
Children dont reason through things, they react. As we get older we learn coping skills, and how to handle things but little kids react.
When dad's home he feels that same sense of security and family that you feel when your husband comes home. You miss him when he's gone, and you're happy when he's back home. Your son feels the same way. You're able to process that your husband will be back in x amount of days, and that it's business, etc... Your son see's daddy leave but he doesn't process what's going on. Daddy isn't there. Daddy still isn't there. He spends all his time and his daily routine with mommy. Then suddenly daddy is back. Mommy is super happy. So is your son. He wants to be with daddy and mommy. After the bedtime story suddenly you're turning off the light and both of you are leaving. Leaving his room but to a toddler you're just leaving and it's dark and he's alone. So he reacts by being silly, and aggressive because he knows that mommy and daddy wont leave. He eventually wears himself out, and both parents are frazzled.
(this is just my analogy.... I could be way off base, but it's at least another way to look at it)
Maybe making a little calendar that he can have in his room when daddy is going to be out of town, and helping him mark the days of till daddy gets back. He'll learn that every time he marks off a day that daddy will be home soon. The day your husband gets back he'll already be anticipating it and it might help him cope with why daddy suddenly isn't there (in his eyes).
Let him pick out a bedtime story, one for mom and one for dad, to read and tell him that he has to lay down and listen to the stories. When story time is done so is the day.
He knows that if he hits, and throws fits that you'll both react which gives him time and attention. I think giving him a visual, like the calendar, and then making story time special (only if he follows the rules) might help change his demeanor.
Best of luck to both of you! Let us know how it works out
Thank you both for taking the time to respond. I think his need for our attention was the key in this case. We are trying to work on that by getting home early and giving him ample attention/playtime before dinner/bedtime. Also, if he hits, he doesn't get story time that night. Don't know if it is the right way to do it, but it seems to work. Overall it's working well and although he still throws fits sometimes, the hitting has stopped.
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