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Old 06-15-2007, 12:34 AM   #13
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Default Re: Collected Posts about "You Hit, You Sit" and General Posts about Hitting

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Title: hitting/biting 18 -month-old
Post by: Proverbs31 on July 08, 2005, 12:26:53 PM
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Hi all,
I'm new here; hoping some of you might have ideas to help me with my 18-month-old DD. Frequently when she is angry at DH or me, she will very deliberately bite us, hit us, pinch us, or knock my glasses off. She is a very loving person, but all her emotions are strong, including the negative ones. So far I'm trying to be mindful of avoiding situations in which she gets angry so I don't unneccesarily tempt her, but some things just are unavoidable (e.g., she is not allowed to climb on the back of the couch because it would be dangerous if she fell, she is not allowed to dump water from her cup all over the floor). When I see she is angry, I try to say something like, "I understand you feel frustrated. Try to use your words." If she gets physically agressive with us, we say something like, "No! You do not bite Mama! Timeout!" and give her a brief timeout (put her in the crib--she cosleeps and never sleeps in the crib, and we ignore her for a minute or two till she settles down, then say "All done with timeout. Let's play/nurse/etc."). This works insofar as she almost always calms down and can be distracted to other things afterwards (the couple of times she accelerated her hysteria I went and got her out and calmed her down by nursing). But timeout has not seemed to prevent physical agression.

How have you successfully dealt with physical agression at this age? What I described is probably the traditional timeout; I hope this post is still OK because I am not advocating it--I'm looking for an alternative. I'm uncomfortable with the way timeout disciplines by depriving her of a connection with me, but I don't know what else to do for physically agressive behavior (which she needs to learn is 100% unacceptable). Thanks!

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Title: Re: hitting/biting 18 -month-old
Post by: ArmsOfLove on July 09, 2005, 06:39:00 PM
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Thank you for sharing a specific and what you've been doing so that we know where to start

Pretty much everything you are doing up to the time out is great She's so very young and what you're experiencing is typical 18 month old stuff. It can really help to get a hold of the little book by Ames and Ilg called "Your 1 Year Old" (and you're close to "Your 2 Year Old" so I'd check that one too ). It talks about what children at different ages can be expected to do, and share why. Information about what they are going through developmentally and what certain behaviors are a sign of.

This doesn't mean it's okay for her to do that! Age appropriate doesn't make it appropriate. It just means there's probably not going to be some magic solution, some *one* thing that will make her stop doing this. Eventually she will outgrow this--usually that involves becoming more verbal and learning how to communicate using her words. In the meantime, try to focus on everything you want to teach her about this--reflecting feelings involves naming them for her (you're already doing this ); redirecting her energy is two-fold. . . 1) focus her on something not upsetting and, sometimes, 2) Give an appropriate outlet for the aggressive behavior.

It can really help for dad to wrestle with aggressive children. It provides a focused time, with predetermined boundaries that are taught by dad as they wrestle, so that they get their energy out and learn some social bounds. It's also great to get them outside and moving their bodies as often as you can--but balancing that with quiet down time.

Keep setting boundaries, tell her what you will and won't allow. Move away if she comes after you. Also, in the sticky in this forum for the 5 Steps there is the 5th step of the Bear Hug which I use if my child is attacking and at risk for hurting me or others, or themselves.

Some ideas for how you might help her express her negative emotions in the moment include hitting a pillow or pounding the couch or the bed, jumping, doing a dance, singing a song (dances and songs that express the emotion).

and, when emotions are sour, sometimes the most underused discipline tool is a good old fashioned real genuine hug that says I love you, even when you're angry

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Title: Re: hitting/biting 18 -month-old
Post by: cklewis on July 09, 2005, 06:43:35 PM
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My DS is 18.5mo too. He was mad the other day that I couldn't give him what-not in the car while I was driving. I reflected his feelings, but that wasn't enough. I started singing this Mr. Rogers' song (http://pbskids.org/rogers/songlist/song7.html) and gesturing with it. He immediately stopped.

This (http://www.fci.org/early_care/using_...amphlets_1.asp) site is good too.

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Title: Re: hitting/biting 18 -month-old
Post by: Proverbs31 on July 10, 2005, 05:59:08 PM
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Thank you for the encouragement and suggestions! A couple of follow-up questions (I'm not saying this to shoot down suggestions, and I hope it doesn't come across that way):

I can't always move away because the situation is I'm trying to prevent her from doing something like running in the street, banging a block on the glass, etc. Also, there are two difficulties with the bear hug; she gets extremely upset if I'm restraining her like that (more upset than if I put her in the crib), and she wriggles around to bite the hugging arms. (She's used biting as her weapon since she was less than a year old--often very calmly and deliberately, and sometimes when she's angry and lashing out. And she has broken skin. I'm just glad she's never bitten another child!) Is the bear hug still good to use when a child hates being restrained so much?

She also refuses to be distracted unless she chooses, which is where putting her in the crib has partly worked--it somehow releases her from the situation, and she can be directed to a happy new activity afterwards relatively easily. I do like the idea of a Comfort Corner much better, but am not sure how to get her to stay there (so she doesn't run back to the problem situation) without physically restraining her, which makes her hysterical.

I think helping her find an acceptable physical outlet might help, especially if I can start teaching her in her less intense rages when she is somewhat more willing to listen. Right now she grinds her teeth, shakes her whole body, and slaps her head, or even bangs her head on a wall or the floor ...all of which I've heard is normal for her age, but I hate to see her take it out on herself. I've just been ignoring it (the self-destructive behavior, not her) in the hopes that if I don't react she'll eventually quit doing it (interestingly, as far as I can tell, she only does it when she thinks I'm watching). But I think even teaching her to bounce (or jump when she can) might work as a substitute...and who cares if other people think she's being obnoxious if she does it in public, it's still a step in a better direction.

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Title: Re: hitting/biting 18 -month-old
Post by: ArmsOfLove on July 11, 2005, 11:21:10 AM
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I use the bear hug even if a child doesn't like being restrained if not using the bear hug means they will be hurting. Then liking it isn't the goal--keeping them safe is

With the biting issues there are a couple of things to consider. First, you can turn your forefinger sideways (practice on yourself because it doesn't take much force at all!) and place it under her chin and press up to keep her from opening her mouth and from biting. You can also increase her oral stimulation--lemonade, hot/cold/sweet/sour/spicy foods, drinking with a straw, bagels and chewy foods, etc.

If putting her in her crib until she calms down is helping her then I don't really see anything *wrong* with doing that. I'd stop calling it a time out and stop looking at it as "isolating her away from people" and try to treat it more as "helping her get a moment alone to regroup". My caution, because I went through this with my very introverted dd who seemed to want to be alone when she was upset, is to make sure you aren't "abandoning her to her big feelings" because when 3.5 rolled around I had a very intense little girl who didn't know what to do with her big feelings and her expression of them escalated until I went in and risked being lashed out at to help her get a handle on her big feelings and how to properly express herself.

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Title: Re: hitting/biting 18 -month-old
Post by: Proverbs31 on July 12, 2005, 06:14:42 AM
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Thanks so much for the advice will be trying these ideas.

Also thank you for the caution about teaching her how to handle her feelings. I think that will be very important, especially because she seems to feel things so intensely.

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Title: DD Hitting Daddy
Post by: SarahsMommy on July 23, 2005, 09:11:05 PM
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Hi all. My 2.5 year old has been hitting (and sometimes biting) dh lately and it's starting to really become a problem. He's at work all day and then comes home and wants to spend time with her and she ends up going over and being with him for a few minutes and then hitting him or biting him. At which point he puts her down or goes away and says that he can't sit with her if she's going to hurt him. Tonight he started to get pretty frustrated though. And he said to me, "If she hits me again, I'm going to smack her" And said that pretty forcefully. I asked if that was really what he wanted to teach her and he said that was exactly what he wanted to teach her, "If you hit, you get hit back." I played with her for a while and then she was playing by herself so I went and told dh that I think hitting her would be a big mistake. That I wasn't sure of what his idea was but it sounded kind of like if she hit his arm or face, etc... that he was going to just strike back out at her. I said that even advocates of spanking say it needs to be controlled and calm and that I think hitting her in anger like that would be a very dangerous line to be on. He seemed to agree with that though mostly just seemed to feel out of sorts and bad about it all. He told me later that it just really makes him sad when she does that. But at the time he was all caught up in saying things about how she "can't hit her mother and father" and "can't disrespect me like that." Those sort of phrases just bother me for some reason. It just doesn't seem like the heart of our 2.5 year old dd's behavior is disrespecting her daddy, but it feels like that to him and that is a real trigger for him.

Anyway, any suggestions??

Thanks

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Title: Re: DD Hitting Daddy
Post by: MarynMunchkins on July 24, 2005, 05:00:11 AM
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He needs to prevent her from hitting and teach her how to be gentle. When he sees her starting to hit, have him grab her hands and hold them still. Say "Hitting hurts. Be gentle." (or something like that :P) For biting, you can take one finger and hold it firmly under her jaw. It will keep her from being able to open her mouth.

In worst case scenarios, he should leave. I wouldn't want to play with someone who is hitting and biting me either. I'd leave the room.

I think when he does get hit/bitten, it's perfectly acceptable to say "I don't like that. I feel sad when you hit/bite me." She needs to know that it is unkind/disrespectful even if that's not the intent. Then you can teach her how to be kind and respectful.

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Title: Re: DD Hitting Daddy
Post by: Danette on July 24, 2005, 05:36:18 AM
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I think I'd be pretty mad if every time I came home from work I was met with hitting and bites....it's a pretty serious offense in my book.(my books not worth much though ) However, she must have a reason for doing it. Is she mad that he left all day?? Is he not playing with her in the way she wants to be played with?? Is she hungry?? Is she getting new molars... my kids definitely acted this way when they were in pain. I'd try to figure that out and then go from there.

When she does hit or bite I'd have your husband look her right in the eyes and very firmly tell her "no hitting." And if she tries to continue he should walk away. I'd also encourage your husband to interact with her in situations where she can't hit or bite. Like swinging or a quick walk around the block before dinner.

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Title: Re: DD Hitting Daddy
Post by: SarahsMommy on July 24, 2005, 06:12:19 AM
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Thank you both

I definitely understand why he's so hurt and upset. And I've told him about preventing her from hitting/biting but she catches him off guard alot. I agree with what he's been doing in telling her she can't hurt him and putting her down. But then he will just stay on the couch for example and keep pushing her away when she comes back over which seems to prolong something negative. I say that she "can't hit me" in the sense of I will do my best to not allow her to hit me and keep telling her it's not okay. But he seems to feel that she just plain can't hit him. Well, clearly she can. It seems to me to be in the realm of age appropriate but not appropriate. But he seems to think that if he just hits her or punishs her properly, it won't ever happen again. When she bit him several weeks ago he immediately hit her mouth and he thought that would just be it. But she still tries to bite him. I try to tell him that the thing is to expect that it will keep happening for a while and work to prevent it and remind her that it's not okay to hurt us and makes us sad. He's really a very gentle and patient person, he's just getting pushed too far.

I'm sure part of it has to do with her being at the peak of her energy and him being at the low of his. But she acts like she wants to cuddle or read, but just switches gears quickly

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Title: Re: DD Hitting Daddy
Post by: ArmsOfLove on July 24, 2005, 12:34:07 PM
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I would encourage you to prepare her for what is expected *right* before daddy gets home. If he can call when he's a few minutes away to let you know that would be best.

Also, redirect all hitting and biting to an inanimate object--a stuffed animal or pillow or something like that.

hth (sorry if this is blunt I've got two squirmers on me right now )

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Title: Re: DD Hitting Daddy
Post by: SarahsMommy on July 26, 2005, 12:42:08 PM
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Thanks Crystal

It hasn't happened again yet which is good.

We do re-direct her and she's got all her teeth, so definitely not teething.

About the preparing her - I've always felt worried that by telling her ahead of time what not to do that it will give her the idea to do it somehow. Yesterday when dh was almost home I started talking to her about what she and Daddy would do and that was good and also gave me an idea of what type of activity level she was in the mood for.



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Title: Re: DD Hitting Daddy
Post by: Cindy on July 27, 2005, 06:26:34 PM
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My 17 month old ds started hitting a few weeks ago. At first I would put him down and tell him "no hitting"... then the day came we were at a busy street festival and it was not safe for him to wander around on his own. He had a fit and started hitting me because he wanted to be put down So I grabbed his hands and held them and told him "I will not let you hit me." I held him for 10 seconds or so then let go. He hit me again and I repeated the process. After the third time he stopped hitting me. He has hit me occasionally since then and I have held his hands and he would cry - but it was more like "sorry mom, I just forgot..." and he doesn't hit again.
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