D.O. asks from Henderson, NV on April 25, 2008
Almost 17 Month Old Starting to Bite Me When I Pick Him up While Disciplining
I have an almost 17 month old son who as soon as he became 12 months old has been trying to show his independence and determination of exploring his world. He was a really good baby....happy, smiley, etc. In general he's a high energy, smart, and verbal boy. Lately he gets frustrated if a toy breaks, if a toy ends up under furniture and can't reach it, and ofcourse if an offending object (which can be breakeable or unsafe for him to play with) is taken away. He just gets really mad (face is beat red, teeth start to clench, etc.) and throws himself on the ground. A couple of times in public (at the park) when we had a playdate he kept running away and going to places I didn't want him to go or run away from me. Also, whenever I picked him up to relocate him he would bite my forearm. Today I was putting him away from opening my kitchen drawers and pulling out cutlery when he bit me in the shoulder. He already has 3 drawers and cabinets that are designated for him to play in. He bit me 2x yesterday at a public park and on Tuesday while we were at another park again.
I took a Love and Logic discipline course which I have been using their techniques as best as I can. So far this week he's getting worse. I am going to visit family in New York in a few weeks and I do hope he will behave and not have these meltdowns and biting me sessions.
Any thoughts/suggestions from you moms out there?
J.J. answers from Los Angeles on April 29, 2008
Hi D.! Looks like there's LOTS of different opinions on this! The pop in the mouth one will probably get the quickest results. At certain ages teaching or training kids are very much like training a pet. They understand instant results to their actions. As they get older, their reasoning becomes more sophisticated and other approaches can be effective.
My son was a BIG tantrum thrower too and the best advice I got was the thigh squeeze. Works GREAT when shopping and they're sitting in the cart. When Nate would start throwing one of his fits, I'd grab a handful of the back of his thigh and start to squeeze just until it got his attention and he stiffened up. His body instinctively understood that if I squeezed harder it was going to hurt. Then I'd lean in and tell him that I would let go when he stopped screaming. Once the deal was made - I let go and he was under control. It made being out in public SOOO much easier!!
At home when he'd throw his fit, I'd just put him in his room and tell him he could come out when he was done. I did this more for MY sanity than for his!
But the key to all of this is consistancy. Whichever approach you use - be consistant with it.
N.L. answers from Reno on April 26, 2008
Hi D., Luckily I haven't really had the biting problem, yet anyway. My daughter did go through a phase where she was hitting me (out of frustration, like your son). Her pediatrcian told me when she hit me to get up and leave the room. Don't talk to her, reason with her, touch her, nothing..........get up and leave and close the door. Wait a couple of minutes (or until the child has stopped screaming if that happens) and then go back & say something like "you need to be nice to Mommy", hug him & move on. Obviously, you can't do this at the park but try it out and home & see if it works. The theory is that he should start to catch on that if he's not nice to you, you leave the room & he that is probably not the reaction that he wants. It has worked pretty darn good with my daughter with the temper tantrums and hitting. She rarely hits anymore & her tantrums are a lot less frequent than they were. Good luck
J.B. answers from Los Angeles on April 27, 2008
what we did with my nephew who also did the biting thing at your sons age was we statred with the 2 finger pop in the mouth. once that started not to phase and he bit me again i would pop him in the mouth take his had and nip (not forcefully bite) his finger tip (lots of nerve ending and it hurts with very little effort) and i would tell him "see it hurts when you bite". i know that seems a little blunt and out there to do to your baby but it may work and it may not its up to you to try. i do respect the fact you are trying a gentiler way to manage your sn. good luck!
C.C. answers from Reno on April 27, 2008
What I had to do with our son was to bite him back. Of course not as hard or leaving marks but enough for him to understand that he was hurting me. He didn't understand that he was hurting me but acting out on his own frustrations and I had to do the same with hair pulling. At this young of an age they don't think beyond themselves or their own feelings so they don't realize that what they are doing effects others. In my experience it worked because he stopped and no matter how frustrated he gets he doesn't bite or pull hair anymore and verbalizes his frustration. All kids are different but I hope this helps.
T.H. answers from Las Vegas on April 25, 2008
Empathize with him "I know you are frustrated" "I know you would like to play in the drawers etc." and firmly say "Biting hurts and you may not bite me". Follow up with "What can we do to fix this?" then offer suggestions. Maybe give him a drawer or cupboard in the kitchen he can be in.
Often children bite or hit because they do not know what else to do. Offer suggestions and model words he can use.
Many times we get so busy keeping them safe by telling them what they can not do we forget to give them options for what they can do.
This will be a process do not grow weary and do not ever give in to the idea of biting him back. This sends a very mixed message with no good outcome.
There is hope my son went through the same thing.