J.G. asks from Chicago, IL on April 20, 2012
My 4 year old just won't stop pinching or biting her 2 year old brother. I bought her a necklace and bracelet she could use to displace her frustrations, etc. but she wore them for one day and decided she didn't like them. She then went a few weeks without doing anything mean to him. Then, this past week, she has bite him once and pinched him a good 5 times.
Last night she bite him. I lost my tempter for the first time in ages. I've had enough it of. We had a chat this morning and she said she wouldn't do it anymore, that she would really try. So I told her she had to wear the bracelet if she was going to be in the same room as her brother. She didn't want to, but then she agreed.
5 minutes later she pinches him. She is testing, I get that, but how do I respond to this?
My husband is ready to whack her with a wooden spoon (this is, after all, how our own parents taught us to not do something). I would prefer if he didn't, but we seriously do not know what to do to get it into her head that this has to STOP NOW.
We tried Dr. Sear's approach of ignoring her, I've had lots of talks with her about other things to do when she is frustrated with him (the cause it that he isn' doing what she wants him to do!)..and we've used lots of consequences...no videos, no candy...
A.L. answers from Chicago on April 20, 2012
Do it back to her. That is how my mom taught me. Honestly I was a biter and my sister was a pincher. I will never forget the time I bit my sister and my mom bit my upper arm in response. I never bit another kid again. I do like to bite even now, have no idea why, but I now bite a towel or something else to relieve the build up I feel. It releases tension for me.
My mom pinched my sister hard when she caught her doing it, and it did take a few times, but my sister stopped pinching too. I did this to my 2 year old when she started pinching. I didn't do it hard enough to leave a bruise but enough to teach her that it hurts. She stopped after a couple of times. She has not done it in several months.
K. answers from Chicago on April 20, 2012
I would really explore within yourself, with your hubby, and her why this is happening. Is she jealous, easily frustrated, poor verbal skills to express feelings, poor impulse control? You mentioned testing and maybe ask yourself why and what is the test. Next, I would find a more effective consequence. This can be hard but I would try and determine what she values most. Usually with kids it is contact with others. If that is the case I would swiftly and firmly isolate her letting her know that she needs to be alone for 5 minutes to think about what she did and how to say sorry. also, I would spend a lot of time practicing strategies with her on how to manager anger... For example, do the freeze move with her, as soon as she feels angry do the freeze and think what is the best choice, and/or draw faces on the tips of her finger and have her hold up what she is feeling at different times to give her practice learning about her feelings. Good luck!
S.E. answers from New York on April 20, 2012
if nothing youve done works .. and this sounds mean but id pinch her..obviously not as hard as you can but enough for her to know it hurts and she shouldnt do it to other people
G.B. answers from Oklahoma City on April 20, 2012
Okay, you need to google chew time and chewy foods. If she gets enough chew time she will have tired jaws and not want to bite anymore. It is an urge she really has little control over right now.
She needs some chew time. Research it.
A.S. answers from Kansas City on April 20, 2012
It sounds cruel, but I've heard a lot of people say that the only way they could get their child to stop biting and pinching was to bite them and pinch them back. They don't really understand how much it hurts, they just know they get attention when they do it.
My only other suggestion would be to completely ignore her when she does something like that and talk exclusively to her brother. "Oh, buddy, what's wrong? Did sissy bite you again? That wasn't very nice of her, was it? Come here and let me hug you, would you like a treat to take your mind off the pain?" And just completely look right over her, don't even acknowledge that she is in the room. Later, once your son (and you) have calmed down, remind her that biting and pinching are mean, and ask her if she want's to be a mean person, or a nice person. Try to figure out what prompts the biting and pinching. Is she jealous of him? Is he playing with a toy she wants? Once you figure out what is causing the bad behaviour, give her alternate ways to handle the situation. Bubby has your toy, ask nicely if he will give it back. If he won't, is there something else you could play with until he gets bored with it? When she gets mad at him, encourage her to come discuss her feelings with you in a "big girl" way. That will not only help her learn to deal with anger, it will give her some much needed one on one time with you.