Daughter Being Mean

Updated on June 24, 2007
A.V. asks from Oxford, MI
6 answers

My daughter is almost 10 months old and just starting getting mean (hitting, grabing people face, pushing and moving A LOT when changing diaper) This behavior is VERY unusaul for her. She has always been that sweet little baby. Is this normal and if so what can I do to help her not stay this way?? We mover her hands and say no. She does not see this behavior she is the only baby and is not around other children. Help!!

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answers from Detroit on

Don't worry A., my daughter is 9 months old and she is quite vicious...for a lack of words. She screams, scratches and grabs faces and hair. I asked her Dr. about this and he said that it is perfectly normal for lil ones this age. Don't worry! By the way, they understand "no" at 6 months, but don't actually "understand and listen" to it until around 15 months. Just laugh it off, she is not going to be a school bully!



answers from Detroit on

It sounds like she is testing her limits to me. My son started doing this around the same age. Just be firm, and don’t give in. When changing my son I found that turning it into something fun helped a lot. I blow on his belly and tickle him while I change him. If my hands are busy cleaning him up, then I make silly faces and sounds. Hope that helps!



answers from Detroit on

When my baby did that out of her ordinary, I got her in to her doctor and she had an ear infection! It hurt and bothered her and she didn't understand therefore was acting out. I think your baby should see a doctor. PamR



answers from Jackson on

Hey, I think this behavoir is totally normal according to the doctor and pages I have referenced. You baby is developing at a great rate and is now trying to test her limits and see how much she can get away with. Around this age, they start becoming more independent aand they are trying to show that independence. LOL. It gets worse once they are walking and then even worse when they start talking clearly lol. Its totally normal. I don't know if she is still there but call the child and parent center and ask for Dot tetrault, she was my parenting class instructor and I asked similar questions when I went there. Good luck, and know that shes not turning into a "bad kid" shes just trying to be in control as much as she can at her age!I got a parenting email about this today and I copied and pasted it.

Does your toddler sometimes hurt other children? It's not surprising — many toddlers act out in this way. The good news is that he doesn't mean to inflict pain on his playmates. When he pulls another child's hair, he's either fascinated by the reaction it provokes or copying another child's behavior. Making a fellow child yell or cry seems like great fun at this age. The best response is to gently but firmly stop the hurtful behavior and redirect his attention. The more he gets a rise out of you, the more likely he is to repeat the behavior.

Why it happens
Shocking as it may be to you (and onlookers), aggressive behavior is a normal part of your toddler's development. Still-emerging language skills, a fierce desire to become independent, and undeveloped impulse control make children this age prime candidates for getting physical. "Some degree of hitting and biting is completely normal for a toddler," says Nadine Block, executive director of the Center for Effective Discipline in Columbus, Ohio. That doesn't mean you should ignore it, of course. Let your toddler know that aggressive behavior is unacceptable and show him other ways to express his feelings.

What to do
Follow up with logical consequences. If your child gets into the ball pit at the indoor play center and immediately starts throwing the balls at other kids, take him out. Sit down with him and watch the other kids play, and explain that he can go back in when he feels ready to join the fun without hurting other children. Avoid trying to "reason" with your child, such as asking him, "How would you like it if he threw the ball at you?" Toddlers don't possess the cognitive maturity to be able to imagine themselves in another child's place or to change their behavior based on verbal reasoning. But they can understand consequences.

Keep your cool. Yelling, hitting, or telling your child he's bad won't get him to curtail his behavior — you'll just get him more riled up and give him examples of new things to try. In fact, watching you control your temper may be the first step in his learning to control his.

Set clear limits. Try to respond immediately whenever your toddler is aggressive. Don't wait until he hits his brother for the third time to say, "That's enough!" He should know instantly when he's done something wrong. Remove him from the situation for a brief time-out (just a minute or two is enough). This is the best way to let him cool down, and after a while he'll connect his behavior with the consequence and figure out that if he hits or bites, he ends up out of the action.

Discipline consistently. As much as possible, respond to each episode the way you did last time. Your predictable response ("Okay, you bit Billy again — that means another time-out") will set up a pattern that your child will recognize and come to expect. Eventually, it will sink in that if he misbehaves, he'll get a time-out. Even in public, where you may be mortified by your child's behavior, don't let your embarrassment cause you to lash out at him. Other parents have been there too — if people stare, simply toss off a comment like "It's hard to have a 2-year-old," and then discipline your child in the usual fashion.

Teach alternatives. Wait until your toddler has settled down, then calmly and gently review what happened. Ask him if he can explain what triggered his outburst. Emphasize (briefly!) that it's perfectly natural to have angry feelings but it's not okay to show them by hitting, kicking, or biting. Encourage him to find a more effective way of responding — by "talking it out" ("Tommy, you're making me mad!") or asking an adult to help.

Make sure your child understands that he needs to say he's sorry after he lashes out at someone. His apology may be insincere at first, but the lesson will sink in. The passions of toddlerhood can overtake a child's natural compassion sometimes. Eventually he'll acquire the habit of apologizing when he's hurt someone.

Reward good behavior. Rather than giving your child attention only when he's misbehaving, try to catch him being good — for example, when he asks to have a turn on the swing instead of pushing another child out of the way. Praise him lavishly when he verbalizes his desires ("That's so great that you asked to have a turn!") and, in time, he'll realize how powerful words are.

Limit TV time. Cartoons and other shows designed for young children can be filled with shouting, threats, even shoving and hitting. Try to monitor which programs he watches, particularly if he seems prone to aggressive behavior. When you do let your child watch TV, watch it with him and talk to him about situations that arise: "That wasn't a very good way for him to get what he wanted, was it?" (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 watch no TV at all.)

Provide physical outlets. You might find that unless your toddler gets a chance to burn off his abundant energy, he's a terror at home. If your child is high-spirited, give him plenty of unstructured time, preferably outdoors, to let off steam.

Don't be afraid to seek help. Sometimes a child's aggression requires more intervention than a parent can provide. If your child seems to behave aggressively more often than not, if he seems to frighten or upset other children, or if your efforts to curb his behavior have little effect, talk to your child's doctor, who may in turn recommend a counselor or child psychologist. Together you can determine the source of the behavior and help your child through it. Remember, your child is still very young. If you work with him patiently and creatively, chances are that his pugnacious tendencies will soon be a thing of the past.



answers from Grand Rapids on

At 10 months old, she may be starting to test the limits with you. But they also learn quick that if they do certain things, they get attention. Be consistant with her, and when you tell her NO, make sure that you are using a different voice than you use when you are playing.



answers from Detroit on

my daughter started doing this too i asked a few other friends and they said they think shes just doing it because she doesnt talk enough to be able to tell you no she doesnt want that or what she does want my daughter sometimes just stands there and screams for like 2 seconds at the top of her lungs and then smiles its either bc she doesnt know how to say what she wants or shes just doing it for attention either way i say no reina quietly and she usually comes over and gives me a kiss and then i try to figure out what it is she wants or if she grabs for something really mean and tries to rip it from me wether it be a toy or whatever i dont give it to her until she takes it nicely yelling and screaming wont help and sometimes its hard when they wack you right in the face and sometimes she doesnt want it after she doesnt get it her way right away but she'll come back for it nicer the next time it just takes time and patience

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