One Year Old Pinching and Hair Pulling

Updated on August 04, 2009
J.M. asks from Erie, PA
8 answers

Hi ladies. I was hoping someone could help me out with this problem I'm having. My one year old son is pinching and pulling his (soon to be) 3 yr old sisters hair. Luckily she doesnt hurt him back, just yells for me or her daddy. My issue is, I dont know how to correct his behavior. I usually pull his hand away (which usually requires me to pry his fingers loose!) and give him a stern "No!". But, it doesnt seem to be clicking. He keeps doing it and it seems like it's getting worse. Now he is doing it to the pets and trying to do it to other children! I'm at a loss...I just dont know how to make him understand that he cant do that. I never went through this with my daughter. Please, any help or advice is very much appreciated! Thanks!!

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So What Happened?

First of all, I want to say thank you for all of your advice and suggestions. I really appreciate all the input. Secondly, I have started doing 1 min time outs in his crib whenever he pinches or pulls hair..and it seems to be working. He def hates the time outs and I have noticed that he hasnt been pinching as much since we started them. I also want to just mention a little something, because I was a little annoyed with a couple, I just want to clarify that I definitely DO NOT leave my two chidlren unattended. Thanks again moms!! I am so happy to have a site like this to go to for advice :)

Featured Answers


answers from Allentown on

Hi J.,

The baby does not know what he is doing.

You all need to watch out for him. Is he around his sister doing this with no one watching him?

Have you thought about getting him these vinyl play yards to keep him contained?

Just want to know. Good luck. D.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Yes, Leslie, you are right: I am going to give you "static" for your advice.
This is the SECOND time this week that I am addressing advice that entails pinching or biting an infant in order to cease an undesirable behavior. THIS IS NOT NECESSARY, and IMO quite cruel.There are better ways, people!
If anyone would like a detailed explaination as to WHY these abusive methods are ineffective, I direct you to the book "Positive Discipline" by Jane Nelsen.
(I know people's intentions are good, but lets face is not supposed to kick a DOG in order to train it...why would it be acceptable to inflict pain on a defensless infant for the same end? )

J., try having a playpen nearby. Next time the baby does this, matter of factly plop him in the play pen and walk away. He may just be doing this for the reaction...even the "No!" is interesting...I used to do this when my dd would bite me nursing, and after just a couple of days she got the picture. Praise your dd for the way she is handling this, and validate her feelings (I'm sure you already do this). Good luck, sweetie, and good question...I may have the same situation here in about a year!

Btw...I still LOVE the name Raiden...:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

Hi J.,

I know I will probably get a lot of static for this but, here is my advice. He probably does not realize it hurts the other person. He probably keeps doing it because he likes the reaction that he gets from doing it. Maybe if you would do the same to him just one time he might realize what it feels like and might stop the bad behavior. I tried this when my daughter first started biting and she never bit anyone after that.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Allentown on

just have to be vigilent and watch as he just 1 year old. Keep saying no and put him in crib or play pen.

Also explain to sis that he is baby and to never hit back which is great way for her to learn and practice.

Also make sure she doesn't take away his toys, etc keep them seperated.

He doesn't have the words to say what he is feeling and hence the pinching and biting.



answers from Philadelphia on

I would put him in time out when he does it. Unfortunately,it is a phase that boys seem to go through. Sometimes when they are fustrated and can not express when he wants he will do that. It may also be done for attention. I would definantly tell him that is not nice and either put him in the pack and play or his crib. when he gets bigger you can have a time out corner and put him in a time out chair. My son did both of those things to me since he is an only child. Luckily, I did not have him doing that when he went to the babysitter. He will outgrow it when he can talk more and communicate better. Be consistent with putting him in time out for his bad behavior. good luck


answers from Williamsport on

Hey, J.,
Here's the Yang to Suzies' Ying, or however it goes -she and I represent both ends of the mamasource spectrum- :)

A consequence for the behavior will teach him quickly not to do it. Words alone often don't click with one year olds. God bless the parents with kids who stopped with just "no", or with he patience to put up with the behavior or do endless time outs or situation removal.

If you give 1 calm warning and then on the second warning give a swat on the butt (upper thigh, below diaper-or maybe back of his hand since he's using his hand to pinch). He'll stop. He won't want the consequence, so once it clicks (doesn't take long, kids are very smart) he'll decide to stop the behavior when he hears you say no. Of course you don't want to hurt him, but it has to sting or he won't care.

Don't wait until you've said no 7 times, or he wont' react until you say no 7 times. Be consistent, or he'll gamble for the times he gets nothing or a cushy time out. Be calm in your tone, or he'll think the consequence is a result of your hysterics, not his action and he'll be confused.

If he knows he ALWAYS gets a consequence worth avoiding for pinching etc. be it a person, an animal -whatever-after one or two warnings, he'll decide to stop doing it after your warning, and learn that no from you means no for other things as well.

My son bit me twice HARD at one year old, not doing anything wrong or mean, just trying his choppers. He got two swats two different times after being warned calmly, no anger, and hasn't bitten anyone again at 18 months old. I caught him with his mouth wide open behind his sister's shoulder, and said "no" calmly and he closed his mouth and walked away and got big hugs and kisses. My daughter never bit, she knew "no" before the urge came up, so when she bit her papa once, at 18 months, he said "no" and no consequence was necessary, she never has tried to bite anyone else. But she did know already by that age that warnings meant consequences so she responded to verbal requests.

Your little guy sounds pretty used to having fun pinching, so it may take a little longer, be consistent if you choose this method-good luck whatever you choose!



answers from Philadelphia on

How about showing him "nice touches". we started this withour older son when I was pregnant with the 2nd. now that the 2nd is here we have started it with him because he is into the hair pulling etc. He's just starting to pull himself up to stand etc. it seems to work for them. good luck



answers from Philadelphia on

My son is 11 months old and does the same thing to his sister, brother and me. It's an " age appropriate" behavior and while I do tell him no, I don't think there is anything that will just stop the behavior. I give my son something to distract him at the time and he usually doesn't go back to the hair unless it's mine and I am holding him.

Next question: Advice for Pinching 10-Month Old