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1 year old scratching and slapping...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
So DD just turned a year old a week or so ago, and she seems to be moving into a phase of expressing her frustration with things by scratching DH and I as well as herself. Sometimes she does it while we're playing, and when we take her hand and hold it and tell her not to scratch because it's not nice, she usually A) laughs and does it more, or B) gets mad and starts crying. I consider myself to be a fairly patient person, but after being with her 24/7 without much of a break and trying to create some quiet, peaceful family time before bed, I sometimes get angry. Admittedly I end up yelling sometimes, or I'll turn away from her if she keeps throwing herself around on me in a tantrum, which will only make her more upset because she wants to be near me at the same time. How do I keep my cool and gently (but effectively) let her know that this behavior is unwanted?
post #2 of 9
It sounds like she needs to scratch for whatever reason, so how about some kind of scratch pad? I hate to say it because it almost sounds like advice for a cat but I always try to think of a way that my child *can* do whatever it is that I don't want him to do. You know....what *can* she scratch? When she seems like she's about to scratch or as soon as she starts scratching, redirect to the designated item(s) that you don't mind her scratching. Maybe something that feels similar to skin/person?

I haven't dealt with the scratching but my 1 year old has been in a slapping phase for a while and it's rough. I feel so bummed about it sometimes because I feel like I've tried so hard to raise him so gently. A couple of weeks ago I broke down with massive self pity about how I managed to raise a 1 year old who hits but then it just hit me...don't deny who he is. Apparently, he has some energy inside that he wants to get out. I know he doesn't want to hurt me, why would he? So I decided to get out of my comfort zone of peace and gentle play and just totally rough house with him. This kind of play does not come easily to me but I think it's what he needed. He had so. much. fun!!!! Like, time of his life fun. The slapping has slowed way down. And when he does do it now, it's usually because we haven't been very active. I don't know if that's helpful at all but just thought I'd share.
post #3 of 9
My son is 16 months now and has been slapping, pulling hair and throwing things at us for a while now. I feel your pain. It seems to be pretty natural. We just keep up the "Please don't" with a serious look on our face while holding his hand that he hit with.I guess we are just waiting it out with as much patience as possible. I get frustrated sometimes too and want to raise my voice as well but we just keep it serious and sometimes will sit him down after. Like I used to when he would bite me while nursing. I suggest saying please don't or just don't because the more you say no the more she will. As far as the scratching....all I can say is keep her nails short!! OUCH!! I am sure you already are. Good Luck MaMa!! Mine is number 4. I can tell you it will eventually stop and it doesn't mean she has a mean streak.
post #4 of 9
Our almost-11-month-old is a comfort-pincher. It hurts!

When she was younger, holding her hand or offering her Pinchy (a fluffy blanket she likes to pluck) worked great, but she's more determined now, as toddlers tend to be. We've been having some good luck with, "No pinch. Pat momma/dadda/etc." Then we take her hand and gently pat us. "Good! Good gentle patting!" She isn't defaulting to patting yet, but she stops pinching and starts patting when reminded.

I think some babes need certain sensory stimulation, and as erin_brycesmom mentioned, if we can offer them an acceptable alternative, it can be easier on all of us.

(I'll be back in a few months when her gentle patting turns into slapping!)
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your helpful suggestions! I do think that maybe Maya isn't getting enough stimulation during the day, and that could be why she's getting frustrated before bed (it doesn't seem to be more-so at night). DH and I will have to try and be more active with her and see if that slows it down (or hopefully stops it completely)!
post #6 of 9
It may be a self-soothing thing, which means that she's more likely to do it when tired. V's pinching is self-soothing, and she's got a fer other goofy little things she does, like pull her hair and ears, and rub her feet against each other rhythmically (I do this, too, and my mom does as well) when she's winding down.

Redirecting the behavior to something that doesn't leave welts is the extent of my intervention with her little quirks.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Erin, Maya pulls her hair and ears too, so the possibility that she's self-soothing makes perfect sense as well! I'm so glad I found this forum. You mamas are wonderful! I wish some of you lived near me. I don't have any girl friends out here yet.
post #8 of 9

I've never heard of "comfort-pinching" -- is this what my 1 year old daughter is doing at night when I hold her before bed and she pinches the skin on my neck? Owww! 

post #9 of 9

My daughter who is 2 can hit and scratch too.  Usually I just calmly tell her that I want to be with her, but when she hits me, I feel owie and would like gentle touches.  If she persists, I try distraction or move away.  If she had played rough with a toy or with a book, the logical consequence is for it to be taken away, and the same goes for me.  I try to never get angry or even really go that far.  I just make it clear that there is a gentle way of playing.  I also have to admit sometimes, I just get her to place catch or paint, or really do anything that requires her hands to be touching something else!

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