My daughter recently (on 11/11/11) turned 1. Recently, she has been exploring her bite and the effects of scratching and pinching on me. She is generally a good spirited, happy child. Usually this behavior happens when she is really tired. I know she's still very young and just learning but I'd like to begin working on it before she does it to another person/baby. I notice recently she seems to think about it before acting and sets her intention before acting. If I don't react, she will scratch harder. I want to figure out a way to let her know it is not okay to hurt other people without losing my patience and being heavy about it. Any suggestions for good resources and/or personal experience welcome. Thanks.
1yr old biting, pinching, scratching
For scratching, pinching or hitting I say "gentle with mama" and help her pat or stroke me gently (we also do this for touching the cat). For biting I say "no biting mama, bite this instead" and offer a teething toy or whatever I have to hand. The rolled hem of her t-shirt will do if I don't have anything else available.
When DD scratches me, I cut her nails very very short and keep them short.
When she pinches me or hits me, I model for her soft touch. and we practice kissing owies.
When she bites, I hold her at arms length and very sternly and seriously say: No teeth! then I model kissing for her.
I haven´t been bitten in about six months, and I had to do that only about 3 or 4 times.
Not to say it will work for you, but that was my experience.
I can relate. My 16 month old is extremely aggressive. It's just his personality. Slapping, grabbing, pinching, biting, pulling hair, throwing things and screaming.
We do model gentle behavior and say "Soft" a lot. For awhile we were sternly telling him "No", putting him down and/or walking away/ignoring him. This approach made his aggression worse. I recently discovered that he needs lots of extra love when he acts this way. I find a way to lighten the mood, change the subject, so to speak. I will start tickling him or show him something that he loves (dogs at the moment), sing a song, dance around or do anything that will get his mind thinking about something else. It works like a charm!
What is happening is that a new brain pattern is being created. Teaching a baby (or child or adult for that matter) to learn how to do something fun instead of something aggressive when they are feeling out of control for any reason (tired, teething, stress etc.,), will create a new brain path that will help them throughout their entire life. It will become a natural reaction to do something positive when they either feel negative or something negative is happening.
Thank you all for your replies and reminders. I really needed your words to help me re-establish my values. I found myself getting frustrated and acting in ineffective ways that were never part of the way I intended to speak to or raise my daughter. Saying "No!" and putting her down or pushing her hand away only resulted in her doing it more. I don't want to raise my voice or use forceful physical methods. When I helped her hand to touch softly where she had previously been scratching or pinching she quickly got it. Also when she bites now, I say, "kisses are good" or "you can kiss instead of biting." The day after I started to use this method consistently, she needed the verbal prompt/reminder to kiss instead but within two days I noticed her getting frustrated, then think about it and give a kiss before biting or scratching.
We are not 100% rescued. She still needs reminders when she's really tired but it has been pretty amazing to witness the rapid change that came with my shift in technique and understanding. So much of it is about me and my capacity for seeing things from a broader perspective. This is related of course to my sleep and, therefore, patience that day. It is a work in progress but I am grateful for the community of people with like values to reflect with.