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lifeguard 12-29-2011 01:30 PM

This is too long - sorry. My 3 year old pinches. A lot. Myself, dh, dd, pretty much everyone who is close to him (he doesn't seem to do it to other children oddly).


This has been going on since he was a small baby in a way. It started with him pinching/rolling/grabbing my breasts when he was nursing. I tried really hard to keep his hands at bay & would even limit his nursing if he was being too rough or too insistent with it. I tried to replace my breasts with other objects for him to play with but he had no interest.


For the past 1.5 years it has been what he is doing now. He'll hug you & give you a little pinch on the back of the arm. He'll randomly come over & pinch a cheek or your leg. He'll be playwrestling with dh (something he does with very strict rules about what is ok & is not ok) & pinch. He particularly likes the soft, saggy skin of my mil's arm or neck.


I've watched reallllllly closely to see what triggers it but there is not cut & dry obvious thing. At times it is most definitely an uncontrollable urge for him - we've even seen him trying to control the urge with his fingers poised to pinch & shaking. These times actually don't bother us so much 'cause it is obvious there is something else going on here (of course we would love to see it end).


It's the deliberate times. Sometimes it is to get attention - especially when he does it to dd (3 mos) but other times it's not even for attention, it's almost more out of excitement.


This has been going on for a long time & at NO time did we not deal with it. When he was really little we would simply hold his hand & figured he'd outgrow it. As he got bigger we would physically remove him from us (and I'm not kidding when I say this could mean removing him from us hundreds of times in a day sometimes).


As he's gotten older I've yelled (not my favourite thing but everyone has a limit), we've discussed it calmly, we've given him options of other things he could pinch (a teddy bear, etc.), given timeouts (VERY time consuming for our day) & most recently I will admit I have pinched him back out of pure frustration & because he refuses to accept when we tell him it hurts (he is very insistent, to the point of tears, that it tickles).


I do NOT want to hurt him but we cannot keep up with this. He is 3 & I feel he is old enough to at least be making an attempt to control himself but the deliberate attempts seem to be ramping up. I am finding myself becoming increasingly short & irritated with this action.


We have tried very hard to be consistent with whatever tact we were using (with this going on for so long we've had plenty of time to try different things for several weeks at a go for each) & include our parents in what we are doing.


Any ideas?

LCBMAX 12-29-2011 06:23 PM

Well, I'm gonna sub here because my son has a tendency toward a thing he calls "arm flesh". We have a different scenario since he's almost 4, and he didn't start this horrid upper arm pinching thing til last summer when he was (child-led) weaning - but I agree that there is a compulsive element to it, like with your son. I had to quit wearing short sleeve shirts all last summer, and then the weather turned so I forgot about it. In the meantime, he fully weaned and now hardly remembers nursing. He turned his "arm flesh" habit to Daddy's arms in bedtime snuggles, and got the same reaction from Daddy as from me. He knows we hate it, and it's not allowed and when he persists we get up and angrily move away (partly to save ourselves from acting out!) I thought maybe I was in the clear and I tried to wear a short sleeved shirt yesterday - instant pinching. With me he doesn't even need to be in bed, he just gloms onto me and fingers the arm flesh. 


For what it's worth, he wasn't overly pinchy as a nursling, though he did go through a stage. I heard once about someone who had an eye pillow resting on her breast over the nursling, and he would pinch and roll that between his fingers instead. My guy would never have been fooled. Now that he's so much older, it's also very much a discipline thing, but at 3 and even 3.5 it would not have been that for him.


Hope someone has a solution out there, but also consider moving this to ages and stages if your son is really just working through the need more than trying to defy you (as mine now loves to do...)

lifeguard 12-29-2011 07:08 PM

Thanks for your reply - it's very interesting that ds is not the only one who seems to have this "need". With how upset he gets when we suggest it does actually hurt us I do feel he is getting something from it but I just don't know what. If I could figure that out maybe we could replace it.

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