Desperately need help with toddler hair pulling - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-12-2012, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello,

 

I have a big problem with one of my children pulling hair.  A is 21 months old and pulls the hair of everyone in the family very hard, including her older brother, me, and her twin sister (L).  It is the worst with her twin sister, who is smaller than her (by 4 pounds) and much less aggressive (so she doesn't ever stand up to her). 

 

This has been going on for a long time (probably since the twins started walking around their first birthday) but getting progressively worse.  Lately A has been pulling fistfuls of L's hair out and L just cries her eyes out.  I don't blame her - it is very painful when A does it to me, so I can only imagine how painful it feels to someone so small.  A seems to pull hair most often when she is jealous, wants attention, or wants a toy her sister has.  But sometimes it seems to be just random.  A also is just a very physical child and seems to really want/need time for physical play and roughhousing.

 

I have tried to prevent the hair pulling by thinking about ways to meet her needs ahead of time (giving her positive attention, her own toys to play with when she seems to be getting jealous, or time for physical play like wrestling with me).  But I really have not seen any improvement despite doing those things.  I have also tried to intervene/redirect/distract when I see her getting ready to pull hair, but in a house with three kids, I can't always be there to do that.  And she is FAST!  I feel like I can't turn my back on her for a second (which is also hard to do in our household).  I've tried keeping them separated when I know my attention is going to be divided (like during meal preparation time), but someone inevitably ends up getting upset because they both really want to be where I am.

 

I know A will grow out of this eventually (right?), but right now it is making our daily life really difficult!  I can get nothing done and I feel like it is hurting relationships between members of our family (L does not want to be around her sister because she keeps getting hurt, A wants to be around her sister but keeps getting rejected and doesn't seem to understand why, and frankly I find myself becoming angry with A frequently for hurting her sister).

 

Has anyone else been through this or have any ideas on what I could do?  I am starting to feel pretty desperate and don't know what to do!

 

Thank you!

Stacy


Mom to son M (11/06), and twin daughters L & A (6/10).

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:31 PM
 
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Can you pick her up and move her away from the person she's hurting?  

How do you "intervene/redirect/distract"?

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Old 03-14-2012, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your reply.

 

If I see her getting ready to pull hair I will either physically block her from doing it (put my hands in front of her sister's head) if I am close by, or if I am farther away I will tell her "No pull!  Gentle hands!" or try to distract her ("Go look for the puppy out the window!").  The first one works well to prevent her from pulling hair at that moment, but doesn't really prevent her from doing it again in the future.  The last two only work some of the time :(

 

After she pulls hair, I do usually pick A up and put her elsewhere away from her sister (after comforting L), but again, it doesn't seem like she is learning anything from this.

 

I don't know what else to do!


Mom to son M (11/06), and twin daughters L & A (6/10).

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Old 03-21-2012, 09:13 PM
 
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Real empathy will take a while, but the thing I would add would be to say "That hurts!  Ouchie!"  

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Old 03-22-2012, 10:15 AM
 
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It sounds like you are doing the right approach. I would say be consistant and firm while telling her- "No, that hurts- it is not okay to pull people's hair because it hurts them."   She probably doesn't realize it hurts and smply delights in getting a reaction. I think toddlers do have the desire to please so you can try to make this a firm no rule and hope that eventually she will get it.

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Old 04-03-2012, 09:32 PM
 
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lurk.gif

 

same problem with DS, almost a year now he's been doing this


DD 12/07 DS 9/10

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Old 04-20-2012, 01:58 AM
 
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Any chance you could put a hat on L for a while, to kind of hide her hair while you work on the "No pulling"? Eliminating the temptation while you work on the behavior might be good.

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Old 06-04-2012, 06:30 PM
 
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I only have one child but he's 16 months and been doing this for at least 6 months. I've tried everything and am really fed up!

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