Need GD ideas for pinching, pulling, hitting 19MO - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-14-2013, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are at a loss how to handle our 19mo daughter. We have a 5yo daughter who is very gentle, sensitive, and kind. Honestly, GD with her has been so simple, we don't know how best to help the 19mo. For about a month now she has been pinching, pulling on hair or clothes, and hitting (kind of like throwing her hand at your face to grab it or you glasses). Sometimes it will be totally random, but a majority of the time it is when we have had to tell her something that frustrates her or makes her mad.
Obviously because we practice GD that isn't often, but this behavior is happening multiple times a day. She does this to her sister the most, then me, then the 3yo girl at part time sitters, then this weekend to my husband. He has always been on board with GD, but now we are really struggling with how to handle it. We have tried telling her we don't hit, it isn't nice, etc. we have tried removing her from the situation without saying anything other than we don't hit, it's not nice. We have tried praising her greatly when she is "being nice".
We don't want to hit back or anything like that, so we are hoping for some suggestions how to handle it. I am hoping this is just a phase...thinking maybe it is because she is frustrated, and doesn't know how else to express it (although she does have a big vocabulary for her age). If this is the case she will grow out of it, but please give us some ideas in the meantime. We can't let it go on this way.

Thank you!!

Girlfriend and Wife to DH, Attached Momma to DD 2/23/08, and to DD 6/9/12
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#2 of 9 Old 02-10-2013, 05:48 PM
 
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I have this SAME exact question! I hope someone has some suggestions.
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#3 of 9 Old 02-13-2013, 12:03 PM
 
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I think this kind of violence when frustrated is pretty typical for many or most young children. 

 

At 19mo I'd say removing her from the situation is fine.  Eg if she hits the 5 y/o, pick her up, say 'we don't hit,' make a big deal out of kissing the 5 y/o's boo-boo and soothing her, and take the baby away from the scene.  If she hits you you can say, 'That hurt!  I don't like to play with you when you hit me.'  And walk away.  (They absolutely hate this, which is the point IMO.)
 

I do use time-out for violence myself.  My 3 y/o gets one minute, my 16 m/o gets a count of ten (usually I just hold her on my lap and count wherever we happen to be).  It's more of a symbolic punishment/interruption to the activity at hand.

 

That said, I wouldn't expect that these approaches to result in a completely pacific 19 m/o in record time.  I do think that a combination of this approach and her general maturation will improve things over the next 1-3 years.  HTH


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#4 of 9 Old 02-13-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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Many toddlers go through an aggressive phase, and it's more about their personality than how they're parented. Unfortunately, GD won't create toddlers who don't react to frustration this way. Some kids don't, but then some kids who are not parented with GD also don't have aggressive phases.

 

My first suggestion is to phrase whatever you say in a positive rather than a negative. Contractions are a bit more advanced than other language, so kids will sometimes hear "don't hit the cat" as "blah hit the cat." Even if they understand "don't", they still end up with the image of hitting the cat in their head, and toddlers - especially as young as 19 months - have very little to no impulse control.

 

"We don't X" is even tricky, because if you think about it very literally (and young children are super literal) then if she just did it, yes "we" do X. Think about it from her point of view. She hits the cat, you say, "we don't hit the cat" but she just hit the cat so it's literally incorrect.

 

I would instead say something like, "Be gentle." Or even just "gentle." "Nice" isn't very specific, and is more of an overall impression than a behavior. Like she might think, "Well I am nice." She's a nice girl, right? And people probably tell her that she is a nice girl. So she probably associates that with her all the time rather than with any behavior. But "gentle" means something very specific and is very much associated with behavior.

 

OK well that got really long but all I really did at that age was if they hit someone to gently hold their hand and say, "gentle." Over and over again, trying to catch every single incident, so that I was consistent. And they did both outgrow their aggressive phases pretty quickly. It lasted longer with the one who talked later. As their language improves and they're able to feel heard and talk about how angry they are more and more, they generally get aggressive less and less. You said her language is good, so hopefully she'll get past this early.

 

Which leads to one other thing. You can talk about emotions and feelings, as having names for how they're feeling sometimes helps. "You seem very angry." Or, "You're angry that you can't have X right now." Naming feelings, and feeling heard and empathized with sometimes can help as well.

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#5 of 9 Old 02-13-2013, 12:25 PM
 
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That's a good point about providing a positive directive e.g. 'be gentle'.   I did used to use that more with my older one who had more of the undirected, frustration-based lashing out.  DD2 doesn't lash out so much as intentionally try to harm DD1 (eg by biting her on the leg - good thing she has no teeth) so 'be gentle' doesn't apply very well and I've stopped using it.

 

BTW I don't use English with my kids so the phrasing options aren't quite the same.  That said I do like 'we don't hit' because it underlines the idea of zero tolerance for violence: i.e. we literally do not behave that way in this house.  I don't hit you, you don't hit me.  That is the way it is here.  It provides the model for the way things are supposed to be even if the reality isn't quite there yet - kind of like saying 'You are doing such a good job brushing your teeth!' even though the kid is still in the refusal stage can sometimes push them into actually initiating the brushing process.


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#6 of 9 Old 02-13-2013, 05:42 PM
 
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I second the positive phrasing. DD does a whole lot better when I tell her what to do instead of what not to do. I do say "no thank you" sometimes but always correct with "gentle please" and I show her by gently stroking her hand. Actually touching her gently has helped a lot because it's a very immediate and tactile correction and she does her best to immitate. Hth
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#7 of 9 Old 02-13-2013, 09:42 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by mambera View Post

 

At 19mo I'd say removing her from the situation is fine.  Eg if she hits the 5 y/o, pick her up, say 'we don't hit,' make a big deal out of kissing the 5 y/o's boo-boo and soothing her, and take the baby away from the scene.  If she hits you you can say, 'That hurt!  I don't like to play with you when you hit me.'  And walk away.  (They absolutely hate this, which is the point IMO.)

 

I do use time-out for violence myself.  My 3 y/o gets one minute, my 16 m/o gets a count of ten (usually I just hold her on my lap and count wherever we happen to be).  It's more of a symbolic punishment/interruption to the activity at hand.

 

That said, I wouldn't expect that these approaches to result in a completely pacific 19 m/o in record time.  I do think that a combination of this approach and her general maturation will improve things over the next 1-3 years.  HTH

 

 

I agree. Although results won't be instant, starting to get that message in that aggression is unacceptable and won't get her anywhere will eventually pay off.

 

A positive phrase I like is "hands to self."

 

Another useful positive phrase is "calm body."
 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#8 of 9 Old 03-26-2013, 04:42 AM
 
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I agree with everything above about focusing on "gentle" instead of "nice" - we use "gentle touches" and demonstrate it with a sign for our  17mo daughter (she is mostly preverbal, but has lots of signs, that is so so so helpful in this stage), and also by touching her hand gently. She understood it really quickly for the cat, which also involved demonstrating how we pet the cat - she could see that he enjoyed it and purred instead of running away. 

 

Of course it's harder with other people who may do something that frustrated the LO. When she's too rough with us, like the PPs, we also say "that hurts" and "i don't like that" / "i don't like it when..." but paired with something that I think is important for getting young toddlers to understand this better : also be sure give her the words to explain her experiences and feelings when she gets hurt (or scared by falling), so she can make the connection about "hurt" and develop empathy. This goes along with "I see you are angry/frustrated" etc, but it is so helpful with "hitting hurts" when she understands it from both sides of "hurting".

 

The other thing is to pay extra attention during/before the situations that can trigger the hitting and help her be more prepared for what might happen (other children will want to play with the same toy and we need to take turns, it will be time to leave and we'll put shoes on, etc) plus describe positive situations like how mom/dad likes to hold you when you are gentle, etc.

 

I also really like using "thank you (for being gentle/ listening)" when she does use gentle touches or does something I ask or helps me with something, and she seems to enjoy that too (sometimes she randomly picks things up off the floor and gives them to me, it seems like so she can hear me say thank you and get the smile). I find it really helps to focus on the positive behavior and interactions so she doesn't get "special" attention for unpleasant behaviors.

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#9 of 9 Old 03-26-2013, 10:03 AM
 
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My son was the same way. I got this book, it's a kids book, called "Duck & Goose, How are you Feeling?" and I would read it to him every night. It just shows how the duck and goose are feeling but I would explain the pictures. I guess you could really do it with any book. After awhile he got really good at identifying how he was feeling. Of course, that took awhile.

 

In the meantime, if he would hit me, I would place his hand back on him and say hands are not for hitting or telling him that we do not hit mommy because it's not nice, etc. The only advice I really have is that book, though. I feel like it really helped as I applied it to any situation we had during the day! GL!


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