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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really know nothing about GD but am pretty desperate for some sort of help. DD is almost 18 months and maliciously pulls my hair, very hard. Keeping it pulled back doesn't help, she will grab it anyway. We talk about being gentle, she signs gentle, and shows me how she can touch gently, but still pulls meanly. She has pulled out chuncks and thinks it is very funny. I have tried time outs
and they seem to have a short term effect (sometimes) but she ultimately keeps doing it. At such a young age, is there any way to teach this is unacceptable? I am so tempted to slap her hand after she does it over and over and over but I don't want to be that person. Help!
 

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Slapping her hand wouldn't have the effect you want, most likely. She will either cry and not understand why you smacked her, or she'll think it's a fun game and slap you back. I'd say "Ouch! That hurts me!" and put her down off your lap every single time. I'd make her wait before you pick her up again, too, and re-emphasize why in short words, short sentences. Have her practice touching your hair gently before you pick her up again.

Also, she may be confused if this is the first time you've expressed displeasure with her actions. My daughter laughed at my angry face for a long time before she actually figured out that I was upset with her for hurting me (she used to be a neck pincher). Check your facial expression to make sure you look sufficiently unhappy, and always follow up with removing her from your lap or arms or whatever. Pretty soon, you can just give her a look, and she'll know she's crossed the line.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by KarmaJoy View Post
I really know nothing about GD but am pretty desperate for some sort of help. DD is almost 18 months and maliciously pulls my hair, very hard. Keeping it pulled back doesn't help, she will grab it anyway. We talk about being gentle, she signs gentle, and shows me how she can touch gently, but still pulls meanly. She has pulled out chuncks and thinks it is very funny. I have tried time outs
and they seem to have a short term effect (sometimes) but she ultimately keeps doing it. At such a young age, is there any way to teach this is unacceptable? I am so tempted to slap her hand after she does it over and over and over but I don't want to be that person. Help!
Here's where you are making this harder for yourself:
1) She's a baby; she's not being malicious.
2) She's a baby; she's not doing it meanly.
3) She's a baby; laughing doesn't necessarily mean she thinks it's funny.

I am sorry you are getting your hair pulled. Babies are fascinated with hair and glasses and earrings...pretty much anything around your face. My 2.5 year old delights in taking out my braid, and still hangs on my braid when I hold her. My 6 year old holds it and rubs it on her face.

I keep my hair braided so it doesn't hurt. You are saying that you keep yours pulled back. If mine was just in a pony, it would hurt to be pulled. In the braid, the pull is distributed so it doesn't hurt. If that didn't work, I'd definitely have cut it!

An 18 month old is too young to understand what you are trying to communicate with a time out. They'll only serve to frustrate you both. Verbal teaching is great in the long run, but probably won't actually result in a change until she's older.

I'm so sorry you are getting hurt. I think prevention is the only strategy that's likely to work.
 

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To be clear, I wasn't recommending a time out; I agree that wouldn't work. Putting the child down when it happens is different from a time out, and it has worked for me with a child that age (it's amazing how much they understand, really). I also agree that the baby isn't being mean or malicious, even though it may feel that way.
 

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Be way more boring! Try gently but quickly taking her hand before she gets it, and in a very calm, serious, and bored tone, say, "Don't pull hair, that hurts."

Then quickly move on to something more fun. If possible, move on before she gets there, because if you can distract her from it before she does it, you won't even have to mention it, and she'll stop sooner.

ITA with chfriend, she's not being malicious, she just likes the reaction, and doesn't have the self-control to stop herself from doing something that is pleasurable. That's why you need to remove the reaction. And personally, I wouldn't bother setting her down off your lap. If she were 2.5, that might be more effective, but it's still a reaction, and she'll still keep trying to get it out of you.
 

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I also agree that when you think that she's doing it maliciously, you make your job more difficult because you are trying to change a behavior that you believe is intent on hurting you. Here's what I tell myself and my DH: Don't take it personally when it hurts! My DD grabs my hair, too. I have a thick tightly curled Afro, and man, she can really get a handful. DH used to grab her wrists and try to pull her away from me. OUCH! So we tried being more gentle. Once I said, "You like mommy's hair?" and she say, "Yes!" I realized that she just thought it was cool stuff and wanted to see what it felt like to pull. Now I calmly ask, "Are you being gentle with mommy's hair?" And I repeat it until she rubs it gently. Then I give her a hug and get my head out of the way! Sometimes I give her the brush and let her give me a "puff puff."
 

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My daughter is the same age, and I do what NatenSarah suggests, basically I duck or block her hand and then move on to something else. If she persists more than twice or so trying to swat my face or hair, I get up and move away -- so she can't reach -- and engage her in playing with something else.

It improved here, though, I have to say over the learning-to-crawl and pulling-up phases. A year ago I literally winced when I saw her coming and seriously considered cutting my hair to the scalp
The thought of those sticky, drooled on fingers in my hair still gives me the willies...I'll take the 18mo, fascinated-with-my-face stage gladly
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by chfriend View Post
Here's where you are making this harder for yourself:
1) She's a baby; she's not being malicious.
2) She's a baby; she's not doing it meanly.
3) She's a baby; laughing doesn't necessarily mean she thinks it's funny.

I am sorry you are getting your hair pulled. Babies are fascinated with hair and glasses and earrings...pretty much anything around your face. My 2.5 year old delights in taking out my braid, and still hangs on my braid when I hold her. My 6 year old holds it and rubs it on her face.

I keep my hair braided so it doesn't hurt. You are saying that you keep yours pulled back. If mine was just in a pony, it would hurt to be pulled. In the braid, the pull is distributed so it doesn't hurt. If that didn't work, I'd definitely have cut it!

An 18 month old is too young to understand what you are trying to communicate with a time out. They'll only serve to frustrate you both. Verbal teaching is great in the long run, but probably won't actually result in a change until she's older.

I'm so sorry you are getting hurt. I think prevention is the only strategy that's likely to work.
I have to disagree. At 18 months my dd is capable of anger, frustration, and being mean. Likewise, she most often is happy, content and sweet. I think when she was younger, she did it for reaction/interest. Now, she does it when she doesn't like something I say. For instance, I take her off the table which she loves to climb on and ask her to play in the living room. She says "No!" Then she pulls my hair. She does it sometimes to express anger. She pulled a childs hair that took her toy yesterday. I have spent many months handling this calming, practicing genty touching my hair, and it is only getting worse.

She understands that it hurts...she signs hurt half the time when she does it. Then signs "sorry" which I usually insist on.

As far as keeping it back, it is in a bun most of the time, which she grabs at the scalp and pulls out. IF I cut it, she would still pull it. I would have to shave it...which isn't going to happen.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by KarmaJoy View Post
I have to disagree. At 18 months my dd is capable of anger, frustration, and being mean. Likewise, she most often is happy, content and sweet. I think when she was younger, she did it for reaction/interest. Now, she does it when she doesn't like something I say. For instance, I take her off the table which she loves to climb on and ask her to play in the living room. She says "No!" Then she pulls my hair. She does it sometimes to express anger. She pulled a childs hair that took her toy yesterday. I have spent many months handling this calming, practicing genty touching my hair, and it is only getting worse.

She understands that it hurts...she signs hurt half the time when she does it. Then signs "sorry" which I usually insist on.

As far as keeping it back, it is in a bun most of the time, which she grabs at the scalp and pulls out. IF I cut it, she would still pull it. I would have to shave it...which isn't going to happen.
I have 2 kids a 15 yo ds who I will admit when he was little I did the handslap thing
:and a 19 mo dd who sounds very much like you described.

First off I can say that the handslap doesn't work and in the end it has the potential to damage your relationship with your child.

I read your post and man does your dd sound EXACTLY like my dd, I know what you mean about them understanding but for me what keeps me focused is knowing at 19 mos she has no impulse control. Its like why the hell does she insist on dumping dinner out on the floor and then get mad when I pick it up.
:

No, what I have found useful is changing my perception of what is the problem, and looking at it from her viewpoint. At 18/19 mos, the world is so new of course they want to explore it. My job is to make it safe, so what do I do about hair, well at home I often wear a scarve and gentle direct her not to touch my hair or earrings. I have dreadlocs so she loves to touch em but lately she has gotten good at not touch my hair.

I encourage you to read Naomi Aldort's book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves. This book can be a little hokey but what she says has gone a long way in reducining our struggles.

Good Luck!

Shay
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by KarmaJoy View Post
I have to disagree. At 18 months my dd is capable of anger, frustration, and being mean. Likewise, she most often is happy, content and sweet. I think when she was younger, she did it for reaction/interest. Now, she does it when she doesn't like something I say. For instance, I take her off the table which she loves to climb on and ask her to play in the living room. She says "No!" Then she pulls my hair. She does it sometimes to express anger. She pulled a childs hair that took her toy yesterday. I have spent many months handling this calming, practicing genty touching my hair, and it is only getting worse.

She understands that it hurts...she signs hurt half the time when she does it. Then signs "sorry" which I usually insist on.

As far as keeping it back, it is in a bun most of the time, which she grabs at the scalp and pulls out. IF I cut it, she would still pull it. I would have to shave it...which isn't going to happen.
I think you are putting adult logic on a child. She does not know what it is to be "mean" at 18 months of age. She is far too ego-centric to understand what it means to hurt somebody and if you believe that she is capable of those kinds of advanced emotions then you will continue to be angry at her for something that she doesn't intend. Children at 18 months cannot look at somebody being hurt and understand how that applies to themselves.

When she grabs your hair, cover her hand with yours and keep it pressed against your head. Don't pull back. Then gently press on her knuckles so that she releases your hair. My DD did the same thing to me and this trick was taught to me by a friend who has 5 kids!
 

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My middle child has a temper-- when she was 18m, she would bite when she was mad. The only thing that helped was learning to spot the signs she was about to bite, and preventing it. If your dd is angry, keep her away from your hair. I tried not to get mad about it, if only because being calm when I acted made it more effective.

IMO, its not reasonable to expect an 18 m.o. to care about hurting other people-- its too young to expect empathy. Try not to interpret his actions as if he were older-- I know that he is intentionally pulling hair, but he's doing it for how it makes HIM feel and the interesting reaction he gets, not because he wants someone else to hurt, or even cares if they do-- just because you have taught him the sign for "hurt" doesn't mean that he understands that other people hurt in the same way he hurts, and since he doesn't like to hurt, he shouldn't hurt other people.

ZM
 

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I agree that you are projecting way negative intentions to your dd, that just don't exist.

However...I DO NOT think that it's one of those "accept it, it will pass eventually" things. I never let my ds hurt me or my animals. But I always assumed that he *wanted* to do the socially acceptable thing. If he was hitting, it was because that was the best way he knew to express himself.
What I did was figure out WHY he was hitting. Then I'd teach him a socially acceptable alternative way to express that impulse.
So if he's hitting the dog because she's in his face, I told him "If you want her to move, tell her 'MOVE!' or come get me."
He went through a phase where he was hitting me with books. I tried saying "NO!", I tried explaining (I do think that explaining is important, but you need to do more than JUST explain), I tried leaving the room when he did it, I even smacked his hand once. NONE of it had any positive effect at all. It just made it worse.
What worked was this: I figured out WHY he was hitting me with books- he wanted me to read to him. Then I told him "if you want me to read, put the book in my hand." That was the answer. I might have reminded him twice, and that was a lesson that has carried over for the last year or more.

So for your dd's hair pulling out of anger, my suggestion would be to give her acceptable ways to express her anger- maybe making a "mad face," maybe clap her hands, perhaps give her an asl sign, etc. But if she doesn't know an acceptable way to express it, she's going to do it in the best way she knows how- and that seems to be hair pulling. lol

In Einstein Never Used Flashcards, there is an experiment to determine at what age kids realize that people have thoughts that aren't the same as the child's. It's something like this- There are three people- dc, mom, and experimenter. Experimenter holds out an m&m box, and asks dc and mom what is in the box. They both answer m&m's. Then she asks mom to leave the room, and she takes the m&m's out and puts pencils in the bag. The experimenter asks dc what's in the bag now. She answers pencils. Then the experimenter asks dc what MOM will say is in the bag.
In general, the 3yo's say that mom will say there is pencils in the bag. Because they assume that mom has the same knowledge and thoughts that they have. If they know its pencils, mom will too.
The 4 yo's say that mom will say it's m&m's, because they know that even though THEY know it's pencils that mom didn't see the switch.

So dc's under 3 or so just don't have much understanding that people have different thoughts than they have. They just aren't capable of it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by KarmaJoy View Post
. Now, she does it when she doesn't like something I say. For instance, I take her off the table which she loves to climb on and ask her to play in the living room. She says "No!" Then she pulls my hair.
Just wondering- when SHE does something YOU don't like, is your response along the same lines? Without the physical pain, of course, but is your typical response to say "no" then do something she doesn't like? If so, she may just be doing what you do.
 

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I absolutely agree that your baby is capable of being angry. She was capable of anger as a newborn. She's just not yet able to understand what it means to hurt another person.

You are getting hurt, which can make you angry, even if the other person didn't mean to hurt you. It's so hard not to "see red" when someone is hurting you.

It's a phase she'll outgrow. In the meantime, preventing an ouch-y head seems like a priority. Maybe a scarf?
 

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My DD used to bite me and I think I understand your feelings.


What helped us was for me to really work hard to try and pinpoint what triggered the biting. How was she feeling just prior to the biting? What events led up to it? Was there something different about biting days and non-biting days?

Eventually we eliminated the triggers that led to biting and continued to reinforce the idea that we can't let her hurt people. We would remove her from me (hard to do when her mouth is on your arm) and calmly say "We don't hurt people. It makes them sad."

Others have said how important it is to view the behaviors as behaviors and take OUR emotion out of it.

At this young age the behaviors we see as violent are just a means for the little ones to release some emotions and try to regain balance.
 

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I have to agree with the others, motive wise. At 18 months, they just aren't capable of understanding how someone else feels, much less be able to control their impulses. They are all about the moment and what feels good to them. Remember, that, even if they can sign lots of different things, it doesn't mean that they can fully understand the entire scope of the word or concept. And their language is very limited.

I agree with the others, also, that it should be more about prevention at this point. When she is in a situation that she is likely to pull hair (like getting off the table), maybe just gently guide her by the hand to a different toy, and engage her in something else.

Instead of saying, "No, get off the table." Try phrasing it in a way that makes it sound like she's off to do something fun, rather than take something away from her. Like, "Let's go play with the blocks, in the living room! Come on!"

I have a 15 month old (as well as two older children that have gone through this phase), and if she is getting into a mood of constant pulling, poking, or other ungentle touches, and modeling them to her is simply not working to disrupt or distract her behavior, I will put her down for a moment. This is not what she wants, usually, and lets me know. I ask her if she wants to try again, and pick her back up (seriously, folks, she's down for a few seconds). This, usually, resets her. If it doesn't, there is usually some other reason for the behavior (tired, hungry, not getting enough direct attention, etc.), and I take care of it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bec View Post

Instead of saying, "No, get off the table." Try phrasing it in a way that makes it sound like she's off to do something fun, rather than take something away from her. Like, "Let's go play with the blocks, in the living room! Come on!"

This is what we do now and I find that it makes a ton of difference with my dd. When she inisists on wearing her coat to bed and starts tantruming, we now have a ritutal where the coat goes to bed and we say good night and all that jazz. Turned what was becoming a struggle into a silly game and stopped the tantrum and annoying behavior.

Shay
 
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