pinching and pulling hair

Sheri - posted on 08/13/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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I have a 5 month old daughter and she has started pulling hair and pinching. I know she is not doing it intentionally and she doesn't know that it hurts. I am just wondering if there is a way to teach her not to or how to prevent her from doing it.

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Candice - posted on 08/13/2009

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yeah, 5 months is a little young for it to be intentional. i would suggest avoidance...keep her hands away from anything you don't want pinched or pulled. you can start using the word NO in a firm low voice just to start the pattern, but at this age she probably won't get it's meaning. whatever you do, don't make a joke of it. i found that when i said "ow that hurts"..my daughter would just laugh. at this age, removal from the situation is probably your only real option.

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Hanna - posted on 08/14/2009

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oh yeah, i can definitely relate -- pinching, scratching and kicking -- mommy, aka punching bag. it's not intentional -- at this stage kids still don't know how to control emotions and reflexes, so they attempt to grab and kick when they get excited (i know, not pleasant, i got bruises up and down my hips & sometimes he kicks me right in my c-section scar). well, it'll pass, in the meantime -- avoidance is a good course of action as well as re-directing the grabs -- instead of your baby trying to grab your face or put those little fingers in your eyes or mouth or pull your hair, give her a toy. i also taught my son (5.5 months) "let go" -- that way he is not really reprimanded for what he did, but more like ok, it's time to stop now, let go. most of the time, it does the trick almost right away and after that, i give him a toy or something else to play with. if it doesn't work, then firmly grab her arm (not hard, just firmly like you mean business and say let go again, sometimes they don't realize that they did -- just grabbed on to the whatever was next to the hand).

just remember, this too will pass. it's a phase, a very important one in baby's development -- will help master writing & picking up smaller objects. good luck to you!

Kristen - posted on 08/14/2009

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. . . While i know it hurts, you should be very excited to know that your little one has started a different stage in her physical development. A pincer grasp is incredibly difficult for babies to master . . . and if yours is pinching then she has mastered it!



Now . . . how to avoid it, like others have said, simply stop the action. Instead of using negative reinforcement (saying NO!) use positive reinforcement. Tell her what she can do instead of what she can not. Your little one is way too young to understand what you are trying to do but this will condition you to use positive reinforcement, which studies have shown works best.

Brittanie - posted on 08/13/2009

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I have a 9 month old son and he has been doing the same thing, but less often now. We did what Candice said and started telling him "NO" and pulling his hands away whenever he reached for our face or hair. Whenever we say "ouch!" he laughs out loud! But he is starting to understand when we say NO firmly. He flashes a big grin and it is so hard not to laugh! But he drops his hands and usually goes and plays with something else.

Also, do you have any other children? My son is our only child and I started taking him around other babies his age more often and that has seemed to help as well. At first I had to watch him like a hawk but now he plays nice. Good luck!

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