My 13 Month Old Is Lashing Out

Dorsha - posted on 04/25/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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My son is 13 months old, and it seems like everytime he doesn't get his way he screams and will start biting, scratching, or grabbing. And not softly. He draws blood. And I don't know why, we are not angry people. Like when he is bad we tell him you know, don't do that, or thats not nice, and put him in his pak n play for a little bit. Does any one know a good way to break him of this? My sister says to smack his hand and yell at him, but he is only a year old, and I think that is to much. Am I wrong, am I not being firm enough with him?

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Dorsha - posted on 05/08/2010

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Update, my husband is being way more supportive in this.. and Gunnar has his moments, but even when he does he isn't AS rough as before.. when he bites its not drawing blood.. ad usually its a self tempertantraum... not physically hurting anyone, just giving headaches.. and we are working through that as well

Megan - posted on 05/08/2010

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my 13 month old daughter started doing that too.... when she gets mad she bites the closest thing to her, or hit me, shes been hitting me in the face so ill grab her arm (gently of course!) and say "no hit" "be nice" and she usually listens.

Karen - posted on 05/08/2010

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Hi Dorsha,
my son was doing exactly the same thing. I do think it is a stage they go through but with guidance they will grow out of it. It takes awhile to get through to them (seriously I thought I'd go crazy going "No Theo, don't do that, no". He learned reasonably quickly not to hurt me because I'd tell him not to hurt Mummy and to be gentle and if he kept at it he'd get put down on the floor. Same for when he was being too rough with the cat (but it does take a lot of repetition and also praise whenever he was gentle). Funnily enough he was in the kitchen with me and repeatedly trying to touch the oven and I kept on telling him no and he kept on going at it and I was getting more and more agitated because I was trying to make dinner. I've found that smacking his hand only makes him more agitated and way more likely to hit me the next time he gets angry, so I was determined not to hit him (afterall, how can I teach him not to hit if I do it?). Anyway, I stopped, sat down on the floor, pulled him onto my lap and said "Mummy doesn't want you to touch the oven because it's really hot and you will hurt yourself and then you will be sad. And Mummy doesn't want you to be sad so please don't touch the oven" and he stopped touching the oven! I couldn't believe it. I didn't actually think it would work, I was just trying everything I could think of. I'm not saying this will necessarily work for you (or for me next time) but just hang in there, it's not anything you are doing wrong. Just remember to be consistent and set a good example. Which brings me to what your husband is doing. Seriously he needs to cut that out. Your child will not learn that he shouldn't hurt his Mom if he's being rewarded for doing so by his Dad. It's not cool and it's so unsupportive of you. You guys need to be a team to raise your child, so I really hope your husband will understand why he shouldn't act as he has been. Best of luck :)

Courtney - posted on 05/08/2010

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sorry to hear bout ur little one mine is just beggining his tantrums at 14 mths..But one thing i do know for sure is husband should not be laughing at this matter , its a very serious issue and it needs to be handled and he has to do everything you are doing to help the situation not make it worse. I gotta say you must be a strong person cause if my husband did what yours did! Well i better keep my thoughts to myself incase this ever does happen..lol. No but seriously he needs to get his butt on the same page as you if not ur son will never break this habit if hes applauding it and ur punishing him the baby has no idea what to do and since daddy is laughing most of the time hes gonna listen to daddy. And have you tried putting him in his crib or time out chair if u have one when he does these things for time outs? I read the "Be Gentle" and other gestures didnt work for you. If this was me id start with short period time outs..Hope it helps.

Brandi - posted on 05/05/2010

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My daughter screeches so loud and so much that we call her the sonic blaster. When I see that she is getting cranky even a little bit or being mean to us I put her in her bed with a bottle and make her take a nap. i.e. I leave her in there until she does. I did it with my other children and it worked. Also we do the gentle thing.

If my husband did that when our kids were being bad I would hand the baby to him and tell him to deal with him. Just remind your husband that it hurts and keep him involved with everything you do. Also remember everything we do they see and memorize. Babies are like little sponges. I have an almost 5 year old a 3 year old and a 13mth old and the older kids have benefited from the alone time they get when they are bad.
Good luck!

[deleted account]

My son is doing the same things. I've learned that whenever he does these things he is over tired, over stimulated or hungry. He is generally a happy baby so this always surprises me. I do the same as the other moms with showing soft touches and because I really want the word no to be for bigger things I say "ouch, that hurts mommy" instead of "no" all the time. It is a learning curve for all of us and as soon as we get this particular thing under controle I'm sure we'll be back on here with something new to figure out :) Gotta love being a mommy!



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Sharon - posted on 05/03/2010

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My 13 mth old girl does the same. She gets frustrated easily, especially when she's tired and over-stimulated. I try not to spank her because I don't want to teach her that it's okay to use violence to get your way. :p



I try to stick to a routine as much as possible, and let her nap twice a day. I distract her when I can sense that she's getting into a tantrum. If she wants something that's not safe for her, I will give her something else to play with, or take her to another room. When she scratches, I will frown and then tell her sternly "No!". Then I will take her hand, and ask her to stroke me gently instead.

If it isn't anything harmful or rude, usually, I just let her be.



Hmmm, seems like your husband may need some disciplining as well! :p

Dorsha - posted on 05/01/2010

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Thank you everyone. And as for the saying "be gentle" and soft touches it doesn't work he just tries to do it more. And now its even more frustrating because when my son lashes out, my husband laughs and encourages it. And its not funny. Like he was starting to do much better, was taking his aggression out on Teddy.. he would get mad and walk to his room and get teddy and squeeze and pull and yell at it.. then yesterday he lashed out at me and bit me drawing blood on my cheek and my husband laughed and said "that right tell mommy how it is" and he bit me again... I just walked away because my anger was about to get the best of me.

Erin - posted on 04/26/2010

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Also, just keep in mind that babies & toddlers learn from everything...good and bad behavior. You've spent the past year creating an environment where he/she feels safe with you...hitting and yelling only undermines all that. Try even using positive reinforcement. When he is being gentle with you...tell him how nice that is and give him a lot of love and praise. Good luck too btw...it's sooo hard sometimes...I'm forever joking w/my husband that I'm about to stick him in the dog's crate! haaa .

Erin - posted on 04/26/2010

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Slapping and yelling begets more aggresive behavior so I'd leave that out of the eqation.
It seems like saying no, nice is falling on deaf ears but one year olds are just starting to find their voice and that includes tantrums. It sucks but eventually, like everything else, it will pass. Just keep doing what you're doing....sounds like you're on the right track. I put my son down when he starts scratching or biting etc tell him firmly that that's not nice...it hurts mom...no biting. i let him stew or scream or whatever for a minute and then i pick him back up, say nicely that there's no biting or whatever and then if he does it again i go thru it all over again. after a few times he quits...lol but, it's gotten better over the past few mos.

Deundra - posted on 04/26/2010

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Thank God for this website because my daughter is doing the same thing and I thought she was the only child doing those things and it was starting to frustraste me because I thought I was doing something wrong or my baby was just bad. Talking, saying stop, no, don't apply to her, she keeps doing whatever it is like she can't hear. Hand tapping only maks her scream and fall out and has not effect either. Guess this is a phase at age 1 then you go through the Terrible Twos.

Jaimie - posted on 04/26/2010

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i posted a question about tantrums not that long ago... similar stuff.
maci is 13months old now.. and she bit me on purpose for the first time the other day...
she has started doing more of the same as your little one....
i dont yell... i use tone.. and tell her thats not nice, it hurts mummy and put her in time out.
if she does it again.... well i cry.. pretend cry that is. she will go get a dummy attempt to put it in my mouth and cuddle me, the same as i do for her when she is hurt.
the only time my daughter receives a smack is if she has been told not to touch something potentially dangerous.. ie. the oven

i find yelling doesnt work.. it makes them louder, but if you lower the tone of your voice, like you would do to discipline a puppy for example.. they tend to pay attention

Kate - posted on 04/26/2010

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My daughter is 13 months and is doing similar stuff. She will slap and push us away if she doesn't like what she is being told or do the opposite and no matter how close you get to her she will try her hardest to pretend you are not there! We don't smack, we say something like 'no hitting' and then do the same as Michelle said and say 'gentle, good gentle' or something like that whilst holding her hand and stroking/gently touching our face and hers with her hand. It does seem to work, we are also starting to do minor consequences for example when she touches things she is not meant to we gently move her hand away and say 'no touch' after this happens a few times we say something like 'Mummy said no touch, if you touch it again you will have to move away' and then as soon as she reaches for it again (which is normally straight away!) we will say 'Okay now you have to move away - no touch' and move her to a different part of the room. We try to always stay calm even though it is very frustrating as she is clearly testing the boundaries sometimes, it does seem to work eventually, just takes some patience. It is still being firm as you are making it clear that the behaviour is not acceptable but you are doing it without hitting them. You are also giving them warnings and making it clear which part of what they are doing is wrong so it is easier for them to learn. I am not completely against smacking on the hand as sometimes it can help ie when little fingers are about to touch the hot stove! But I think in general when you just smack they are too young to work out what they are being smacked for and what the right behaviour is. At the end of the day you have to parent your children in a way that makes you feel comfortable

Michelle - posted on 04/26/2010

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My son is exactly the same. He is 13mth and he slaps me if he dos not get his own way. I tell him off and get his hand and make him stroke me an say nicely it does work. Try that instead of shouting (If you do) take his hand and stroke your face and his and day nicely no slaping. I was told by health vistor its their way of communicating.

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