My 18 month old won't stop hitting, biting, and pinching.

Melany - posted on 04/05/2010 ( 44 moms have responded )

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Do any of you have any advice for me. I am trying time outs. sitting against the wall. The mommy eyes. What can I possibly do to stop this.

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Sunrise - posted on 04/12/2010

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Through my years or parenting my three kids I've learned, consistency is key. I hear a lot of "we've tried this, this and this and nothing has worked" but in reality at 18 months they dont always recall what the consequence was last time they bit and being consistent makes the outcome predictable but is going to take time. You'll need to choose one consequence and stick to it for a length of time appropriate for how often the behvior happens before the child can predit the outcome on his/her own. Make sense? IMO hitting or biting back only uses physical means of punnishment to show the child when your not happy with an action you can stop it by being physical back. And while this may work for a bit the example that is set is long term. By all means, I have seen the "biting them back" work but not for a child who continues to do so... if you try it once and it doesn't work then you shouldn't continue.

It can be hard in the heat of the moment to step back and think about things but what you teach them now will grow with them. So think about it this way, you should be teaching them why the action is not okay not just punnishing them for the behavior. We found it to be immensly helpful to use sign language as a way to communicate with our LO. Using simple signs such as "hurt + mommy" communicates that the behavior is harmful. We also verbalize and explain why, for example: "biting is good for food but not for people, are you hungry?" "hitting hurts"(and then remove them to another task to help them put a stop to the behavior) "we throw balls but not___, would you like to play with a ball?" We use the "hurt" sign when something happens IE our LO falls and is upset by the fall we can use the sign to describe how shes feeling. We include it often, when I get hurt and she has witnessed it I can sign "hurt" and she can attach the action to the sign. Then when she is fussy I can ask her is she is "hurt" and she can usually respond with yes or no or sometimes will point to a body part. Our LO only attempted to bite once and stopped all on her own. I dont recall her successfully biting the one time she attempted. Occassionally she'll get into the "hitting is silly" and will hit someone and laugh and laugh at you when you tell her not to but signing has helped her cut down on this significantly. I've not had to use time outs, dont plan to use spanking at a means of punnishment at all, and have not had to deal with biting (yet, knock on wood). Best of luck to all those who are currently dealing with these parenting issues!

Amy - posted on 04/17/2014

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I can't believe the amount of mom's actually condoning biting and hitting a child!!!! NO where is it ok to strike another person oh wait unless they are not only smaller and weaker than you are but rely on you for safety and security. Really one of the posters actually said "you bit mommy so now I'm going to bit you" " you hit mommy and now I'm going to hit you". Are you f*cking kidding me????? What the heck did you just teach them??? You don't like what someone did to you, hit them!! Disgusting people. I don't want my kids to be solders snapping to my every command and request. They are people and have their own thoughts and feelings that need to be respected. THATS how kids learn respect. Peaceful parenting is NOT easier!! Spanking is a copout for lazy people who have no control or skills to something better. My 18 month old bites (he's my 5th baby and never had a biter before so this is uncharted waters for me). I actually came on here looking for some advice. Biting, hitting, timeouts, locking in their rooms while they scream at the door (how frightening for them) is all we can come up with???? I will continue to say no bite and put him down. It comes from lack of verbal skills. Weather is be physically not enough words/no words, or just not being able to verbalize their very big emotions. It's our job to help them through it and find a way out not punish them for being immature at life. Geez moms really sit and think about the message you are sending to these babies!!

Jessica - posted on 04/23/2010

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i dont mean to be a snob but when people ask for help or opinions you give it to them every parent is different and has different refrences in raising their children. i dont really think this site is to start judeing on how other peopl react with their children in different situations so dont bring up the bible in defense and tell mothers that their in the wrong. we need to keep our negative opinions to ourselves and let mothers get different views and whatever one they chose to do thats their decision. STOP judging.

Juliana - posted on 04/22/2010

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The other tip I have had is to stay away from words like "No" and "Don't". When you say "Don't bite" for example- your child hears the word Bite. They don't understand the concept of don't just yet. Save "No" for extreme situations so it isn't overused.

Tammy - posted on 04/15/2010

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NOoooo they are not bullies! This is the only way they know how to express themselves. It can be a defense mechanism, a way of trying to communicate and a way to try dealing with thier new emotions! My 18 mth old started doing this approx 4 months ago, and you just need to be consistant with "gentle" "no hitting"..it will pass. I dont think using a "time out" will teahc them not to react this way when upset, showing them how to communicate when they are upset is best. My son now furrows his eyebrow when he gets mad, says "ouch" and the hitting is at a minimum.
As they learn new ways to communicate, and deal with their unbridled emotions this gets better.
Good Luck!

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Melodie - posted on 05/06/2010

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THE HAPPIEST TODDLER ON THE BLOCK! Find the video at your library or borrow from a friend. It works! As soon as I acknowledge what my son is upset about and he realizes I "get" it, he stops the behavior.

Laura - posted on 04/30/2010

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I do time out for one minute. I shut the door to his room and leave. He calms now, but used to just scream at the door the whole minute. Then I go in and talk about being gentle and not hitting. I touch his face gently and say "gentle" on my face. He usually imitates me and calms down and hugs me. I think that is his apology. Usually he hits when I say "no" to something or take something from him he wants and is usually tired. It seems to be working, but he still does it when very cranky. I think it is a long battle. Just keep working at it.

Renee - posted on 04/22/2010

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my 19 month old went thru this faze of biting i tried everything i had learnt with distraction (i work at a daycare) and isolation is the best way (time outs) when the biter had bitten the other child i pick up the child very firmly put them in the corner and say no biting you are to stay here for 2 mins (how old the child is x 1min) biting is not ok then completely ignore them and turn my attention to the other child giving cuddles and cold wet flannels if need be. the fact that they can no longer play with their friends is more than enough for some children, but ignorance is great it really makes them feel bad so that if they bite again they no they will feel like that. when the childs time out is up, i say we do not bite, we use our gentle hands biting is not ok go give other child a cuddle, but never make them say sorry as they learn to say it but not mean it. hope this helps in anyway!

Jessica - posted on 04/22/2010

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i agree with robin redmond with the biting, slapping,pinching, ect... it sounds really bad but when my 18 months old daughter did that stuff to me i didn't know what to do and i was just letting her do it and i was puttin her on timeouts scolleding her and nothing was working. then i was trying to figure a way to let her know that it hurts and how bad it feels what she is doing to me without being to physical. i talked it over with my mother and came to the conclusion to do it right back at her and give her alittle taste of what she is dishing out and to be honest a couple of days later she hasn't touched me like that again. just a little slap on the hand, alittle nibble, or a little pinch back isn't going to her your child. to be honest ladies i dont know what your guys views are on the situation or dicipline area but it worked with my child. good luck to you all.

Juliana - posted on 04/22/2010

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I have been going through this too. I actually just took a Mindful Parenting class and have tried the techniques and they really work! Model the behavior you want to see. Tell them in a mater of fact voice that "teeth are for chewing food - not biting. You may not bite me. You can bite (insert a toy, food..whatever)"- or "Arms are for hugging, not hitting. We are nice to each other. You may not hit me - you can (give them something positive to do)." Whatever you do, give them usable information. It really does wok! Good luck!

Dawn - posted on 04/16/2010

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Hi my 18mth old went through this stage what i did was try to ignore the negiative things and gave her lots of praise for the positive I found that this worked as when i was telling her no she was getting my attention but when i stopped it and only noticed her being good she stopped biting ect it works for some babies so give it a try good luck

[deleted account]

Its normal ..... your baby needs more attention !!!! Jelousy starts now . Mine bites , hits ...... everything mentioned . This is also a phase . Change the way you handle it . Rather pick up your baby . Give his 3 kisses for every bite , and softly say , no , do not bite . If it doesnt work , bite back ( not that hard ) so your baby are able to understand WHY NO TO BITING AND HITTING

Christina - posted on 04/15/2010

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Spanking does not teach them to hit, that is a proven fact. My father and grandparents spanked me and I knew not to hit them back. My brother tried to hit my grandparents and dad before because he was mad at them, but rarely did he. My last alternative is spanking, but the whole positive reinforcement does not always work. Spanking is not striking a child, it's not abuse. There is a difference and that is why most kids these days have no respect, why the talk back to there parents and get in trouble. I have a few friends who never have spanked their children because they don't believe in it. They believe talking to them and just postive reinforcement and their children slap, hit, curse, act up all the time. You can tell which kids are deciplined and which are not. Some times talking does help, but not all the time. I try to talk to my son, but if he keeps up, I spank him not beat him. My grandparents spanked me when I got out of line and I turned out fine. I'll be Da*** if someone comes up to me and tells me not to correct my son the way I want to. If they want to turn me over to social services over a spanking to correct my son, let me. They will see that my son is not being harmed any way, no one should tell me or anyone spanking is wrong and the way I am teaching my son is wrong. I love my son and I will not have him grow up like some of my friends kids, I want him to respect others and behavior in public. Spanking is not always the answer, but sometimes you have to.

Jessica - posted on 04/15/2010

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I'm a little old school but daughter bite me once. She was playing and laughing and snuggled into my collar bone and bit down HARD, even leaving a mark, I didn't skip a beat I leaned over and bit her in the exact same spot, not as hard but hard enough for her to know what I was doing and she hasn't bit me again.
That was almost 5 months ago.
The hitting isn't as easy to break but we're working on it right now she hits me or anyone else and I say "That's not nice! Do not hit again or Momma will hit you" She hits again and I say"Momma told you NOT to hit, now I'm going to hit you like you hit me" I only managed to slap her back once now just saying that I am going to hit her back brings out the tears and a big kiss and hug for Momma to say she's sorry.

So people have told me the hitting the kids back has backfired especially in a situation where the children are with other kids all day, like a daycare setting, the hitter gets hit and instead of telling an adult they take it upon them selves to hit back. So ar these methods have worked for us, I'm a stay at home mom so any interaction my little one has with other kids is always very closely supervised. Good luck to you and Lauren.

Alison - posted on 04/15/2010

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@ Sunrise - your response was the best! I would say exactly what you said, but you already did. :) To the original poster, Melany: My biggest lesson from motherhood (and it applies to EVERYTHING!) is "This too shall pass." It's not like the kiddo's going to be biting his/her friends in high school ;-)

Tammy - posted on 04/15/2010

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In response to the post:
spank ya kids then time out, while explaining the reason for discipline. The bible says drive the foolishness out of a childs heart with the rod of correction, be blessed mommy's

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WHAT THE...!!! WHY do you assume "the ROD OF CORRECTION" means HIT! I can interpret that several ways! While I am not against spanking, I DON"T think it is nessecary to STRIKE a child! with a grown daughter, a teenager, and an 18 month old I have never had to do this. Simply teaching them in a loving way, offering diversions and positive reinforcement is generally all one needs! And of course the patience of Job, They are trying to express themselves, and overcome the new emotions taking over, hitting them only teaches them to HIT!

Your interpretation of the bible is skewed by what your parents, and parents parents have made you believe. For a second, might you consider that this phrase means that WE "the parents" are the Rod of correction, and WE "the parents" should correct them in a positive loving way!

[deleted account]

Wow, we nipped this in the bud when it started, and don't haven't had the problem of hitting and biting for six months. I use the same method my parents used on me. . . a good ole fashion spanking.

Nikki - posted on 04/15/2010

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I'm also interested in tips... only my problem is my daughter does it at daycare when I'm not around!!!

Toni - posted on 04/15/2010

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Both my children were biters, and i bit them back , just enough so they knew what it felt like, and my son stopped, my daughter is 19 months and to get her to stop another child at the babysitters bit her back and she got so upset that she stopped as well!!

Stacey - posted on 04/14/2010

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I am in the same situation as Belinda. Although my twins are boy/girl. My little girl is the big bully. But both of them do hit, bite, slap. You name it. It is VERY hard to be consistant. Especially with two the same age. And when we thought that our daughter was biting our son, it turned out alot of the times he was biting himself in the arms when he gets mad. Even as far as banging his head on the floor. I just take them to their rooms, put them in their cribs and say NO Bite or NO hit. It works sometimes but it's still hard. Thanks for all the advice!!!

Carmen - posted on 04/14/2010

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OMG !!!! I'm not alone. My 19th month old daughter is what I call a bully. She bites, pinchs, slaps and hits. I do time outs and keeping telling myself she's learning, she's learning.

I don't have any answers but good luck to all.

Carmen

Liz - posted on 04/13/2010

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I've been reading "The Happiest Toddler on the Block", it has worked wonders for us!!!

Jennifer - posted on 04/13/2010

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Is this an epidemic? I am so glad that someone else is having this issue! So glad. I am a working mother so not only do I have to discipline her at home, for the little bit I get to spend with her before bed time, I have her babysitter questioning whether or not I actually AM doing anything. I have tried sternly saying no, but that didn't work. I tried sitting in time out, but that doesn't work. Our next step is to use a play pen. I will let you know how that works. Good luck, and I feel your pain!

Kelly - posted on 04/13/2010

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My 18 month old does the same....he only bites me which makes me feel like the worst mother ever! When his dad is around he acts like a little angel. I have tried everything i can think of to make him stop! Im pregnant and due in 8 weeks and im terrified he's going to 'kick off' when im trying to feed the baby!

Lameyci - posted on 04/13/2010

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Wow! I am not alone. My son does the same things. It does get hard. I never tried to ignore the negative behavior, I will try that also. Thanks for sharing!!

Rebecca - posted on 04/12/2010

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i have my little one who bites,scratches and hits. I honestly think that its really a damned if you do damned if you don't. I think that its better to teach them right from wrong while they are learning and if you use spanking as a part of discipline then you encourage hitting and if you don't spank them they think that its OK to hit. This is a hard one to call. If someone comes up with a really good method please let us know.

Christina - posted on 04/12/2010

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My son does the same thing, I ignore him when he throws his fits. When he bites, hits, and slaps me, I spank his but and tell him no. I expalin to him that it hurts mommy, I also say ouch to let him know too. I do put him in time out whenever he acts up like this after I spank him. I know some people don't spank their kids, but when everything fails, it doesn't hurt to spank them sometimes. When I do take him out of time out, I tell him why I put him in time out, in his crib or high chair so he can't hurt himself or others. After a while, he has calmed down on the bitting, hitting, and slapping. Just don't give into him or it will get worse, trust me I know. If you put him in a safe place and stick to it and ignore him it will sink in, but it takes time. My son started acting up at 15 months old, he is now 19 months and he just started to calm down. It was hard, but I made it and still sticking with it. Good Luck

Amy - posted on 04/12/2010

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My son started doing hitting and biting and pinching too, after timouts became "fun" and not helpful, I started taking his hand and rubbing where he hit and telling him nice hands, and asked him to use his words. After a few dozen times he got it. He is not perfect and still hits on occasion, but I just ask him if I can see his nice hands and he'll "show" them to me. Good Luck!

[deleted account]

I know it works, but I have a problem with the idea of hurting a child in order to teach them not to hurt someone else...hitting them while telling them not to hit or biting them to teach them not to bite etc.
We had the same problem & for a while tried time outs. It ended up getting worse & sometimes it felt like we were constantly sitting my daughter in the corner. I read a book on positive discipline & the technique it suggested really seems to be working. We use it when she's pinching, etc, but also when she starts yelling, tantruming or throwing a fit. Basically it's as follows:
1) identify & label the feeling (ie/ are you mad? you're sad right now? etc, etc...)
2) talk about why & have some empathy (ie/ mommy says you can't climb on the table and it's making you mad. It's hard when we want to do something and someone won't let us.....etc.)
3) talk about inappropriate action (ie/ it's ok to be mad, but we don't pinch when we're mad; pinching hurts...etc.)
4) re-direct (ie/ let's read some books instead, ok?)

I know it might seem like a bit of a process, but I've seen a very noticible difference since we started doing this--in fact, my daughter rarely tries to hurt me anymore, but will still go after my husband, who doesn't use this technique as consistently as I've been. I figured it was worth a shot--after all, a lot of frustration & acting out at this stage tends to be about an inability to communicate. Hope it works for you too!

Stephanie - posted on 04/12/2010

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My daughter bit me a few times. So i bit her back. Not hard or anything but enough to make her mad. Since then she hasn't done it again.

Misty - posted on 04/12/2010

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Ah now I can only imagine the reactions I will get.... My daughter tried the bitting thing, we tried the spatting the hand and popping her bottom but it didn't seem to help. I asked my Mom about it, if my brother and I had done something like that. She told me that we did. My brother bit her she bit him back, not too hard but enough for him to realize that he was hurting her. Me, I guess I bit my brother so hard I left a bruise, so she did the same thing. After that neither of us bit again. So there I am, Lydia bit the crap outta me, I bit her back then put on the upset face, she became upset too, hugging and kissing trying to make up for it. I held out for a minute then hugged her and said I was sorry, she snuggled up and that was the end of biting. I realize the trend now is no physicality with kids, but they don't understand that they are causing pain when they do these things. They don't understand you telling them that it hurts, because they don't understand pain. Obviously you don't want to hurt your child, I didn't even get hard enough to leave a bruise (and we bruise easily) but they have to have a guideline to go by. As to the head banging, my doc said it's probably because of teething pain and so long as they aren't hurting themselves, they should be past it by 2 or so.

Kelly - posted on 04/12/2010

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Yes, definitely agree with not smacking, I think children grow up faster than when we were little. They dont seem to be baby's anymore at 18mo. The fustration seems more intense. But as a parent you do what you think is best.
But I have slapped my daughters hand for playing with electrical sockets, she started slapping soon after... so I quickly had to change tactic, she did bite her dad - only once - we set her aside ignored her and I made a huge deal about daddy being sore... and very quickly she began to whimper and came to kiss it better :) Now we just firmly say no...and she already starts the water works.

Leslie - posted on 04/11/2010

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I might have to disagree with anyone who does a physical action to correct a behavior on our little ones at this age. On the flip side, I grew up with spankings like many of us probably did. But one thing I know as a parent, the kids learn by imitation so it really would scare me to do a physical act, albeit small or really not hurtful, but I think it would break my heart. I just think talking to them at their level and explaining what was wrong with the action teaches them so much more than any physical response. Anyhow...maybe I've been watching too many episodes of Super Nanny :).

Veronica - posted on 04/11/2010

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my 18 month old son bit me once! i popped him on the mouth (not hard but just enough to sting) and now he doesn't bite. just a thought! hope this helps!!!

Kelly - posted on 04/11/2010

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LOL...same here! But apparently this is the start of the terrible twos :) They are trying to assert themselves :)
So mommies we need to be consistant and dont fold... so tempting sometimes :)
I find somethings work for a week and then the next week a different reaction works...but ignoring has been pretty successful with me, but not with daddy... she will do something funny to get dads attention...

Belinda - posted on 04/10/2010

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Hi I am a mum of twin 18 month old boys, One of my boys bites kicks hits slaps etc We have got him to stop by getting down to his level putting our open palm up near his face and staying stop .. yes it works most of the time and for the other times he has time out ... My other son on the other hand is just plain cheeky he doesnt bite or hit but he climbs and laughs at us when we tell him No Stop so I dont have all the answers but this helps with my boys Time out seems to work but as long as it is only a short time Good Luck and thanks for other ideas

Tiffany - posted on 04/10/2010

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I have an 18 month old boy that hits an throws as well. It has gotten a lot better, when he hits we over dramatize it hurting so and this sounds bad but then he cries and feels bad and says he is sorry by hugging and kissing. If he acts like he is going to hit or throw something I say No thank you if he doesn't do it them we praise him. Redirecting sometimes works, but we found time outs didn't work. Trying to not hit him it the hardest or throw back. A lot of times it is attention they are wanting an also a phase that they go through because they need to communicate. It does help knowing that we are not alone. Raising these 3 ft monsters.

Robin - posted on 04/10/2010

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spank ya kids then time out, while explaining the reason for discipline. The bible says drive the foolishness out of a childs heart with the rod of correction, be blessed mommy's.

Angela - posted on 04/10/2010

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Wow! I thought I was doing something wrong, but hearing all of these comments it is pretty normal behavior I guess! My son just turned 19 months and we have been dealing with the same thing( head bangs, biting, pinching and scratching) it is just a phase that will be out grown. Hopefully soon! Just have to be persistent with what you want from your child, not to confuse them. Hope the best of luck to everyone in the same boat :-)

Fiona - posted on 04/06/2010

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Well, my son the biter, began when teething and continued for 2 months when happy to see a friend! Now my son warns us before he bites by saying oww! but then he still tries, i have to jump btw him and whoever took a toy away or whatever his motivation! Anyway, once he learns new ways to express himself this soon shall pass. we do high fives, fist bumps, waves when happy and try to control his excitement. Of course there are still throw down on ground tantrums but usually snaps out pretty fast ( a cookie, a book, a hug, a song on ipod to dance to...).

Kelly - posted on 04/06/2010

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My son is the same he also head buts me the wall the floor everything if he gets upset, just dont know what to do!, although someone did say to me that once they can say what they want it does stop because they get frustrated with not been understood

Leslie - posted on 04/05/2010

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We've noticed if we ignore the behavior about three consecutive times, our little one stops. It's hard but we give no reaction and make no eye contact for the behavior, then make sure we give immediate positive reinforcement for the next thing he does that is positive.

Lauren - posted on 04/05/2010

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Oh god....I am glad you posted this. I am in the very same boat and am getting frustrated with not only my daughter but myself. I know parenting is difficult but sometimes I feel like a total failure when she continually slaps, bites and pinches. I've tried time outs, holding her arms down, saying no, ignoring the behavior...you name it! I just wish I had a magic switch to make her stop! I appreciate any advice too!!

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