My son is MEAN!

Heather - posted on 08/17/2010 ( 90 moms have responded )

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He is only 11 months and he bites, hits, scratches, pulls my hair and throw toys at me! How do I get him to stop?? He hurts me everyday! Help...

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Tabitha - posted on 08/17/2010

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I also do not suggest biting your child back. If you are trying to teach your child not to bite why would you do that very same thing? Remember your children look up to you and want to be just like you. It may work at the time but it will not work for you in the future. All babies need at this age in the form of discipline is redirection. Using no will only work for so long. When he bites you turn his head and look him in the eyes, tell him Ouch! That hurts! We don't bite! Then promptly get his attention elsewhere, like through a beloved toy. If that doesn't work you remove either yourself or himself from the situation whichever is safer. He can go in his crib for a few minutes or you can sit on the couch and read.My son is 13 months old and he started this same behavior at 10 months. After two weeks of using this method he has stopped biting,and hitting and throwing things. He hasn't done it once since. Good Luck!

Anna - posted on 08/19/2010

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Your 11 month old is emotionally and mentally incapable of really understanding exactly what kind of a consequence his behavior has. To him, biting is a new activity he's just discovered and he's exploring it. I suspect he's exploring other ways of expressing himself too (with the hitting and throwing of toys), and releasing frustration. That is totally normal baby behavior and doesn't make your child "mean" or "evil". He's growing and learning about the world. Your job as his parent is to help him understand what is and is not appropriate. I can guarantee you that no child development professional ever would recommend that you discipline your child by acting out that exact same behavior you want to prevent. That's just dumb, to be frank. When I want my son, who's 7 months, to understand that scratching or hitting isn't appropriate, I use time outs. I put him down and ignore him for a set amount of time, usually for a few minutes. He isn't mature enough to have a long enough memory to never hit or scratch again, but he does understand that if he behaves that way, he gets ignored. And he doesn't like being ignored. You train dogs this way, too, to encourage appropriate behavior and discourage what you don't want. Puppies that nip get ignored until they behave themselves. Also, praise his good behavior. Positive reinforcement is and always will be a much more effective way of teaching your child than punishment. When you catch him being polite and appropriate, let him know that you like that behavior! Babies his age want to please, so he'll be more eager to continue that good behavior if he knows you like it. You've already said it's not your style, but please please please don't be that parent that falls back on physical punishment as the fail-safe.

Krystal - posted on 08/17/2010

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Have you tried biting him back? That was the only thing that worked with my girls and they both were evil and did not listen to me telling them no. They both threw stuff at me and I had to break them somehow and all I could think of was to do what they did to me back at them. They finally stopped being evil after they seen what they were doing actually hurt people.

Shannon - posted on 08/18/2010

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My son used to bit everybody! I got him to stop by biting him back (not hard) but just to show him if it hurt him then it hurt everybody that he bites! And he NEVER did it again!

Sheelah - posted on 08/18/2010

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i would bite him back not hard but hard enough for him to realize my sons into hitting us so i just tap his face back and he doesn't like it so he doesn't do it again.....haha for that day anywyz but the biting probably is from teething try giving him so teething tablets there all natural homeopathic and work amazing for there discomfort and pain.........hope this helps

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Erica - posted on 08/20/2010

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I have the same problem with my son only he is 5 (will be 6 in Sept.) He has been this way for quite some time and I don't know what to do either.. Mine has quit throwning things at me but he yells and throws tantrums when I don't give him what he wants... He still hits his two younger sisters though which I wish he would stop doing...

Anne - posted on 08/20/2010

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Be very consistent in what you do...Give his fav. toy a "time out", when he does these things give him a time out in his crib, he may not know what he has done and won't be able to "think about it" but he'll know he doesn't like it. Don't bite your son. You can get in bit trouble. My daughter had gotten bitten at daycare and when we were at her doctor's they noticed it. I told them it was a bite mark and they first thought it was from me or her daycare. I explained it was from a baby at daycare and they said if it had been me to the daycare she would have to call child services. Make sure he has Tylenol for when his teeth are hurting really bad. And something to chew on that's not you...lol good luck!

Mirela - posted on 08/20/2010

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i really think that he thinks when you are saying ouch is hurting its very funny...my son if i say that is doing more cos for him is funny... just dnt give him the oportunitti to throw with things ...when he throw take them so he will lern ..i hope...pulling hair i dont think is from teething

Sabrina - posted on 08/20/2010

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I agree that it's not pointless to talk to a child, but at the age we're discussing, actions have a faster response. I haven't ever had to bite my children, but it was next if spanking didn't work. You have to realize that language skills have to develop before a child can understand what you are saying to them. So in terms of discipline, there are times when talking is pointless.

[deleted account]

Okay, I don't see why people are getting all defensive about all this. We all raise our children differently. Most of us don't feel comfortable with the whole biting them back thing. And don't say talking to them is pointless because it is most defiantely not. They may not understand it fully, but it is never pointless to talk to a child !!

Kelly - posted on 08/20/2010

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Okay first of all "talking" to them isn't going to help much because they don't understand what you're saying. Saying things like "ouch" or "no" sternly will help BUT I'm also a parent that does to the child what the child did to you. Of course you don't clamp down on their skin and bring blood when you bite them back, but do it hard enough to where it hurts so they know it hurts...then say "ouch" afterward so they relate that word to being hurt. Some children are visual learners and that is how they will learn not to do things (by showing them).

Sabrina - posted on 08/20/2010

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My youngest used to bite. I gave him a swat his butt, it put an end to it right away.

Sarah - posted on 08/20/2010

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i did pull his hair a bit once ... not hard .. but he cried.
but i don't think he remembers so its effective

Sarah - posted on 08/20/2010

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my 18month old has been like for a while.he bites and pulls hair.
we tell him no .. but he just carrys on and laughs .. his new habit is yanking at my hair .. and it absolutely kills.
he now has a habit of saying ow then doing it .. he just wants mummy to say ow .. and then he'll laugh .. such a bully!

LaDonna - posted on 08/20/2010

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My daughter also went through that phase. I bit her back and pulled her hair. Whenever she did it to me I did it to her. Only just hard enough to make her realize it hurts when she does it to me.

Katie - posted on 08/20/2010

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I would talk sternly and say no like you've tried but also maybe he is acting out because he has a need i would simply say no that hurts you don't bite mommy and also you must be tired time to go to bed you seem frustrated and put him in his crib for awhile not as a punishment but for time away with a toy and some gentle music playing and go take a break away from him even if he is screaming and crying ,he deosn't know whats best you do so put him to bed.

Shalane - posted on 08/20/2010

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My daughter is 11 months as well, and has just started doing similar stuff as well- she rarely bites, but she does hit and yell at me and pull hair, and has been throwing major tantrums. I agree with time-outs; the lack of attention seems to be working better than anything. I just set her on the floor and walk away where she can't see me for a few minutes. Keep in mind that kids this age don't understand right and wrong, just what you accept and what you don't. Biting back just shows that this is an acceptable behavior when you have bad feelings. By leaving the room, you get a break and he realizes that his actions are not acceptable.

Ava - posted on 08/20/2010

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I think it's also useful to note to you mothers who think that your one year old is being mean by doing this that this is not the case at all. A one year old is having an explosion of independence right now and it's not always teething that's the issue with biting. My daughter would bite us to test her limits. They want to see how far they're allowed to go, what they're allowed to do, etc. That's why I listed it with crayons on walls as a destructive behavior; it's a behavior to test their limits. That's why it's important to set the limit and let them know, consistently, that you will not let them pass that boundary, but do it lovingly and reassuringly so that they can enjoy their independence; that's the point of 'redirecting' destructive behavior to a place where it's creative and not destructive anymore.

Ava - posted on 08/20/2010

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Don't ever bite your child, whether or not it works. It's child abuse. Your maternal gut is right---listen to it. A small baby doesn't know they're hurting you by biting, but you certainly don't teach them by hurting them. My daughter bites too, or used to (it's very infrequent now, it used to be all the time, usually my knee through my jeans, or my thigh). She's 14 months old. Whenever she would bite me I would just tap her face or her hands, just enough to make momentary discomfort. It took a few months but eventually she got the message 'whenever I bite my mommy and daddy, I get a tap, and I don't like it'. I would combine that with a stern 'no bite'. Sort of the same I would do to a puppy if they were nipping. Like I said, it took a little while, but she quit. She hasn't bitten me in a month. Don't slap or hit a baby hard. You just want to provide an unpleasant discomfort that they associate with a pattern over time. The other, general way to stop destructive behavior is to re-direct the behavior. That is, if they're putting marker or crayon on your wall, teach them to use paper (try Color Wonder markers). If they're biting you, teach them to only bite a special pillow, stuffed animal, or other object (when they bite you, do the tap, get them to quit immediately, then give them the object to redirect that; or give them the item immediately if they'll start biting on it immediately. Eventually they'll get the picture). My daughter likes to take stickers off of items in our house that are up for estate sale, so I'm going to get her a book of stickers to play with instead. That kind of thing.

Mindy - posted on 08/20/2010

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just so were all clear. I don't full on bite or hit or scratch my child. I just sort of do it gently... so maybe that's why he doesn't get that it hurts..but I try to give him an idea of what's it's like, so he learns not to do it. I would never intentionally hurt him. even if trying to teach him a lesson. I just hope he out grows it.

[deleted account]

My daughter is 14 months and she likes to smack, alot. I have tried smacking her hand and she laughs. So I'm lost on that one as well because I do not believe in spanking, but as for the biting I do think it is a part of the teething stage and he will outgrow it. My daughter did the same thing when she was teething. I don't agree with the biting back though, because if you can do it, why can't they , right ? But as time fades, so will the biting, just keep telling him it isn't okay.

Trishta - posted on 08/20/2010

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my son is 4 and he gets so mean, nothing i do helps and my 2 year old daughter is starting to follow in his footsteps. if you get any good advice please send it my way. I'm sorry I hope he gets out of this stage. just keep your head up and don't give up.

Jaclyn - posted on 08/20/2010

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nut i did the u hit i hit u bite i bite.. the biting thing devistated me i felt like a horrible mom biting my son i only did it once bc then again i dont want him to think if someone bites u bite back its so confusinf ugh. but throwing everything is a hassal. ur child will get it eventually just keep trying and not yell my son just laughs wen i yell i jsut try to talk to him

Jaclyn - posted on 08/20/2010

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wow sounds like my days lol... its so not funny tho. itll get better. i thought itll never end no matter what i did i think ts just a stage

Jennifer - posted on 08/20/2010

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I hope this helps...my son was around that age when he started getting like that. I now babysit my 2 year old nephew who is the same way. As far as throwing things back at them you take the chance of hurting them worse because your aim and strenght is far more better then theirs. But with the pulling of hair, and biting, or pinching and hitting, I did it back to them and explained to them that it hurts me the same when it is done to me. It will take a little bit but them soon get the point. I cause someone pain, I then get pain in return. Most would not advise this, because they feel it installs a negative behavior in your child towards others, that if someone pinches them or pulls their hair that they can do it back. But weather my son did it to me or someone else he still recieved the same in return. He learned not to do it to me or to others without the same being done to him.

Mindy - posted on 08/20/2010

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I have this same problem. my son is 16 months. and yes, i tried doing it back. it just makes him more mad. Not sure what to do either... i just figure he'll grow out of it when he learns to communicate better.

Jordan - posted on 08/20/2010

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I watch Nanny 911 sometimes. And sometimes they have good points. My son is a "typical boy" with a mean side. He is almost 3, and he still does it.What I have learned from Nanny 911, is to put him in a time out chair, away from everything and everyone, and make him sit there for the amount of minutes of the age of the child. It probably won't work so well, since your son is so young. He will try to get up, and run away. You have to be there to put him back. He'll hate it. I promise you that. He will eventually learn. My son has had it done once in the past 3 months. I know it's hard to be stern without being angry, but it's par for the course. Good luck! Hope it helps a little.

Antoinette - posted on 08/20/2010

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I agree that bitting him back may not be the best idea. After all children learn by example and I believe if you bite him it will only confuse him. I would just tell him "no that hurts!" and stop giving him attention for a few minutes. At this age the biggest thing they want from us is our attention. So if you don't give him any he will learn that the behavior takes something away that he wants. Hope this helps and good luck!

Tarah - posted on 08/20/2010

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my son bite me 1 time and i flicked him in the mouth he hasnt even tried to do it since he knows better and a little paddle on the but when he kickes me stops him dead in his tracks.. be stern not abusive just even change the tone in your voice that sometimes can scare them and make them realize that hitting and kicking is not ok!

Rebecca - posted on 08/20/2010

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My son used to do the same thing when he was that age. They are cutting teeth, so try a teethy ring that looks really neat and interesting. Tell him that it is okay to bite that but not you. That seemed to work with my son. I would NEVER bite my son back. That just does not seem to be sending the right message that what they are doing is wrong if you do it back.

Kencia - posted on 08/20/2010

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My child is almost 22months and he likes to hit and kick when he doesn't get his way or is upset I tell him not to do so usualy I have to walk away from him and show him little attention then he comes around and he'll give me a hug and say I love you. I would continue trying to explain to him his action tell him no biting!! then maybe a 10sec time out. It might help however every child is different

Francesca - posted on 08/19/2010

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My little girl was horrilbe at 11 months. She used to draw blood. And I tried absolutely everything. My Dh tried biting her, I tried time outs, stern voices, conversation. everything from Dr. Brown and Dr. Sears. Nothing worked. So, dispite getting some disappointed responses from the mommy groups I belonged to, I tried to do it my own way. Some mom's told me that I should learn to control her. But, how does one really control a baby?



Well, it took me 4 days. But she never bit again. We replaced the behaviour. If she blew kisses at me. I would stop what I was doing and give over the top, undivided attention and praise. And she loved it. And I started to completely ignore the biting. It was tough because she got me a few times really good. I didn't acknowledge her exisitence for a few minutes after. Within 4 days she realized she got my attention with kisses. And its been amazing ever since. She still gets my attention with kisses and she is 15 months now.



Thats just what worked for me.



And don't look at it as a sign of him being mean. Take it as a sign of intelligence. He is trying his best to communicate with you the only way he can.

Kelly - posted on 08/19/2010

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put him down. ignore him. don't react. don't yell. but you need to let him cry for more than 5 seconds.when my 9 mth old bites or scratches i tell him no. if he does it again i put him down and get up and do somtheing else.

Kandi - posted on 08/19/2010

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my son is 8 month old and he pulls my hair and scratches me and hits me and i will take and smack his hand not hard obvsley but enough to get his attention and tell him NO it dont really work though lol but i want him to learn early not to be mean i learned with my daughter she is 4 and she isnt mean but she is bad cause we didnt dissapline her

Brandy - posted on 08/19/2010

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Moms...I know its hard to say things when people can see who you are and maybe complain at you for posting, but lets get real. He is 11 months old, conversation is not necessary. He bites you, bite him back and let him feel it. Then say no more bites and walk away. Do not coddel him afterward. If he pinches you, pinch him back and tell him no, walk away and do not coddel him. Little ones respond to feelings not conversation. My son couldn't talk and was interested in light plugs. I stood behind him waited until he wasn't looking and popped his hand, he cried and looked at me and I told him IT bit him! He never touched one again. We could have talked about it and he could have been electrocuted next time he touched one.Time outs and talking will do nothing at this age. We all want to smile and play supper nanny, but lets be honest when someone is asking a question like this...you bite him back and remember that when he isn't a bully later, you did him a favor. I am sure though, that he has his times when he melts your heart, just think of those times and it will all pass soon.

Brenda - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son was the same way. He pulled chunks of hair out of my daughters head and scratched me up too many times to count. I always had to bite back. Not too hard but just hard enough for my kids to feel it. Same thing for the hitting and the throwing and pulling hair, not hard enough to seriously hurt but hard enough so they know it does hurt!!! It is heart breaking at first but my son drew blood one time on another child and i had to stop it quick!!!

Mastoora - posted on 08/19/2010

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I'd put him in time-out..my 11 month old daughter doesn't do any of those things and has never done it and she's got 2 teeth. But once in a while she will throw things for no reason and when she has a temper tantrum, I take everything out of her crib including blankets and leave her there until she stops crying. If she stops and I go in and she starts again I leave and I keep doing it over and over again.

Melissa - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son does the same thing and EVERYTIME he does it he goes into time out. And he HAS started to stop doing mean things!!!! GOOD LUCK!

Shannon - posted on 08/19/2010

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I worked in Pediatrics for a few years and learned quite a bit about how little ones think. An 11 month old is not going to understand you telling him that he's hurting you, they are not old enough for that. The best thing is to bite him back. Showing them that what they do hurts helps them to understand to not do it. You can talk to an 11 month old until your blue in the face and they won't understand. However they will understand if you show them.

Shawnda - posted on 08/19/2010

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also if you do a time out let them sit there for more than 2 seconds because they will not learn a consequnece of his actions every time you put him or her in time out let them cry no matter how long they cry make a time limit like 15 minutes

Shawnda - posted on 08/19/2010

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first if you allow him to and you dont show him that you are the boss he will walk all over you not just now but for the rest of his life your child does not have to fear you but they have to respect you and you need to demand that respect now if he bites bite him back! if you do it every time he will learn the concequence of his actions and he will know how it makes you feel you dont have to spank him but you need to creat a tone that will scare him lol it sounds mean but once he realizes that mommy gets mad when he does it most likely after a few times of getting told or showed he wont do it again or less often

Lacey - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son started doing the same thing at 9 months old and has just recently stopped doing it. I do believe these babies KNOW they are not being nice.At least my son. His first word was said when I was I was telling him "no" and moving his hands away from what he was playing with. he hit me back and said "YES". If he can answer me like that, I know he understands. It doesn't make them bad, but at this age they can't communicate unhappiness in a normal way right? I found just being firm and consistant worked. My mom is sooo nice to him when he bites or hits or throws things, and kind of came of playful about telling him no. But once her and I got on the same page and would just be firm and tell him no, take away whatever he threw, hold his arms in a folded position when he would hit and bite. He finally has learned I'm not kidding and it's not ok. He does still try it when he is really mad, but he doesn't not bite as hard and may swing at me to hit but doesn't actually hit lol it's just like he's letting me know "this is what I feel right now!"
Of course every baby is different and may need something different to learn. But that is what worked for me.

Flo - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son was the exact same way and it broke my heart...
To find out he has sensory dysfunction.. You may want to speak to your pediatrician to see if there could be something going on with your child.. My son always hurt me and everyone else he came into contact with. Once I learned what was going on with him than I was able to learn how to help him and I took him to an O.T. (occupational therapist).. It is worth looking into. If you think something is wrong You are your childs best advocate. My pediatrician would not listen to me so I had to keep at it until someone would listen to me and help.

Bianca - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son is also 11 months and does all the same things. I started smacking his hands...not very hard of course and taking away the toys he throws, he's slowing learning how not to hit and bite and all that but with my son i find the word "NO" to be very affective he hates that word.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/19/2010

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@ betty jean biting him back lets him know that its not ok 2 bite people and how its hurts other people when he bites... now im not sayin bite the crap out of your child but just a lil harder then wht he bit you... and for all the other things i do agree... there are other ways to let your child konw that what he or she is doing it not ok

Emma - posted on 08/19/2010

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just reading some of theses comments again people are talking like this child knows what hes doing, this child has totaly no concept of right or wrong, he is far too young! you cant really discipline a child that knows not what he does!lol! i have 8 mnths old twins and i couldnt possibly shout at them they wouldnt know what i was going on about! now my 3 year old is totaly different discipline all round for her!lol!

Emma - posted on 08/19/2010

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first off id like to say that a baby is not evil and doesnt intentially do theses things they dont understand what they are doin at this age! just keep saying no and taking the toys off them and if they are hitting another child or person remove them from that situation! you could also put them in the playpen if they dont play nicely with you! this is like saying mummy wont pick you up if you do that! its a hard age cause they dont have much concept of right and wrong! i am sure you son will learn soon though! also try distracting his attention by taking his mind off what he is doing may be with another toy etc, he will grow out of this it is just a phase!

Elizabeth - posted on 08/19/2010

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hey i went and am still goin thru the same thing... have you tried every time he bites you bite him but just a little harder then when he bites u again get a little harder every time... he will stop biting you because he doesnt want to get bit... and on the hits scratches and pulling hair tell him no that its not nice.but dont right after that play wit him because it confuses him and he thinks that it is ok... i hope things work out... my son just turned 1 and he is doing a lot better with all of that... so good luck

Betty - posted on 08/19/2010

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I'm shocked that some mothers out there would bite, scratch, pull hair and throw toys at a small child in order to teach that it's bad. When you pinch, bite, slap, and scratch your kids all they learn is that you are a mean mommy. I'm very sad after reading this thread.

Brook - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son went through the same stage around 9 months. He would bite, pull hair and scratch too. I would always look him in the eyes with a very straight face and sternly tell him "No! That hurts mommy. You wouldn't like it if someone hurt you so do not ___(bite, slap, pull hair, ect.). Then I would take him to his pack and play, or crib, shut the door and leave him for 3 - 5 minutes. After 2 weeks time, he finally realized that it is something that really hurts and mommy won't play with me if I am mean to her. Children at these ages have a hard time getting out built up energy. He may be trying to release some energy but diverting it to you. He could also be just trying to get your attention or super sleepy. Whatever the reason is, you still have to show him it isn't nice to hurt another person. Give him attention he needs by playing with him but also by letting him help you. You might need to get laundry finished. Give him some clothes to put in and out of a basket. Divert him from trying to hit with more attention. I don't think he will understand if you bite him the reason. A lot of moms told me to bite my son back but I couldn't do it. How should my son learn not to bite me if I bite him back?? He may not realize it "hurts" when he bites you but if you bite him you are showing him it hurts but also it is okay to do. Lead by example. He is to little to understand your logic. If he was doing this at age 3 or 4 then he would know it hurts. But at 11 months, your son is just trying to get your attention, burn off energy or try to soothe himself.

Good luck! I know it is a huge struggle.

Kayla - posted on 08/19/2010

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Time out....put him somewhere he is completely alone and cant get out. Its nonviolent and he will learn that he wont want to make you mad.

Jillian - posted on 08/19/2010

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I know exactly what she is going through because right around the same time when my daughter was about 11 months old she was doing the same thing. And I don't think that biting her back is the answer either. She's a baby. Your kids learn from what you do. What we did was looked her in the eye and said "No No Ouch that hurts mommy/daddy" ..I completely agree with Amy. Perseverance and tough love goes a long way. While time outs may not seem to work you'll notice a difference with some time. Good luck! I know its frustrating now, but it'll start to get better soon!

Shana - posted on 08/19/2010

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sometimes you just have to pop them, my daughter was always sweet but when she did something she wasn't supposed to do i popped her on the leg and said no very sternly and it worked! Sometimes we as parents don't want to do harm to our children but if you don't discipline them early its a cycle that'll be hard to break once that child gets older so do what u have to do and trust me it'll be so much better!

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