Hitting, pinching, hair pulling..

[deleted account] ( 9 moms have responded )

My son does all of these things and he's only five months old. I realize part of it could be from him still learning and being curious about what he touches but it's quite often and it hurts! Recently, he started laughing afterwards and I don't know how to get him to stop when he already thinks it's a game. I figured it was because he would see me react from it hurting so now I just say "bad" and put his hand down then he stops for a while. I don't want him to still be doing this when he gets older but I had someone tell me it's too early to discipline. I don't feel like I'm really disciplining and if I don't do something won't he just keep doing it? Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. Has anyone experienced this with their children and what did you do to make them stop, if anything?


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Belay - posted on 07/09/2013




My doughter hitting puling and scratching
Fighting with the other kids.
I keep telling her no!!no!!and some times pinch her.
Can you tell me the right way to manage her?

[deleted account]

Babies respond to you - so when he gets a reaction unless you say 'ow that hurts' he won't know that it hurts you - even though he laughs he will NOT be doing it on purpose to hurt you he just finds your response funny - my son thinks its hilarious when I remove his hand from my glasses (if he doesn't) and thinks its a game - after 3 times I use a distractor (such as a toy) which always works.

At 5 months babies are just exploring and learning so when he is playing with a toy and you remove him he simply wants to play with you (so he pinches you - grabs, or hits you - bangs). I don't think it is bad to say 'no' but make sure that you respond to positive behaviour too otherwise you will encourage the negative behaviour (I am a huge fan of positive behaviour strategies). I would say to try and use the same words when teaching him not to pinch etc because you may confuse him (he is smart but he is also still learning).

Sorry I always say too much - he can understand that he hurts you if you tell him, if you don't he won't - but do not expect him to understand overnight, for my son it took a good few months before he began removing his own hands. Good luck

[deleted account]

I think they are smart too that's why I think he knows what he's doing haha. When he didn't laugh afterwards or do it when something negative was happening (ie. removing him from toy) I would have thought it was from having no control over his grip but I have trouble believing that now. He doesn't remove his hand on his own, if I do nothing he just gets tighter. I know that repeating words like "no" isn't good so I will try using other words. Toni, just curious why he can understand "no" and "bad" but he can't understand that he's hurting me?

[deleted account]

Karly babies understand much more than we credit them for - from around 6 months old babies understand 'no' and 'bad' as you use it often. At this age it is a case of repetition - which you are doing when he pinches or pulls your hair always say the same thing 'bad' (as you do) and always remove his hand, if he removes his hand on his own praise him in an overly positive way 'good boy ...insert name...' we have found this approach has helped with my son who is 10 months old, although he does still pull my hair and pinch sometimes he now removes his hand himself when I say 'loose' straight away.

He will not be hurting you on purpose at 5 months old he is just curious he just hasn't got much control over his grip so sometimes it is too tight and hurts, also at 5 months he is still learning to loose so when he does grip he has to pull.

Angela - posted on 08/14/2010




Hello, i think children are very "SMART". So if your child is doing this as a game, then he knows! You putting his hands down isn't a bad teaching:-)). Shouldn't you teach from the day the are born?? Just something to think about..??? Good Luck!♥♥♥

[deleted account]

Thank you guys for responding. Louise, he does it at random times that's the thing. I just brushed it off as normal and he is still learning which I'm sure is partly true. Since he started doing it when I would take him away from something like a toy and laughing after is what worried me because maybe he isn't, but it seems like he is doing it on purpose. I will definitely try the emotions though. JuLeah, I don't mean punish.. I don't even know how you can punish a five month old lol. What I meant was how I mentioned I say "bad" or "no" then put his hand down, someone said something to the effect of "Isn't it kind of early to do that?" I'm not really sure what that meant but I don't see that I'm doing anything wrong by doing that. I say it in a firm voice but in no way yelling or hurting him which is why I don't really feel like I'm disciplining him in the first place, I just want him to know not to do that. As for the hair thing, I feel like that is just a band aid for the problem because there will be times I'm not wearing it up, friends and family aren't wearing theirs up and don't want that to be fair game. I just want him to learn without me saying "no" or "bad" all the time because I know that isn't good either. Thank you guys again!

JuLeah - posted on 08/14/2010




Well by discipline, do you mean 'teach' or punish - punishments never teaches -

If he pulls your hair or pinches .... understand, he is not wanting to be mean or to hurt .... he doesn't really understand cause and effect. He doesn't understand it hurts you ...

He can learn however, pull his hand away from your hair - or better, wear it pulled back so he can't grab it - hold his hand down when he hits, put him down for a minute even, unless he is hitting to get down :)

Most kids do this ....

Louise - posted on 08/14/2010




My daughter at the same age used to pinch as I was giving her her bottle (no other time) and it does hurt. So I went over the top one day and pretended to cry because she has hurt me and she looked at me with such shock. Even a baby can understand pain. She did try and do it again and I went ow ow ow and she stopped. I followed that up with "don't hurt mummy" and she seemed to understand. I placed a small toy in her hand whilst feeding and she seemed to grow out of it and has never done it again. If there is a time when your son is doing this the most try the over emphasised emothions and see how you get on and then try distraction with a toy. If you can stop this developing into something more now it will help to control him when he is a toddler.

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