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21 month old daughter keeps biting and hitting me.

(11 Posts)
Dogsmom Fri 02-Jan-15 20:53:03

My daughter is almost 22 months old and did go through a phase around 12 months of biting me when she lost her temper but it passed quickly with me ignoring her but the past few weeks she's doing it again and ignoring isn't working this time.

It's always when she loses her temper, I see her tense up and she lashes out, sometimes it's a slap but at other times she'll lunge and try to bite me, I feel like I've tried everything, I've ignored her, turned her away, physically laid her down, shouted a very stern 'no' and did once smack the back of her hand when she'd thrown a toy brick that hit my face then smacked me.
Sadly that's the response that had the most effect and although it made her cry it has been the only thing to stop her but I don't want to use smacking.

I've also pretended to cry and asked for a kiss which did seem to work for a while but now she'll deliberately hit me then say 'aah' and lean in for a kiss and a hug.

Overall she is a very happy girl, she's a fantastic sleeper and does 14 hours a night plus 1-2 hours at lunchtime so I don't think she's tired, she eats well and seems very bright, her speech is coming along really well and she picks things up incredibly fast so I also can't think that anything is frustrating her developmentally.

It's mainly me that she targets although has done the same to my husband and does smack the dog too, funnily enough we have 5 dogs and the one she smacks is the one who reacts, the others ignore her so I do think it's all done for attention.

She spends 5 days with me and two at the childminders and I worry she'll start doing it to one of the other kids although so far she hasn't.

Sorry for the long post, I've tried to include as much information as I can.

Pengyquin Fri 02-Jan-15 20:57:19

5 dogs and she smacks one of them? I'd be very concerned about this - it's a massive safety issue. Is 5 dogs and a toddler even a good idea? hmm

I'd say she's desperate for attention.

Fcukfifa Fri 02-Jan-15 21:04:57

I have a 22 month old boy who is going through a hitting and head butting phase. If he gets annoyed with anything, even things like not being able to open something, get to a particular toy etc he will run across to smack me!

I tried the crying thing but then he did it and waiting for me to cry and smiled.

Now I try to ignore him and put him down but tonight he nutted me in the nose and I shouted at him. Which he wasn't too phased about and came and gave me a kiss a couple of seconds after.

I think it may be frustration with him because he can only say dada and hiya.

But I also remember my eldest going through the ohase too and it did pass.

Fcukfifa Fri 02-Jan-15 21:06:17

Excuse my daft typos smile

Dogsmom Fri 02-Jan-15 22:09:22

pengyquin - er no, it's not a safety issue thanks, I've worked daily with and trained dogs for 24 years and believe me I know exactly what I'm doing with dogs.
And yes I do think having dogs and kids together is a good idea, did I mention any worries concerning my dogs reaction to her? no, that's because they are extremely well trained and placid and neither her or them are ever put in any dangerous situations.
Yes there are 5 dogs in the house but it is a large house and if you walked in here you would struggle to know we had any as they are pretty much always flaked out on one of the beds or ambling around.

Anyway, I didn't start this thread to ask for answers to my non-existent dog issues.

The snide and unhelpful 'desperate for attention' comment I shall assume wasn't another unnecessary dig although I would have more respect had you simply asked if I thought she had enough attention from me.
In answer to this I can assure you that it's probably the opposite and she maybe has too much attention and I do sometimes worry I could be spoiling her and perhaps her tantrums are coming from being over indulged.
She has my attention every minute she's awake, we play together, dance to cd's, draw, read, go to the park, soft play, singing classes, watch telly, do jigsaws, friends houses, go for lunch and spend a lot of time just cuddled up together on the settee under the blanket so I do struggle to see how she can be craving more attention.

Fcukfifa - thanks for replying to my actual request for biting/hitting help!
She does sound like your son, she'll react quickly if she's frustrated with even minor things such as not being able to get her shoe on fast enough and will throw it, she's placid 99% of the times but her temper goes from 0-100 instantly then she'll react and it's over as quickly as it started.
I also wonder if it's a communication thing and kind of hope that once she has a fuller vocabulary she'll be able to let me know what's wrong verbally instead of physically.
We've taught her 'Mommy do it' or 'Daddy do it' for times when she wants help and she is starting to use it and to pass us whatever she needs help with.

minipie Fri 02-Jan-15 22:25:46

Sounds like my DD too. For my DD it was very much linked to teething or illness - the biting or hitting was still due to temper/frustration, like you describe, but her temper was much worse when she was ill or teething iyswim. when not ill/teething she would get cross but wouldn't lash out physically in the same way. Any chance your dd is teething or coming down with something?

Dogsmom Fri 02-Jan-15 22:50:18

I hadn't considered teething minipie, the only ones left to come are her big back teeth so yes maybe it could be that, to be honest I haven't looked to see if her gums look swollen or red, there's no way she'd let me open her mouth to look so tomorrow when she yawns I'll have a crafty peek grin

All her others have come through without problem though, she's had the odd dose of calpol but she's been lucky enough that they've never seemed very painful but maybe the big back ones are worse?

I'm also 32 weeks pregnant, I'm not sure if she's picking up subconsciously on the changes, we've told her about the baby but she's too young to understand and it hasn't registered.
I've tried to make sure I'm not acting differently with her, I'm still picking her up as much as I ever did and let her lie on me when she wants and still going to all the classes/playgroups etc.
Maybe I have been inadvertently doing things that have upset her, I did get put on iron tablets 2 weeks ago because I had been having funny turns and almost fainting and she was with me a couple of times which upset her.

I'll keep persisting with the 'not reacting' to it and see how we get on.

EmbarrassedPossessed Fri 02-Jan-15 22:53:26

It's not certain to be attention seeking behaviour by any means! And the dogs thing is a complete red herring.

My DS went through a phase of biting and has come through it now and hasn't done it for ages now. Minipie is right that teething and illness was a very big cause of it, followed by tiredness. We just consistently dealt with it by watching for the lunge and physically preventing him from biting where possible. This would be accompanied by a firm but calm "we don't bite". Then stepping away for a moment or two. We would also read a helpful book called "teeth are not for biting", and followed the suggestions in there. This involved having lots of chewy toys available for when there was a high frequency of biting. Even now at 2 plus, he will ask for a chewy toy when he feels he might bite!

Dogsmom Fri 02-Jan-15 23:40:24

Thanks Embarrassed, I'll pop to the library tomorrow and ask them to order the book in.
The 'lunge' is very familiar, I do my best to get out of the way or turn her around, she's had me a couple of times on the shoulder if I've tried to cuddle her instead and sometimes tries to bite my arm if she's resisting being strapped into the car seat or pushchair.
She's got a soft toy that she takes everywhere and if I can get that to her fast enough she's happy to give that a bite but I did worry that I was somehow giving the impression that it was okay to bite something.
Like I said once she's bitten something it's like a release and she's immediately calmer, I suppose an adult would swear or curse whereas she's using her teeth.

EmbarrassedPossessed Fri 02-Jan-15 23:51:21

I think it's fine to redirect a behaviour towards a more acceptable alternative. It's better than trying to get the child to hold in that emotion, especially as they don't really understand it anyway. If my DS looks like he might be about to throw a toy, we remind him he's allowed to throw a soft ball instead. Similarly with kicking.

SoonMeansNever Sat 03-Jan-15 00:25:50

You're ringing lots of memory bells for me here! DS1 bit off and on for two years, 1-3, it was a sodding nightmare. He started at an age where he couldn't really understand why I was telling him No, so unfortunately it became an ingrained habit and his reflex when frustrated or angry.
Fortunately your DD is much older and more able to work with you - hopefully you can knock it on the head quickly. (Metaphorically!)

I'd agree that it may well be attention based, DS1 had me to himself thru the whole biting period yet it was definitely linked to attention, often negative attention. I think he wanted the strong reaction and noise etc it caused.
The ignoring tactic was the only thing that was effective for us, and I had to actually leave the room/remove him as he wanted an audience or to watch the fall out of his actions. We'd just say "NO, we don't bite", then leave him for a few minutes.

With DS it was also linked with his teething, he didn't teethe well. Biting would recur after many months and soon after teeth would appear.
Aaaaargh and when FIL decided after we specifically told him not to, that it would be great fun to play silly biting games with DS1. hmm
Sometimes he would also bite in excitement, just because a hand/arm was near his mouth and he was carried away with himself.

Does your DD know Tilly & Friends on CBeebies? There's a crocodile character who bites everything called Doodle (catchphrase "Bitey bitey!") and there's a book about biting and how it hurts, we bought it and read it several times a day while he was in biting phases, and sometimes in between them to reinforce it. Basically, we don't bite our friends, just food. It was recommended to me on here actually, and really did help. I've no idea where it is now, think it's just called 'Doodle Bites', DH says the author is Polly Dunbar how on earth he knows that is beyond me.

In the meantime, my sympathies, I hope it ceases very very soon.
Sadly DS1 did bite others as well as DH and me, and frankly there aren't enough ways to apologise when your child has left a visible red bite mark on someone else's child's arm. Horrid.
He has tried to bite DS2 once, but stopped himself, well paused anyway, even before I bellowed. I think we've finally seen the back of it at 3.5. Phew!

Jeez I've just seen I've written an essay....sorry. Just to add tho, when your baby comes, hard as it is, try to be fully consistent with the methods you've used as she's likely to test the waters out by restarting the biting/hitting, just to see what happens.

Good luck and congratulations! smile

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