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Help! At wits end with toddler pulling hair

(14 Posts)
penny173 Sun 26-Feb-17 20:28:00

I have a lovely, cuddly, 2.3 yr old DS. He is great in so many ways except one - he is a terror with hair pulling. Most of the time it is aimed at me but he has pulled other children's hair as well. I had a horrible experience recently with another mum who, despite my apology, wasn't very nice and this has led to me losing a lot of confidence. Sounds silly but, honestly, I never knew raising a little boy would be this hard! This has been going on so long now (on and off since 9 mths old) that I just don't know what to do anymore and I am starting to wonder if it will ever end. I feel it has become less of a phase and more of a habit. We go through good spells where it goes away but it keeps coming back. I have spoken to lots of people, health care professions etc and pretty much exhausted google. This is my first time posting and I was wondering if anyone else had been through long periods with similar unsocial habits with their little ones? I guess I'm not really asking for advice on what to do when it happens as, having tried so much already, I have techniques in place but am really looking for some reassurance that it will get better.. For the record, I always tell him 'no/pulling hair hurts!' when he does it. If he has done it to another child I remove him for a time out and ask him to say sorry after. If he does it to me I say the same and move away from him. I have recently started using the step at home which is helping as he seems to know he has done wrong - a big improvement from when he used to think it was funny. Tonight he has had me in tears because of it. I was giving him a final cuddle before bed when he grabbed fist fulls of my hair with both hands for no clear reason. He goes to the childminders two days a week and he is an angel with her so it really seems to be centred around me. I do try and look out for triggers (lots of kids in a small space, tired, hungry, angry are all cues) but sometimes he just seems to do it because he can. Any advice appreciated.

ZombieApocalips Sun 26-Feb-17 22:28:07

Can you teach him how to stroke your hair? Other kids won't welcome him stroking their hair but he might enjoy patting or stroking your hair when you have a cuddle with him.

JonesyAndTheSalad Mon 27-Feb-17 02:55:45

Do you raise your voice at all?

penny173 Mon 27-Feb-17 07:27:35

ZombieApocalips we've spent lots of time teaching him stroke and pat and he will often come up to me and say 'pat pat mummy' on my head to show me but he also seems unable to resist pulling when he wants attention!

LapinR0se Mon 27-Feb-17 07:30:32

Can you tell us what happens next? For example at bedtime when he grabbed your hair, what did you do?

penny173 Mon 27-Feb-17 07:33:41

JonesyAndTheSalad I really try not to make a 'thing' of it by raising my voice and keeping calm but on difficult days I have done. He used to think it was funny which could be frustrating

penny173 Mon 27-Feb-17 07:36:23

LapinRose I told him 'no that hurts' and moved away from him then I let Daddy finish bed time. Daddy also told him 'that wasn't nice'. We tried not to make a big thing of it as we were just putting him down for bed.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Mon 27-Feb-17 07:41:34

Have you tried pulling his back??

OhTheRoses Mon 27-Feb-17 07:47:12

Pull his.

penny173 Mon 27-Feb-17 07:47:15

Wishiwasmoiradingle I tried that recently. Hasn't made any difference and I just felt guilty afterwards..

penny173 Mon 27-Feb-17 07:51:12

Part of the problem is that he is a very hardy little boy and big for his age. if any other child is rough with him he often doesn't notice or finds it funny!

JonesyAndTheSalad Mon 27-Feb-17 11:12:03

NO! You don't hurt a toddler back! It's ridiculous advice and very confusing for them. They hear "No don't do that" but then YOU do it!

Sorry OP I feel very strongly about this.

Firstly, how is his language developing? A big reason for this sort of behaviour is often that the child lacks language and grows frustrated at his or her inability to communicate.

Usually, this sort of thing disapears by 3.

penny173 Mon 27-Feb-17 11:57:23

JonesyAndTheSalad - that has been my feeling. His talking is coming on well and things have definitely improved because of this. It just feels like we have gone a few steps back recently and i'm not sure why. I can understand it more when he is frustrated and his talking is unable to keep up with his emotions. Am reassured to hear it usually goes by three..

LapinR0se Mon 27-Feb-17 15:01:45

I think at bedtime a lot of bad behaviour is down to tiredness. My DD used to smack me when she was tired. When that happened I would just make sure the bedtime routine was very very short and calm and get her to sleep as quickly as possible.
However if she did it in the day then I would put her on the floor and stand up and say No that isn't nice and I won't let you do that. Then go and do something else. She would howl crying but she got the message and stopped doing it.
I think any major reaction such as shouting or retaliating in any way just makes it all am exciting game

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