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Today my 22 mo has bitten me four times, scratched me

(11 Posts)
thebecster Tue 25-Mar-08 14:32:30

.. hard enough to draw blood three times, hit me and pinched me more times than I can count... About 12 months ago I remember asking people (can't remember if it was on MN or in RL!) what to do and they said 'it's a phase'/time out/say 'no'/use distraction. And I did it all. So why is he getting worse and worse and worse? He thinks 'time out' is a game. He won't stay in one place, so I started using the cot, but now I go back in to find him bouncing on the mattress shouting 'boing! boing!' in his cot, perfectly happy. He laughs when I tell him that he's hurt me and I'm sad. I don't smack him and I don't want to start, although I was close to walloping him when I saw the mess he's made of my face today (a bite mark on my cheek and a bleeding scratch from one eye...) He is everyone's favourite child - favourite grandson, teacher's pet at nursery, people tell me how lucky I am to have such a good boy. Then there's this flipside to him which is just not nice. HELP! And a little louder... HELP!! Please?

gagarin Tue 25-Mar-08 18:56:37

Every time he does it (and I mean every time) do your cross mummy face, say "no" very loudly and plonk him firmly on the floor. Break eye contact and turn your back and walk away. Count to 10 and come back and carry on as though nothing has happened.

I suspect he's hooked on your reactions - he enjoys the instant response of wincing etc.

He's far too young to understand that he hurt you and you are sad - his laughing is just natural cheerfullness not spitefulness.

Time out won't work at his age because he can't understand cause and effect - he will have forgotten why he is on the way to his cot by the time you get to the top of the stairs with him!

What he will notice is lack of eye contact and no physical contact - he may well have been interpreting being carried upstairs as a cuddle for example.

So big loud "no"; break eye contact; expressionless face and walk away; come back after 10; pretend it never happened.

thebecster Tue 25-Mar-08 19:16:28

Oh, thank you that's really helpful. I'll give that a try tomorrow and hopefully we'll have a better day together. Today has been really hard. He woke up from his nap adorable again and we read stories all afternoon, but I was still feeling thoroughly discouraged and frankly a bit depressed until I read your post. It's good to have a specific system to try. But I can't do that when he goes for me in public (on the bus, at the park etc) - is there anything I can do there? But will definitely use this system tomorrow. Fingers crossed. Thank you so much - very kind of you to reply.

thebecster Wed 26-Mar-08 09:11:57

Oh god, really not coping now. I've been trying it (lost count of how many times I've said "NO!" since 5am this morning). He chases me as I walk away hitting the backs of my legs, which has resulted in some very undignified running away... I've just put him in his cot as I know he needs a sleep but he's screaming. I tried to settle him for a nap with a cuddle, but he was just hitting and scratching. When I've gone in to his room to check on him (he's been in there 5 minutes now) he shouted 'BYE BYE' at me and waves for me to go away. I don't know what's happening, I don't know what I'm doing wrong here and can't stop crying. I must be the worst mother ever.

castille Wed 26-Mar-08 09:28:36

You are NOT a bad mother. Your son is testing your resolve, big style. It's enough to reduce anyone to tears (been there). He has realised that hitting and scratching gets a big reaction so he's going for it.

Gargarin's advice is great. The key here is to react in the same firm way every time it happens. Keep it simple, don't shout, take his hands away, look straight at him with a severe face and say a very firm NO. Say simply that hitting hurts so he must not do it (use the same words every time - he might be too young to understand but the message will get through eventually). Then look away, stop all attention, do something else. If he hits again, repeat. If he won't stop, put him in a playpen/travel cot/somewhere enclosed and safe (no eye contact) in the same or next room and walk away so you can calm down. He has to learn that his behaviour won't get him cuddles or a fun chase or some bouncing time in his cot!

It is just a phase. A horrible, difficult one, but just a phase. Stay in control of yourself. Remember that you are in charge.

keevamum Wed 26-Mar-08 09:34:41

Yes totally agree castille. My lo is 22 months, adorable most of the time everyone else thinks she is so adorable but just like your ds she has this side to her too...mostly she hits me hasn't really drawn blood so I guess I'm lucky but the no attention is really beginning to work. She hates it, but you have to be consistent all the time, even when out just turn away don't interact with her/him at all, obviously making sure it's safe to do so. I hope you have a better day.

thebecster Wed 26-Mar-08 09:48:01

Thank you both - especially for the 'not a bad mother' reassurance as I have been feeling completely inadequate. He's sleeping now - I went & got him from his cot as he was crying properly and his 'bye bye' bravado had deserted him. I read him stories in my bed for a bit and he was asleep within minutes. Hopefully he'll wake up in a better temper after a little nap. I'll persevere with gargarin's advice. It does make me so upset because he really does hurt me. He is exceptionally strong and I'm a bit of a weakling since I had viral meningitis 6 months ago and still haven't quite got my energy reserves back. Just my luck that my DH's family are very muscular types (professional sportsmen at national level) and DS seems to take after them instead of me. DS is so lovely usually, and I'm glad he's so strong, just wish it wasn't directed at me!

gagarin Wed 26-Mar-08 18:03:28

Hope the rest of the days wasn't as bad as it started off. You sound like an absolute saint - esp with a future world class gymnast dangling from your battered calves. The fact that he's running after you to slap you makes me think that in the long run ignoring him will hopefully work. He does want attention - he's just learnt the wrong way to get it and it'll take him a while to change his approach.

Well done for staying strong and not lashing out - I once was hanging out the washing with a clinging, whining child on my leg -lost my cool and shook my leg hard in irritation and my daughter was basically booted halfway across the garden blush

KKx Wed 26-Mar-08 20:03:30

I've read ur thread and I think your doing REALLY well thebecster smile

thebecster Thu 27-Mar-08 13:32:18

Thank you smile He's definitely improving. I've been following your advice to the letter gagarin, and he hasn't hit me hard or bitten me hard for the past 24 hours. He's mimed going to hit me etc. but it's much less vicious, and over quite quickly. I'm prepared for relapses, but this system is working much better than anything I was doing before, so I'm definitely sticking with it. Thank you all so much. Why do we never feel that we're doing a good job as a mother - or at least I don't! It's a flippin' hard slog this parenting lark... But the good times are worth it. Like now, when he's at the swings with his grandparents and I'm drinking tea and MNing in peace! grin

Emsimp Mon 22-Jun-15 09:17:08

Hi I just found this thread. My daughter is 23 months and has been hitting me for a while. Nobody else, just me and has recently started head butting me. When my husband is in she doesn't do it as he has a really good authoritive voice but when he's at work and I'm on my own she does it all the time. I've tried everything. Does this technique really work? I'm willing to give anything a go...

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