A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

My Baby or Rocky Balboa?

on May 8, 2012

So today I find myself asking me who is in fact sat in front of me? Is it my daughter or have a I bred a mini Rocky Balboa? You see my daughter has started hitting me, no one else, just me and only me. She seems to think it is funny and a game but it has been going on for a couple of weeks now several times a day and despite my best efforts I am not winning with her.

I have to confess it is getting me down a little, as I can’t seem to find a solution to the issue and before I fell pregnant I had all the best intentions “my child won’t do that”, “my child will listen” etc etc. Instead I now feel like I am failing and can’t get my daughter to listen to me let alone respect me!

It doesn’t appear to be at any specific time and there doesn’t seem to be a trigger, it’s just random, out of the blue and for no reason.

This morning she woke at 6.40am, I went into her room, greeted her with a cuddle, got her bottle and brought her into our room as usual so we could have a cuddle. By 7.45am we were already experiencing our first outburst with my daughter clambering all over me and trying to hit me in the face.

I’ve tried a number of ways of dealing with this:

  • I’ve come down to her level, got hold of her hands (to prevent her from hitting me again as she does try) and explaining to her calmly and firmly that it is wrong to hit and it hurts
  • I have said “ouch” and showed visibly that she has hurt me
  • I’ve tried ignoring her and moving her away from, me but she just follows me or clambers back to where I am

All of the above have resorted in her laughing at me and trying to do it again.

I have now resorted to Time out. I know people probably think she is too young for this (she’s 20 1/2 months) and I would be inclined to agree slightly but I am running out of ideas and I feel I need to teach her that it’s wrong and won’t be stood for.

Time out so far has been a bit of a game to her, I follow the book by what Supernanny, Jo Frost, suggests in that I give her a warning and explain if she does it again she will go in time out because it is wrong and hurts, I then follow through and sit her down and explain why she is in time out and that she has to stay there till mummy says she can move. If she moves I repeatedly pick her up and put her back without saying anything. (This can often be every 10 secs for up to 22 – 40 times). She laughs and squeals like it’s a game but after a while does stay put, albeit in a very frustrated manner. I only put her in time out for 30 – 40 seconds as I feel she is too young to last a minute. I then go back to her and explain why she has been in time out and that her behaviour hurt mummy and I ask for a cuddle. Initially she was giving me a cuddle and that was that. However this last week she has refused and tried to barge past me or hit me again, which has resulted in me putting her back in time out. This scenario can go on for up to 3 -4 times before I finally get a half hearted cuddle.

The hitting happens several times a day at present and for the last two nights she has hit me after I have read her a bedtime bottle and as I am putting her to bed and giving her a cuddle. There’s no tantrum about going to bed, she merely hits me and laughs. She has even nutted me with her head a couple of times too, the force with this and the hand aren’t hard but enough to make me flinch!

My husband and I have both googled this and whilst it is not really much comfort it does appear that it is quite common around this age. I have found a couple of good articles and forum discussions that have given me food for thought.

Dr William Sears on Parenting.com states

“Please try not to take your daughter’s behavior personally  — many toddlers go through a stage of hitting or biting the hand that feeds them! Try to remember that you aren’t doing anything wrong  — this is typical behavior of your child’s age group. Hands are communication tools, especially for pre-verbal toddlers.”

He suggests:

  • Trying to track the trigger. Is there anything causing it? Are they hungry or tired when they do it? Are they in a new social setting and learning from their peers etc? He states if you look at these areas you may be able to address it directly.
  • Offering alternative methods of communication – He states “in most cases, children don’t hit out of anger or frustration  — often, it’s just a confused way of getting your attention. The key to quelling this type of hitting is to show her how to communicate with her hands using more gentle gestures.”
  • Teach alternative fun gestures they can do with their hands to distract
  • Give lots of one to one contact time, cuddles etc.

I’ve also found this post on a Netmums forum “My 20 Month Old Keeps Hitting Me” Suggestions from other mums include walking away, negating eye contact, showing how to touch gently, reinforcing positive behaviour, using systems such as reward charts and role playing with dolls to show gentle behaviour.

I will certainly try to give a few of the above a go and just hope that like people seem to be saying across the web “it is just a common phase all kids go through!”

In the meantime if you have experiences of this and have found any “lightbulb fantastic moments of how to deal with it” please do share!

I am linking this post up to “Terrible Twosday” hosted by the lovely The Crumby Mummy as I think it’s fitting and appropriate to share the highs AND the lows of parenting!

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20 responses to “My Baby or Rocky Balboa?

  1. Notmyyearoff says:

    Z is 16 months and will hit sometime. It’s really frustrating when he enters the “hitting moment”, it seems to be in the evening and it’s like he’s trying to swipe my nose off. No amount of “no” or telling off or ignoring is helping. I really hope it’s a quick phase!

    • amummysview says:

      sorry to hear you are having the same, It’s awful isn’t it? I tried the moving her and ignoring her thing this morning and it did seem to work a bit. Will see which tactic works best! Hope your’s grows out of it too! xxx

  2. I haven’t experienced this with Bob yet but I have seen it a few times at nursery. You are doing all the right things. Just carry on and stay consistent! Choose the way that you are going to react (the getting down to her level one s a good one) and do this every time she does it, followed by the consequence (e.g. time out). It will get better and remember it is not you!!! Thanks for linking up! Hopefully we can get you some advice. x

    • amummysview says:

      thanks honey I will persevere. Everything I have read says it’s a common phase. She’s been good today had a couple of hits this morning but I tried ignoring and moving her away and it seemed to work. Rocky as in Rocky the boxer in the movies. Have I spelt it wrong? My hubby told me how to spell it?! lol x

  3. P.S. What’s a Rocky Balbos? x

  4. sharon says:

    Hi, we’re having a similar problem with biting, our daughter is 21mnths. she only tends to bite toward the end of the day when shes getting tired. I tried the ouch it hurts, i’ve explained we don’t bite etc, i don’t want to bite her back although everyone i’ve spoken to swears by it. i’m now on the ignore it stance. i don’t talk about it when she’s around as she understands everything i say so i think it just makes her want to do it more as it gives her attention. if she does bite again my plan is a firm short NO! then pick her up and put her away from all the excitment (our hall is the chosen spot) tell her she’s stays there because she bit mammy, then walk away leaving her there for 30-60 seconds. then when i get back explain biting hurts, cuddle and apologies. fingers crossed it works. I hope you get to grips with your Daughters hitting you can’t help but feel hurt by it x

    • amummysview says:

      Hi lovely That’s what I have tried with my daughter (essentially time out) but it often turns into a game with her getting up and trying to run away. She’s just done it out of the blue there, we were playing nice and had been for a good half hour since she has woken up and her dad has come home. She’s just come up to me as if to cuddle me and tapped me across the face so I said no firmly and have walked away and am ignoring her. Keep me posted how you get on, it’s awful isn’t it? xxx 🙂

  5. Charlotte says:

    That makes sense now! I didn’t know his last name! Thought it was some sort of animal. :0) x

  6. mummydoc says:

    My little boy started doing the same. He was a bit older however. Initially did the walking away thing but it was the naughty step that really put a stop to it. He knew hitting meant an automatic 2 mins. Seemed to do the trick.
    I can sympathise as I was really the main victim
    In our house too. You wonder what you’re doing wrong. It’s seems it’s all about attention whether negative or not. It WILL get better. Promise.

  7. I have no advice hunny as I am not at that stage yet as Mads is only 16 months but I hope that you get it resolved asap. I think they all go through that stage though so don’t feel down about it. xx

    • amummysview says:

      Thanks lovely it is a bit frustrating, annoying and upsetting at times but just persevering have read so many others having similar probs so glad it’s not just me and quite common. x

  8. Aw hunni you’re not alone, it’s more common than you think. My sister experienced the same with my niece, i honestly believe it’s just a phase they go through. You’re doing all the right things so keep at it and just be consistent. It WILL pay off xxx

  9. Finally gotten around to replying YAY. MY daughter is doing this as well, but as it’s usually when she’s on my knee or I’m holding her I just say NO and put her down, hopefully she’ll get the idea and it worked when she used to bite me when she was nursing. Good luck discouraging your daughter, I hope this works for you

  10. […] experience as I have dealt with similar behaviour when I worked in a nursery. You can read her post here. The problem that I have is that Bob is so young! She is only just one! I would not have thought […]

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