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Biting, hitting and pulling hair are common misbehaviors in preverbal children. When a toddler lashes out, she's telling you in the only way she knows how that something is bothering her. The problem may be that she's tired, bored, overexcited, confused, frustrated or hungry. Whatever the problem, there's no need to worry: Biting and hitting are not signs that your child is a bully, maladjusted, "bad" or angry, nor are they signs that you are a bad parent. Think of your child's behavior as a form of communication. Learn to "read" the behavior by asking yourself, "What's going on here?"
5 Ways Not to Respond to Biting, Hitting and Hair Pulling
1. Don't bite back in the hope that it will teach her a lesson.
2. Don't send your child to her room for a time-out. This will only make the behavior more attractive as the commotion created makes her feel more powerful.
3. Avoid lectures.
4. Don't suggest your child hit a pillow. You want to teach your child to solve her problems rather than vent her feelings.
5. Don't ask your child to explain her behavior; focus instead on solving the problem.
1. BE PROACTIVE. It's more effective to redirect a youngster than it is to punish her after the fact.
2. BE THERE. Don't give a biter opportunity to get in trouble. Stay by her side and intervene when you see trouble coming.
3. BE ATTENTIVE. Respond to the "victim" first. Apologize for your child. (Read below for how to treat human bites.)