Biting, scratching, slapping oh my — The Bump
Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Biting, scratching, slapping oh my

So i have a 13 month old son and all he does is bite, scratch, and slap me non stop! When i tell him "your hurting mommy" he laughs and keeps doing it so when i do it back to him he thinks ita a game! How can i make him stop? Its getting bad! And i know hes 13 months old so i cant do too much. Im at a loss for words its worse when i tell him "NO" its a total meltdown with biting and throwing stuff!! Is this normal? Ftm thanks

Re: Biting, scratching, slapping oh my

  • It's so frustrating but just be consistent. Whenever my son did this to me (mostly hitting my face but some biting) I would immediately stop whatever we were doing, firmly tell him NO, hold his hand/arm until he knows that was not nice, and then put him down. I'd often get the laugh and if I put him down he would just run over to something else but it eventually stopped. I would suggest not doing it back to him since that is probably confusing: you're telling him that behavior is not acceptable but then you do it back to him.

  • It's so frustrating but just be consistent. Whenever my son did this to me (mostly hitting my face but some biting) I would immediately stop whatever we were doing, firmly tell him NO, hold his hand/arm until he knows that was not nice, and then put him down. I'd often get the laugh and if I put him down he would just run over to something else but it eventually stopped. I would suggest not doing it back to him since that is probably confusing: you're telling him that behavior is not acceptable but then you do it back to him.
    Especially the bolded. At this stage in the game, they're really too young to fully grasp cause and effect. Stopping and redirecting the behavior is your best bit. I did the same as PP - grab his hands, tell him, "No; that's not nice," and leave him be. He's to the point now (at 15 months) that I can just say, "that's not nice" and he'll stop (he mostly only hits the dog in an attempt to pet her). Sometimes he thinks it's funny, but he does stop.
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  • I totally agree with not doing it back - little ones look to mom and dad to model appropriate behavior so we want to be careful about doing the things we don't want them doing. My DD is 17 mos and hits so I feel your pain (literally)!  I've noticed that she does it a lot more when she's tired or hungry, or if she's way over-stimulated.  Maybe see if that's a pattern with your son?  If you notice a pattern, you can more easily head off the behavior before it starts with a snack/nap/quiet space.  
    When I see it coming, I will grab her hand/arm to stop her from hitting and tell her "we don't hit. Hitting hurts and is not nice" or something like that.  If she's clearly angry/frustrated, I tell her that it's ok to be mad/sad/angry, but it's not ok to hit and I can't let her hurt me/friend/cat whatever. Sometimes she melts down more and at that point I do my best redirect her attention somewhere else.  Patience and consistency are key!  (and are both HARD! Good luck Momma!)
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