20-Month-Old Toddler Development: Hitting and Biting
Kids usually hit or bite when they're feeling frustrated. They also tend to act out because in their cute, innocent brains, they're the only ones who matter. So if someone is bothering your little precious, he'll have no qualms about chomping on the botherer's arm to show his dissatisfaction. Admit it: Sometimes you wish you could do the same! What you're thinking: "What's with the biting? Have I given birth to a character from Twilight?"
- Like tantrums, hitting and biting are some of those less than adorable—yet totally developmentally appropriate—toddler behaviors. So, next time your little Mike Tyson punches or bites his playmate's ear like the Evander Holyfield incident, know that it's totally normal and not a reflection on you as a parent. That said, there are some things you can do to stave off your toddler's aggressive attacks and try to prevent them in the future. (If only Tyson's manager had this info at his disposal.)
- If you see your kid lurching for her friend with that "I'm gonna get you" look in her eye, don't be afraid to intercede. Jump in and grab your kid before she can reach her target. If you're too late and she's already packed a few punches, remove her from the room until she calms down.
- Get down on your kid's level and explain, simply, that it's totally cool to get upset or angry at someone, but it's not totally cool to hit or bite. Act out an example of taking a few deep breaths or leaving the room for a little cool-off time when you're mad.
- If you feel you need to make a fuss over someone, do it over the kid that was hurt rather than the kid who did the damage. Point out how sad the offendee is. This helps the hitter or biter learn empathy. But try not to force your kid to say she's sorry. If she doesn't really mean it—and odds are she won't—you'll just be teaching her to parrot a word that she knows will get her out of trouble but doesn't mean that much.
- Try not to let a biting incident go by without addressing the parents of the child who's been bitten. Expressing remorse (profusely) and ensuring them that you're taking actions against your child's behavior goes a long way in keeping tempers from getting heated.
- If you sometimes feel like nothing you do will keep your biter, pusher, kicker at bay, don't get down on yourself. Hang in there. Your kid will outgrow this stinky phase at some point. And there are plenty of mamas who have gone through the same thing and lived to tell about it. We promise he won't go to college biting his buddies.
- "I don't like what my brother and his girlfriend are doing with their son. Their child is not abused, neglected or otherwise mistreated, but he is turning into a brat. One day at Grandma's he bit my older son on the cheek and kicked my younger son. He's a little monster!"
Read more of "Monster, Inc." by bahall07
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All kids grow and develop at different rates. So please don't compare your toddler with so-and-so's from across the street—you'll just drive yourself nuts. If you have any concerns, bring them up with your doctor at your kid's next checkup.