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All of Us

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Troubles with Babyzilla

Our darling baby has turned into a toddler terror. His favorite activity at the moment is hair pulling. He will grab 2 handfuls of long hair and pull as hard as he can. He is very strong and it is very difficult to get him to uncurl his fingers. A. is his most frequent victim since she is the easiest target. He prefers to strike from behind since it is even harder to get him to let go then without assistance. Yesterday he was circling me like a shark, trying to sneak up from behind.

I know it's attention getting behavior, since usually 2-3 people run over to help the screaming victim. M. thinks this is hilarious. I have tried the following negative consequences: one minute timeout (he hates it but immediately tries to pull someone's hair when you release him), pulling his hair (thinks this is funny and will pull his own hair), a swat on the bottom or a slap on the hand (thinks this is funny too). Obviously I don't want to really harm him, and I don't believe in spanking especially when the child is only 15 months old, but this is a serious problem. Anyone out there been through it and have any suggestions?

I have tried spending more positive time with him, but recently while snuggling and kissing him, he grabbed my hair and ripped out a large handful. I was incensed. Since Daryl basically has no hair, he has been trying to spend more time roughhousing with him.

Boredom is another issue. Due to the weather, he rarely goes outdoors. Since he doesn't behave that well in the car (screams) or in stores, and I have a plethora of babysitters, he rarely leaves the house. If he does go somewhere, it is often a roundtrip to pick up a sibling where he doesn't get out of the car. Such is the life of the eighth child. Anyway, we believe he is bored and that may contribute to the hair pulling, so are attempting to get him out more. Also, if he gets more practice he might behave better in public. Right now it is an endless cycle--why would I take a difficult child with me if I don't have to? How will he learn to behave better without any practice? And so on....


truth said...

I never had much of a hair pulling problem with any of my kids. But, with Ethan, it is a real problem.

As I was reading your post, I was trying to remember at what age Ethan began pulling hair. It was terribly frustrating, as he sounds like your little guy. He would not let go for anything. Like you, we tried everything. Spanking didn't affect Ethan at all.

For Ethan, it started as a sensory thing. He loved the feel of hair. Early on, to get him to release quicker, if we turned his wrist forward, it automatically forces him to let go or loosen his grip.

As time went on, the hair pulling became his means of communicating. At 6, he still occasionally grabs hold of hair and doesn't let go.

Sorry I don't have any better advice. But this just struck me as it sounded so similar to Ethan. And yes, he laughed a lot at any attempt to get him to stop.

Lisa said...

I've got a hair puller too. I think she just loves the reaction. I mostly have Mel (almost always the victim) wearing her hair back in one braid rather than all loose so it's harder to get hold of. I'm trying to also pet her stuffed animals and my head nicely and say 'nice, nice, gentle'. Who knows if it's doing any good. I know it will pass but it sure hurts in the mean time. We won't go into climbing, biting, screaming, pounding, well you get the picture.

Shel @ Life With Seven said...

Oh dear...toddlers and their naughty behavior! I have no advice, just sympathy, and a reminder that it will pass (and somehow we forget the negative behaviors and desire another baby, lol). ;-)

Lawfrog said...

Hope all is well with you! Looking forward to reading a new blog from you (hint, hint) ;)

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SE Michigan, United States
Mother to 10 fabulous kids, ages 4 to 21 years! Married for 26 years to my best friend.


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