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Thread: 13 month old Temper Tantrums Reply to Thread
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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-29-2002 09:24 PM
Jennajbb I hope you don't mind if I make a comment...
Firstly, HANG IN THERE and know that biting is perfectly normal for a toddler. It is simply a way to communicate....obviously not appropriate but still normal.
Second, it is ridiculous of your Day Care centre to threaten to remove your child. It is unnecessary. Please take the situation up with the Supervisor of the centre and ask them if they have come up with game plans to help your child. For instance...having another adult "shadow" your child to help him in situations where he is likely to bite. This is a very common practice and it works.
Have they even tried to come up with a discipline practice at the daycare? Have they shared it with you so you can be consistent at home as well as the day care centre?
Biting usually lasts a very short time if dealt with properly by his teachers...I know it is frustrating to the teachers and the parents whose children are being bitten BUT it is definitely not a reason to remove a child from care especially because it is developmentally appropriate for this age level. If he was 4 and biting THEN I could see a reason for such a threat.
I have had experience with toddlers in a group setting...when a child has bitten another child, we have firstly watched the child to see if it is going to happen again. We are VERY firm with him saying "NO Johnny! Biting hurts! We don't bite!" At this point we sit him away from the injured child and then make a big fuss over the child who was bitten. Once a child has bit once, we watch him like a hawk...helping him aviod situations when he would bite.
If the biting becomes a problem then we have tried other things (depending on the age). We have given him a bite toy every time he bites saying..."NO Johnny! Biting hurts! Bite this when you get mad (putting the bite toy to his mouth). Worse case scenerios have warrented a "shadow" who follows the child in the classroom (usually a volunteer employed by the centre).

Anyways, I hope this makes sense and gives you some hope. Biting is scary but very normal and can be remedied. Again it doesn't usually last long and as the child's language develops, it should all but disappear.
All the best!
04-29-2002 12:10 PM
ssbartell Hi Carla,
it sounds like there are a lot of things going on. To start with, I think you should really try not to spank Henry, no matter how you're feeling. It won't help his behavior in the long (or even short) run. I certainly understand your frustration with his biting but it is either a phase as a result of not having the verbal skills to express his anger or frustration, or it is learned behavior--maybe from daycare. Most likely, it's a phase that will end when he learns how to communicate better. That being said, biting is a very antisocial behavior that daycare and other parents really don't like, so you do have to try and stop it. A loud firm "NO" is often effective, as is helping him to avoid frustrating situations--like getting too tired, out of his routine. Also, you need to find out if day care is handling him in a productive, supportive manner or if they are being critical. Hang in there, this too shall pass.

Next, it sounds like you're feeling guilty about working and the effect that this may be having on Henry. Most children do fine with good child care as long as the parents feel positive and good about their work. Of course, if you're not feeling this way you need to consider other options. These are: find a child care situation that you like better or consider discussing the option of your husband staying home with Henry (since his salary is lower). This is a perfectly acceptable alternative to you staying home and many more fathers are doing so these days. Let me know what you think and how it all works out. Remember that no matter what you decide to do, feeling guilty is unproductive and unnecessary. You can be a good mother whether you work or not--you need to feel good about yourself and that's what will make you a good mother. Take care.
04-21-2002 12:45 AM
Carla Hello, I am sending this note out as a cry for help. I have spent my first serious day of frustation with my 14 mo. old boy, Henry. During the past four months, he has had a couple of instances of biting but they seem to pass. Yesterday, his day care called and threatened to have him removed because he bit another child. My husband talked with them. Within two hours later he bit another child. Last night, he tried to bite me. Today, he tried to bite a friends child on the feet, and then when I was dressing him for bed he threw a fit and bit me on the arm.

I have resorted to a quick spanking on his behind or back of his thigh. Which gets his attention but frightens me about being overly violent.

What am I to do? Both my husband and I work full-time outside of the home, and as I make twice as much as my husband am unable to stay at home to truly give the care Henry needs.

I do not think that the biting is due to Henry being angry but mainly due to frustration and not understanding that he is hurting another child or us.

Please help, am desperately scared we are not being the parents that he needs.
07-18-2001 02:07 PM
mrs073 Thank you Dr. Bartell. I do not believe in "biting back" either -- , but I do have to work on my reaction, because when it's unexpected-- OUCH!!

(It is funny about our little girls' names! )

Also, yes-- I do want Emily to grow up and be energetic and independent-- she is already on her way there! I do agree with everything that you said. Emily has really come a long way since she started walking -- she's progressing faster than I thought she would. I guess until she learns how to orally tell me what she wants, patience is going to be my biggest virtue.

When she does "pitch a fit" as I like to say, if she is just mad at not getting what she wants, I walk away for a moment to let her know that her reaction is not going to make Mommy give her want she wants. If I believe what she is mad about is reasonable or she is just frusrated at not being able to do something, I calm her down and show her what to do or how to get it. Hopefully, those techniques are okay.

Thank you again.
07-17-2001 01:28 PM
ssbartell Hi Kimmy and Kathy,

Well, my middle daughter's middle name is Emma, does that count?

Now to your questions. First, redirection is definitely the best way to go at this age because it is all about trying to assert her independence as well as being frustrated that she can't do what she wants. It is also connected to learning to walk. As babies become much more mobile, they realize that there are all sorts of things that they can do which don't involve mom, and they want to do them all right now! So when you are somehow restraining her (changing table) or preventing her from hurting herself (window seat etc) she experiences it as a chance to try and rebel, if you will. A couple of things to keep in mind are:
*Really pick and choose your battles--try and say no as little as possible, reserving it only for real safety issues. At this age it is not about "behavior management"
*Don't worry about the tantrums becoming an issue as your daughter gets older. Tantrums at this age are very different than older child tantrums and require a different response. If she's doing it at three or four, it is more about trying to get her way and should be dealt with accordingly when appropriate.
*Try and offer an appealing alternative when you have to redirect and you will be less likely to get a tantrum
*Don't give in to the tantrum or you will end up with a bratty older child--stick to your guns but do it as gently and smoothly as possible.

Now to biting--it's really a similar issue--assertion of independence and frustration in a child that doesn't yet have the words to express herself. Please, please don't ever bite back to "teach her a lesson", it will backfire and is cruel. Sometimes it's also just a playful experimentation with new teeth. My feeling is that ignoring it is the best way to handle it. If you have a huge reaction, she will know that it's getting to you which is what she wants. If you ignore it, or redirect her, it will quickly lose it's power and she'll become bored with it. Biting at this age is absolutely unconnected to biting in older children. When a child of about 2 1/2 or older bites it can represent a behavioral problem or even frustration over a language delay. This should not be ignored as the underlying issue may be more serious.

I hope this helps you with your energetic and independent girls. And don't forget, aren't these the very traits we ultimately want our daugters to have?
07-16-2001 10:50 PM
Jennajbb I couldn't help but laugh when you posted...our daughters are about the same age and share the same name (Jenna's middle name is Emmaley)...hmmm maybe its the name. LOL
07-16-2001 06:52 PM
mrs073 I also would like to ask about biting. Emily has started to sometimes bite me for no reason whatever. I can hardly wait for the terrible twos.

Emily, like Jenna, is getting very adamant about what she does and does not want.
07-16-2001 06:49 PM
mrs073 Kimmy --

I am so glad you posted this topic!! Emily is doing exactly the same things and I was going to ask the expert. I can hardly wait for the response!
07-16-2001 05:14 PM
Jennajbb Hi Dr. Bartell,

My daughter is almost 14 months old. She is for the most part a very happy baby. However she has some real blow ups. She is very hard to calm down and she sometimes continues crying (feel sorry for me type cry) for a long time. Actually it can be very funny to see such a small person kicking her feet and throwing herself to the floor. (you know how parents think everything is cute LOL)
But I am concerned that she is going to get worse as she gets older. We discipline her by redirection mostly.
Is there any advice you can give to help? I realize that her tantrums likely stem from frustration.
Here are some typical times that tantrums reoccur.
*change table--when I change her diapers and she wants to flip over (safety issue)
*climbing on the window seat and we take her down (safety issue again because she crawls up and stands up in the window)
and there are others...but those are a few instances when she has BIG tantrums.

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