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Was this the right way to control my son?

I have an nineteen month old toddler, whom I stay at home with all of the time, he's not in daycare. Last night, I was sitting on the couch beside him and he was lying down because he had felt sick all weekend (stomach virus). He then got up, walked over to me, put his mouth on my arm and bit down as hard as he could it left teeth imprints and even a small rash the next day. I pulled him off of my arm, told him firmly "no you don't bite" took him to his room with the lights off and closed the door. That is the only form of time out I can use, it actually works. Then a few minutes later, I went to his room, he came out and I told him "you don't bite, that hurts, do you understand" he just sniffled and I kept repeating until he looked me in the eyes to let him know I was serious. Then he walked into the living room, laid on the couch, I ignored him and began cleaning the kitchen, and he fell asleep. Did I do this right? I was stunned, but hope he doesn't repeat this behavior. Advice?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that what you did was 100% right. I know, as a parent, that when your child hurts you, there is this inner defense mechanism that kicks in. You were calm and cool. You were able to punish him in a meaningful way. You fortuantely did not make the mistake that less thoughful parents make. You did not hit him to teach him not to bite or even worse- bite him back. I have heard of people doing this. I guess their rationale is that they are teaching that it hurts. I think that it is enough to say, "It hurts". I think that kids have a solid concept of pain even when they have not experienced it in the same way. I would add, and you have probably already considered this, that you should not mention it again because you could turn it into a tool. He will recognize if you over- talk about it, that it means a lot to you. You may also want to consider what he was trying to accomplish. Was it out of curiosity- in the way that younger babies drop things repeatedly to test gravity or was he expressing anger? I sounds like he was just cranky because he was ill. I have always told my kids (now great teens!) that one of life's greatest challenges is to convey your needs to others. Children and adults alike try so many bizare ways of communicating with others. People do what will get the attention that they need. I was careful to point out to my kids that screaming and tantrums did not get them what they wanted. I encouraged them to try things that would work. Literally, we would talk about throwing some failed technique in the trash and moving on to more effective methods. When they were the age of your child, I would say, in the face of a tantrum, "Get up, that is not going to work for you. Stand upa nd tell me what you want." I have always let them get their way when they could make a convincing case. I also found it very helful to always validate their feelings with a yes and then a qualification - for instance- if my child came into the kitchen while I was making dinner and asked for a cookie, I would say, " Yes, after dinner. " It's the "no" that discourages reason. It actually works with people of all ages. People want to know that they are heard. I have gone way off track now. Things will get much easier for you as your child becomes even more verbal in the coming months. You are off to a great start. Enjoy!