Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Worried mother | 2010-02-10


Strange Behaviour

Hi Doc

My soon to be one-and half baby girl likes to kick, pinch and stratch people. She does that even to people in malls, she would just grab people. Last week i went to the clinic and there was a 3 year old boy she was playing with and all of a sudden she started stratching the child on the face and he began to cry. When she pinches me i tell her to stop it and pinch her as well so that she can feel how painfull it is and she seems not to be doing it more often now. Is she seeking attention? what could be the cause?

Expert's Reply



The cause of this kind of aggressive behaviour is not always obvious. It does not help to pinch her or even to smack her as this simply increases and prolongs her aggressive bhaviour.Tell her to stop in a clear firm voice when she starts biting or kicking. If she does not stop immediately put her in her room. She can only come out when she stops crying. If she starts again immediately put her back in her room.It may take a while but eventually she will learn to stop this unacceptable behaviour.

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user comments


Posted by: Purple | 2010-02-10

by pinching her back you are giving her the message that its ok to pinch people - after all - mom does it.

When she pinches someone, go and make a big fuss over the other child and ask how they are, ig you have a sweet give it to them - make it clear that they are getting loads of positive attention.
Then turn to her, tell her that was mean, and put her in time out - one minute for each year of her age. Time out only becomes effective at about 18 months, so its a good time to start using it. If she keeps leaving the room, shut the door.
She' s too young for star charts to be effective, and if you smack her, she will just start hitting people rather than just pinching them - children who hit others are always children who get smacked at home. Taking away priveleges won' t work yet eithe as she' s too young for that.

You are right about her not knowing how painful the pinching is - she has not yet developed empathy for others - that comes much later. You need to tell her that it hurts others though - as that is how she will learn that.

Remember that although she can' t talk that much, she can understand a lot more, so after time out, explain - it is wrong to pinch people, it hurts them. How would you like it if someone pinched you. Keep it short and to the point otherwise her attention will wander.

She probably pinches when she gets frustrated with the other person, or can' t express what she wants to say, or just wants to get some attention (sometimes even when children are getting good quality attention they still act up a bit if you are distracted by a phone call or a visitor).

Don' t worry, your child is quite normal, and so long as you deal with the incidents firmly and kindly, she will grow out of it. My sister used to hit people on the head with a plastic spade she insisted on carrying everywhere - she' s now a well adjusted woman in her thirties who doesn' t wack people on the head ever.

Reply to Purple

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