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Young Girl Expresses Herself Through Aggressive Actions

Question:

My 11-month-old daughter seems to be overly aggressive. She loves to take a swing at everything. When she doesn’t want any more food or drink, she swings her hand. She tosses her toys and hits people in the face when they pick her up.  She pulls her own hair and even hits herself in the head, especially when she is frustrated. I have disciplined her for hitting others, but what do I do about her other volatile behaviors? Is this normal behavior for her age?

 

Answer:

Taking a swing “at everything” is not unheard of at this age. However, if it is allowed to continue it will cause problems in other areas. It sounds like she does this rather than using her words, and that she does it both when she is happy and sad. How is her verbal development? Does this action usually have words attached to it? 

If you have not already, visit with her pediatrician about her behavior and your concerns. We always encourage parents of young children to visit with their children’s doctor to rule out a medical reason for a child’s behavior. Meanwhile, when she lashes out or tries to pull her hair, take hold of her hands and use words to describe a feeling she is probably feeling at that time. This will help her relate her feelings to words rather than actions. The goal is to help her develop the habit of using words instead of physical actions.

 

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