Teaching A Baby To Be Gentle

Arthur recently had his 9-12 month check with the health visitor and while we were there I mentioned the fact the Arthur is quite forceful when it comes to touch, so much so that on a daily basis I am either sporting a new bite or bruise and to be honest I wasn’t sure how to deal with it.

When Lucie was a toddler I took the majority of my advice from my elders, my grandmother used to say if a child bites you, nibble them back so they don’t do it again or should they hit you, tap their hand.  I personally think this is letting the child think it’s ok to do these sort of things so I’ve never been comfortable doing it.

When I was pregnant with Arthur I thought a lot about the sort of parent I wanted to be.  I wasn’t around too much during Lucie’s early years as I worked shifts in a hotel so my mother used to enforce a lot of the rules.  I wanted to take a gentle approach to parenting with Arthur and let him lead the way which some people think has made Arthur the boss of the house (I think this is rubbish personally).  I don’t see it as Arthur getting all of his own way, I think I’m letting Arthur explore life and all it has to offer.

Until I spoke to my health visitor I had been trying to show Arthur how gentle touch should feel so when he nipped me on the arm I would get his hand and gently touch my arm with it while saying “mummy likes it when you stroke her arm”. This didn’t work at all.

My health visitor initially advised me to pick Arthur up and put him on the floor, told me not to look at him, talk to him or pick him up.  I said I wouldn’t be comfortable doing this to him as it’s not the way I want to parent and asked if she had any alternatives so she told me to buy a doll so I could demonstrate gentle touch.

We were picking up a few bits from Ikea when I noticed they had some soft bodied dolls with hair, so we picked one up and named him Luke.  Arthur was quite taken with Luke when we first brought him home and gently touched his hair, lips, arm etc.

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Arthur’s gentle behaviour didn’t last! Poor Luke is currently lying face down in the ball pool covered by balls, if we sit him on Arthur’s car he pulls him out and throws him across the room, if we pick Luke up and say to Arthur that he is hurt would he like to come and rub his leg better Arthur grabs him and throws him away.

Arthur has so far this week nipped my arm twice which has left a bruise each time and bitten me on the stomach when he got over excited.  I’m now at a bit of a loss and hope one of my readers has a nice gentle tip so I can deal with this.  My health visitor told me I don’t want to be the mother of the boy who no one will play with at nursery school and she’s right I don’t!

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