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Expert Q&A:
How can I stop my 14-month-old from grabbing my face?



I have a 14-month-old who often grabs at my face. He is learning about ears, nose, mouth, etc., so I hate to tell him no when he touches these facial features. Often, though, his grabbing is too hard and draws blood. Other times, out of anger or when he is tired, he will violently grab at my face. I notice he does this only with me and not his father. I firmly tell him no, hold his hand, or hold him tight, but none of these things have worked (they just make him more angry). Do you have any suggestions?


It sounds as if you are already doing what I would suggest. Holding his hand and holding him tightly are ways to try to teach him by negative reinforcement. When he gets too aggressive, put him down, say, "I don't like to be hurt", and walk away. Come back soon to say, "I won't leave you, but I don't like to be hurt." He'll learn over time. Biting comes next, so be prepared.

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