Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My 12 month old grandson is acting out

Questioner: Linda


Subject: bad behavior

Question: I have a 12 month old grandson. He is constantly hitting. He also throws tantrums, such as throwing things biting, and kicking. He knows the word no. He runs when we tell him. He also has stopped talking. He used to say approximately 6-8 words. Now he only grunts. My daughter is a single parent since he was 4 month old. He does not know his father. I take care of him from 1 in the afternoon till morning while my daughter works. Can you help?


Answer: Dear Linda:

This little boy is 12 months old and we are worried about "bad" behavior? Something is definitely going on as he is only 1 years old. Sounds like he is not getting his needs met. He knows the word no and it sounds like that maybe his trigger.


This toddler sounds frustrated, angry and mad. Here is what I would suggest. IGNORE his acting out behaviors. Try rewarding him big time with hugs, kisses and praises when he is not acting out. Give him your full, undivided attention when he is not acting including eye contact and engagement.

When he is acting out, ignore it, tell him you will talk to him when he is done and DO NOT give him any eye contact. I suspect he is missing his mom. She works evenings and his schedule maybe off while she is working. However, he can adjust. Just follow the advice to the point.

Also, you can get some picture books with lots of feeling words in them. These pictures will help him identify his feelings. You can get a feeling chart to put on the wall or the fridge door and encourage him to point to one of the pictures, any of his choice. This too will help him to get his feelings out as his vocabulary grows.

If you are sitting him you house may not be child proofed. If there are too many no's in his world he will become frustrated. Make sure you have enough developmental toys for him to play with and minimize the objects in his view that you have to say no to!

He is lucky to have a grandmother who reaches out for help. I know it is challenging when you have a child whose other parent is not in the picture and you will have a wonderful impact on his life, just by being you!

Best Wishes!

M Kay Keller