The Daddy Complex

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My 21 month old will not stop biting, hitting or throwing things. We've tried talking to him, sitting him in time out, distraction, yelling and most recently banishment (sat in a closed off area of the house to calm down) but he's right back to the act as soon as he's out of punishment! Any advice?

Asked by Anonymous

As always, my first piece of advice is generally: Don’t take my advice.

But, if you were to ignore that, I’d say the key is consistency.

Pick one of the many things you’ve listed up there and stick with it. If, say, you put him in a time out (though 21 months might be a tad young for that to have any effect, just FYI) and he resumes the behavior as soon as he’s free, put him right back in.

All that said, experts say positive reinforcement tends to work better with kids in your son’s age range. So, rather than punish him for biting, reward him for the other things he does. And that reward can be as simple as a laugh or a “Yay!” Not something grandiose, however, like a vacation home in Fiji.

Those same experts also say a rigid daily schedule could help ease his frustration, etc.—things that tend to manifest as biting. So, if he’s not on a regular nap and meal schedule, get him on one.

If all that fails, that Hannibal Lecter mask might be a good Plan C.


Recently, Tumblr person gazelledeerdoe asked a question about breastfeeding. She’s not a mom, so her question to me (in response to one of my posts) was innocent—she genuinely didn’t know what breastfeeding mothers put up with. I felt our exchange was funny and lighthearted, and she now understands their plight.

Unfortunately, because of her initial question, she’s now getting a flood of hate messages, including at least one person who suggested that she kill herself.

I know my original post has gone into the Tumblr ether, so asking folks who may be just now discovering it to stop attacking this girl is like screaming into a hurricane. But, I’m gonna do it anyway.


And, if any of you care, please send her a non-anon message of support. Let her know the anon haters are the worst kind of cowards, not worth her time or energy. The people who matter are the ones who show their face, who understand we’re all learning and who support the blameless.