Parents Helping Parents of Wyoming State Parenting Center

Babies, as we are told, might bite or kick or punch or pull or grind because they are little scientists, innocently exploring their world by pummeling it into a mush. They don’t mean any harm; they just want to see what will happen when they knock something senseless, is all. The important thing, the experts will tell you, is not to make a big deal of these playful experiments. Ignore. Or simply issue a firm “No.” Do not yell or carry on. There’s nothing a baby enjoys more than a dramatic reaction, naturally — your pained shrieking is, to them, delightfully novel!

But the first time Henry decided to experiment (scientifically), his chosen subject was my mom. She didn’t know what I and the experts knew. She had not been apprised of this new thinking. She was holding him and he was gurgling and cooing, and then his hand was a fist and it landed in her eye socket. She cried out in surprise and pain. I lunged forward to stop her, which further alarmed both her and Henry.

“You’re not supposed to react!” I cried out. “The books say not to react!”

Later I thought, How is that a nice thing to say to someone who’s just been struck? By your child? Which means it’s somehow your fault? “The books say your human reaction is incorrect, Mom! Cease and desist your, uh, having it!”
My mother looked at me with her one good eye as if I had lost my mind. “You try not reacting to someone socking you in the face. Get me an ice pack.”

Holy Smokes- what do you do?

Alice Bradley also shares her adventures in parenting at,, and She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son, dog, and cat.


Comments on: "When Kids Attack- Defensive Tips by Alice Bradley as Featured in Redbook" (2)

  1. Blanca Moye said:

    Children are smart they can understan Mom or Dad words when explaine why not to hurt others,
    is important to let know them why do or not to do something , even if they are babies

  2. Tammy Wilson said:

    I do beleive that even very small children can understand that they have hurt someone. I think reaction is what they will receive there whole life. I perfer the approach of removing them from the situation and lavishing all the attention on the victum. They soon learn hurting others gets me removed from everyone that may be giving me attention. When they learn that being gentle and kind gets them all the attention they can possibly stand, the hitting, biting, pinching etc. stops.

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