Child Development: Kathleen

Child Development: Kathleen
Is your child gifted or behind the curve?

Kathleen has a question for the doctors: "I have a 15-month-old son at home who is full of a lot of energy, and ever since he was 2 months old, he's always been into bouncing. He always wants to bounce in my lap, and if you would stop, he would get very angry. Well, now that he has started walking and running, I've noticed that he has a lot more energy than children his own age. And just about a week and a half ago, I found him on my dining room table, hanging from my chandelier. So, my question is, is there such a thing as hyperactivity at his age?" she asks.

"Um, based on results," jokes Dr. Phil. "He also bites a lot when he's frustrated, right?"

"He's a biter," says Kathleen. "Not out of anger. I'll be laying on the floor with him and he'll bite me on the back and then look at my face and look at my reaction."

Dr. Karp addresses Kathleen: "As a pediatrician, the red flag for me is ... let's keep him from really hurting himself. And you have to take really seriously child-proofing the house ... And the biting is kind of normal, kind of caveman behavior for a 15-month-old. You just stop him every time he does it. What you don't want to do is laugh because that's accidentally going to tell him that's a good thing to do and then maybe he'll chomp into the neighbor's child."

"You really need to let him know that's not OK," adds Dr. Phil. "Fifteen months old is not too early to set boundaries. And they have to be very basic, very concrete, and not swinging from the chandeliers is on the list. And biting is absolutely unsocialized behavior. And at 15 months you can't sit down and say, 'Alright, let's talk about this biting young man.' There's got to be immediate consequence for that; you've got to let him know that this is not OK, this hurts and don't do that. And don't bite him back or anything like that, but you need to communicate swiftly and with absolute consistency," recommends Dr. Phil.

"Well, how do you tell a 15-month-old 'no!' when he acts —"

"That's good," interrupts Dr. Phil. "Any kind of inflective word which is unpleasant to him will become associated with doing that."