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Many attachment parents call me in bewilderment when their child's behavior or development does not meet their expectations. "I did everything right for her!" says a young mother, "She was born peacefully, I carried her all the time, and she is still nursing and sleeping with us. Now that she is two years old, I am just not sure what to expect, or how to deal with her many needs." Some parents have specific questions about eating, sharing, cooperation and developmental stages. Others simply aren't sure how much to limit, and how much freedom to provide. These issues can indeed be perplexing. We have no role models to follow, as most of us are not following in our parents’ footsteps.

We all love our children and want the best for them. We want to follow our hearts, our intuition, and most of all, our children's cues. At times, our own childhood may make it difficult for us. Even the best and most loving parents sometimes respond to their children in a less then loving and kind way. This often stems from past hurts being restimulated by the child. How can we learn to care for our children in a loving way, without the interference of our own past painful memories?

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As a parenting guide, I often get calls from bewildered and confused parents who say, "My baby was so angelic. Then one day the "monster" came out. I did everything right. He was born peacefully, he is still nursing on demand, still sleeps next to me, and I carried him all of the time. Why is he becoming so difficult now (at age 2, 3, or 4)?"

What has happened is actually a wonderful result of a relationship of trust and a deep bonding fostered by healthy attachment. The young child trusts her parents absolutely, and in that trust she rightly assumes that they are on her side and that she is safe and welcome to spread her wings. The way young humans spread their wings, however, is not always convenient to adults.

It is not convenient when the toddler needs to play with mud, experiment with water, take things apart, exert much energy or when he needs to be watched, held, and read to for hours. Most attachment parents do accept inconveniencing with love when the child is an infant and a baby. It is not convenient when the baby drools on us, gets us wet, messes the floor with food, or wakes us up seven times a night - yet in our trust we can see that those are her needs, and in our commitment to provide attachment, we accept those needs with love and without judgment. We don't try to teach our baby to stop drooling or to stop crying for her needs to be met. The transition from helpless baby to active toddler can mislead parents into a change in approach, from one of total trust and acceptance to one of teaching and struggle.

One father confessed to me that he regretted the attachment approach he and his wife had practiced with their daughter. At age four, she was "wild and demanding" while their friend's child, who "grew up in a crib" and attended day care, was "so cooperative"...

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Biting in the early years is not different from other aggression. Some biting can be benign and transient. A frustrated toddler does not have a rich language and is likely to use her body to express herself. If you respond quickly to the first try quickly, clearly and kindly, there won't be a second time. If your daughter is repeating the biting, two things are happening: Your responses are not clear TO HER. And, the reason for her drive to bite has not been addressed.

There is much more biting in daycares and group settings than there is in children who spend their days with their parents. However, biting does occur, to a lesser degree, in youngesters at home.

A child is always innocently pursuing her needs. Whatever she does is rooted in a valid reason or has a specific and worthy purpose. She could be hungry, learning cause and effect, teething, imitating another child, frustrated. She could also be reacting to wheat, dairy, soy, sugar, food additives or other allergens. If your child is biting excessively or otherwise aggressive, check her for allergies through hair analysis or muscle testing, study the Feingold diet, and check to see if her life is too frustrating for her.

Why Toddlers Sometimes Bite?

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