Grabbing: relentless jiu-jitsu defence against our boy’s attacks

kid-reaching-foodThey lurk like heat seeking missiles, ready to pounce on their unsuspecting, innocent prey. Little warm paws, eagerly searching out their target for a quick, stealthy attack. These ten weapons hit anything in their path.

Welcome to life with my two-ish year-old boy. It doesn’t matter what or where it is – he grabs it. It happens at a moment’s notice, whatever is in sight. Swipe.

If there were hot coals on the on the counter with sharp daggers sticking out of them, he would grab them.

My wife and I are constantly playing a jiu-jitsu defence swiping his hands away and looking over our shoulder to see our little boy roaming around, often on his tippy-toes, lurching. At a restaurant, it’s the salt, or soy-sauce, or sugar packages, or the cucumber in my salad bowl, or his sister’s hat.

(as I type, he is sitting beside me constantly trying to “push the red button” on the keyboard on my laptop).

Exhausting and relentless.


Why does he do this? Is he a curious child? A mischievous child? Does he lack for stuff? Is he worried that if he doesn’t hoard things he won’t have anything? Does he have sensory issues?

I trust some expert, somewhere knows.

But, for these parents – we’ve had enough.

I’m tired of saying “don’t grab”, “use your words”, “do you need this?” and, most often “stop”.

So, what do you do? How do you prevent him from unleashing his grabbing terror on the house, all the time? Do you keep things elevated and out of the way? Or, do you constantly discipline? Or, do nothing and just let him tear the place apart?

Our current method to solving the madness is to elevate things and sternly tell him not to grab, whenever he’s caught. Our sense is that this just a phase, he will eventually grow out of. But, who knows.

So, parents? What do we do? How do we limit the grabbing? How have you prevented the warm little paws from attacking the countertops?

Author: Adam Grachnik

I am a 30-something father and husband, proudly raising my two little maniacs (girl and boy) in a happy suburban home in Richmond Hill, Ontario.

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