My son hits me :( what can i do to stop him??

Kate - posted on 10/31/2010 ( 33 moms have responded )

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My son is 19 months old and he has temper tantrums and during those tantrums he hits me... he never does it to anyone else ie his dad or family members or at nursery (hich im pleased about in a way) but it really upsets me when he hits me I feel like im not in control of the situation and i dont know how to stop him... if i smack him back im being hyppercritical... and sitting out is a game to him. please if anyone has advice or anyone who has been throught the same please let me know?? I'd like to confirm thought that my Son is not a horriable child he just has a temper.

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Leah - posted on 11/02/2010

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My 19 month old son does the same thing, but for him, he is playing.. He hits, kicks, pulls hair, and then laughs! He does it to his sisters and me. To show him that it's not funny and not acceptable, I hold him in my lap and hold his arms down for 1 minute while saying, "No, no. We don't (hit, punch, kick, pull hair)." He knows he is being restrained and screams the whole time, (a minute). Then, I put him down and say calmly, "Okay, play nice. Don't hit." If he goes right back to doing it, I just calmly pick him up and repeat the process. Do it a few times in a row and they usually figure out not to do whatever it is that they are doing. This worked with my 2 older ones too. Hope this helps. Don't let him get away with it without consequence or he'll think it's ok to do and stopping it when he's older and stronger will be even more challenging.

Kirsten - posted on 11/02/2010

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well, my daughter is 20 months and when she hits me i say "no! bad!" and hold her hands until she starts squirming and does her premadonna yelping. then i tell her to say sorry and she usually mutters a "sowwy".

Katherine - posted on 11/23/2010

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Toddlers are very vulnerable to frustration -- whether from not being able to tell you what he really wants for a snack, or because he's struggling to figure out how his new toy truck set works. And when the frustration reaches his personal tolerance level (some cope better than others), your kid may explode. Some kids have tantrums, some bang on the floor or throw things, and others hit their parents. The first line of defense in dealing with a toddler's anger is prevention. When you can see that struggling to open a toy box is no longer teaching your son manual dexterity, but is instead driving him crazy, offer just enough help so that he can succeed on his own. And when he's playing with other kids, don't leave him to navigate tricky social situations all alone; hang around to offer a diversion if it's needed. Hitting is never useful or acceptable, so the more you can avoid placing your son in situations where he becomes upset, the better.

When your kid does explode, the fact that he comes to you, even to hit you, is a sign that he wants your help. He wants you to take charge until he can regain his composure, so try to be empathetic (which we know is hard after you've just been whacked). The last thing your son needs now is to be pushed further over the edge with a time-out. Instead, try holding him and talking softly, while reminding him why we don't hit -- because it hurts Mommy and Daddy.

Copyright 2002. Updated 2009

Patricia - posted on 11/05/2010

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My Son bites, kicks, pulls my hair and claws at my face. I have tried holding him still in my lap but he just gets even more mad and continues to do it. He won't sit still for a "time out" seat and he really only hurts me. I guess it's because I am the one that is around the most. I get frustrated though because he behaves so well for others. Hopefully he will grow out of this.

[deleted account]

The very first reply you received from Katherine C. is dead on. At this age they are totally frustrated that they can't communicate what they want...try to be patient. but boy is it hard. My second boy is 19 months right now too and he gets very aggressive and you see the frustration mounting to the point that he bites the nearest thing to him - often a toy, but more often me!

They get a reaction out of us, a jump...a scream....maybe even shouting...but if you calming put them down and walk away they will (eventually) learn that they are not getting anywhere with this approach.

Good luck and you are definitely NOT alone!

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Elizabeth-Kathleen - posted on 01/20/2011

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i use time outs but they only work so often... if they dont work i give his hand a tap...not enough to hurt just enough to shock him out of hitting me... works when he bites too

Lindsey - posted on 01/13/2011

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I agree with Shannon..my daughter is 21mths she dont do the whole temper tantrum thing but she'll growl at you (funny but not funny) but i do spank her when she has done something wrong and i think if she gets to that point where she falls out in the floor and scream and do what they do in a tantrum i will stand her up and i will spank her and tell her that i dont tolerate her behavior (of course to where she can understand me) i cant just sit there and iggnore my child throwing things, screamin, bitin etc. that's not going to happen in my house because if you sit there and let them do that without saying anything to them they're going to continue to do it

Renata - posted on 11/22/2010

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hmmm all i can say its not easy
My little one when he wants sth and i tell him no comes up and hits me or head buts me or has a tantrum ... i suppose its normal at that age but i know its not easy to deal with . They are very stubborn at that age well my one is. I just tell him no. no . no and sit him dont in his naughty corner. There are days where he sits calmly as he knows he did wrong and then comes and gives me a kiss to appologies and there are days where he has a tantrum as he is sitting there which I just ignore till his stops. I dont know if its right way or not But i find it to work. Most times ignored tantrum last less. If i dont pay attention to it he stops and plays nice again. Its a repetitive thing you just have to keep saying NO and hope that one day they will get it and stop.

Jasmine - posted on 11/13/2010

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My daughter does the same thing. I do a couple of things to stop her. First, I tell her "No" in a stern voice. If that doesn't work, then I make her sit on the steps with no toys, pacifier or anything. If she gets up I put her right back on the step. If all else fails, then I pop her on her hands and tell her "NO...that's a bad girl!" By this point it gets through to her that what she did was bad. I always tell her what she did wrong.

[deleted account]

To me there is a difference between having a tantrum and hitting, even if it is during a tantrum. I agree that when the child is having a tantrum the best thing to do is to ignore it; however, if your daughter hits you during the tantrum that behavior should be addressed. My daughter is 19 months and she sometimes hits when she is frustrated, but she used to do it a lot more so I think what I am doing is working. I take her hands put them down, say "no" and pretend to cry. She understands that people cry when they are hurt and that way she understands that SHE hurt ME. She then comes to me and starts kissing me to make me feel better and I explain to her that she hit me and it hurt. This worked and it rarely happens now. Sometimes she even stops herself before she hits and if I see that she wants to hit all I have to do is say "no" and she reacts appropriately. Hope this helps.

Latasha - posted on 11/10/2010

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My daughter is 20 months old and she does the same. Each hit can mean something different such as she needs something, she's wants to play, or she's being mean. You have to know the difference in order to react the appropriate way. If it's playful then we play game like patty cake. If she caught me off guard and it hurts then I fake cry to make her feel bad. If she's being mean when hitting me I tell her "not nice" in a firm voice then ignore her.

Noreen - posted on 11/09/2010

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My son is 20 months and hits his sister and daddy but not me but what I tell emma to do is walk away dont hit him back because he doesnt understand.

Jessica - posted on 11/09/2010

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My daughter's going through this exact same thing! She's 19 months, and we have a baby due next month, and with Mommy's belly the first thing that's near her, that's what gets hurt. Most times it doesn't hurt, thankfully, but it still happens, and I don't want it to spread further than me. I've been cracking down on her and scolding her. I feel the same thing about spanking her or hitting her hand, being that it's hypocritical, so I'm trying to not do that. I've found with her that the key is patience and respect. I need to respect that she's not trying to hurt me, just trying to figure out what's going on. She's also been doing this screeching thing, ugh, I HATE it! My husband doesn't want me to hit her in the mouth when she does it, because he thinks that the face bruises easiest, but I want her to feel the punishment where the "naughty" was, does that make sense?
DON'T feel like you're a bad mom... that's not at all what's going on. I totally agree with your child feels safe with you, and they feel like they can do whatever to you and you'll still love them and adore them.
Thank you for posting this question...I've gotten ideas to try on my own 19 month old, now!

Rachel - posted on 11/08/2010

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hiya hunni, well as all above henry is pushing 20months now and he has been doing it to me, mostly when i go to pick him up from nursery and he doesn't want to leave, so i have come to the conculsion that EVERY child is different and no one can say why everyone else's child is doing it but there own, for me it's henry telling me NO and wants his own way and if he doesn't get it this is how he explains it, i did think it was me, i was doing something wrong until i spoke to his care worker and my mum to reassure me, that it's a common thing and in time they will stop as they get better with there words so try to talk to him and ask whats wrong and ask you speak to him he will learn from you how to exspress himself in a different way, until then try and change the subject.
hold on you'll get there xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Rehana Yasmin - posted on 11/08/2010

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I am going through the same experience, my son pulls my hair, and suddenly pulls my glasses and throws them. He does that if he wants something he is not supposed to have or if he doens't want to change his diapers. I'm glad you guys posted useful ideas. I do tell him no firmly, or just let him cry on his bed, or even hit on his hand saying no, or smack him on his butt, but he doesn't like that, doesn't like to be ignored, he just runs to me and starts crying over my shoulder. I guess, its a phase they go through and part of their growing stage for some kids. I'm sure we all will find what best suits their kids and how to control those frustrating moments and deal with them.

Brandi - posted on 11/07/2010

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My son started doing the kicking, hitting, screaming, pinching, Biting,legs & arms flailing at 12 months. He's 19 months now and still does it. Ive tried restraining him, he wont sit still long enough for time out, ive put him in the crib & walked away, done the speaking firmly, taken toys away which is pointless cause he doesnt show much interest, spanked him, said owww, said no; nothing seems to help.. It just keeps getting worse. Now he's even throwing thingsat me. I dont know how to make him stop. He is great with everyone but me. Even his daddie says when I get off of work that lex (our son) doesnt cry or scream or do any of that until hes around me! It makes me feel small like im a bad mommie or a bad person

Shannon - posted on 11/06/2010

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Spank his but and tell him NO when he does it...Spanking isn't hitting nor is it hypocritical. You are the paren and no matter how upset he is, it isn't right forhim to hit you.... Iam sorry but I am way old school when it comes to discipline. Ask your mom or dad how they would handle it if it were you? Parenting is hard but sometimes you have to do things that you would rather not do, but that is parenting. If you don't do it then he will start running the house and well when that happens, it isn't good.

Latoya - posted on 11/06/2010

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My baby do the same thing. I thought I was the only going through that not only my son hits but bites and pull hair and kick. Could it really be just the age because I have a 12 year old and a 9 year old and they didn't do all that when they were that age. My 9 year old would get mad and get in a chair and go to sleep.

Sarah - posted on 11/06/2010

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Dom has only done this a few times and I state don't hit mommy and remove from whatever he is doing and place him in his room until he calms down. Dom is the youngest of our four and the most mellow however my oldest did this and we tried time out we tried ow that hurts me we faked cried but Dad had enough so the last time he hit me he yelled Don't hit my mommy and that worked every kid is different and the frustrating part is finding what works for you.

Majaliwa - posted on 11/05/2010

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The one thing I would add to this that other moms have not mentioned is ensuring that you have daddy's support. Like you, my son hit me but he didn't hit daddy. I thought that was interesting because while he may not be able to understand everything at this age, he knew enough to know he shouldn't hit daddy. When he would hit me, I would grab his hand immediately, make him look me in my face and sternly tell him no. His dad would then do the same thing. He would say "no, you don't hit mommy". This alone would make him cry. I also would follow up with 5 minutes in timeout which he hated. At first he would try to play in time out (his timeout is a small rocking chair that faces a wall and would rock in it and laugh). I would just stay on him though - telling him "no rocking" and "no looking around" - basically making it as miserable as possible so it would actually be a punishment. That combined with his dad reinforcing it made him stop after about 2 weeks.

Amy - posted on 11/05/2010

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My 19 month old son does this also, but mostly when I go to change his diaper. He twists around on his changing table and kicks me. I generally hold his legs down and tell him "no" very firmly and tell him that he's hurting mommy. I try to talk to him to calm him down because at this point he is crying. After I get him calmed down I play with him and just try to keep him occupied while I finish changing his diaper. I have recently noticed that he is not doing this every time we change his diaper now, so hopefully what I'm doing is working. It is very frustrating though, because I am the only one he acts this way with as well, and I do feel it's because I'm his primary caretaker (we are together practically 24/7) and he co-sleeps with me and his dad.

Charity - posted on 11/05/2010

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My daughter does the same thing. And it seems to only happen with me. My husband and mom don't really have this problem with her. If I can't get her to stop I try to find things for her to play with or get her to go outside. ANYTHING to redirect her attention. If that doesn't work I put her in bed and close the door. A few minutes of screaming and she is ready to cuddle and go back to playing. It's just a phase. Try not to take it personal. It's normal and he will grow out of it. Katherine Collins is right. At this age they are learning how to express themselves and they are trying to find their own independence.

Carisa - posted on 11/04/2010

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I've never had that problem, but I know some moms who did and their child did grow out of it. If possible, when he is having a tantrum, put him in a safe room away from you until he calms down. The reason he only hits you is because you are his primary care giver and he is most comfortable with you. That probably doesn't help much.

Alexi - posted on 11/04/2010

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I have read a few people say it is the age......well, to be honest, i disagree with that. I have 3 sons and a daughter, and none of mine have done this. I do know however, that for the most part, children hit out because of the frustration of not being able to express themselves.--

Sue-Allan - posted on 11/03/2010

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Hi Kate. I agree with Vanessa. Or if my daughter still throws tantrums, I completely ignore her and go about my chores, or whatever I was busy with. Children their age tend to take advantage the MOMENT they sense you jump for everything, just to please them. Now, Kendra tries the tantrum thing, I just walk away from her and when she sees mom is not interested, she gives up and asks me for kissies, which I have no problem with giving:). All the best dear.

Alysia - posted on 11/03/2010

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My son, 19 months, does the same thing when he gets mad. I think it's just the only way he knows how to express his frustration. I agree that it's their age. I do similar to above. Just tell him no, then hold his hand still so he can't hit and he usually doesn't like that. Then he figures out that he needs to stop. If not, I repeat holding his hand until he doesn't hit anymore. I used to get the pinch too - not pleasant!

Katherine - posted on 11/02/2010

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I'm not sure they can process at this age that it's unacceptable. For instance if you smacked their hand all they would know is that mommy hit me. They wouldn't know WHY. You can't explain or reason with them. They will know it's unacceptable when they can comprehend and talk. At this stage they have no clue. You can always train them but I'm not sure what that does to their development....

Rachel - posted on 11/02/2010

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Its the stage they are going through. They say when a child hits you that is their way of expressing their love towards you. This is the age for that. He is also testing you, they need to find out what they are aloud to get away w/and what they are not aloud to get away with. My son is 19 months and his favorite word is No. lol. Each time I say lets do this he says no. lol. I think he likes the way it sounds!

Leigh Ann - posted on 11/01/2010

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Sorry, can't help you. My little guy doesn't do that *yet*. But I am interested in hearing what others have to say about it because I'm sure the day is coming.

Vanessa - posted on 11/01/2010

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When you sense a tantrum coming on, try to divert it before it becomes full-blown. For example, you can look out the window and say "what a strange dog in the garden" and when your son gets there say "it must have disappeared under the fence - should we go and see if we can find it?". Distraction and diversion tactics have worked well with my two princesses - although I have a girlfriend who, when she thought her two were about to have a meltdown in the supermarket, pre-empted them and threw herself down on the floor kicking and screaming :-). They laughed so much they forgot about their tantrum.

There is also a school of thought that says responding to bad behaviour is rewarding it, so you should just ignore it. I've never been really comfortable with this idea - if you don't tell your children that their behaviour is unacceptable, how will they know?

Katherine - posted on 10/31/2010

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My daughter does they same thing. It's just the age. They don't know how to express themselves any other way. I just grab her hands gently, or put her down and walk away.

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