Hitting

Sheryl - posted on 08/09/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )

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How do you all handle hitting? My 20-month old girl has picked up the habit of hitting (or swinging, at least) when she is angry/frustrated. There is a boy close to her age at her childcare who hits/swings (even just for fun, not out of anger) and she has picked up this habit.

Of course I've gotten the [bad] advice to hit her (tap her lightly) when she does this, telling her no. But this seems counter intuitive--if you're trying to get a child to stop doing something, it doesn't make sense to do the same thing to her. We use a time-out chair, when there's time (but this doesn't seem to work much). But what about those times when we are out and about? How do you break a toddler out of this habit? Oh, and she sometimes pinches, too. Another negative habit she's picked up from this other child whose parents apparently pinch him.

Thanks for any feedback!

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Mae - posted on 08/17/2010

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We have a 21 month old who has recently started hitting too. Before his sister was born, we would put him in his crib for a time out. Now that's in a twin bed he can't be contained there. What we do is give him a warning that if he does it again he's going into time out. I have an extra pack n play that sits in the hallway and he goes in there for two minutes. Since I started this (about two weeks after his six week old sister was born) he has gotten so much better. He was sent to the pack n play a couple times a day in the beginning and now it's probably only once or twice a week. The important thing is to give a warning first.

Candace - posted on 08/14/2010

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We have been going thru the exACT same stuff, and so far we find the best thing that works is pretending it really hurts and faking a cry. It makes our little girl stop and realize what just happened and we're lucky that she cares enough about how Mommy and Daddy feel that us crying really upsets her. We explain the same as what some of the others have said, that it hurts and she gave us a boo boo and its not nice to hit. She immediately kisses our "boo boos" and snaps out of whatever caused the hitting to start.
I think the parents reaction needs to be geared towards the toddler's personality too, and for us this just seems to work with our little girl's.

Carrie - posted on 08/13/2010

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I recently began this battle with my 20 month old also, its there way of dealing with frustration as they can not yet fully verbaley communicate, however i broke her pretty quickly but repeating this method, when she went to hit me, take both her hands in yours and say we absoultely do not hit and just repeat it, evently she got the point that we dont, i agree that spanking or tapping back only reafirms that hitting is alright, in that situation. By subdueing there hands and talking them through there frustration you are creating a good future habit of getting them to talk through issues instead of resort to out bursts of temper to get there way also. Took about two weeks and was very frustrating but just constant every time repeating it over and over she stoped she no longer hits me or anyone else. She had also began the temper tantrums in the store, and we ended that really simply to by just telling her once, if you do not stop screaming we will go to the car untill your done, she did not stop, my husband took her from the cart and back to the car and sat with her in her car seat untill she was done screaming, he asked are you done now, she shook her head yes, and now if she starts to throw a fit all we have to say is , we have to be a good girl in the store or we go to the car, she stops, best of luck to you in your endever toddlers are tough, but patience and consistancy really do pay off.

Karen - posted on 08/13/2010

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With my daughter I take her hands in mine and say "that hitting!" (describing the action without making a judgement) then I say "hitting hurts!" or "that hurt mama" (helping her to understand the effects of her actions), then I say "hands are for soft touching" (again describing an action without judgement) and either she'll touch my face softly or I'll touch her face softly if she's not ready yet. Finally I say, "soft touching feels nice" (again helping her to realize the effects). Then I'll tell her that if she feels sad/bad for hurting me then she can do something to make me feel better. Sometimes I have to list a few options (give me a hug, say your sorry) - usually she will do one of these things, but not always. If she really is still upset/mad then I don't believe that forcing her to apologize is the way to go since that just teaches her how to lie.

Sheryl - posted on 08/10/2010

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Thanks for all of the feedback! It sounds like I do what you all do, too, with my daughter--I speak to her in a firm low voice, telling her that we don't hit, it's not nice and I point at her hand. Sometimes I tell her we don't hit, we give hugs and kisses, and I kiss her hand like she's a princess. She gets a kick out of this. I'm sure they will grow out of it with consistent redirection.

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Melissa - posted on 09/08/2010

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we use nice touch in our house.i have four children.6,6,7,and 21 mths.the baby started hitting.i showed her what nice touch isthen when she hitts i tell her.we use nice touches show whom ever she hitts nic touches after a while she will stop the hitting

Jennifer - posted on 08/22/2010

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My 21-month-old girl has been hitting us for 3 months and NOTHING we do has stopped it. We say "no" to her in a firm voice, put her in time out and she just laughs at us. It's so frustrating. I'm looking forward to reading what other moms are posting on this subject because we could use some advice too.

Heidi - posted on 08/19/2010

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What I do is put her DIRECTLY in time out, no warnings. Then she has to tell the person she is sorry. The second time we do a little bit longer in time out. The third time we leave, if we are somewhere that we can do that. If we are at home and it is Mama or Daddy she is hitting I send her to her room and tell her to calm down. It usually works.

Carol - posted on 08/15/2010

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When my DD looks like she's winding up for a hit I firmly say no and say gentle (we've already taught her that gentle means a soft touch) which usually has her being gentle... then we praise her and use positive reinforcement. Hope this works for you~

Wofai - posted on 08/15/2010

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my 19month old son also does hitting and was adviced to hit him back,so as to enable him stop.but this has not really helped much,becos he still does it.so i think passing some little messages like some facial expressions to show him/her that its painful and not a good habit.

Beverly - posted on 08/14/2010

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We do timeouts for hitting in our house as well. In the crib if we are upstairs and in the "time out" chair when downstairs. It took repeated attempts (and a lot of patience) to get him to stay there the first time or two but he knows now to stay and apologize afterwards. Now when we say "do you want a time out?" he shakes his head and says "No!" and changes his behavior to avoid the time out. Once they know they can't get away with it, they usually try something else. Good luck!

Vanda - posted on 08/13/2010

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my daughter is 21 mths and she sometimes hits when she gets excited or grumpy, i just say her name and move my index finger and go no thats naughty and she stops she listens i dont agree with smacking a child it doesnt solve the problem it will only make it alot worse just try and explain them then that its not good and in time they will learn as they are still only little and best thing is to try and keep them away from children who do that as they picks things up really easy at 20 mths onwards

Krista - posted on 08/09/2010

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A time-out chair doesn't work very well for us, my little guy won't sit in it, so I have to stand and keep putting him back in the chair while he throws a major temper tantrum. If we're at home, the minute he kicks or hits I pick him up and say firmly, "No hitting, time out!" and put him in his crib for a minute. Then I have him say sorry and give a hug to whoever he has hit (usually me). This seems to have worked, and the incidences have gotten much less frequent. Hope this helps!

Brandi - posted on 08/09/2010

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My son does the same thing and when he pinches I just tell him we dont pinch and we do the same thing for hitting, he has gotten better but there are times he still does it... but i just keep telling him we dont hit people or pinch and just explain to him that it hurts people and gives them boo boos Good Luck and let me know if you find another way...

Jameisha - posted on 08/09/2010

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i agree that spanking is not the answe.r i also have a 20 month old who hits and i just firmly tell her no its not okay and of course she laughs but contiue to let her know its wrong babies pick up alot of bad habits from daycare that you have no control over. time out is not going to work at this age because they really dont udertsand the concept of it because they are still to young. hopefully she wil outgrow the hitting stage at least thats what im hoping for my baby and continue to let them no its not okay to hit.

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