What is the best way to stop my 19 month old from hitting and kicking?

Kara - posted on 06/08/2011 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My 19 month old son has been going through this phase for about 4 months now, and we have tried so many different things and nothing seems to work. Maybe it's the inconsistency that is causing the problems.. but we are so frustrated right now. It started with gentle pops on the hands and pops on the behind, but we realized that we didn't want to be the parents who always hit their child. Plus our dear son laughs at the insignificant punishment. He has such raving reports from his daycare about how well behaved he is, how much of a big help he is, and how pleasant he is to have around. Then as soon as I pick him up - it's almost non-stop whining and when we start playing, he gets mean.. he hits, kicks, and sometimes bites. Especially when he gets VERY excited. Also if something does go his way he says "no no" and hits whatever body part he is close to. Sometimes it really hurts us! He also loves to head butt.. and if we make a noise after he does it -he does it again. It has brought tears to my eyes and giggles from him. So, we've tried the spanks, the ignoring, the "NO, that hurts", "STOP", and also putting him in his room and only going to get him when he stops crying. I am at my wits and and Dad and I are arguing so very much about this subject that it's straining our relationship. We do not argue around him, but I'm sure he can sense our stress when he starts to act this way. I could use ANY help or suggestions that you all have!!! This is my one and only child and it's really disheartening when his father tells me that he's worried about his behavior, and that he's afraid he's going to be one of those "kids in trouble at the age of 10"... :(

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Kate CP - posted on 06/08/2011

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Talk to him. When he headbutts you simply put him down and tell him "It hurts when you do that. I will not hold you or play with you when you hurt me." And DON'T give in. He's 19 months old so you don't need to elaborate. But let him know WHY you're not picking him up and give him hugs and kisses when he's gentle and sweet. Hitting a kid to make them stop hitting always seemed kinda dumb to me.

When he's playing with you and he gets too rough simply stand up and say "That hurts. I won't play with you when you hurt me" and walk away. If he follows you and hits you then he needs a time out for 1 minute (no more) so he (and YOU) can calm down.

When he gets angry and he looks like he's about to hit is when you want to get his attention and give him words to use instead of his hands and mouth. Things like "You look ANGRY. Are you ANGRY?" and practice facial expressions and words with him. Make it a game like "Show me an ANGRY face" and "Show me a happy face" etc etc. Letting kids know HOW to express themselves and that it's okay to do so is one of the most important lessons we'll ever teach.

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