My son, the hitter!

Leah - posted on 06/17/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )

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It's been a long time since I have been on COM's, but I really need some advice. My adorable son is 19 months old and he is a bully! He has been hitting for the past couple of months and nothing I do can get him to stop. We recently started timeouts which seem to work for a little while but doesn't last long. He will hit his older sister who is 4 for no reason, even if she is just playing on the floor quietly with his hand or pick up a toy and hit her. He will smack me across the face or even random kids at the playground. I need to go back to work soon and am scared the daycare won't take him because he is so violent! The worse part is is he thinks its funny! When he hits someone, he will look at me and laugh! It's so frustrating!
Do you ladies have any ideas how I can stop this?

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Kelli - posted on 06/17/2011

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I have had a similar situation with my step son. He is 4 years old now but since he was around the same age as yours did alot hitting and biting for no reason. It was so very stressfull for me. We have shared custody my husband and his ex. They had the same situation @ her house as well. I would start with talking to his PCP. It was my family therapist that suggested we call our cities. CPSE ( child preschool sped education ) they are usually located within your school district. The district is who you would call for the #. They have a pshycologist come and evaluate him. Thye told us he needed to be in a school setting before they could give us services. We didnt send him to preschool because we were affraid he would hurt someone. They said once he is there and if the same issues arise the would meet again and determine then if he needed help. During that time someone called CPS on my saying that I stood by and watched my 3 year old stepson hurt my 11 year old son and did nothing about it. That was so far from the truth. I used to keep my older kids away from him because he would constantly hurt them for no reason. I trid every punishment it didnt matter it would work for a week but would go right back. I was so emotionally exhausted and felt defeated because I had no control. I ended up consulting a psychatrist and he was diagnosed @ age 3 w/ ADHD. We thought long and hard and decided medication would be best because I was @ risk of losing my other kids because he was so abusive. I cant tell you how wonderful he has now. He thrives @ school. They never see what we used to see. He can play with his brothers and I dont have to be next to him the entire time. I know some people have quams about using medication but it had to be done because of the abuse we all had gotten from him. Dont feel that it is your fault its not we as parents do everything we can to keep our kids safe you just dont expect to have to protect from their siblings.
Start with your pediatrican. Ask them if they would suggest the CPSE. It is just a step. I hope everyhing goes well. Just know you are not alone.

Jenni - posted on 06/17/2011

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Well, he is a bit young for time outs to really be effective, but that doesn't mean you can't put them into practice.

Toddlers generally hit because they lack the language to express themselves in words. So teaching him the words for his feelings is vital!

When he hit, immediately remove him from the situation. Take him to a place where he can calm down. At this age you can just give him a simple explanation. "Hitting hurts, no hitting." Give him a minute or two to calm himself down. Apologize to the child/adult he hurt to model this behaviour to him.
There really is no quick fix. It took my son a year to evolve from hitting to using his language to express himself.

When he is around 2 years old, you can add to your explanation: "We don't hit when we're mad, it hurts. We use our words and say "I'm really mad."
You can also start teaching him how to solve disagreements during play. Like taking turns, sharing, using manners, etc by modelling those behaviours while you are playing with him.

Just stay consistant, stay positive and be patient and calm. So many toddlers exhibit these sort of behaviours when they lack language, for some it's completely normal development.

For more on positive behaviour feel free to join our community (PBS) or Positive Behaviour Strategies, we'd love to have you as a member:

http://www.circleofmoms.com/positive-beh...

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Xoe - posted on 06/17/2011

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My son did exactly the same, thank goodness he rarely does this anymore, he was 2 in March. The way we got around it was the naughty chair. We started this when my son was just over 1 years of age. He has a beanbag chair that is his naughty chair, and if he is doing something that he shouldn't be we give him a warning and count upto 3, if he doesnt stop he goes onto the naughty chair for 1 minute (now its 2 minutes).
In the last 6-8 months he has been very good with this. He understands the counting and will stop what he is doing wrong. It's worth a try, and i know its been a success for many people - but it may take a fair few attempts for your child to understand. Good Luck!

Crystal - posted on 06/17/2011

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they say if your kid bits to bit them back and they stop. when he hits his older sister you could try having her hit him back then he know what it feels like and understand what hurt means.

Jenni - posted on 06/17/2011

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Nah, it usually isn't a learned behaviour. If he's hitting because he likes the reaction then a time out would be useful still to:
a) Immediately stop the behaviour and remove him from the situation.
b) not let him get a 'positive' reaction to the behaviour
c) ignore the behaviour so he's not getting the reaction
d) a simple explanation that the behaviour is not acceptable

Often hitting starts off as an experiment but it can develop into a habitual 'problem' behaviour.
I wish I would have done the same with my son when the hitting first started that I did with my daughter. My daughter started slapping faces at around 7 months old. Probably like clapping, she liked the sound. lol So with her I would just put her down and walk away. A pretty undesirable effect for a baby or young toddler. She quickly learned that when she slaps she gets put on the floor, which she didn't like very much! So she only slapped for about a month.

Leah - posted on 06/17/2011

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Thank you so much for your tips Jennifer. He hits when he's happy more than when he's sad or angry. I think he just likes the reactions he gets. I know he's a little young for timeouts but he does seem to understand them and will actually sit there for the alloted period of time. It's hard being the parent of the bully, never thought I would be! He has never witnessed any violence so I'm not sure where he is getting it from!

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