My 16 month old is hitting and pinching when she's mad! How do I let her know that this is hurtful?

Tricia - posted on 08/14/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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I know that she doesn't understand time outs yet and giving her a gentle hand slap is out of question because that is exactly what she's getting in trouble for.

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Lauren - posted on 08/14/2009

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Well, in my family there are two ways we handle biting, hair pulling, & pinching...



1- We pretend to cry. I've always noticed with younger children, they instantly look puzzled and come to comfort you. Right then and there, we calmly explain to them what they did wrong and how it hurt us.

2- We do it right back at them. Not roughly, but about the same as they do. And after we do it we make sure we tell them "it hurts". After so many times, they get the hint.

If she does it right back at you, for a second time...make sure she understands it's not a game. Some kids begin to think it's funny.



All I say, is whatever you chose to do, be very consistant and repetitive. Make sure everyone(husband, older kids, sitters, relatives) is doing the same. It's very important for young children to have that. It decreases the confusion, for them.

And, even though it's at times tiring(to repeat), in the long run it's worth it. A child needs consistancy.

So if she hits, make sure your household is reacting the same way. Figure out what's best for her and eventually it will begin to click.

Just repeat, repeat, repeat.

[deleted account]

We use natural consequences... No one wants to play with someone that is hurting them, so what we did was simply set him down saying firmly "that hurts" and then just walk away. Within a few days, he got the message that hitting wasn't a fun game for mommy and he'd be left with no one to play with.

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Stephanie - posted on 08/14/2009

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I agree with all the mothers that said "do it back to them" thats the only thing that worked for my son.. whether it was pinching, hitting, or biting...

[deleted account]

Both of my kids, and especially my son did the same things at the same age as your daughter. I would catch their hand before it got to me and say "no hit!" (or whatever) firmly EVERY TIME. That didn't really work. You might find this abominable, but this is what worked and quickly. I only did this twice...I pinched them back, though not as hard. I prefaced it with "it hurts when you hit/pinch people. This is how it feels". They will act as though you just ripped off an arm, but they are fine (I know this sounds awful!) and then you hug them when they come to you and say "I know that hurts. This is why we don't hit/pinch. Mommy loves you and wants you to not hurt others". Like I said, I only had to do this twice. Too much talking and time outs don't really work at that age b/c they simply can't connect the crime with the punishment.

This may be an attention-getting thing, or it may be a test-the-limits thing. I have a boy and a girl, both pretty strong-willed, so I think this may be a personality thing. Dr. Dobson is a really good author for how to handle discipline-type situations.

Naomi - posted on 08/14/2009

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am a mother of three .. honestly try time out a couple of times telling her no hit it hurts. then if no sugsucees then tap her on the hand to let her know that when she hits it hurts . then time out again untill she stops. contiune and extend time out longer untill she quits. its really trial untill u find she responds to something.

Cari - posted on 08/14/2009

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Do it right back to her. Just enough to let her know it is painful and that other people don't like to be hit or pinched. Also let her know that it is very painful and that she is being a "mean girl" or "bad girl" and then of course she wants to be a good girl again. This always worked for me. Good luck to you! I know how frustrating it can be

Jessica - posted on 08/14/2009

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My daughter is the same way, she is 19 months.... and she is my only daughter. I was shocked when this behavior started because my boys (I have 3) were so layed back at her age. I thought maybe it was the age, or maybe it was just a girl thing but I am at a loss as to what to do about it too. An elderly man in the grocery store actually told her not to hit her mommy... I was so embarassed. I try the time out thing, and she stays there, but as soon as she gets up she goes right back to the same thing. It's like she doesn't understand that I put her there because she was bad. She typically does it when I say NO to something, but I am not going to give in to everything just to make her stop. I think they'll just have to grow out of it.

[deleted account]

hi tricia , my youngest son used to hit out wen he was cross, my advice is get down to her level and explain to her that its wrong to do this ( to whoever ) she has done it to and explain to her that its not nice to do this as it makes other people sad , i did this with my son and i told him that we keep our hands to ourself and after loads of patience and perceverance he has stopped it , he is 6 now and some times i have to remind him but its no where near as bad as he used to be , i agree with u , smacking is not good , because thats showing children its ok to smack other people, i hope this helps chick x x x

Khristine - posted on 08/14/2009

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If she is hitting and pinching, she is only doing it for the attention. Of course it is negative attention. If she hits or pinches hit her hand, and make her sit in the middle of the room and ignore her. When she does something good, then give her the attention she needs. She is only after attention. My 2 year old did that too. It will get better when they get older.

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