My 15 month old keeps hitting, regardless of what I tell him!

Sharlene - posted on 05/20/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My son started off hitting the dog, me etc. thinking it was funny. Now he knows this is naughty behavior because when he hits the dog our other children he will sometimes say bad. I ave tried taking him away from the situation and constantly telling him no, he just repeats his actions. Is he too young for time out ?? any other suggestions please

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Paige - posted on 05/22/2013

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My son started hitting around 18 months. We think maybe he picked it up from seeing another child doing it or maybe from a cartoon, not too sure, because out of no where he just started hitting one day. We noticed this when he started hitting on the cat and laughing about it. Then he would hit us when ever he was frustrated or was told "No." My husband thought it would be most appropriate to spank him, I completely disagree because how can we teach our son that "hitting" is wrong when a spanking is the same thing in a toddlers eyes? Having this become an argument between my husband and I, I decided to do some research. I found a lot of helpful answers on how to teach your toddler not to hit but the most helpful came from an episode of The Doctors TV. Dr. Sears said the reason that most toddlers hit is because they get frustrated with language barriers. He said toddlers have a tough time trying to vocally tell us what they want or how they feel and when they cannot get the parents to understand what they are trying to say, they get frustrated, and the easiest way to show us they are frustrated is by hitting. This made perfect sense to us. So, he said the best way to handle the situation is to first get eye level with them, kneel down and get face to face in a calm manner. This helps the toddler feel more comfortable and by being eye level with them is helps them listen better and understand you more as well. The next step, while being eye level, is to tell them in a calm but firm voice that hitting hurts and is wrong. When we tried this, our son just kept wanting to hit us as we were trying to explain, but be patient and keep trying. Our son tried to walk away, throw fits, did not care what we had to say because he was still very upset so we tried holding his hand and that seemed to help him know that we care and were not against him. Next thing Dr. Sears said to do was to try to understand why the toddler is upset. By finding this out, we can come up with a solution to the problem the toddler is facing, which is hard to do when an 18 month old can barely talk. One time when our son hit us, we did the Dr. Sears method, got eye level, had a calm and firm voice, explained that hitting was wrong then asked our son why he was upset and he pointed to the candy jar. He was upset because daddy told him he could not have any candy and that was why he hit daddy. So, we explained why he could not have any candy; though he was still not very happy with us and hit us again, we told him he would be put in time-out. We chose a corner in the room and sat with him in time-out and made him face the wall. He cried, yes, but Dr. Sears said it's not too soon to put them in time-out at 18 months because they associate the unpleasant experience with the action of what they did wrong that got them in time-out in the first place. The first time, second time and fifth time trying this did not seem to work, but we stuck to it and a month later our son was finally starting to get the point. He finally stopped hitting!! It was unbelievable. Now when our son gets upset, we continue to get eye level with him and ask him why he is upset and he does not throw any tantrums. It's quite peaceful and hard to believe with our son because he has a very short temper. Our son is now 2 1/2 years old and has not hit the cat or us in 6 months! I highly recommend Dr. Sears method. It may not seem like it is working right away and sometimes gets to the point where you want to give up but stay at it! Repetition is key. I really hope this works for you!! It definitely did for us!

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