coping with a toddler who hits others

Beeha - posted on 05/12/2011 ( 20 moms have responded )

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hi all..recently my 17mnths girl like to hits others who is under her age..if i saw that, i immediately sit her down and tell not to do that to her younger since is not good..she seem to understand but next day she will do the same..i don't want other parents say mine was rude (even my MIL says that)..she might not fully understand what she's doing..what should i do?sometimes i even beat her..then i start feeling guilty..tq.

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Korissa - posted on 05/13/2011

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My daughter is doing the same thing. DON'T HIT HER BACK! It makes it worse! Serious! I tried it and it was the worst thing I did. I smacked her back ONCE and now she will slap her self. The BEST thing to do is to keep removing her from the situation and telling her not do it. I tell my daughter as firm as I can with my Firmest mom face "A... We don't hit. We touch nice." and then re enforce if the behavior continues with "Don't hit! Gentle!" I've stayed with this method for a couple weeks now and its starting to really make a positive difference. A 17mo old isn't old enough to be "rude" especially since they don't even understand the concept. She isn't "Bad" or the bad kid at the play ground either. Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking that! She is perfectly normal and so are you. Calling her names like "rude" or say "brat" for instance will only cause her to meet those expectations later in life.

PS... I'm a parent who believes in spanking in certain circumstances but under two was way too young and there is no way they can truly comprehend what is happening. They just understand that "mommy is hurting me". Even at two- I dunno. I'm not trying to be preachy but as a young mom myself I think a lot of us are misguided when it comes to discipline.

Fiona - posted on 05/16/2011

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My daughter was very similar at that age....and I know how challenging it can be. From the research I did I learnt that kids hit for lots of reasons and particularly when they're young and don't have a good command of language it is more prevalent, as they can't express their needs in words as well. So I would always try and look at the environment she was in and she what might be contributing. I think a lot of the time it was due to her feeling overwhelmed in some situations. I think some of the suggestions others have given are good. Also- remember it is a time limited issue....your child will grow out of it as they get older.

Kris - posted on 05/15/2011

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At 17 months, she's too young to understand abstract concepts like "not nice" or "mean". When my son went through a similar stage, I responded by immediately pulling him away from the other child and saying firmly, "No hitting! Hitting hurts!" and then sitting him by himself for a few minutes.

It also helps if you can figure out what's leading up to the hitting. Is it because she wants another child's toy? Does she want attention? Is it just fun to cause all that excitement? Remember--she doesn't have the complex moral system of an adult. At that age, kids are very focused on the here and now, and they care about their own feelings, not anyone else's. If you can spot the moments when she seems likely to hit you can say ahead of time, "Remember, no hitting. Gentle touches!" and maybe head it off before it starts, at least in that instance.

Sonya Maree - posted on 05/15/2011

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Now how much sense does it make to teach her not to hit by hitting her? What I did was to teach my daughter "gentle touch" and take her hand and touch the other child like she was petting a cat or a dog (we also had problems with her hitting animals). Also crying seemed to be very effective. If the person hit started crying when she hit them and we made her go and apologize, that seemed to help. 17 months is WAY too young to be hit, even if you do believe in spanking. As far as others saying she is rude, that's simply ridiculous. She's too little to be rude, she doesn't even have a concept of what rude is at that age. If your MIL says that, simply smile at her and say, "She must get that from your side of the family." because it's incredibly rude of her to say that about a child who isn't even a year and a half old.
I wish you the best of luck, hun. They go through phases, especially when they don't have verbal communication to rely on. Imagine how frustrated you would be if you were thrown into a world where you desperately wanted to communicate but didn't know how. Something I still have to work on with my 2 1/2 year old is asking her why she's doing something when she does it, and getting down to her eye level when I do. Then when she babbles her response (they understand much more language than what they can speak) if I don't understand, I tell her to show me. That usually helps with her.
All kids are different and all parenting style are different. The best advice anyone ever gave me was to put myself in her shoes and try to be a detective and find out the why behind the action. If nothing else, it will help you to understand each other better.
I will say one last thing and then I'm off my soapbox. When it comes to your Mother in law or anyone else, always take your child's side first, because your mother in law isn't going to be the one deciding whether or not to put you in a nursing home when you get old, your daughter is.

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Michelle - posted on 05/23/2011

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We do time outs and now we have started telling our boy that if he hits or hurts anyone we are stopping what we are doing and he will go home and go to bed. So far it is working.

Tina - posted on 05/20/2011

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yes i understand what u r going throw i have the same thing in my home i just yell to much and i cant control myself i need some help to stop myself

Tina - posted on 05/20/2011

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ya i understand what you r going throw with my son who is 3 yrs old and i dont know how to deal with it. I"m very depresssed mother right now and i'm having a hard time dealing with it.

Athena - posted on 05/18/2011

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my son is 2 1/2 now. he likes to hit and pinch and bite....i have tried the be gentle thing to no end and it hasn't seemed to work...now i have started doing a time out chair for him...i give him enough warning for him to stop and if he does not he goes to the chair for two mins...i talk to him after timeout about why he was there..i think he is finally coming around now, he knows what the time out chair is and when he has to sit in it....just keep being patient

Samantha - posted on 05/18/2011

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my daughter is 2 yrs old and she does the same thing i can barely tap her hand and she does it the next day she fights/hits her cousins but she wont do it to anyone else. how do we deal with this? how can we get them out of it?

Christine - posted on 05/17/2011

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A few things you should know:
Children under 20 months (give or take a few months) do not recognize children and babies younger than themselves as people. To your little one, it's just another object. Also, they do not learn impulse control until around three years old. As the other moms have said, hitting her will make it worse. She doesn't understand why you're hitting her, just that you're hurting her. Be patient. She'll thank you for it one day.

Alisdawn - posted on 05/17/2011

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Yikes. i just noted that comment also. Missed it in my original response. Glad you are reaching out but if you truly do beat your chiild please get some help and learn healhty ways to discipline your child. Your child will just react the same way you do to other children. As i said, we reinforce that hitting is not a good behavior and show him to be gentle. He is now putting his hands out and saying gentle and hitting much less and learning from it.

Carine - posted on 05/17/2011

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I am really hoping that by "beat her" you mean a gentle tap and not an actual beating! My son is 3 and also prone to hitting. We work with positive reinforcement and have seen wonderful changes. Hitting your child will only reinforce the behaviour you are trying to avoid.

Alisdawn - posted on 05/17/2011

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My 16 months old has been doing the same for a few months. He hits me also when he gets frustrated. We have been saying "no hit, be gentle" over and over and he is now hitting less and rubbing and saying gentle. Constantly reinforce and you should see improvement

Alice - posted on 05/16/2011

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My daughter just turned two and she is behaving just as you 17months baby is behaving. She hits her brother who is 51/2 without mercy. Of course she does not understand the gravity of what she is doing. Anyway, its a phase, difficult as it may be. It calls for alot of patience and continous talking. As someone mentioned, children are very forgetful. We have to keep talking and reminding them that what they are doing is not good. Just remember you have the terrible twos and threes phases as they call them. Good luck my dear.

Kim - posted on 05/16/2011

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It is never ok to hit a child at this age, distraction and pAtience with explanation is the only way.

Nancy - posted on 05/16/2011

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Beeha Hi & oh boy yeah i am also going through this with my daughter. I think keep on trying maybe try to take a Favorite toy away & tell her If SHE keeps hitting others she will NOT get her toy back? I beleive this is the Hardest problem yet that they go through? Just bare with her. 3 is hard to them & us. Good Luck Sweety :)

Ashley - posted on 05/16/2011

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My son is 3 and he has his days where he is mean to other kids.. Ive learned that hiting him back only makes it worse. Im starting to give up spanking just cause it doesnt have ANY effect on my son.. So normally when my son is being bad, I get down to his eye level and explain what he is doing is bad.. I know kids that age do forget the next day what happend, so when he will do it again, I just remind him that its not nice, so soon when he starts to remember what is being said, he'll understand it more.. Now if I seen a 6+ yr old hit on other kids, then thats a problem, they should by that age, that hitting is not right.. My son has been shoved by an older boy, and asked me if he could hit him back, Im trying to teach him that hitting back can only cause bigger problems..

Beeha - posted on 05/15/2011

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thank you all mommies for your comment..really appreciated it yet it so helpful..now that i m more gentle on handling this matters..she still sometimes do the hitting habits especially to the young, but when i quickly ask her to kiss and act gently..she's automatically and surprising follow my instruction..i really learn to control my anger to my daughter for her habits that she probably do not understand..and now instead of beat my daughter to satisfying my MIL, i quickly removing her from that situation..which may look i m a bit selfish but i think i may help both of us..its really a tough stage i think as now its time for her at her age to learn many things at the same times-do and don't, can and can't as she's like to try new habits and new things everyday..

Elizabeth - posted on 05/15/2011

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Kids don't grow knowing what social etiquette is..they learn it. If you don't like a behavior then you teach them what is acceptable to do instead ..continue telling her what the proper behavior is.

I find that sometimes kids are frustrated when they don't have the words to express themselves.."Hi I want to play with you"," I want to play with that toy too", or other such things and they resort to hitting. Teach her what words are acceptable to use.

Don't hit her for hitting..what do you think that teaches her?

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Children that age are forgetful. They need a lot of reminding. I found the best thing for my almost 18 month old is to tell her "no hitting" and distract her; followed by a time out if the hitting continues. Empathy is something that has to be taught and it's a very abstract concept that even some adults don't get.

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