How do I get my 18 month old son to stop hitting?

Deborah - posted on 09/06/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My son will just walk up to everyone or anything and just start hitting them. He will also do this while holding things in his hands (toys, broom rakes etc.) It really hurts and he is doing it to our cat and our dogs. I am afraid one day he will do it another dog that is not so tolerant and get bit. Any suggestions?

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Amanda - posted on 09/06/2009

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I have a 15 month old son who did this a lot as well as biting. I used the "time out" method...1 minute on the floor between my ankles...just like super nanny says...tell him time out 1 minute then watch the clock and no talking. After the minute is up I look at him face to face and tell him "no hitting" then kisses and hugs.
We have been doing this for about 2 months now and yes he still does it but not as often and he also knows what time out is so I can use it as a warning when he starts to swing!

[deleted account]

My son did this (as well as biting) for a short time . He'll still occasionally do it, but not very often because he knows there are repercussions.

Take the toy away, of course. I use time out... even when he was 18 months (my son's now 2 1/2). He only sits there for a minute, but it's long enough to derail any behaviour. Another tactic is distraction. I've done that as well. It depends on your son's personality what will work. Explain why he's not supposed to hit, and he may not understand, but because you're explaining and changing what he's doing it will eventually sink in.

Consistency in discipline is paramount. If something is unacceptable, you have to make sure it's always unacceptable. I let it go a couple times when he was hitting the couch with a toy shovel, because I was feeding the baby and didn't think it was so bad since he wasn't hitting anyone. Well, this opened the door to hitting again, so I quickly learned that if it's bad then it's always bad.

Good luck! They do grow out of this stage... eventually.

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