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How do i get my child to stop hitting?

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Asked by Anonymous at 4:59 PM on Jun. 18, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (14)
  • Why does he hit? Do you hit him? Kids learn by example. If you don't hit him, and you tell him hitting is cruel and wrong, he should get the idea. Lashing out is an expression of a loss of control and young kids don't have good control of their emotions, so hitting is an easy way out for them, but you can teach him that it's wrong, and encourage him to take a moment to think through why he is angry and teach him to analyse the problem and come up with a productive solution instead of just lashing out. He's how old now? Never too young to start, but if he's not really up to that yet, you can start with a basic, "calm down!" when he gets angry.

    Answer by judimary at 5:09 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • honestly id love to find out the same thing! my son hits himself, and hits me only. I dont understand why he does it but i wish hed stop.. i dont hit him or anything :( ive tried saying no an dont hit yourself but it isnt working

    Answer by akalei at 5:13 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • First, don't play around with hitting...Don't act like it's cute or funny or it will become a way to get attention.
    Second, depending on the age, you can start time outs. I started at 18 months.
    Third, each time they hit, get on your knees, their height level, take their hands in yours and tell them no hit, or not nice. Keep the wording short and to the point.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 5:15 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • Let whomever he hits hit him.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:27 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • Anon, really! Troll

    Answer by Jademom07 at 5:49 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • Hitting is a normal behavior that toddlers go through - even though it is inappropriate. All toddlers go through a stage of hitting. There are several things you can try to help him leave this stage soon! One is, any time he hits you, let out a really loud, "ouch! Owie! That hurt!" Try to work up a few tears. Put him down and walk away. Let him know that you will not play with him, cuddle him, etc, if he is hurting you. Children want our attention. If he hits and loses your attention, he'll learn another way to get your attention fairly quickly. Another step, catch his hand in mid-swing, and say a firm, loud, "NO!". This is important especially if he is about to hit a sibling. He needs to learn that this behavior is not appropriate. Another thing is to try redirection, especially if your little hitter is under 2 1/2. If you see he is about to hit, say no, then move him along to another game or activity.

    Answer by LoreleiSieja at 6:50 PM on Jun. 18, 2011

  • I find that focusing on what I do want (rather than on what I don't want, or what I want to stop) is best. This helps a toddler, too. "No," "don't," and "stop" aren't very effective words for this age especially, because you still are emphasizing the behavior & you're focused on the hitting. It just encourages more of it, in part because it's a negation (they are hitting for a reason, not because it's "bad" & certainly not because they're "bad," and if you treat the behavior as simply wrong you are denying or ignoring the reason/need that underlies the behavior your want to change, and the child will resist this defensively) & in part because it does not provide anything to fill the gap. Focusing on what you DO want offers this. With my toddlers (I have twins), hitting happens when they are overwhelmed or in conflict (over a toy, trying to defend themselves.) The truth is there always are good reasons; I just want them to use

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:16 AM on Jun. 19, 2011

  • (cont)
    a different strategy to meet their needs. So I honor the validity of what is behind the behavior, and offer the alternative. (I personally want them to ask for help instead of hitting.) Instead of going head-to-head with the child, saying "NO" or withdrawing approval or acceptance in hopes of controlling him, I validate him by acknowledging he got where he is simply by not knowing a better way to defend his interests or assert himself about what matters to him. This is my usual language: "When you feel like hitting (or substitute biting/pushing/grabbing), you just need help. So ask for help, instead!" When they were younger (under two), I emphasized & modeled saying (and signing) "Mama, help! Help, Mama!" I wanted them to do this instead of hitting/biting, and I reiterated this each time the situation came up. As they've grown, I stuck with the concept but elaborated that "asking for help" can mean literally asking for

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:24 AM on Jun. 19, 2011

  • (cont)
    my help, or speaking up to the other person. (This is really an appeal for help.) So if the issue is that the hitter wants a toy someone else has, "asking for help" instead of hitting would mean sharing how he feels/what he wants. (The other person has the opportunity to answer: "No" or "Not yet" or "I'm not done." Or maybe "Sure!" lol) If the issue is that the hitter tends to hit defensively (when someone else tries to take something of his, or when he's frustrated or stopped from doing something he wants to continue) then "asking for help" would mean speaking up and protesting. "Stop" or "I'm not done" or "Leave me alone" instead of hitting to get someone to stop/leave him alone. (You can model more sophisticated language if they are up for it; I'm just getting the simplest/most direct stuff, which works well for young ones.)
    If he asks for help & gets frustrated with the response, he needs support for (again) asking

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:30 AM on Jun. 19, 2011

  • (cont)
    for help instead of hitting. It's the same thing, just further along in the interaction. Looking at my child (no matter how frustrated I am with his problematic behavior, which is a strategy for getting his needs met) and saying "When you feel like hitting, you just need help," really does help me have compassion for who he is and where he's at. He really is overwhelmed and simply needs help! I can connect to that!!
    So....he kept from hitting and told the other child he wants that toy (or those shoes, or some of his grapes/pancake, etc.) and the child said No. He may want to hit again, but this just means he needs help. "So ask for help, instead!" At this point, I reflect what seems true for the child, connecting to how he's feeling (how fun the toy seems, how he's all done with his pancake & his bro still has a big one left, how he wasn't done riding that bike and he wishes he could get back on) & support his waiting

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:35 AM on Jun. 19, 2011

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