How do you teach a 2 year old boy not to hit?!?!?!
I've been trying for a while now to teach my 2 year old boy not to hit without success. Today he slapped me in the face when I was holding him after I told him No he couldn't get in the front seat of the car to play. I've tried everything short of hitting/spanking him back, which I'm morally opposed to so I won't go there, even if it does work. I usually try to catch his arm before he hits me, or I grab his arm right afterwards and I say We don't hit, or I don't like to be hit! Today's hit came after a morning of fussiness and I just lost it...I yelled at him, I pointed my finger in his face and told him I don't ever want to be hit like that again, really screaming at him. Of course he started bawling and didn't let up for some time. I put him in his dark room and shut the door and I didn't interact with him for a few minutes, despite his apologies and following me around and laying down at my feet (it was so sad looking). I don't know what else to do! I've tried talking with him, telling him how disappointed I am that he hits. Today I said I guess I'm a bad mom since I can't teach him not to hit. I've tried teaching him anger management techniques like stomping his foot, or breathing deep, or just saying I'm MAD!! But he doesn't do it. I can see the anger well up in him and he releases it by hitting, but I don't know how to get him to use other methods of expression. I'm at a loss! I'm worried that I'm just going to keep yelling/screaming at him, and that models yelling/screaming so he'll start doing that too! But I get so exasperated and his hitting causes me to lose my temper. Typically I take him away from whatever fun thing we're doing after he hits, then we sit in a darkened room while he calms down. Today I sat him in there alone, which I usually don't do, and of course he walked right out. I don't want to damage him emotionally or break his spirit by always yelling at him to where he feels really badly about what he did, but then again I also don't want him to keep hitting and maybe feeling badly about it is a good thing? I don't want him to think I don't love him if I scold him strongly. He always seems so contrite and sorry afterwards, then I feel like a ham for continuing to scold him, but some days are just so stressful otherwise, my patience is thin. Any tips, advice?