10 answers

Help, My 16 Month Old Son Hits When He's Mad

Hi, my son is 16 months old and right now he wants to get into everything. If you tell him "no don't do that" he screams then hits the closest thing or person to him. Sometimes he'll even walk across the room to hit me for telling him no. I tried sitting him on the couch and telling him that it's not okay to hit but it just makes him angrier and I know at this age they can become frustrated easily becasue they can't fully express their needs. I don't remember this problem with my 8 yr old, but I wasn't a single mom when she was that age. Any suggestions would be appreciated, Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I have a 3 yr old and went throught the "hitting stage" also. We do not hit and I was completely frustrated with him doing that. I think you are on the right track, we definately kept up with telling him no and that it was not okay to hit. I think it is just a stage that boys go through and because he can't reason with you that is how he expresses his feelings. I am married and it still happened:) It gets better, he is just being a boy!

More Answers

Hi J.,
My son is the same way. He is 2 now but when he was about 18 months old he did the same thing. I started doing time outs. It took a little bit for him to realize what they were all about but at 2 all I have to do is give him a warning and he will stop the behavior (usually). What I do is when he hits I give him a warning and then if he does it again I get down eyelevel to him and tell him he is in time-out for hitting mommy. I then set a timer and after it goes off I explain again why he was in time-out and then have him say sorry and give me a hug. When we first started doing them he would get up but after continually putting him back he doesn't get up anymore. He knows he can't get out of the time-out so he sits. Be calm when you put him there. Also don't communicate with him. Hope this helps. Good luck. It does get easier when they talk better.
Chris

I agree with the posts about timeouts and being firm and consistent, but also approach it when he is not already mad by talking about it and reading books. There is a book called Hands are not for Hitting and others in the same series (feet are not for kicking, teeth are not for biting, words are not for hurting) that do a great job with these kinds of issues. See if the library has it or order it from Amazon. I know some of the books come with a "hints" page in the back for parents and teachers with ideas to help with whatever the problem that the book addresses is.

Hi J.

I've got a 25 month old boy who was hitting for awhile, too. EVERY single time he hits, I say "NO HITTING" and then tell him what I DO want him to do "touch gently please". I take his hand and touch me (if he hit me) or his brother (if he hit him) gently over and over and say in a gentle, positive voice "Thank you for the gentle, nice touches". I try (emphasis on TRY) to make it into a positive, "yes" experience instead of saying "NO" over and over. Know what I mean? It's worked pretty well. He now walks up and gently strokes my arm in order to get praise and positive words from me. When he does hit, I put him in his naughty chair (ala Supernanny) and then take him out and tell him what I want him to do...smiling enthusiastically and talking in a happy voice.

It's tough, huh?

Hang in there!

You have to continue with letting him know its not right and make him sit in time out even for a minute every time he acts up. Consistancy is the key. Good luck!

I know the feeling. My little guy is 21 months old and he does the exact same thing. I do use time outs but ur right its hard for them to tell u. What I ended up starting doin to him was every time he went to raise his hand to me I would grab a hold of his hand and just hold it firmly. Kinda a little bit squeeze it cause of him being so strong in wanting to be angry. At the same time is when i tell him no hitting and be nice. It tottally works for me. His dad on the other had wont do it so he gets hit way to often. Just a suggestion. Oh I also don't remember goin through it with my 2 girls at that age so I wonder if its a boy thing lol My boy has been tottally different then my girls. GOOD LUCK and stick with whatever u decide with.
T.

This is a great time to introduce time outs. I introduced time outs w/my son at 20 mos. After the 2 min were up, I repeated we don't hit/throw/etc. - whatever it was he did that got him into time out. I didn't introduce the word no to my son until he was older. I always said STOP. I didn't want him telling me no, so we (husband and I) just didn't use the word.

When my son hit anyone - as an infant just moving his arms - I started telling him to show them soft. I would take his hand and rub it softly over where he hit. I focused on doing something positive - at an age when time outs wouldn't work. Now at 3, if he hits anyone - accidentally - he rubs where he hit and says I'm sorry - on his own. If he does it on purpose, I give him THE LOOK, and he goes over to the person shows them soft and says I'm sorry. He then goes to a time out.

Your son may not take to time outs right away, but stick with it. Even if he screams and cries. 1-2 mins go by quickly. In time, he'll know that you mean business and that there are consequenses to not doing what you say or not being nice.

Good luck to you.

Hi J.,
My now 2 year old went through the same phase starting when she was about 13 or 14 months old. I was very upset and discouraged when this started happening and would think, "What has happened to my sweet baby? "Where did she learn this?" (we don't hit at home) and "Why does she laugh at me when I tell her "No, no hit!" The bad news... For us, nothing ever really worked to stop the behavior in the short term. The good news, the phase did finally pass. While we waited for the phase to pass, and in order to teach her how to cope, we used time outs (first time out in the "naughty spot", and if she hit again, she would spend some alone time in her room to cool out). In my experience, it was absolutely an expression of frustration (we would say no to something she wanted, etc.) and at her age, she didn't have an outlet available to her to express her frustration. Try not to let it get you down, or to get angry when she hits you! I tried to keep in mind that she just wasn't equipped with the emotional skills to restrain herself or express herself appropriately when she was mad or frustrated. Now, she pauses, and then asks for hugs (usually a little teary eyed) when she's really frustrated. This too shall pass!! Hang in there!

I have a 3 yr old and went throught the "hitting stage" also. We do not hit and I was completely frustrated with him doing that. I think you are on the right track, we definately kept up with telling him no and that it was not okay to hit. I think it is just a stage that boys go through and because he can't reason with you that is how he expresses his feelings. I am married and it still happened:) It gets better, he is just being a boy!

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