February 28, 2012,
L.A. asks from Springfield, MO on February 24, 2012
Hitting - Springfield,MO
My two year old son has started hitting his sister (5). For the most part, they play really well, however, there are times when they frustrate each other and it leads to crying and yelling. This is not when he hits, though. (I mention this because maybe his hurt feelings linger). He will at random times approach her and hit her. When he sees me coming after he has hit her, he runs and tries to hide (so he knows its wrong). How can I teach him not to hit? Time outs seem to not be working. Spanking seems like a double standard in this instance. Any advice?
A.J. answers from Williamsport on February 24, 2012
Two year olds do not yet think in paradox and irony. I've never seen an older child look back and recall when they were swatted for hitting at age two and say, "Mummy, you were very unjust to hit me for hitting, it's a double standard you know."
All three of my kids quit hitting with one firm warning and swat. I never had to hover or worry about them around other kids. None of them remember it because they were about 18 months old. They just know it's not ever tolerated to hit. As for your five year old in your other question, the book Back to Basics Discipline by Janet Campbell Matson is excellent for solving back talk and disrespect.
3 moms found this helpful
R.R. answers from Los Angeles on February 25, 2012
At two years old time outs for hitting with a hug and "I'm sorry" to big sister afterwards are appropriate. Be consistent whenever he hits, like you said, he knows it's wrong.
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T.H. answers from Kansas City on February 28, 2012
Ugh, I think we live in the same house!! ;) My son is exactly the same, he is 2 and my daughter is 4. We've been dealing with his random hitting issue for a while actually, and it's not just limited to his sister, which majorly stresses me out! Anyway, I know it seems like time out isn't working but I honestly think it seems to be the road to take. I think that at this age they just need consistency, consistency, consistency! My son will now sometimes put himself in time out after he hits someone and I crack up about it, but at least he's making the connection. He only recently started showing any sort of discomfort or dislike by being placed in time out and that isn't even all the time, he still seems to laugh a lot. BUT, and here's the good news...his hitting has actually decreased in the past few weeks. Now, admittedly, I have no idea if it's because I consistently put him time out time after time or he's just growing out if and finally starting to "get it", but either way I'm starting to breathe a little easier. I also agree with you that spanking is totally a double standard and it doesn't matter if how aware or not aware your 2 y/o is...if you hit him b/c he hit someone else, that just doesn't make any sense.
Anyway, my advice is to hang in there and just be conistent time after time. At least you'll feel like you're doing something, right! ;) I know this porbably isn't the advice you were looking for, but I haven't found anything that actually works! Maybe I'm missing the boat too! Haha!!
As far as your daughter it's hard there too b/c the girls are tired of being hit, and rightfully so, but I still send the message that violence is not tolerated and she shouldn't hit back but yet become vigilant in her voice. I teach her to say things like No stop, that hurts, leave me alone, etc.
S.L. answers from Kansas City on February 27, 2012
I would make him give his sister a hug and say 'we don't hit we love each other'. If he refuses to give her a hug then he should sit down until he feels like saying he's sorry and giving her a hug. It will work and yes with a 2 year old. I used to try to 'make' my kids say sorry but until they are ready to be sorry just have them sit and they will eventually be sorry enough to at least say it. Then the hug reinforces the kindness versus the unkindness of hitting. I don't know still why they do it but they do. But they can learn to be loving to each other to.