M.N. asks from Avon, OH on July 11, 2007
Hitting - North Ridgeville,OH
My son is going to be three in October and my daughter is going to be one in August. Lately my son has decided that hitting his sister for no reasons seems like a good idea. She could be just sitting or playing with a toy and he hits her. My husband and I have been trying time outs (length of time is his age) but he continues to hit or kick. Now my daughter, if she gets really angry will bite him. And sometimes I don't know who to discipline, her or him! Just wondered if anyone had any other suggestions other than the time out for hitting problems.
T.D. answers from Cincinnati on July 11, 2007
I think that you should continue with the time outs but make sure that he understands why is was put in time out. Maybe try putting a band-aid on sister to let him know that he hurt her. If there is a situation with a toy involved, take the toys away and do not give them back until he says he is sorry. It could also be a jealousy thing-make sure that you spend some "Mommy and Son time" so that he feels like he is getting enough attention. Hitting is a phase, my 18 month old is going through it right now as well. She does understand no, but it is also very challenging. Whatever method you attempt, be consistent. I found that this definitely makes a difference.
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P.B. answers from Cincinnati on July 11, 2007
Hello M.. I'm not sure this will work for you, but it has for me with my nephew, my child, and the children I have watched over the years. When your son goes to hit, bite, pull hair or some other "bad" things, take his hand and rub it between your hands and tell him "no", then kiss his hand, ask him to be nice and smile. It's repetitive but seemed to have worked for me. At some point the kids just wanted me to kiss their hand. I hope this might work for you. If it gets too bad, they may have to be separated for a short time until you son is willing to be nicer to her. Also, praise them the best you can when they behave nice to one another. Make sure they know how happy it make you & your husband when they get along or do something nice for their sibling. Some of this is jealousy, it gets better with age & understanding. Good luck!!
M.S. answers from Columbus on July 12, 2007
I agree, I think he is young and isn't fully comprehending the timeouts. I am sure it is jealousy. If you think about it, he knows he can get your attention when he does something to his sister. I would try rewarding his good behavior. Try asking him how he feels when his sister goes to bite him. Explain, on his level, how much hitting/smacking hurts. Also, try to watch for when he is going after his sister...is it when you leave the room to do something? Is it when you are distracted? (on the phone, watching tv)Maybe more one on one time with your son will help too.
A. answers from Cleveland on July 12, 2007
I also have a boy (4) and girl (2) who are about 2 years apart and your description is an everyday occurrence in my house. I will say this, when they were 3 and 1, I had a lot of trouble with my son wanting to hit, kick, throwing things at his sister, etc. I felt like I spent everyday punishing him from morning til bed. What evened it out was her ability to even out the bullying and his knowing if I say stop and he does not, there is a consequence (time-out, time in his room, loss of a toy, etc.). What really helped was my son seeing that I was not going to let his sister do it to him no matter what as well. Putting her in time-out was stunning to him because he felt like it was just him getting into trouble. Fast forward a year, now both know they can't hit, kick, bite or anything else and if one does, then the next question is what did you do and they both get a consequence. It hasn't cured it as they are very close in age and will fight until they are adults I suspect, but they do not do it as often as there is no option as to a punishment. I guess the key is be consistent and let them both see that neither can get away with it.
Hope this helps.