15 Month Old Hitting

Updated on October 10, 2008
S.G. asks from Orange Park, FL
10 answers

My 15 month old is having a problem with hitting. Yesterday she almost hit her cousin, we took her outside and explained to her that hitting was not nice and that it hurt peope, she then hit us. Can you reason with a 15 month old?

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answers from Daytona Beach on

Even at this age they understand more than we think they do. This age is not too young for time-out (I did a 30 second time out and in the beginning I had to sit with my son because he wouldn't stay by himself and he cried through the whole thing, but over time he learned to sit by himself). More importantly he learned that hitting was associated with timeout and since he didn't like timeout he stopped hitting.

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answers from Pensacola on

No. Children are not capable of reasoning. The part of the brain that controls that is not fully formed until people reach their early 20's. 15 months old is especially young to consider reasoning.
Explaining things is good, to a degree. You don't want it to become a story or lecture. Her attention span isn't that big. And all she knows is that she hit someone, so mommy took her outside to talk. Yay, attention. Do it again.
Any attention is better than none. Even negative attention.
When she hits, you need to remove her from the situation. Sit her in your lap or in a space on the floor away from toys or other people. Tell her no. Firmly. One word. Two at most. "Don't hit" works pretty well too. You can make the sad face at her and say something like "ouch", you hurt (mommy or whoever she hit). Be consistant and you should be able to break her of that habit. Just be sure that she doesn't start to think that it's a game.
When they're really young, they honestly don't think of other people as having feelings. They don't realize that you can hurt someone else. Or that anyone else's needs are just as great as their own.
Good luck. It's a hard phase to go through, but you can do it!

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answers from Miami on

No, you can't really reason with a 15 month old. You can distract (Hey, let's see what that toy does!) and redirect (Oh, you're giving me a high five? All right!). You can model gentle touches (Hitting hurts. Let's use gentle touches like this...). And be prepared to do those things over and over again. I know it's frustrating. But, if you respond consistently and positively, they do eventually get it. At that age, they are exploring cause and effect. Right now, she knows hitting gets a big reaction from mom and dad. They don't have impulse control or the ability to empathize yet. That can be such a frustrating age, but it does get better over time if you respond consistently.

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answers from Miami on

my son is 17 month old and he does the same thing. They don't do it out of anger or because they're mean. that's their way of getting attention. They just want to say "Hey, wanna play?" They don't know it hurts. Your reaction was great but be careful not to react too strongly because he might like the attention is getting from YOU.
My 4 year old likes to hit the couch with his sword and my baby sees hitting and his brother laughing so he copies.
Good luck,



answers from Boca Raton on

I have a 14 month old that was recently hitting myself and other kids. What I would do is if he hit me, I would say "no hitting", put him down and walk away for like 30 seconds or so. Then I would come back, give him a hug and say "no hitting, nice hands".
If he was hitting another child, I would immediately remove him from the situation, say "no hitting", sit him down somewhere, and hold his hands down for a count of 10 or 20, depending on how long it took for him to calm down. Then I would give him a hug, say "no hitting, nice hands".
I did these same 2 scenarios for a couple of weeks and then the hitting phase was over.
I think they don't like the restraining or walking away b/c they hate to be still or away from momma. If they get a response they don't like consistently then they just may stop! This may resurface later and then maybe we'll have to try something a little different when he's in an older stage! Not sure, just my two cents! Good luck!



answers from Boca Raton on

I think all little ones try this. I have three and when they would try to hit me I would take the baby's hand in a nice way and put it on my face in a gentle way like petting. I would say " make nice" It works. After a while when the baby would try to hit I would say "make nice" and the baby would stop hitting and make nice.



answers from Panama City on

you need to demonstrate to her that hitting hurts,light hit back



answers from Orlando on

There is no reasoning with a 15 month old, but you can do behavior modification. Hitting is very normal at this age, but what you don't want is a 2 or 3 year old that is still hitting.

She is either frustrated or she thinks it's fun and funny when she hits something--either by the reaction she gets from what she is hitting or the people around her--she doesn't mean harm, but also doesn't understand that she can be hurting someone either.
Every time she hits anyone, make sure all the fun stops at that moment--remove her from what she was doing. If she hits you while you are playing with her, stop, turn your back on her and walk away--repeating "no hitting". You can then return and show her "nice hands" while you pat her nicely and then show her how to pat nicely repeating "nice hands". If she sows nice hands--give lots of praise.
So the idea is to stop any possible positive reinforcement (playing, etc.) show her the correct way, and then give her positive reinforcement for doing the correct behavior.
It won't happen over night, but you'll see it gradually go away and she will understand what no hit means and what nice hands are.



answers from Daytona Beach on

No. :-)

She is frustrated and does not know how to express it. (And may have seen others use hitting to problem solve? Maybe not.)

Anyway - help her find the words...And - offer her choices of what she CAN do to solve her problem (and relieve her frustration). Don't we all need a friend to talk us through our frustrations, sometimes? Imagine if you didn't have words to use to do it... :-)

This is pretty darn normal behavior for this age. It needs addressing, of course, but - you'll show her the right way...(You already did the right thing yesterday when you "stopped" her and told her that "we don't hit". Let it be non-judgemental, just a statement of fact. After all, she really doesn't know that, yet.)

Good luck!



answers from Jacksonville on

Learn some baby sign language with her. Mostly the emotions. Here's a good website that has a video with each sign.

To get my son to stop hitting us I would cry after he did. Of course to start out with he would cry with me but I would start explaining while crying that it hurt me and made me sad. I broke my son's hitting this way.

We also took his favorite toys and movies away after hearing from school he hit a friend. That was a major blow to him since he really like to watch The Wiggles and sleep with Mickey Mouse.

Good luck and this is a trail and error part of getting her to stop hitting. Just keep trying different things something will catch on.