Help! My 13 Month Old Just Started Hitting. How Do I Get Him to Stop?

Updated on March 23, 2008
K.G. asks from Torrance, CA
9 answers

My 13 month old just started hitting everyone in the face. He even hits the dog! His daycare said he hits the kids at school too.
We have gotten with them at daycare and decided that we would say "stop" and then "touch nice" instead of NO. We thought that we should save the word NO for rare occasions when he is really in danger or something.

We have been trying this for 5 days now and no progress. He just laughs and thinks it's a game and he is being silly.

It is driving both me and my husband crazy. The last thing we want is a bully!

Any suggestions on how to get him to stop?

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answers from San Diego on

Try time-out. My nephew is the same way, so my sister decided time-out works best for him. Everytime he would hit someone he would go strait to time out. Kids don't like timeout and if anything he has cut down on hitting.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I know exactly how you feel. My 14 month old daughter has been doing the same thing. Maybe this will help. I grab both of her hands and tell her in a firm voice that she is hurting me and it's not funny. It didn't work the first couple of times but now she undertsnads that it is not funny. Hope this helps!



answers from San Diego on

I think he's too young for Time Out to work well on this and to try it makes it far too big a deal of a normal stage.

So, I agree with Alyssa, he will grow out of it, stay laid back, (out of reach LOL) react more to other positive things and don't imagine you have a potential bully just because of this.




answers from Los Angeles on

If he hits n the face, put him down and walk away from him. Separate him from the dog, give him a time-out, in a playpen if you really need to. 1 minute for each year.

If you get mad or upset when he hits, you are still giving him what he wants ~ a reaction ,even a bad one. It's a game to him. Don't let it be a game, if you have NO REACTION,or ignore him by putting him down and walking away he gets nothing from it and therefore has no reason to hit.

You HAVE to praise all the "nice touches" and good behavior you can. He wants attention, good or bad, he'll do whatever it takes.

He is old enough to understand time-outs to a certain extent. If he throws a toy, he gets he toy taken away. If he hits the dog, he can't play with the dog ( be careful, the dog might hit or bite back)



answers from Reno on

Hi K., My daughter started hitting at about 15 months old. She's 19 months now & luckily, no longer hits. I talked to her pediatrican about the hitting. Now, first, my daughter's hitting was directed mostly at me (I stay home w/ her) and occasionally my husband. Anyway, his advice to me was simple: Get up and leave the room. Do not talk to your child, say "no", or engage the child in any way. Leave the room & shut the door. Wait a couple of minutes & when you come out say something like "you need to be nice to Mommy."
Apparently the point to the child is that if you are not nice to people they leave (the room). By following this advice the hitting phase didn't last long! Now, I don't know what to do about the dog & other people but since you, your husband and Grandma are with your son more than he's at daycare hopefully you can get the message across loud and clear. Just an FYI, this is pretty much the doc's same advice for tantrums & it really does work! Also, by you not engaging your child you are not possibly losing your temper or getting sucked into the poor behavior. Best of luck to you!



answers from Los Angeles on

my daughter is doing the same thing right now though she is a bit older. she also yells "no" at the same time. I realize that she does this partly to see how i'll react, partly because she is realizing her body's power and force and partly because she is starting to assert herself and her will. So don't over-react and i wouldn't do time out at this age - he won't get it. Here is what I do, I gently put my hand on the hand she is hitting with (to basically stop her hand) and tell her in a very firm way: " I will not let you hit. Hitting hurts. Do not hit!" Once in a while if she hits me or the dog really hard, i'll pretend to cry or tell her that i don't like when she does that and that i am going to another room because i can't play with someone that hurts me. She hasn't really stopped hitting - but she is becoming more hesitant. It worked when she was biting.
Good luck and have fun ;) Discipling is nothing to fear if you are doing from a place of good will.



answers from San Luis Obispo on

Hi! My son also went through this at around the same age. What I was told to do was make sure they knew it was not ok, but don't overreact and make a big deal about it either. At this age, they are not doing it to hurt you or the person they are hitting but they are doing it to get a reaction out of you. Luckily with us he grew out of that phase and doesn't really hit. Well, sometimes he does but he's 2 now! He definetely knows it's not ok though. I think lots of boys especially go through this phase. Hopefully it will pass too, like it did with us!! Good luck!



answers from Las Vegas on

Hi K.,

My 14-month old daughter just began hitting too. I have been doing what I read from other moms on this site. I gently (but firmly) hold the hand that is hitting (before she actually hits if I can or right when she does it) and say "No hitting. Hitting is not nice." Then I move on to something else. I have noticed the hitting is getting less and less. In fact a couple times, she started to hit, then ended it by stroking my arm or face or whatever.

Just another new thing that they are experiencing!! I don't think he's a bully, just figuring things out and you are letting him know what is appropriate. :) :)

Now if someone can tell me how to get my daughter to quit pinching my arm-fat, we'll be in business!! =)~

A. :) :)



answers from Los Angeles on

My son started bitting at that age. It was short lived. The first time he bit me I pertended to break down & cry and he felt so bad he cried with me. He never bit me again. He almost bit one of his teachers/ day care providers but stopped himself before he acctually "clamped down"

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