Hitting - Wantagh,NY

Updated on November 20, 2009
T.A. asks from Wantagh, NY
7 answers

I've written about this before when my son was 15 months. He is now 22 months. Since then he has gone throughN phases of hitting. Pretty much just me. Well he's back at it. When he's frustrated, when he wants something... Now also when I tell him not to do something (throw an object, touch something he shouldn't), his response is to hit me. I do time outs (thinking chair for 2 minutes), tell him he can't hit when I first put him there and then again when he is done. Then I give him a hug and we move on. My family says ," well you know what I would do..." meaning a spanking. But I honestly believe that that would reinforce that it's ok to hit. My father, while playing with him, asked for his stuffed animal. When my son handed it over, he said ,"I'm going to hit your doggie," and then hit the doggie. For some reason, my dad thought this was funny and acceptable. I told him he can't show him things like that. Sure enough, my son took the doggie back and began to hit it. This isn't what started my son hitting but it does show me that if he was spanked, he will hit.
Has anyone read "123 Magic" for disciplining their little ones. And if you have, have you used it on a child as young as two?
Or does anyone have any advice or hope?

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answers from New York on

Hi Tahara,
Before I even reached the end of your message I was thinking "1, 2, 3 Magic." I purchased this book on the advice of my pediatrician, since I was going through just about what you are going through now. I can't tell you how well this has worked for us, and in really no time at all. Now, all I do is look at my son when his behavior is something I want "stopped" and say, "That's one." He pouts and stops what he's doing. I'm still amazed that the method works (and so quickly), but it really does. Give it a try ... at this point, you have nothing to lose. My only advice is, no matter how difficult it can be at times, stick to it, do not deviate from the book's suggestions, always follow through, and stand firm! Best of luck!

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answers from New York on

When he hits you, I would immediately pick him up and
let him know you are VERY angry and make him sit some-
where. It is really the shock value, that gets their
attention. I had a little girl who would bite. Well she
did it once right in front of me. I was furious, because
I had tried to break her of it. I picked her up and
put her on couch, she knew then game over. Never bit



answers from New York on

I did read, and tried to put into practice the 123 magic. I was literary chased out of the room followed by laughters. I have heard from other moms that that book worked for them.
Not for me. And I was very consistent with it
good luck
ps totally with you on spanking. It will only teach him to hit when he's frustrated when he doesn't get his way.



answers from Rochester on


I want to hear how you work with your cutie! I need ideas too!

I haven't got all the answers on this one. Not even sure what I'm doing will work. I know spanking will NOT work. Kids can't add 2 + 2 at this age, consequences are NOT in the order of business. So verbal direction is not only necessary, it's critical.

I remind my son each and every time I see him 'patting' the dog, we use gentle touches.

When he gets out there and is just not listening, I do a whole body redirect -s coop him up and ask him other questions: do your teeth hurt? I look at the time and is it nap/bed time? Remind him as we go that we use gentle touches, but just take him out of the situation entirely. He will learn - but it will be HIM learning what is acceptable, not that he's going to get swatted if he gets CAUGHT doing something bad. I don't want to teach him to hide and do something bad (to the dog or anyone else!)

Usually he is teething when he starts hitting - he wants the reaction - so I ask him if his cheeks hurt. Invariably, he says yes (he says yes to almost everything), but if I ask him in different ways, it comes down to his cheeks hurting. We get him a frozen pancake or some frozen berries, or if he is just all-out crying at that point, we'll do tylenol (don't like this stuff for pain relief).

Good luck,



answers from New York on

I agree with you that spanking is wrong and will only reinforce the behavior you are trying to stop. Your son is hitting becasue he is limited right now in ways of communicating his anger or frustration. That being said, continue to let him know that "we don't hit because it hurts" and place extra praise and reward for his good behavior. He'll learn the difference with your reactions. I am sure he'd much rather have a happy praising mommy than a scolding mommy.

Tell him that you understand he is angry (or frustrated) and it's okay to feel that way but hitting is not good.

Try to get him to work out his emotions by giving him pots and pans to drum on (although it might make you nuts) or dancing or clay to pound, dough to need, etc.

Spend more quiet, cuddly time with him to help pacify some of those pent up emotions.

Teach him how to do more things so he won't get so frustrated (perhaps some of that hitting comes from his frustration at not being able to do certain things).

Take note of what he is doing or what his mood is before he starts to hit (is he tired, hungry, etc). This will help you note the signs so you can head it off the next time.

Let others in your family know that they should reinforce your lessons on hitting so he is not getting mixed messages.

My 20 month old usually resorts to hitting when she can't get her point across verbally and she gets frustrated (or she just isn't getting her way).

I have never read the book you mentioned but "What to Expect..The Toddler Years" gives some good advice about hitting and discipline in general.



answers from New York on

Your definitely on the right track I am sorry to read that your father did that it was definitely not a positive example as you said but only reinforced negatively. Stay on track, it is a process and a learning process for your little one. You could show him when he hits again, how we use our hands etc by taking his hand and having him touch you gently on your shoulder or cheek or leg or arm. And youself do the same with him, showing him by example how you appropriately touch. That hands are NOT for hitting but to do constructive helpful things...And as calmly as you have been, place him in his thinking chair/time out for as many minutes as he is old. THe important thing is that he gets the message that he is a good boy and then find another constructive way to express frustration or anger like using words such as anger or frustration.



answers from New York on

I know this isnt going to go over too well with other moms, but I'm going to tell you what ALWAYS worked with my little ones. (and I have had a LOT of little ones). I 'played' shot for shot with them when they hit. Not right away, but after explaining that hitting hurts and isnt nice over and over. 2 y/o dont understand that things hurt or arent polite. So when a darling little child hit me I would get all excited and say Oh are we playing 'shot for shot'? Of course they would get excited too. So they hit me and I hit them a teeny bit harder. Then it was their turn, then I hit a teeny bit harder, until soon (very soon) they decided not to play any more. The next time they would raise their hand I would get excited and say "oh, goodie, we are playing shot for shot." The hand would come down and they would say no no.
"Playing" the game isnt punishment or spanking, but it does teach children that hitting hurts and is NOT fun. You can 'play' the game with other children on the playground or where ever. If you see your child raise their hand ask them if they want to play. They almost always will say no and lower their hand. In my experience this works much better than time outs or constant nagging.

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