Hitting - Grand Rapids,MI

Updated on October 31, 2009
M.W. asks from Grand Rapids, MI
9 answers

The 20 month old in my care has been hitting!!! Any and everyone but especially his brother (who whines about being hit, which seems to make him do it more!) He will also sometimes bite the person he is hitting. It does not seem to be related to any need or want, just does it at random. I have tried to ignore, but that is VERY difficult to do with the frequency of the problem. I AM GOING CRAZY HERE :-)

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answers from Detroit on

Put him in a time out area and explain why he's there. Give a warning first and if he ignores it he goes to the time out area.
Get an apology.
You're the one supposed to be in charge. Get some discipline in.

And if all else fails, exact a dose of what he dishes out and see how much he likes it. Maybe then he'll get a clue.

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answers from Atlanta on

Children of that age want to do so much more than before. They are becoming more aware of what other people of doing, such as invading their personal space. They have so much they want to tell you but they can't verbalize their feelings. Maybe they need more space, they're tired, hungry or not well, maybe they'll learning the rules of sharing, etc. etc.
If they're trying to tell you something they have a very good way of letting you know if they're not happy - hitting and biting!

Just sit back for a while and see if there's a pattern. Ask yourself "what was the situation before the hit?". "What will the consequences be for that behavior?".

Humans want and need to be liked, so there's normally a reason for this behavior. If put yourself into the tiny shoes of your 20 month old and watched carefully over a few days, maybe you'll notice a pattern.



answers from Detroit on

Redirect and remove... we would say gentle touch so telliing him what he actually CAN do instead of constantly telling him NO NO NO all the time.

My son would hit the dog so we would say gentle toucha and how him how to be gentle and it got better.



answers from Detroit on

I do not think I would ignore it. I am also going to guess you mean "care" and not 'car'? So, I would wager that you are watching this child, right?

As the parents about it to see if they know why there is an issue for starters. Also - when my son wanted to hit, I would take his hand and tell him firmly 'No hitting'. Just keeping it simple and letting him know I was not happy with his behavior. To ignore does not help the issue - I feel it only encourages as they feel they 'got away with it'.
You can go further to teach him about soft touches verses hurtful touches, as well, but again keep it simple as too many words in the sentence to them and they blank it out.

I do agree to watch for a pattern. If he is having some problem expressing himself, he could be resorting to hitting. Or, there could be more happening at home to cause it (therefore the parents need to be communicated with regardless - and everyone needs to be on the same page for correcting the situation.)

Good Luck!



answers from Detroit on

A 20 month old is still a little hard to reason with...I would try removing him from the situation, even if you have to hold him, while telling him that hitting causes boo-boos. When my girls were little there was a little guy who was about 2 1/12 who was a biter. The only thing that worked was biting him back, worked the first time. Have you mentioned this to his Mom?



answers from Lansing on


Is the 20 month old hitting or biting during or soon after a loud activity? Is this happening after he loses an argument about a toy or just after coming in from playing outside?

Children at this age have needs and impulses they cannot control and the adults in their lives need to teach them this control. But first the adults need to see the pattern to help them find another outlet for their behavior. It can be difficult to find the pattern when caring for many children.

If you see the child needs to hit redirect him to a pillow (if appropriate), for biting a tooth brush or soft plastic toy can help sooth his biting need. Talk with his parents to brainstorm ideas and if nothing seems to be working you may need to restrain him for a count of 10 (like the other mom posted).

When my son was 15 or 18 months old he hit his head on his bedroom wall out of anger. I tried different ways to stop the behavior, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, I restrained him on my lap until he calmed down, it took about 15 minutes. Then I explained to him that I would restrain him again if he continued his behavior, he disliked being controlled that way so much he never hit his head on the wall again.

Finally, I think the little boy should learn the ASL sign for sorry if he can't talk or he should verbalize if he can and indicate to the person he hurt that he is sorry. At this age he will not mean it, but like with adults learning a new skill, sometimes you have to fake it till you make it. Requiring children to apologize to the people they hurt makes them aware of the feelings the people around them.


Good luck!




answers from Detroit on

Hi M., That is a behavior I would not ignore because he is hurting someone else and that is a big no no in my house. There needs to be immediate consequesnces for his actions. Such as a time out and removal from the situation. The time out can be 1 and a half minutes because of his age. Make sure that this is okay with the parents since I am assuming you are watching this child for someone else. I would explain to his parents that this is something that you cant allow in the house and hopefully they will do the same behavior modification at home so it is consistant:) Good luck! Dont forget the positive reinforcement when the boy is being kind or sharing or nice to others too:) :)



answers from Detroit on

My 19-month old is in the phase where he will do something off-limits (hit the cat, jump on the couch, etc) and when I tell him "NO" firmly, he laughs and does it more. Not too cool, and it's hard to keep cool when the problem escalates. What I have been doing is removing him from the situation while saying once, gently but firmly, "We don't [fill in the blank with whatever he is doing]." If it's hitting the cat, i will take him and give him a time-out, which consists of me putting him in my lap off to the side on the floor and locking my arms around his arms for a count of 10 after saying, "We don't [fill in the blank]." He HATES being restrained like that and cries and struggles and will sometimes rush off to play with something else when I release him. Sometimes he'll try to go back to doing whatever it was that got him into trouble, in which case I will repeat the process. Good luck, and don't forget to ask this boy's parents what they do when he hits/bites and how they think you should handle it because ignoring it isn't working.



answers from Detroit on

The child who is hitting and bitting needs to be put on out time or in the corner for doing bad. If you hit him to tell him to stop than he thinks its ok. He doesn't understand the difference between a spanking for being bad and hitting his brother. His hitting to him maybe in play and when the other wines he hits him more thinking he likes it if you coud ask the other to ignore him and come tell you that might help to. (by the coment of you hitting I am not saying you did or do its just general thing so please don't be offended.) So find something he doesn't like is it out time in his room with no toys, on a chair in the corner, on the steps, standing in the corner, etc. Make sure hes not ok with it. So if you try something and he doesn't mind it being there than it doesn't work. You need to find where he will complain than you can let him know if he keeps hitting or bitting he will have to sit and each time his time gets longer. ALso maybe telling him he will go to bed early too because of his misbehavor. One other thing about the bityou could tap him with you first finger in the mouth and tell him to stop. Or my sister in law first tried soap but her kid liked it so she ended up with hot sauce every time he bit someone he got hot sauce in the mouth and out time.

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