How Do I Stop the Hitting?

Updated on November 09, 2006
E.S. asks from Etters, PA
6 answers

My twin sons are 13 months old and are constantly hitting each other. I really don't know what to do about it. I have tried separating them, smacking hands (not hard, just a tap, but I feel so hypocritical doing this), telling them no, yelling (which I really don't want to do, but I can't make my voice deep to tell them no), etc. Most of the time it's not too bad, but sometimes they just laugh at you whenever you try and punish them. It's so frustrating for me. They listen to my husband, but when I'm alone with them on the weekend they will beat each other up. If I am changing one of their diapers, I will sometimes just pull them on the floor because I'm normally down there playing with them already so it's just the easiest thing to do, and the other one will come over and start hitting him in the head and laugh about it. For a while the only thing that worked when they wouldn't listen was picking them up, smacking their butts (which they don't even feel because of their diapers), and putting them somewhere away from where they were. I guess they were so insulted that you would take them away from their toys and that you would pick them up to punish them. Now that doesn't even have an effect. I don't want to hit them harder because that isn't teaching them anything (plus I couldn't bring myself to do that anyway), I don't want to yell because that means that I am losing control, and they are too young to understand time outs. I really don't know what to do anymore, does anyone have any advice for me?!?!?

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your advice. There were a lot of great ideas and I'm trying them all! Don't think I'm a maniac that runs around yelling and beating my kids, because I'm definitely not like that at all! Everyone has their moments where they get frustrated and I grew up in a house where my mom yelled (she's 100% Italian!) and I know I don't want to be like that, but it's easy to revert to what you know when you are stressed out. Thankfully as soon as I raise my voice a little, I generally will recognize it and stop it immediately.
Although the boys still beat each other up, I will get up and remove the one that is hitting, tell him that hitting is bad and not to hit, take away whatever toy he has in his hand, and they will normally either cry for half a second or look up at me like I'm the worst mom ever and crawl away. They are learning how to do things to get attention and I would always react to them. I've learned their little games they play with certain things and handle it accordingly. If they are touching something that they shouldn't and as long as it isn't something that will hurt them, I let them go and they will keep looking at me waiting for a reaction and if I don't give them one, they will stop. Same goes for them picking their nose, which is the newest thing they've learned! Anyway, thanks again for all of the advice and suggestions, I appreciate it.

More Answers



answers from York on

Hi E.. I know that you said that time-outs don't work. But what are you doing for a time-out. If yo are putting them in a corner, or on a naughty spot, they are probably too young to understand. But, have you tried to put them into a empty playpen or crib (different ones). This would keep them seperate and away from any toys that they could play with them. Maybe they could learn from this. Hope it helps.



answers from Harrisburg on

Hey girl! I was given a great piece of advice a while back. Your boys are not too young for time-outs. You are supposed to do one minute for each year old they are. So, when they hit the next time.. take them upstairs.. sit them in their cribs or in their playpens (if you have two) w/o toys and let them sit for one minutes. I've always tried to explain to Dom why he was sitting. Granted, he may not always understand, but I do the best I can to make him. My routine when either he or Kolin hits is I take the one that did the hitting out into the living room and I have a time out corner. They have to sit in the corner for 3 minutes, if they choose to fight me or throw a tantrum.. time doesn't start until they calm down and sit. They sit for 3 minutes and they ahve to go apologize to the other. I make Dom tell me what I'm sorry means... "I didn't mean to hurt you and I wont do it again." Granted, they are just words right now, but soon he will understand. Don't worry that they are young now.. just build a foundation for later on when they do understand. Also... remember they are boys. They are going be some what physical. Good luck!!




answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree with all the advice on here, especially E.! I do the same thing for my boys, ages 3.5 and 5. When they hit (or backtalk, ect...) they get a time out, Caden gets 3 minutes, and Cole gets 5. Yes, Cole does get more, but hey being the big brother can't have all the perks. I have always used time outs, and even under the age of 1 I used them for both. Anytime they're taken away from their things or the things going on around them, it's a punishment. It's just no fun to sit in a corner while everyone else plays. I agree do not hit, if you hit then why can't they? I think the most important thing about the time outs is that it gives Mommy the time to regain her cool. I know it gives me a chance to walk away for a few minutes when I'm angry with them. Now that my kids are getting older, we spend time talking at the kitchen table about why they had the time outs. I ask them if they know why I was upset. I was very surprised because everytime I have asked that question, they knew. Anyway, goodluck! Yes boys are more physical, however, if they go around hitting, eventually later in life someone bigger than them will hit them harder than their brother ever did!



answers from Scranton on

Hi E.,

We have twins also, only 9months old, and they play rough sometimes, too. I haven't had to time-out because of it yet, but I do separate them (mostly to give the one on the bottom a break!).

I have a couple of thoughts re: your post...first, I think it's probably more like play to them than anything done out of aggressiveness. And, I think separating them is your best bet. I think spanking just teaches them it's ok to hit when you're mad. I know it must be frustrating, especially when they're laughing and doing it, but this just makes me think they're really playing.

And you're right, keeping control of your voice and actions are important. Can you just say "no" or "we don't hit", separate them, and model nice play? Like show the offender how nice it is to be nice to the other one? Put positive actions and energy and reward to the behavior you'd like to see?

And don't underestimate the power of a well-placed time-out. My willful, bold and beautiful daughter had her first time-out when she was like 7 months old! She shouted at me with every little bit of anger her wee body could muster because she didn't care for the veggies I was offering, so I turned her around in her highchair for 30 seconds to let her cool off. She was so surprised that no one was paying her any mind that she changed her tune, and when we turned back around, ate her squash and peas. I think they do "get" a time-out at this age...they can at least realize that it's a break in the action.

I think right now you're modeling hitting, with a tap here and there, so I would eliminate it altogether. I would say a firm "no.", separate them, play and praise and really pay positive attention to the one who didn't hit, as well as try to catch them while they are playing nicely and gush about how great it is.

Hope this helps!, A.



answers from Philadelphia on

First and foremost, stop all hitting. They do not understand. When they see you hit, even a little tap; they see power and control and hitting as the way to get your message across. This is going to be a little hard but not too hard. I say its going to be hard because you are working and you are working with young twins and that is in my opinion too much. However, I don't want to make you feel guilty. I just want you to understand that you are doing ALOT. One personality is enough to handle but two is truly a task. I had twins. They were numbers 4 & 5 of my 10 children.

From this point on you will have to stay very very calm and use an extremely soft voice. Then when something happens such as the hitting, you use a very firm voice while strongly holding the hand of the child you are talking to. Make eye contact. Stay with that child for the next few moments. The problem comes when you discipline and within seconds you are distracted and off to something else. The children just ignore.

Another thing, they babies are very very smart. If they want your attention and they have learned that you stop whatever you are doing when they hit, they will hit to get your attention. So, when you do the firm talking and the strongholding of the hand, show your disapproval in that manner. Keep talking to the child for a few moments. And, then spend a moment giving some attention. Just some hugging and cuddling and kissing on the cheek. Both of them.

Remember they don't know how to say I want a hug, I want a kiss. All we have taught them is to cry when they want us or like he/she is doing 'KNOCK baby brother/sister up side the HEAD'. Then she'll come. They also do not know how to be discreet. (smile) Hope this helps.



answers from Reading on

Hi. I have a simalar problem with my 18 month old twin boys. I recently started using thier high chairs as time out chairs too. I tried the crib but they would jump and play tinking it was a fun thing. We tried a sit on the sofa and im sure you know the rusult there. Our solution was to put thier chair facing a corner and let them there for a min. Buckled in the chair isnt fun for them and they seem to start to understand that only happens when mommy has said no and they didnt listen. best of luck.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches