My 19 Month Daughter Is Out of Control.

Updated on January 29, 2016
E.B. asks from Englewood, FL
13 answers

Hi there mommy's.. I'm having a problem with my 19 month old daughter. She's been hitting, boring, scratching, kicking only me, I'm with her 24 hours a day and he father works 12 goes a day so I'm wounding why she's only beating on me.. And what can I do to stop her from being so violent. And she's been having really bad tantrums I've been trying to ignore her when she does that but in scared that she'll hurt herself she slams her head on the floor. Please I need help

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Welcome to the terrible twos, a little early.

For tantrums, I picked my kids up and put them into their pack n play, which I had set up downstairs. I would say, as I set them in "I'll come and get you when you are done crying", and then leave the room. That way, they could tantrum all they wanted without getting hurt, and I just walked away into another room. When the crying stopped, I would go back in and say "if you are all done crying, you can come out now." The first couple times, the tantrum went on for a while. But once they knew I was serious, they would stop literally within moments of my putting them in there.

I did the same for hitting/scratching/etc. I would say "You cannot hurt momma. You need to go in here (pack n play) until you are all done hurting momma." After a minute or two, I would go back and say "if you are all done hurting momma, you can come out."

I know people say that time-outs don't work as a punishment for kids this young. I don't think of it as a punishment. I think of it as a safe place for a kid to get those feelings out. They can come out as soon as they are back under control. And it did work for my kids.

As a side note, I used the same tactic on my kids as they got older - whining because I said no to something you wanted? My response: "I'm sorry you are upset about that, but please don't whine. You can go to your room until you are done whining."

ETA: Oh, yes, and the car seat if she does it when you are out. I would strap them in (not easy when they are thrashing, but you can do it) and close the car door and wait outside the car. I once sat out in the parking lot while the entire rest of my family ate dinner inside the restaurant. It was miserable. But, he only did that once. After that, I would say "There is no crying in restaurants. Do you need to go to the car?" and he would stop because he knew I was going to follow through.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Great responses below - she's not violent, she's having tantrums because she doesn't know how to express herself and her feelings. She needs a SAFE place to be restrained. That can be a crib, a playpen, or a gated area in the family room. If you're out somewhere, you put her in the car seat instantly and you, if possible, stand outside the car where she can see you but you can't hear every scream. She doesn't feel afraid that you've abandoned her, but she realizes that you're not engaging with her.

You put her in there and you walk away. You don't argue, you don't say, "That hurts Mommy" (because, honestly, they don't care at this age - they haven't developed empathy yet). As Mynewnickname says, these same techniques work when they are older. You can't react to "I hate you" or "Bad mommy" or eye rolls or hitting with anything other than not letting them get their way. I don't think you even make them say "I'm sorry" - because they a) just aren't sorry and b) grow up thinking that is the antidote to every crappy thing they do. They have to have immediate and unpleasant consequences - for most kids, a lack of attention is it.

She's not going to hurt herself in a play pen. If she bangs her head on the ground, realize that most kids do this and will stop if it hurts. My kid was a head-banger, and the pediatrician explained that the skull bones are particularly thick in the forehead and in the back of the head - kids fall down and hit those parts all the time. So constantly trying to protect them from self-inflicted injury is fruitless and unnecessary. It teaches them that head banging or kicking or hitting are good strategies to get attention.

Walk away. Let her scream. Say "I'll come back when you are done crying/screaming/" or "...when you are calm." Then do it. Don't cave in! It will stop!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

She's at the tantrum age.
When she throws a tantrum, put her somewhere that she can't hurt herself, walk away, and let her wail. When there is no audience, the show soon stops.

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answers from Portland on

Assuming it's just tantrums, I just made sure my kids were safe and didn't stand for it. I was much like mynewnickname. I made sure they were ok, but I didn't really respond to it. When they were done, I gave attention - not during.
At that age, naps and regular snacks/meals are crucial so that they don't get overtired or hungry and fussy. I used to head off tantrums by making sure they were fed and rested before they needed to be. I just thought of it as being proactive. If you wait until they're crying, then you've waited too long sometimes - to respond to their needs.
But sometimes at that age they don't understand and can't communicate. They see a toy they want and if you say no, they don't get it. So some of that is typical for "twos". And she'd nearly there.
Just don't allow it to continue. Don't try to rationalize when she's out of control. I had one who was like this and I sometimes just held him until he relaxed. Other times I said "I'm here in the next room, but I'm not going to come back until you stop yelling". Just make sure they're safe.
Good luck :)

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answers from Dallas on

What are you doing with her while you are with her alone? She's too young too know that she's hurting you.., it's her way of trying to communicate with you.

You don't have to spend money to walk to the park and play with her, go to the library and some bookstores for reading time, meet with a couple moms and have play dates together.

Be active with her, engage her.

Speaking with a counselor or parenting professional would also be a good alternative so you learn how to communicate with her, learn how to engage her, learn how to nurture her.

I hope things get better.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

oh dear.
that's an awful lot of seriously dysfunctional questions in a quick barrage, hon.
i think the problem with your little girl is the fact that you and her dad seem to be non-functioning as a couple, and your own unhappiness is clearly getting mirrored and magnified by your child.
you need to get some help right away, both for yourself and for your daughter. she is so tiny to already be so filled with fear and anger. ignoring her when she's being violent isn't working because it sounds as if she's desperate and terrified that her needs won't be met, so ignoring her is only escalating her fears.
if there is to be any hope for this poor little girl to survive her infanthood without permanent damage, you need to get serious and good counseling right away. you need help with how to parent appropriately, and you need to get yourself sorted out so that you're not wallowing in an unhealthy relationship and modeling it for your child.
if your boyfriend isn't interested in parenting her or partnering you, you're probably better off without him. but hopefully he wants a healthy child and a healthy relationship with you and will be on board to fix this.
but make no mistake, my dear, this is nothing to put off. you're barreling down the wrong road at warp speed. please get help. do it today.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Get out of the house, every day. Go to the park, a playground inside McDonald's or Burger King, something. Find a local play group through FB or the local newspaper for mom's groups. Your baby needs to be around other people and you need to have adult interactions.

Once you get established in a group you might find one or two of the moms that might give good advice. Ask them if they have any ideas of how you could handle these tantrums better.

There are lots of things you can do. One of them is that I'd put her in her room (IF IT'S BABY PROOF) behind a half door or gate she can't get past and let her have her tantrum. The attention you give her while she's having one might be keeping her going. She's getting attention for doing it. When she's really acting good, even just normal, give her lots of positive attention. She'll repeat the good behavior when she gets no attention for bad behavior. It takes time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

We made use of a behavioral psychologist to help us with our parenting. Time out wasn't even part of the discussion at first. Instead he coached us on how to create more positive interactions instead of just corrective ones. You have to re establish trust and respect in order for the kid to be motivated to be compliant.

Good luck to you and yours
F. B.

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answers from Washington DC on

Please re-read Diane B's post below. Your child is not out to hurt you on purpose. She is too young to know how to express herself other than with her body right now, plus she is at an age that is very frustrating for the child--she can't speak, you can't tell what she wants, so she lashes out. This is very, very typical at this age. See Diane' post for ideas on handling this. But please, please do not get angry at her or upset or think that she is capable of hating you -- she just isn't, at this young age. If you show you're upset, she will pick up on your emotions (young children do this remarkably well and fast) and it will make her even more upset. Better to put her in a safe location and walk away than to raise your voice at her and thus escalate things. Walking away also removes what she is most seeking - your attention. She will learn over time that tantrums don't get attention but lose it, and the phase will pass. It takes time and a lot of patience on your part.

Connecting the dots here, I see that there's this post and it's followed immediately by two posts about finding day care for your child though you are at home full-time. Are you wanting day care because her tantrums are wearing you out and you need a break from her? I totally understand needing breaks, especially to keep yourself calm enough to handle this tantrum-prone age, but enrolling her in day care is not a solution for that--it would be a very expensive way to get a break, and most day cares are going to press you to leave her there all day every day in the week; do you want that? Day care is a great resource but it won't stop her from tantruming when she's with you.

Do you and she participate in anything during the days that gives her extra stimulation and exercise, gets her and you out of the house, and distracts her? I'd be sure to do something outside the house every single day, followed by a good napping routine and very regular eating, bathing and bedtime routines, which all can help calm things down overall. Libraries and bookstores do have story times for kids this young, there are indoor play classes at local city/county recreation centers, classes such as Music Together or Kindermusik are fantastic for kids her age -- I'd take the money you'd spend on daycare and spend it instead on one of these classes, and add in other activities each day to stimulate her. If you're asking about day care because you are going to return to work or work from home and need the care, that's one thing, but if this post is connected to the desire for day care, I'd really reassess the day care issue.

There are books by Louise Bates Ames on each stage of a kid's young life and you might want to read "Your One-Year-Old" and "Your Two-Year-Old" since your child is between those two ages. These books are brief and direct volumes on what to expect from a child at these ages and they will give you a good reality check that her tantrums and lashing out are normal, and how to handle them.

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answers from Chicago on

Tantrums are usually a sign that they want something and they either can't express it or they've been turned down from having it. I suggest reading up on child development and learning about positive parenting. Check out this website:

She doesn't have the words she needs, so she uses her body. She isn't being violent, she is just using the only tools she currently has. it's your job to figure out what she wants. what her need is, and then give her the words or means to express it. 19 month olds and toddlers aren't really terrible. It's a hard period on them because they are trying to become independent but they can't do much. So your job is to empower with things they can do (carry their own plate to the table for lunch, for instance), while being there to give them a hug after they meltdown due to frustration.

It sounds like your little one is super frustrated. Daycare won't help. Reading up on strategies to help your toddler turn into a preschool will. Since language acquisition research shows that little ones acquire their best language between 1-3 by just following mom around while she does housework, I suggest you keep her home and work on helping her learn how to use words, and not her body. This means that when she hits, you gently grab her arm, say, we don't hit, and then give her the words she needs. So for instance, maybe she hit because you gave her a cookie and then took the box away. You could say." we don't hit. are you upset because you want another cookie? Then just say, 'cookie' please.'" Learning how to do this is super hard! If you can, find a parenting class to class to help. Just having the support of other struggling parents might help you too.

TO's don't work because they don't teach or guide. Check out the website above for effect strategies that do in fact teach and guide.



answers from Miami on

Well, you have a lot of questions at one fell swoop here, and they kind of paint a picture. It seems that you've gotten into a "holding pattern" and don't know how to keep up, both with your child and with your boyfriend. What happened to your relationship with him? You don't go from having sex, getting pregnant, and then 18 months of nothing without something being wrong between you two, unless one of you decides they are no longer in love.

Children's developmental phases move fast and you need to learn to keep up. Read about child development so that you know what you're dealing with and what's probably coming up.

I don't know how it is that you still have a boyfriend after 18 months of no sex. Turning your man on isn't what you need. You need to connect with him on a personal level and talk to him about it. Ask him to be honest with you, listen to him and then decide what you are going to do. It sounds like he is now a friend and the father of your child. If marriage is not on the horizon, you need to go find a job to be ready for the day that he doesn't support you.

Work with your daughter on her speech. Most of the time with this age, the tantrums are because they don't know how to express themselves any better than this. When she cries for milk or water, say to her "You want some milk? Milk! Yes, this is mmmilk! Here's some milk!" "Wah-wah - you want some wah-wah? Can you say wah-wah?" When she gets frustrated because she can't do something, teach her the words "help me" by saying 'ep me. "Honey, you can tell mommy 'ep me, 'ep me!" You have to do all this over and over.

One of my sons had a pretty severe speech deficit. Nothing he said was intelligible and he didn't try for the most part because people couldn't understand him. When he was 24 months old, I had his speech evaluated and then started speech therapy. What I have told you above is exactly what my son's speech therapist worked with him on and what I worked with him on at home. These are not "baby words" I'm explaining to you. These are ways for a toddler to be able to try to make words. Always acknowledge verbal tries with a smile. When you can't understand the words but have an idea of what she wants, like, say, if she wants to climb up on the couch, teach the 'ep me. And then help her if she tries. She needs to know that she gets somewhere with trying to talk to you, instead of just screaming.

You need a play pen, pack-n-play, or something to actually put her in when she has a tantrum. That way she won't hurt herself. Everytime she starts, try to redirect her so that maybe she'll forget. Redirection is better than "No" because she can't think through "No" right now. She's too little. But if redirection doesn't work and she has a full blown tantrum or starts hitting you, then put her in the play pen, tell her "No hitting Mommy" and walk away. Don't be in her view at all during these meltdowns. When you can tell a difference in the tone of her cry, go back in to her and pick her up and love on her. At the point that her cry is different, then she is missing you and forgot about what her tantrum was about. If she hits or kicks you again, you didn't wait long enough and you put her right back in the play pen and walk away.

Don't lecture her. Keep it short and simple. "No hitting Mommy" and that is that. You have to be 100% consistent.

Don't take her places before a nap. Don't take her out when she is hungry. Excursions out of the house should be when she is well rested and full. If she starts a tantrum in the store, leave your cart and take her straight to the car and strap her into her carseat. Stand outside of the car and pretend to read a book. Pretend that you do not care one bit that she is crying. Ignore her. After a bit, open the door and say to her "Are you done?" and watch her reaction. If she looks like she wants a hug, take her out of the carseat and hug her. If she's over the tantrum, tell her that you are going back in the store, but if she cries again, she will go back in the carseat.

You have to do all of this over and over and over. You don't tell an 18 month old, or 2 year old, or 3 year old, etc etc something once or twice and expect them to understand and "obey". It is a process of much learning, and only works if YOU as the adult are consistent.

You have said you want to get some childcare for her (I don't blame you - you need a break) but if she has these tantrums and hits other adults, they'll probably throw her out of the program. Work on YOUR END of handling things better with her before sending her somewhere where she won't be successful. You don't want to get a great center and then lose it.

Really take stock of things in your life right now and be resolved to understand what is happening and move forward instead of just letting things "happen". You need to gain some foresight on a lot different fronts right now.


answers from Springfield on

i would look into the book called "123 magic" it greatly helped me bring controll to my house. i have been using the 123 magic system for about 2 years and i like the way it works. my youngest usually corrects her behavior by the time i say "2" and thats the end of the out of controll behavior.



answers from Detroit on

Hi E.,

I echo everything the moms said below. 19 months old is NOT too young for a time out. The key here is absolute consistency in your words and your response every single time.

I'm using hitting for the example...

First give a warning. "we don't hit each other." "The next time you do it I will put you in a time out."

When she does it again, reestablish the expectation. "I told you we don't hit each other." "I'm placing you in a time out because you hit me." "I will be back to get you once you've calmed down."

Once she calms down, return to her, get down on her level and explain again. "You were in time out because you hit me." "Please say you're sorry and you can come out of time out."

Two caveats. *I know some people say the timeout should last a minute for the kid's age but at 19 month the concept of time is lost on her and the point is to give her a chance to feel her feelings in a safe environment. *I know some people disagree about the apology part at the end but, in my experience, even at 19 months, it will give her a chance, at whatever level she can, to develop some insight into how her behavior is affecting the person hitting.

Tweak this so that it works best for you, every child is different to a degree, but the most crucial piece of this is absolute consistency every time and in every environment. So, if you're at the mall this can take place in the car, for example.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone but at this age, they're kind of like Pavlov's dogs and good old fashioned classical conditioning is the best way to guide poor behavior into expected behavior.

This will get better. Also, keep loving her and taking care of her...clearly you do both or you wouldn't have posted the question. S.

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