My Sons Hitting Is Out of Control....

Updated on June 28, 2012
D.B. asks from Islip, NY
8 answers

My son is 2 1/2 and his hitting is just getting worse and worse. He knows it's bad to hit. I give him time out for it but he still does it. He hits at all different times too, sometimes when he's tired, sometimes when he's excited and sometimes I feel just out of boredom for attention. Nothing seems to be working for me to get him to stop. Plllleeeeaaasseeee tell me if anyone has any sort of help with this issue as it is desperately needed. I must have gotten hit 20 times today and yes sometimes he does hit other kids too and yes he does get in trouble and cry for it but still does it??? Also, Please understand sometimes he can be the sweetest toddler ever but I would say on a daily basis their are these outbursts.


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So What Happened?

thank you tori h.! yes, he does the same thing, i know when it's coming he bites his bottom lip and i follow him allover over too when he's around other kids so i can tell when it's coming. i was at the end of my string tonight and instead of time out made a game of it (mistake) and he got me so hard in the face that i'm sitting in the kitchen (recouping) now while my husband watches him having a glass of wine!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

He hits because he doesn't have better tools to accomplish his goals. You need to help him with his words - when he is going to hit you need to help him label his feelings - 'I see you are mad/sad/scared/frustrated'. And you need to help him develop other tools to get what he wants - 'mommy, can I please (whatever)?' works better than hitting. Show him what he can do instead of hitting when he is excited - can he jump up and down, clap his hands, say how excited he is? When he has better tools he will stop hitting.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Columbia on

I'm in agreement with Tori. Stay consistent. Don't give up.

Here's what I did:

1. When you see the "tell," grab his hands and get down at his level.
2. Use his words FOR him. Say what he would say if he could. "LOOK! The pizza is here!" or "Oh! It makes me mad when those kids don't share their truck!" Look right into his eyes when you do this. Use words, not gestures.
3. Once you sense that he is focused on your words and face, let go of his hands. Grab them again when you see he's going to hit and start over at step 1.

Good luck!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

He's anxious and probably doesnt have the verbal skills yet to let out his feelings.. so boxing it is.
Talk to him a lot, diffuse the hitting by grabbing his hands, stopping him in his tracks, and asking him what he's so excited about... and then help him formulate his thoughts. "are you happy because the pizza man is on the way?" "are you mad because Mom told you that you can do that?" "are you excited because Aunt jen is coming over?"...
Help him learn to SAY what he's excited about, the physical outbursts will decline.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Okay, take a deep breath. My son was totally like this and I was just as distraught as you. It sounds like it's "normal" hitting. My son did it the same way...sometimes he was mad, sometimes frustrated and sometimes he was so plumb excited he just hit people! It drove me crazy and yes, I was totally "that mom" at the playground who had the kid that hit other kids. Ugh.

I think that honestly, you just have to keep up with the time outs. I know it feels like it isn't working, but you can't just ignore it. At this age, hitting and time out really is just a game for them and it frustrates the heck out of the adults who take it so seriously, but remember that it's normal for a 2 year old to react like that.

Secondly, look for his "tells". Just by watching my son I could totally tell when he was about to hit someone and I would jump in and stop it by either moving him, putting him in time out, something. I was bit of a hoverer for many months, but whatever, it was better to be that than the mom with the out of control kid! ;) And, he's not out of control, he's being a 2 year old boy and you are trying...just keep trying.

I honestly don't know what flipped the switch in my son, I do think it had a lot to do with him being able to speak a lot better, but he will be 3 in September and I haven't had issues with him and hitting for many months now. (Knock on wood!!!!) Take it one day at a time and just stay consistent. He needs to see the consistency from you. Hang in there, though, it will come to an end eventually!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Does he talk? What words does he have to describe his feelings?

Really work on the talking. Tell him how he is feeling so that he has words to associate it with. Grab those hands when he hits and hold on to them rather tightly. Tell him "Do not hit" and put him in a pack 'n play so that he has nothing to do. (No toys in there - make it time out instead.)

I just wrote this kind of advice on another thread, but that mom's problem wasn't nearly as bad as yours. If you're getting hit 20 times a day and you even see it coming with the lip thing, I actually think that maybe Jaimee is right about swats on the bottom; I will bet you've done the other stuff already and haven't gotten anywhere with it.

I'm not sure what you mean about the game part, but I'm sure you won't do that anymore. I'd treat this very seriously and work hard to cover all your bases - communication-wise and grabbing those hands too.

Good luck, and I hope you don't get hit in the face again!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Do you discipline with spanking or give swats on the hand or rear? If so, definitely stop doing it. It's teaching him that hitting is alright when one is displeased with another.

Since you can tell when he's going to hit, try distracting him or move him from that place. If he hits when he's tired and/or hungry be sure that he gets enough rest/food. When he's tired eliminate all stimulii and put him in his room with soft music, a book, a couple of toys so that he can rest. When he's hungry give him a snack. Notice when he's bored and give him a toy or get him started on an activity. Be proactive in preventing his need to hit.

When he does hit, grab his hand and hold it while you tell him not to hit. Teach him what he can do to express his feelings, get your attention, etc. Does he have words he can use? Model using those words, even if he doesn't talk yet. He'll learn what they mean.

Time outs never worked with my daughter or grandchildren. They only made them more angry and thus they lost the lesson.

Try to make the consequence related to the hitting. If he hits a child he is not allowed to play with that child. If he's in a bad mood and hitting others, he needs to be removed from the activity and given a chance to rest and regain his composure. Instead of a time out per se, put him in a separate room with some toys so that he can play by himself. If he hits you, separate him from you after you tell him not to hit. Tell him, it's no fun to be around someone who hits. If he hits when another child wants his toy, put the toy up.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Provo on

Dana K's answer is my favorite.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on


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