Stop Hitting, Don't Hit, It Hurts When You Hit

Updated on August 29, 2007
T.B. asks from Kokomo, IN
8 answers

Wow, I say that all day, everyday. What do I do? My son is 17 months, he hits all the time. We've done time out. We still do time out. He gets down from time out and hits me or the dog again. (only on occasions will he hit his daddy) I've tried slapping his hand back, really bad idea, he'll hit me back quicker when I do that. I've tried slapping his hand and then instantly sitting him down for time out. A little luck came out of that one, but it could have been the situation also, more people were around, then we were outside, then at the doctors office. I just don't know what to do. This has been going on for 4 months. Funny story to add to this, I got a call from daycare today. Brody was in a "fight". Him and another boy were playing with a toy, Brody decided he didn't want to share anymore and hit the other boy, the other boy picked up the toy and hit Brody in the head with the toy. Brody is fine, but stunned, from what I understand. With any luck that may have helped, but if it didn't, what do I do?

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answers from Louisville on

Usually kids hit because they have limited vocabulary and/or speech problems. Is he able to talk well enough to get his point across? We experienced the same situation with our daughter who had a speech delay because of chronic ear infections and strep. Once she had her adenoids and tonsils taken out her speech improved dramatically and the hitting stopped.
I would suggest to be consistent but calm and repeatedly put him in time out. If he gets up, put him back. You may do this for an hour but keep doing it until he gets the point. And do it everytime. Great advice from the Supernanny! :o)



answers from Louisville on

My daughter had kind of the same problem except she would throw things all the time. I turned into a ninja with cat-like reflexes especially at restaurants or the grocery store so I could catch things before she hit a stranger!! But she would always do it when she was mad, so I started showing her other ways to calm down, like taking a deep breath or thinking of something happy, like cupcakes. She's a little older than your son, so I don't know if that would work for you though. It sounds like he is getting frustrateed too..does he communicate pretty good?? He might be getting mad that someone isn't understanding him. I know sometimes boys talk later than girls, maybe you could try a little sign language. Also, he might be realizing that he CAN get mad now and maybe he wants you to see that too. When you see him getting mad you could say something like "are you mad?? Mommy gets mad too and I usually like to do something else" (take him to another activity) You could give him a special "mad pillow" that he is allowed to hit...And let him see you get mad and let it out in a healthy way.... Hope this helps and good luck!!



answers from South Bend on

Hi T.,
I can understand what you are going through, our son went through the same thing (and fortunately it is a phase), I tried to follow Dr.s Sears advice on "BITING AND HITTING: 16 WAYS TO STOP IT"

They basically say at this age children don't have the verbal language to communicate their needs.

Try to figure out what triggers the hitting, (tried, hungry, feel out of control).

Teach them to "hi-five" instead and firmly, but calmly say, "no hit!".

If you took something away, you can verbalize the child's feelings (I understand you wanted X and now you are angry).

If the child hit you that day, mention it to Daddy (in front of the child) and then let Daddy sit the child down too and say that it will not be tolerated: "I will not allow you to hit the woman I love".

If you are with other children in a play group, keep a close eye on him and don't hesitate to tell the other moms (they have been in the same or similar situation and they can understand what you are going through). But if you don't mention it to the parents then when your child hit's their child they are angry that their child has been hurt. Then you could get blamed for the child's misbehavior ("bad parents of a bad kid"), and the adult friendship cools. I've learned that through all of the stages our children go through we really need good friends to bounce things and ideas off of and we need their support to stay sane. haha
Good Luck!



answers from Fort Wayne on

It sounds like inconsistency may be keeping you from teaching him the lesson of "hitting = a particular punishment". I'm not saying that you're not disciplining him, but trying different forms of discipline continuously because it doesn't seem to be working will not teach him a consequence to hitting. Pick one punishment that you give him every single time he hits. Even if it doesn't seem to be working at first, just stick with it. He will begin to be able to predict what will happen when he hits, and will learn that hitting = (the punishment) and will stop. I think that every kid hits at some point, but it doesn't mean that it has to be a phase. It can be stopped almost immediately with consistency of the parent. When my kids first hit, they had to stand in the corner. They had to stand there with their nose in the corner and after they were told they could come out of it, they had to apologize to the person they hit. After a few times of being put in the corner, the hitting incidents were fewer and farther between. I honestly think that it's a good idea when you're teaching proper behavior to little ones, to have a discipline chart of about 2 or 3 different consequences that are assigned individually to the actions that you're currently having to discipline over the most. I did this with my two kids when they were about 2 or so and it really helped. It not only helped them to learn to predict consequences, but it also relieved a lot of stress from my day. I felt like I was always trying to come up with punishments, but once it was written out, I only had to read what their punishment was. It worked out great because it made me a consistent parent.



answers from Louisville on

Have you tried focusing on the good things your son is doing? maybe you could try praising him every time you catch him doing something good, and in response hopefully be good to get the praise and attention. Also, I would try to check the victim first. Whether its the dog or another child me sure to check on them first before giving your son the focus of attention. Hope this helps! Just hang in there!



answers from Elkhart on

What I used to do is hold on to the hand that he hit with. I wouldn't let go even though they would get mad. I told my kids that they lose the use of their hand if they hit with their hands. My children never hit very much because they hated having me hold their hand and not let go. If they can't use their hand they can't hit you with it, worked for me. I held it until they told me "no hit" or something like that. Good Luck.



answers from Lexington on

Not sure how to help here. I am an avid believer of the old days where a good old fashioned butt whoopin takes care of whatever problems you I think that's the problem with the spoiled rotten snotty kids these days...not referring to yours. They all know that no one can touch them so they do what they want when they want. Regardless of anyones opinion...I would suggest you talk to the school counselor. What you want to prevent along with him not hitting you, is him becoming a bully. They can make some good suggestions for you to try. Also, I would suggest getting your husband involved. Sons tend to follow their lead...treating people as the dad does. And I hate to say it but hopefully he will learn from the attack he recieved from the classmate. Sometimes they just don't realize how it does hurt until it happens to them. Needless to say, no one should condone is actions whether by encouragement or by laughter..etc. I hope you success. Good luck!



answers from Lexington on

It sounds like something he learned at daycare. And most likely just a phase. By all means discipline him (& don't accept being hit back by any means!), but it will probably pass in 6 months or so. My son picked up biting - he wasn't a biter but had to become one after another kid bit off part of his ear and left deep teeth marks around his eye...we thought he was going to lose it. So yeah, it was definitely a phase and a learned defense mechanism. Your son's probably going through the same thing....

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