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20 month old hitting

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

My 20 month old has started hitting and laughing about.  Usually she hits me but sometimes others.  Yesterday night she just kept doing it and laughing.  So far I have been telling "no hitting is not nice" "You need to be gentle with mommy"  I have tried giving us physical space because she is usually in my face when it happens.  I try distracting. Last night she would not stop and I was starting to feel like I was getting frustrated and would do something not nice.  I took her downstairs to where he father was to get some backup.  My husband thinks it is ok to swat her on her hand and tell her no.  I think that swatting teaches swatting.  I know this is something that kids this age go through but what are some other ways people handle it.

post #2 of 7
My 28 month old can be quite physical, too. I notice it mostly when he's very excited/ over-stimulated. He'll bite or scratch his baby brother and cousin, and he's scratched kids at a playgroup we sometimes attend. I do like you, and tell him firmly that it hurts when he hits/bites. But my number one strategy is to recognize the signs that he's soon going to get aggressive, and then I remove him from the situation (like leaving the playgroup) or I get the babies out of his reach. Taking him outside really helps, and I can sometimes change his track with water play.

Do you notice anything else happening when your daughter starts hitting? Could she be bored? Hungry? Just want attention? I agree with you that hitting a child to teach them not to hit doesn't make much sense. This is a challenging age to parent. So trying!

Hope this helps. smile.gif
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
You are right. I need to pay more attention to when it happens. I think 90% of the time it is night time before bed but I'm going to monitor when it is happening. Thanks!
post #4 of 7



I'm going through the same thing with my 20 month old.  It is quite frustrating!  He throws things or hits me when I redirect him for anything, or sometimes even for just asking "Are you ready to get your bath?" WHAM. Look out.  


I have taken his hands and held them down while saying "It's not nice to hit," but that hasn't done much. He'll sometimes make himself  limp and try to wriggle away, and then just throw the closest toy, book, whatever, once he's loose.


It makes sense that to teach "no hitting" means "no hitting" or swatting from me, either.  Very hard to practice when you've been batted in the face 20 times that day and  you're exhausted.  


I've tried just walking away, but I think this is called "love withdrawal" in the unconditional parenting method, so now I have that in my mind.  (If I walk away I'm teaching my son that I only care about him when he's behaving appropriately).  


I have really been struggling with this, so if you make any great progress, please share :) 

post #5 of 7
Originally Posted by Binduspire View Post

I've tried just walking away, but I think this is called "love withdrawal" in the unconditional parenting method, so now I have that in my mind.  (If I walk away I'm teaching my son that I only care about him when he's behaving appropriately).


Personally I didn't care much for Alfie Kohn's unconditional parenting book, though I LOVE Peaceful Parent Happy Kids which essentially advocates the same philosophy in a much less condescending way.


However, when I had my first son, I'd never heard of either book, and my parenting bible was The New First Three Years of Life by Burton White. My son very briefly went through a biting stage around 18 months and we dealt with it using the method suggested in this book. The basic idea is that the place the toddler wants to be more than any place in the world is next to you. The worst thing you can do from the babies point of view (worse than spanking) is to block his access to you. The author suggests having a baby gate and putting it up whenever your baby does something that is dangerous to himself or others. However, the key is that unlike other methods of punishment, where the baby is the one that's trapped away from you, really the baby should have free access to the entire house and should be able to see you, just not get to you. When the baby starts to cry, you count to 15, then take down the gate, explain very succinctly, "we don't hit/bite/whatever. if you do it again, i'm putting the gate back up." This method was extremely effective with my son. I know that certain parenting circles would call this "love withdrawal", but I think the great thing about this method is that, as a parent, you don't get angry or frustrated, since you have a tool. Therefore, to me, it's more like a physical withdrawal (for 15 seconds), where the message is "I love you no matter what, but you CANNOT do that." Really, we only had to use the gate with our son about 5 times before he completely stopped biting. 1 minute and 15 seconds of withdrawal is totally worth it in my opinion.

post #6 of 7
My 15 month does it now and laughs and also laughs when I tell him no! I just say "no don't hit!" And then tell him to hug the person and after he hugs the person he usually stops! I think they do it for attention.
post #7 of 7

researchparent- thanks for the feedback on Kohn's book.  I found myself wondering how practical his suggestions were. Once I read through the majority of the book which focuses on what not to do, I was left feeling a bit flustered as to what parents could do.  I liked reading about the history behind some of the parenting techniques, such as time-out, but otherwise I found some of his advice a little too broad-brushed and unrealistic for me.

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