How to stop hitting? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 03-08-2010, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 20 month old hits. all. the. time.
He doesn't seem to be upset or angry, but just walks up and hits. Usually with a toy or object, and my 3 yo daughter is usually the victim.
lately it's getting worse. He grabs a toy or a bowl, or whatever, and walks up and just whacks her. he left her with a bleeding bump on her head last night when he hit her with a heavy toy.

I have explained to him that it hurts, and that he needs to use "nice touches" "gentle touches" "soft touches". I take away the toy or object that he used, but he just goes and finds something else.
I don't like time-outs, but I have tried those, I have tried to give him tons more attention. I have tried to intervene before he hits her, but honestly, I can't spend all 24 hours of the day staring straight at him.
When I tell him it was not nice to hit, he says "sorry" hugs her and gives her kisses, but he'll do it again 2 minutes later.

I have wondered if he wants attention from his sister, (he seemed to hit me less when I gave him more attention) but honestly, she doesn't want to let him play with her all the time, every time, and I won't force her to. I know he loves her, and since he was a baby he has wanted to do whatever she is doing. My MIL calls him the "me too kid" and it is a fitting name.
I really don't know if that is the problem though, but it might be.

Suggestions? help? anyone BTDT?
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#2 of 8 Old 03-08-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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What worked for us is redirecting the hitting. Instead of "don't hit!" we say "we don't hit people, but you can hit the couch/the floor/a pillow!" and demonstrate. Doing this every single time he hit really worked for us.

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#3 of 8 Old 03-08-2010, 06:31 PM
 
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What worked for us is redirecting the hitting. Instead of "don't hit!" we say "we don't hit people, but you can hit the couch/the floor/a pillow!" and demonstrate. Doing this every single time he hit really worked for us.
I like this idea. We've been struggling with hitting to (same age child) and although I tell her that she can say "i'm mad" or that if she wants x, she should say "x" instead of hitting, but it doesn't seem to be quite as fun as smacking me.

I'll have to give this one a try.

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#4 of 8 Old 03-08-2010, 09:02 PM
 
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What worked for us is redirecting the hitting. Instead of "don't hit!" we say "we don't hit people, but you can hit the couch/the floor/a pillow!" and demonstrate. Doing this every single time he hit really worked for us.


We used a drum when DS was mad and wanted to hit. "It's okay to hit the drum when you are mad but it is not okay to hit people."

I demonstrated for him by pretending to be mad and then hitting the drum while (not-quite) screaming in a loud voice, "I'm MAD!!!" We ended up giggling ourselves silly and he hasn't hit anyone since.
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#5 of 8 Old 03-09-2010, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I LOVE the redirecting Idea.
I'm going to have to try that.
I should have come and asked this sooner!!
Thanks for the suggestion!!
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#6 of 8 Old 03-09-2010, 07:25 PM
 
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My DD isn't falling for this. I really hope it would work.
Maybe I need to be a bit more persistence and more dramatic demonstrating like Minxie did.

Also, what if the kid isn't mad? What if they just want attention (or like today when she wasn't mad and had my attention, but still smacked me--i have no clue where it came from)? I feel like the "if you're mad you can...." line doesn't really apply then.

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#7 of 8 Old 03-09-2010, 09:11 PM
 
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My son started hitting "just to see" around that age, too. He doesn't hit in anger. Sometimes it's frustration when I tell him he can't have/do something else, but in general it's out of the blue when he's happy, often even when we're playing.

Six months later, I've given up on the pillow. It worked a little bit, but really it seems to be just an impulse control issue. We had him hit a pillow; he'd do it after hitting one of us and being asked to hit the pillow instead. We tell him "gentle" and "be nice" instead of "don't hit"; he now (like in that past couple of weeks) reaches out to hit and pets gently instead. Sometimes he says "no hit" or "gentle." It's a small miracle.

He just didn't seem to be getting it! Timeouts didn't seem to work, but I did them anyway, just to remove him from the situation so he couldn't just sit with me and continue to hit. Maybe they did work, maybe it's just something he's finally learning/outgrowing.

I guess this is one of those things that, too, shall pass...
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#8 of 8 Old 03-09-2010, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrsfrenchy View Post
My DD isn't falling for this. I really hope it would work.
Maybe I need to be a bit more persistence and more dramatic demonstrating like Minxie did.

Also, what if the kid isn't mad? What if they just want attention (or like today when she wasn't mad and had my attention, but still smacked me--i have no clue where it came from)? I feel like the "if you're mad you can...." line doesn't really apply then.
"Hitting is NOT appropriate; we hit drums, NOT people."

Something else to consider is that s/he may not have the words to express what they wish to say so a popular question in our house was:

"Do you need some more words?" or "I don't understand; can you use some more words?"

Even now, I ask DS for more words if I don't get the gist of what he is saying right away.

Lastly, a HUGE help was using the baby sign language; that REALLY cuts down on the frustration factor as they have another way to communicate with you. It took my son about 4-6 months of me continually using the signs (WOHM) before he would use them on his own but it helped out quite a bit.

I think a large portion of hitting can be misunderstood as being mad when they are just frustrated at trying to communicate in a foreign language. What kept me sane and patient was imagining myself being dropped off on another world whose language, customs and culture were completely foreign to me. Children have all of those issues AND they're still learning how to control their bodies on top of it; can you imagine how frustrating that must be?
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