18mo hitting as a response to "that hurts!" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 04-30-2013, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I've noticed a pattern of my 18mo hitting us repeatedly (as a game?) even after we tell her it hurts/ we don't like it, and it's been getting more frequent especially whenever someone gets hurt and we tell her "that hurts" - that is, she now comes over and hits me in the face when I tell her "that hurts" about something else that just happened. She does it whether the initial hurt is an accident or something she does to us (stepping on my foot, jumping on papa's belly, poking someone's eye, etc), but it looks like a new habit and I would like to discourage it! Has anyone else seen a toddler do this, or have any ideas for how to handle it?


She knows that hitting hurts, and I wonder if she's doing this as a game or to show us she understand what hurting means with "oh, and here's something else that hurts!". She is often smiling when she does it, and seems really unhappy when we insist that we don't like it. So far I've been acting a little shocked and offended (because I sort of have been!) and saying "no! hitting hurts" or "I don't like to be hit" and walking away if she tries to do it again. I have a feeling I could be handling it better now that I recognize the pattern...  like maybe something more calm and less reactive. Any suggestions?

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#2 of 2 Old 05-01-2013, 03:50 PM
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My suggestion is to rephrase in a positive way and demonstrate. For instance we say "no thank you, gentle touch only" and gently stroke DD's hand with an index finger. She may be enjoying the reaction she gets and thinking of this as a game. I would stop saying it hurts since it seems to egg her on. Try hard to remain calm, don't react, just gently take her hand and tell her what to do: "gentle touch only please". My DD is 2 now and she definitely experimented with hitting to get a reaction. Telling and showing her how to touch instead of reacting to the pain helped a lot and also curbed her biting habit (we said "gentle kisses only" for that.) I hope this helps, good luck!
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