Sadly, this past month DS has started doing just that. He's obviously testing his boundaries and generally being a cheeky monkey because he laughs after slapping someone. I'd really like to nip this behaviour in the bud before he becomes old enough to learn that this is 'bad' and a good way to get a reaction from someone. He is only 13 months old though so I'm not sure how much he understands what he's doing, or even where he's learnt this from (DH and I have NEVER raised a hand to each other and when I'm in work, DS is cared for by my parents who also don't hit). He is very bright though and I reckon he knows slapping is getting a rise out of someone.
So far when he slaps, we remove his hand and say 'No, we don't slap/hit people. It hurts.' I'm not a fan of time outs/punishment/reward systems at all. Does anyone have any other ways to tackle this?
I think what you are doing sounds fine for now, maybe followed by a redirect to a more desirable activity. Some kids really like the Elizabeth Crary books because they are so rhythmic Hands are Not for Hitting, Teeth are Not for Biting. You are right that he is just testing and trying different things and seeing how the adults react.So you don't want to make your reaction too spicy or he will be drawn to see a repeat of the smoke coming out of your ears when you get mad. Most little ones go through a stage like this and with gentle but firm correction (time out not necessary), they move on.
Thanks lauren, those books sound really good - he loves being read to. I'll definitely check them out. We're really trying not to react and to teach him 'gentle touch' but he's just so boisterous! He's a proper hulking big boy and honestly he doesn't know his own strength. When do they usually grow out of hitting/biting?
Most kids experiment with this between 18 months and 3, and then their ability to self regulate gets stronger. You might just have a little precocious one there and/or a spirited child! Temperament can make a big difference too. Some children are more intense and challenging to adults than others!
Well, I've just ordered 'hands are not for hitting'. It should arrive on Monday so we'll start reading that together, even though he can't read the words, I've flicked through the book and his understands a lot of the words used when spoken so I'm hopeful we'll get the message across. I think 'teeth are not for biting' might be next on the list! He's currently cutting some molars and chomping down on everything in sight.
As ppl said totally a normal phase for kiddos to pass through. I have three little boys and they get excited and want to see what happens.
*No reaction is great! I would try less words though......like "how sad" or "owe" or "what a bummer" and leave it at that. You could also try "gentle please" and then help him gently touch your face. Little ones at that age cannot process a full on sentences much less several of them. The fewer the words you use the clearer things will be as long as they are backed with your actions. After trying the gentle please if your request is met with another slap then I'd put your child down/back in the stroller/back in the high chair. You can't control if he choses to test the boundary but you can control where he attempts this. Make it clear with your actions (so much more powerful than words) that when he choses to slap, he's choosing to not be up in mommy's arms.
GL!! If you're ever looking for a commonsense, calm, respectful parenting approach to try Parenting with Love and Logic is amazing. I've seen it do great things in my home, with other's kids, and in classrooms!
Jesus lover, World's luckiest wife for the last 6 years, and Blessed beyond measure to be mom to three energetic little guys 5, 3.5, & 2 + our new little princess!
Thank you berrypavlova - I'll look that book up now and report back!