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Discussion Starter #1
My son is 13.5 months old, and when he gets upset about things, he hits us. Sometimes, for no discernible reason (i.e. he's not angry or upset or crying) he will slap us.<br><br>
I am wondering how best to react. We don't spank or hit, but I know it is a normal human reaction - when angry/upset, lash out.<br><br>
I've tried saying, "We don't hit" and "Hitting hurts Mommy" in a stern tone of voice, but I think these concepts are above him and he just cries anyway. Someone told me to give him a little smack back in the same place he hit me, and I tried it once... but felt like an awful person for doing it, and only made him cry (no, i didn't hit him hard).<br><br>
It seems like any reaction at all just makes him cry. If I walk away (which i'm not keen on doing; i don't want him to feel abandoned) he would cry. If I tell him "No" he cries.<br><br>
So... suggestions? Please?<br><br>
- E
 

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Our son is almost 14 months too and doing exactly the same thing. Although my first reaction was, like yours I think, to worry about it, etc., I've come to think that this is just quite typical. He has no real language to express frustration, so what else is he to do?, and he explores the world with his hands, so what else is he to use?<br><br>
At this point, I just take his hand when he reacts that way and rub it gently on me or whatever the object of his frustration was and say "gentle hands, use gentle hands." Whether this will work in the long run or not, I have no clue, but I don't think any sort of "punishment" or whatever to call it would work more effectively.<br><br>
I also find that he is more likely to react this way when I myself am not fully calm, present in the moment, when hurried, etc. So I guess I think a big part of it is what mood <i>I</i> bring to the situation.<br><br>
I've heard/read that signing might help, since they may be able to better communicate a need when otherwise frustrated. We've only done a little bit of signing here and there and not quite consistently, so I plan to work harder at that.<br><br>
Our son doesn't seem to respond quite the way you mentioned though. I mean, he's had "tantrums" over other things, but I can't say that he's cried or escalated in his behavior when the hitting occurs. It's usually just a quick swipe on his part -- sometimes clearly out of frustration, other times excitement, other times just because it seems. Maybe a calm approach on our part mitigates any escalation? I'm not sure, but I guess these are the new challenges we have coming our way with little toddlers in hand, ha?
 

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My daughter hits also and she just turned 13 months yesterday. Though she does not cry when I tell her no, she thinks it is funny! I do not see her doing it out of spite, it is mostly when tired or very excited. She just does not know how to express herself more appropiately yet.<br><br>
Maybe instead of acting angry you could act hurt and cry (or pretend cry) when he hurts you. I know anytime my daughter falls down or anything I call it a 'hurt' or 'owie' so when she slaps I have made sure to use those words and a sad face when she hits me lately instead of 'no....etc' as that just makes her laugh, At least my 'crying' confuses her and makes her pause a second.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I'm going through a hitting phase with my 18 month old right now, and I went through one with my older child around the same age. With my first, I worried more about it, but with my second I've realized it is very much a phase kids go though at this age and it will pass.<br><br>
I have several different ways I deal with it. When he's hitting not out of anger but to explore and learn reactions, sometimes I can put my hand out to him and turn it into clapping my hand, which he will go for sometimes. Other times I simply say, "Mommy doesn't want to be hit," and put him down for a minute (or even less). I don't walk away, I just pick him up again after a short time.<br><br>
If he is angry and hitting (this happens more with his sister than with me), I tell him that hands are not for hitting, move him away from her, and distract him with something else. He doesn't have many ways to deal with frustration right now, so I try to focus on helping him with that and not on the hitting itself.
 

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I just wanted to say that we've had good results from teaching my daughter "gentle hands." When she hits or pulls hair, we say "gentle hands" and she starts touching us gently. I've been saying/showing it to her for months now, but she has just started responding in the past week or two. So it might take a while, but it is working really well now. She grins and seems really happy to use her hands gently. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you for all the wonderful replies! I guess the onus truly is on me to help him work through his frustrations.<br><br>
I am noticing that sometimes his hitting is more of a curious "What will happen if I do this?" exploration, and sometimes it's in direct response to being told he can't do something the way he wants to (i.e. if he pulls one of the dog's fur, i remind him he has to be "easy" and sometimes he will pet softer and sometimes he hits either me or the dog out of frustration).<br><br>
So I just have to stay calm, and keep insisting on him being kind... and not lose my mama-cool. :p Not always easy, but worth it for this little guy.<br><br>
- E
 

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I agree with odenata, sometimes toddlers have a hitting impulse they just can't control and it's helpful to give them an outlet for it by letting them give you really big high-5s. When my DD kicks me during diaper changes I do the same and tell her that once we're done she can stomp on the floor, and I stomp with her.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lyra1977</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15438594"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree with odenata, sometimes toddlers have a hitting impulse they just can't control and it's helpful to give them an outlet for it by letting them give you really big high-5s. When my DD kicks me during diaper changes I do the same and tell her that once we're done she can stomp on the floor, and I stomp with her.</div>
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I found this with my second and third little-ones (at about that age too) I saw it as a physical need for big, concrete movements and expression. We did high 5s, stomping, really big really exaggerated hugs and kisses, dancing together to fast music, etc. At that age they have no big ways to show how they feel, and that energy and drive have to be expressed somewhere. When they would hit, or bite, or kick, I would in my <span style="text-decoration:underline;">normal tone</span> say, "Oh, mouths aren't for biting people, hands are not for hitting,...Let's try something better!"
 
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