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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My very sweet and spirited baby has grown into a relatively mellow toddler except for one thing - he's hitting and to a lesser extent throwing things a lot. I'm not sure what to do about it. He's had a long history of flailing his arms when he's excited (even as a little infant), so the hitting seems to come natural to him. He would hit my chest while nursing because he had so much energy it was hard for him to hold still and nurse. I've worked with him a lot to show him gentle touch and he does understand the difference. He is 25 months old now and when he is upset, he will hit me, my husband, objects, himself, etc.<br><br>
I'm not sure what to do about it. We've never hit him or shown him television. We have never isolated him away from us in any way (such as CIO or time out). When he throws things, he can break things and make a big mess. This morning, he was sweating profusely and so I took off his long sleeve shirt (still on from the cool morning) and he got upset about it. He went on a hitting spree and threw a bag of dried beans (we were reorganizing some in the kitchen so they were accessible to him) and the bag broke open and spilled everywhere. We got out the dirt devil to clean it up (which he LOVES using) and he did seem happier for a bit but then he threw it down a few times as well. He throws his tows too, and some have broken. What strategies would you all suggest for toddlers hitting and throwing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
When he hits, it is not extremely hard, but he will go out of his way to do it, and then looks at you like, "what are you going to do about that, huh?" almost like he is daring us to do something, or watching for our reaction. My husband and I are not sure how to react, or if the way we react is encouraging it somehow. We don't have a clear and consistent plan for how to react - usually we calmly tell him not to hit, but then we might try any number of other things such as distracting him onto something else positive, holding his hand, showing him gentle touch, etc. depending on the situation.
 

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I wish I could help you. I am struggling with much the same thing. I keep hoping that as he gets more verbal it'll improve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's nice at least to know someone else is struggling with this. It seems like I should have the solution for this, but sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees when it's my own son. I feel like my husband and I should have some kind of consistent response that we always use, but I don't know what to go with. My little guy has become MUCH more verbal over the last 6 months and often talks up a storm, but when he is upset he seems to revert to grunting, crying, pointing, whining, flailing, and hitting/throwing etc. I believe that is common - that they can't think as straight when upset. I've been hoping it would improve, but I think it has actually gotten worse lately. That's why I'm concerned that maybe we are encouraging it somehow.
 

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We have this problem too. DS will often hit when he is overexcited. Sometimes it's just pats, other times it really hurts. Once he even slapped my face.
 

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My 2 year old DS is entering a purposeful hitting stage with us, when mad/frustrated/needing attention. He is very verbal, and all that means is that he will announce "I hit mommy" when he's coming to hit me.<br>
I noticed an increase in wanting to hit after a playdate where he witnessed some 3 year olds hitting ( he talks about what he saw, and I remind him of the redirection & need for gentle hands when he brings it up) He is not "aggressive" typically, nor does he watch violence on t.v.<br><br>
Some things I do/say:<br><br>
"I see you're mad/frustrated etc. about ______"<br>
"You may not hit mama, gentle hands only please" and step away so he can't hit.<br>
"Use your words" when he's just grunting and trying to hit.<br>
"Take some time to cool off (or) find some happy" For whatever reason he will walk away, turn around & come back with a smile sometimes.<br><br>
"hitting gives boo boos, it is not nice" "high fives instead please"<br>
"if you need mama's attention try using your words" to which he will reply "tention pleeeaase" with a smile<br><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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We're going through this too along with head banging. UGH. I just read an article that said at this point because they are not verbal enough to communicate their feelings - they hit, they head bang. It was recommended to not make a big deal of it, but rather get down to their level and try to hug or just be near them. Calmly tell them not to hit and you understand they are mad. Stay close by until it is over.<br><br>
I've been really working at this and I think it is helping. It will take lots of repition, but hopefully when he is more verbal he will be able to express his feelings with out throwing and especially the head banging.
 

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If she hits me I will take her by the arm and sit her down on her bottom and say firmly OUCH...That hurt me...Then I will walk away..This really hurt her feelings..And made her mad at first..But I was consistant..No matter where we were or if I was holding her..I put her down immedietly,told her it hurt and walked away from her.Now I have never had it happen in a very public place like the mall or anything so of course I wouldn't walk away from her in those situations but I would put her in the stroller,strap her in and say OUCH,that hurt.. again and then continue walking.<br><br>
Even at two though I don't argue with her,try to reason with her(who can really reason with an angry tantruming 2 year old anyways?? LOL)<br><br>
Took a bit for her to get it under control and she still will tantrum of course..she is two afterall and her favorite word besides singing Happy Birthday to everyone is No..I don't care what you say,ask her it is always no..Guess it feels powerful right now..I just calmly say yes ma'm and take her to do what I asked..<br><br>
I know alot of people think swatting them back when they swat you is the answer but I always had the thought how can I teach her not to hit if I hit her for hitting...That was a head scratcher there for me<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> I have had that logical converstion with my mother a couple of times...<br><br>
As for throwing I would probably do the same...Take the object and set her down and say calmly but firmly No throwing..You could hurt someone..And then walk away..But I can't vouch that it would work like it does for the hitting cause L never got into the throwing of objects/toys..Just food. LOL<br><br>
Whatever you decide to do I recommend staying calm,firm and in control..Kids seem to react more if they get a reaction,a rise out of you..Even at two<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
Don't worry...It will pass eventually...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the great suggestions. I'm going to share these ideas with my husband and come up with our game plan, so we can be consistent.<br><br>
Treegardener - My husband has also received a slap in the face - not hard, but definitely insulting. He had a hard time keeping his cool about it. What did you do in that situation?<br><br>
The mention of getting more verbal actually gave me an idea too. While my son is very verbal, I don't know if we have given him a lot of words to use to express his feelings when he is upset. I do think the hitting is his way of saying, "I don't like that." or "I'm upset." We haven't talked a lot with him about being upset or angry or frustrated, so maybe I should try having more conversation with him about those feelings. We do usually tell him to use his words, or try to give him words in the moment when he is upset, but I'm thinking it might help to talk with him about those words/feelings at other times as well.
 
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