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Originally Posted by annT View Post
The way I've been dealing with it is pretty much Bailey's approach in her "Easy To Love" book - first, I attribute positive (or at least neutral) intent, then I state a limit, then I give an alternative. So, for example: "Did you hit Max because you want to play alone? I see. No hitting. Hitting hurts. If you want to play alone, you can hold out your arm like this. You can also say, 'No!'" etc. etc.
I say something similar, but I don't say "no hitting. hitting hurts." I'd probably substitute "Max doesn't like to be hit." or something like that.
I'm obsessively honest, so I can't really say "hitting hurts" because honestly sometimes it doesn't. And, besides, it's not the ONLY reason I don't like to be hit. I dislike it whether it hurts or not. It has more to do with the act of hitting, more so than how it feels physically. kwim?

I do say "Don't hit!" though. Mostly because it's just the first thing that comes out of my mouth. It's usually at the very beginning of the sentence, and all the empathizing and giving acceptable alternatives would come after.
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I think Becky Bailey is pretty clear that "no hitting" will leave a child with the word "hitting" in the air and they will be more likely to do it. At least I think I'm thinking of her - she was the one who taught me stop saying "no whining" and instead say "can you say that in a different way to me so I can hear you better?". She was big into "you get what you ask for" and if you leave "hitting" as the last word than that is the result you will get.

Anyway, my thing was to say "in our family we don't hit people when we want to tell them something" and I would have DD practice what she wanted to say, "can I have my toy back?" or whatever it was.

I'm not a fan of "people are not for hitting" because I don't think it makes a lot of sense from a child's perspective.

But honestly I think 18 months is way too young to really "teach" kids how to negotiate these things so I would keep it short and sweet and not go into a long dialogue about alternatives. I would wait until she's older.

Thank you for posting about hitting! My 17.5 month old recently started hitting other children as well- when they come near him and he is engaged in play. I was horrifed because he has previously been a sweet, shy little boy. I have not even fully investigated discipline philosophies and so I am completely at a lose for how to deal with it.

Thanks to everyone for your advice.
For us, we don't even use the word "hit" or "hitting." When Henry gets frustrated or upset and starts to whack the things around him (me, DH, furniture) I say, "Oh, be SOFT!" And then he pets it like a cat. It has worked WONDERS because he doesn't know that what he is doing is "hitting." I just offer an alternative. I don't know if that would work, but it has worked with us. Oh, and Henry is 16 months.
This is definitely a phase a lot of kids go through at this age. In our house, with twins, they had each other to hit and bite, which was pretty dreadful! I can't remember exactly how old they were when we dared leave them alone in a room (for 30 seconds). Usually I brought one into the bathroom with me! But for a long time, the best way to forestall terratorial disputes was to be close at hand AT ALL TIMES.

Be sure your expectations are realistic for his age. At 18 months, he just plain doesn't really get empathy, cooperation, or sharing. The best we can do it consistently reinforce appropriate behavior and discourage inappropriate. I think one of the best techniques at this age is to "catch them being good". If someone approaches him on the playground, say something like "I like the way you are playying next to Susie". At home, practice taking turns and trading toys with you - and once in a while, don't give a toy back if he wonts it, so you can help him learn how to deal with that situation (without putting another child at risk!).
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