Been on the recieving end here and with friend's kids. It helps all when the hitter's parents remove him swiftly from the situation, talk to him, and prevent it from happening. Tell the child "I will not let anyone hurt you and I will not let you hurt anyone else." This shows empathy for all. Talk to your child about why he is hitting. It may be hard for him to express himself clearly but I bet you will eventually find out that he is scared or frustrated or angy for some reason and the hitting is just his emotional and immediate reaction. It is perfectly normal at this age. 2 year olds feel small and helpless and don't know how to talk about and deal with their feelings. Talk your son about it and also tell him when he hits or is about to hit to talk about what is wrong For example, my child has been hit when she was just wanting to play with another's toy. That mom worked through it with her child by just talking to him and teaching him how to say "I don't want you to play with my toy." 2 year olds just need help with their feelings. You may also keep him away from play situations with other kids for a while after it happens and tell him why. He will eventually learn to talk instead of hit.<br><br>
There is a good book that has nice information on this: Becoming the parent you want to be by Janis Keyser and Laura Davis. Chapter 23 is Children's Friendships: Cooperation and Conflict. It has great positive information about how to handle this situation.<br><br>
Its mostly me that my almost 18 month old hits, but he also hits his granny, our dogs, the cat, his dad... so far he is too shy around others to interact much with them, but I would like to nip this thing in the bud. I try to do the "high five" thing and explain to him that we don't hit people or dogs, etc. He also throws books and wooden blocks at us, which can do a fair amount of damage and cause reactions that might not occur if one had time to think! I don't want to be a yelling parent! This has been going on for several months.<br><br>
Anyway, I don't have much knowledge about how to correct this behavior, or steer this behavior in other directions... I'm on the site to find answers, too!