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Toddler Hitting

  1. #1
    Swoon's Avatar
    Swoon is offline Banned
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    Nov 2002
    Hong Kong

    Toddler Hitting

    Our 20 month old son has recently started smacking other children. We have no idea why because his parents are definitely non-agressive and his helper is really gentle and soft-spoken.

    Our problem is that we are not sure how to handle the situation and how to discipline him so that he stops this behaviour. I've heard other parents say that it's just a phase but I still need to know what to do in the meantime.

    He has hit that stage where he thinks no other child should touch the toy that he likes or is playing with--aka possessiveness. Right now, we basically run over to him, whether at the playground or at a playgroup and grab his hands and bear hug him so he can't move while we firmly tell him "NO hitting, it's not good. Be nice and touch gently." But he NEVER listens and still continues the same. I know he does understand that he is not supposed to hit but he obviously chooses not to obey or listen to our instructions.

    I see other kids his age and they don't really behave this way. Some push. But others seem more obedient. So, I'm wondering what we're doing wrong.

    I'm at my wit's end. Short of tying him to a chair or keeping him completely isolated away from any other children, I don't know what to do. And if I keep him away from others, then he will never learn to share anything.

    Can any parents share their "methods" if you've gone through the same? Much appreciated.

  2. #2
    jwang is offline Registered User
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    Nov 2002
    Hong Kong
    Please don't blame yourself for your child's behaviour. Children have different temperments, so some children are more easily corrected than others.

    From the books I've read, this is a natural stage for toddlers to go through. However, a consistent method of discipline must be adopted. If left alone, a child might outgrow this behaviour, but I wouldn't count on it. I know four- year olds (and above) who still don't share, are violent towards others etc.

    The method I use is similar to yours. I tell him not to hit people when I see him hit others. I also tend to be proactive. I intervene before a conflict occurs by reading my toddler's body language. I would also avoid situations that spell trouble (e.g. Having a toddler open his presents in front of everybody - the other toddlers would likely become upset that they aren't getting anything). If my toddler hit another at playgroup I would give him a couple of warnings. Then if he continued the offensive behaviour, I'd take him home immediately.

    I'm sure there are many different ways of dealing with such problems, but I haven't found a book yet that I would recommend. I hope this been of some help to you.

  3. #3
    jane01 is offline Registered User
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    Nov 2003
    Hong Kong
    I have just read a book called Every Parent by Matthew Sanders. He developed the Triple P parenting program in Australia. It is all about focusing on the 'good' behaviour and gives strategies for dealing with 'bad' behaviour. I really recommend the book. It isn't a magic wand, but it has really given me some confidence in dealing with my strong willed 19 month old. Ohh and yes, she hits, bites and scratches, charming isn't it? Not.

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