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My 21months old boy hits!

  1. #9
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    clouder, i cannot disagree with you more! i teach playgroups. i see hundreds of children every week. parents MUST do something about children hitting. how are they every going to learn otherwise? it is up to PARENTS/CAREGIVERS to teach children how to handle their feelings of anger and frustration.

  2. #10
    matemate is offline Registered User
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    i just read some latest research into this issue and what has been said before is indeed true: kids hit because they cannot share their frustrations well enough. the second point however, is that an average 21m old does not have any insight before the hitting, that hitting someone else causes pain. this reflective insight of what other people might feel usually only starts to develop after 24 months.

    as such the best reaction with all small kids is to demonstrate the consequences to the child itself - you could smack the kid back so it feels the same pain, but as nobody would do that of course, the better alternative is 'time outs' and removing them from the scene - consistently applied.

  3. #11
    jvn
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    Agreed, we've not reached that stage yet but I think they develop the idea of consequences to themselves much sooner than they develop the insight and empathy aspect. That's why time out will work as it's easy to understand that "if I do that I get taken away from other people and my playthings".

    Just telling them not to do it each time isn't a consequence, it's just noise. I honestly couldn't just sit there and watch my kid hit another one and just say "don't do that, dear" and by the same token I wouldn't like it if someone else's child hit mine and they didn't do anything.

    We're teaching them social and safe behaviour that they don't understand all the time and I don't think this is any different to stopping them eating random stuff they find or stopping them when they want to play with the electric socket - they don't understand why we stop them doing those things either but we would never just leave them to it, or just ask them not to because they're too young to understand why they aren't allowed.

  4. #12
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
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    would have to agree with that time out is a good tool as the consequences are immediate and the kid can feel the reprecussions of his/her act right away....otherwise it is very difficult for kids to empathize. having said that though, you really need to observe and understand the reason for the hitting...being unable to express oneself is of course obvious but what is the child unable to express - 1) a desire to have a toy / food that is not within reach or is being played by another child 2) a negative emotion - sadness, frustration etc. 3) is the child mimicking the behaviour for fun 4) does the child want attention from their care givers and not know the proper avenue to get it

    whatever it is, as parents we really need to KNOW why there is hitting and use the appropriate way to stop it. my daughter was hitting at 21 mths too and i didn't use time out but rather taught her to shake hands and not hit when she saw a friend...the reason for her hitting was excitement, I showed her an alternative way to show express herself. She also has a tendency to hit people that get within her personal space (especially uncles and aunties she doesn't know), now I make sure people don't get too close to her, let her shake hands with them and then leave politely...but it is only because i know she doesn't like people getting so close...her hitting is instead of hey - don't get so close kind of thing! she's not 23 mths and the hitting really has gone down by a huge %

  5. #13
    sho135 is offline Registered User
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    I agree with the posts above - he needs to learn through consequences for his behaviour, you can't expect him at 21 months to understand (or care!) about it being 'morally wrong'. He has probably learned to say 'sorry' through habit, or by realising that he is let off the hook after he says it, not because he is able to feel guilty etc.

    Time out is a great consequence which ususally works, if he is hitting out of frustration or for attention. However, you must analyse the reason he is hitting. For example, if you're talking to another adult and he hits to get your attention (very common) if you then give him a big talk about how hitting is unkind, you've rewarded his hitting with attention and he will probably repeat this behaviour next time (attention is so important to children, they crave it even if it's angry). This is why it's so important not to give any attention what so ever during time out - if he moves, take him back with no talking or eye contacts and keep repeating. 2 minutes is appropriate for his age. It is worth recording the number of times he hits a day to check that it is working, and make sure that everyone (including helper) is taking the same approach. If time out does not reduce hitting after a few weeks, then consider other consequences.
    The only time I wouldn't use time out is if he hits to escape a demand, for example if you've told him to eat his food, put his shoes on etc (not that there would be many demands at this age) if this is the case, block the hits as much as possible but otherwise ignore them and continue with the demand - this will prevent him using hitting as an 'escape' behaviour.
    Also, if your son is able to understand, talk about other ways to deal with anger - e.g. taking big breaths, squeezing hands together. You can practise these when he's not angry, and as soon as you see him getting cross and looking as if he might hit, give him a 'model prompt' by squeezing your own hands and taking deep breaths yourself. After the situation has cooled down, make sure you tell him how well he did.
    Aside from the 'time out' punishment, please use positive reinforcement too - for example, you could have a 'kind hands' prize chart - if he goes a certain amount of time (eventually a day, but even an hour or 5 minutes at first, then gradually increase the time) he gets a prize (Thomas clip on youtube? a chocolate? etc). Make it visual for him, and have a timer that goes off when the time is up. Make a BIG fuss and give him lots of attention for having 'kind hands'.
    Good Luck!

  6. #14
    reei is offline Registered User
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    anyone hit him or smack him in the first place? where did he learn to hit?

  7. #15
    carang's Avatar
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    children don't need to "learn" to hit.... some kids hit, some kids bite, some kids pinch, some kids push. that doesn't mean that they are all being hit, bitten, pinched, pushed etc at home! it's our "animal instinct" coming out. i've met thousands of children and it would be safe to say that probably 70-80% of them show one of the above behaviours.

  8. #16
    steamedfish is offline Registered User
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    my older son used to hit too. what i found to be most effective is teach him how to express his anger in a way that doesn't hurt himself or the others. sometimes kids just need to release that emotion physically.

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