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anger management for toddler

  1. #1
    lesliefu is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    South District

    anger management for toddler

    my 22 mth old has recently decided that whenever and whatever she doesn't like she will show by hitting and or pushing the thing / person away. i realize that she can't talk and perhaps this is the way she is trying to show that she does not like / want something, i am trying to figure out a good way to minimize the angry outbursts....what i am currently doing is trying to avoid scenes where she might become agitated - when she is hungry she will have outbursts too, so I now make sure she is never so hungry that she will get angry. i am trying to teach her to be gentle and to "ask" for things (when hungry)...but am not sure what I can do to decrease the amount of hitting - i don't think she hits purposely, but that action needs to be decreased and eventually removed - anyone can give me some advice / ideas of what I can do? thanks!

  2. #2
    Veronika is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Hong Kong

    Maybe you can distract her by changing her action into something nice. When she hits, say, "don't hit, be nice", take her hand and caress the person she just hit. When my 2 year old started to hit his baby sister I told him not to hit her but to give her a cuddle. I then put the baby on his lap. He was so surprised that he did cuddle her. Be prepared to repeat this quite often until it works. My son doesn't hit his sister anymore but cuddles her a lot and you can see that they both enjoy it. Good luck and stay calm!

  3. #3
    sho135 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    First of all, if you allow the hitting to 'work' i.e. by letting the person or object get away from your daughter when she hits, this is rewarding the behaviour. Hitting people or pushing them is normally quite successful in removing them. She's using hitting as an escape behaviour. As much as you can, just block the hitting and keep the object or person close by so that the hitting will not be a successful strategy for her.
    If she cannot talk at all, you can teach a more appropriate request for things to finish or go away, for example shaking her head, or making a 'no' hand gesture (e.g just showing you the palm of her hand). You can teach this by presenting her with something you know she won't like and would normally make her hig(for example, yucky food) and IMMEDIATELY (i.e. BEFORE she hits) physically prompt her to make a gesture that means 'no.' Pair this with language i.e. you say 'no thanks mummy' as she makes the gesuture then immediately take it away. Keep practising this and praising her for telling you nicely. While she is learning, always honour her request if she asks appropriately. While you'll need to hold her hand at first, you can gradually fade this back, e.g. by holding her wrist, then her elbow etc. As you are holding her hand, she should not be able to hit at the same time, but if she does hit then do not remove the object. She will soon learn that hitting doesn't work and appropriate communication (signing) does. Basically, never allow her to get what she wants by hitting.
    If she cannot talk at all, it may be worth teaching her some more signs to ask for things she wants (look up baby signing on youtube). If you'd like some advice on how to teach signs to babies, or with any other behaviour issues please contact me - I am an experienced applied behaviour analyst.

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