Why does my toddler want to hit me?

(14 Posts)
Merlincat07 Wed 01-Jan-14 10:30:47

I have a 2 and a half year old DS who is adorable, well-behaved and helpful about 90% of the time. However, for the last few months he randomly goes through periods of hitting and/or kicking both me and my husband. It isn't provoked by tiredness, frustration, hunger etc. it just randomly comes out of the blue e.g when I'm kneeling in front of him getting him dressed or putting his shoes on.

I have tried a range of techniques: holding on to his arms while talking firmly to him to stop, saying it's not nice etc; I've implemented a naughty step type system and will leave him to call me while I ignore for 2 mins then go back to him to explain why I was ignoring him and get an apology from him; this morning (not helped by raging hormones as I'm 34 weeks pregnant) I cried at him. He caught me so unawares that I could feel tears starting so went with it and really hammed it up about how hurt and upset I was in the hope he'd see it isn't a game.

Nothing works at the moment. He apologises, says he won't do it again and then immediately claps me round the face, laughing. I'm at my wits end and really want to get this under control. sad

Does anyone have any practical suggestions?

TIA

TwoJackRussellsandababy Wed 01-Jan-14 10:41:59

My DS is a couple of months younger and hits too, we just make him say sorry, hug and then move on, nothing else seems to work and he doesnt understand really that he shouldnt.

Hopefully its a phase....

Alexandra6 Wed 01-Jan-14 11:40:45

I saw a friend's daughter doing this the other day, she's 2 - I only have a three week old but it worried me that it could happen at some point. What cheered me up though was remembering my niece went through a stage of biting, same with my cousin, both are older and lovely people now! I'm hoping if our daughter goes through a phase like this, we can be firm but stay calm and just keep telling her it isn't good to behave like that. I'll be watching this to see what other people have done though and how it's worked out. Good luck and hope it passes soon.

Christmaspuddingaddict Wed 01-Jan-14 11:52:51

I'd agree it is a phase. I wouldn't make too big a deal of it, just a stern no, and move away every time. It will pass.

HearMyRoar Wed 01-Jan-14 12:20:46

Dd is younger but something that I find helps is offering an alternative. I tell her she can hit the sofa, or she has a drum she can hit, but she can't hit people.

Sometimes she is just tired and the world is just too much so she needs a way to vent. Hitting her drum or whacking the sofa seems to do the job as well has hitting me thankfully smile

diddlediddledumpling Wed 01-Jan-14 12:27:22

All good advice, ds3 (almost 2) has been doing the same for a few months now and I think is just coming out of the phase. It's important to keep telling her no, we use the step too, and we also got him a Ben 10 punchbag for Christmas, which he loved (until his brother burst it). Just remember, child rearing is an endurance test grin. Persevere.

DS is almost 3 and does this. When I ask him why he says 'cause I want to'shock I genuinely think he's not doing it out of malice - it really is because he wants to and he can.

Imagine finding out that you can swing your arm or leg at will and connect it with whatever you were aiming for! Magic!

It is a phase (I hope!) and he's doing it less & less.

Merlincat07 Wed 01-Jan-14 13:21:52

Thank you so much for all of your replies. Just to hear others are going/have gone through the same has made me feel much better.

I like the suggestion about offering an alternative - I guess sometimes he may just want to hit. And if it's not my face, all the better! grin

I will also try the short sharp no and move on idea.Perhaps I'm starting to make a bigger deal of it than he can comprehend at the moment.

And to the poster who said this is a test of endurance, dear god isn't that the truth! And I've made the choice to add another one into the mix in about 6 weeks. Who knows what possessed me with that idea! grin

Thank you everyone - happy new year.

BillyBanter Wed 01-Jan-14 13:27:17

He's not going to have developed much in the way of empathy at this stage and most 'behaviour' from children up to and beyond this age is just exploring and testing their environment, experimenting with their effect on it, and understanding it. Repetitiveness in actions strengthens neural pathways of knowledge. So they like to have stories read to them again again. or drop cutlery on the floor again and again. It's not because he hates you or wants to hurt you.

DontCallMeDaughter Wed 01-Jan-14 13:28:11

I'm pretty sure that my dd (2) does it for attention. It's most likely to happen when I'm doing something else... And I've found that making a big deal out of it just makes her worse, I guess because she's getting attention even if it's negative attention. So now I just look at her sadly and say "poor mummy" and get back to what I'm doing. She does it a lot less than she used to since I stopped the firm "no" and the sit down/apology/time out stuff.

Toecheese Thu 02-Jan-14 19:56:13

I would either walk off and shut the door and ignore him for 5 mins. Or stick him religiously in the naughty step. We are totally zero tolerance of violence/hitting etc. We give minimal attention to it, a simple explanation and stay calm/in control.

perfectstorm Fri 03-Jan-14 05:02:51

We read this book to him. Calmly and without making a big deal, so no reward for the behaviour really, and not blaming but explaining why it was wrong and offering alternative. He got it very fast. Not had an issue since. Was a MN rec to me at the time - it worked!

MissCardew Fri 03-Jan-14 15:40:46

My DS (2.7) has been hitting, kicking and pulling my hair on and off for a few months. He went through a really bad phase at about 2.5 but thankfully it seems to be less and less now. Mostly I tried to ignore the bad behaviour (he just laughed when we reacted to it) but like the previous poster we also bought 'hands are not for hitting' which seemed to get through to him.

Merlincat07 Sat 04-Jan-14 19:43:08

Thank you for the extra replies and, in particular, the book recommendation. I have just ordered a copy and look forward to trying it out. I've also stopped making a big deal out his hitting - just a short, sharp no and then I move on or distract him. I'm not sure how well that's working yet, but it's definitely made me calmer.

Thanks again for all of your advice.

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