13 month old smacking. Help

(7 Posts)
Dietagainmonday Wed 02-Apr-14 12:43:10

My 13 month old has been smacking everyone in the face, I have been sternly saying NO and putting him down on the floor. I mentioned it to health visitor and she recommend sternly saying No and putting him straight in play pen for 3 minutes, obviously no toys and everyone has to do the same as otherwise it won't work. Well he's been in there 9 times already today, screams and obviously hates it but how long before he realises why in putting him in there. I'm feeling guilty and totally overwhelmed.

I'm going to come right out and say it...I think your HV is wrong! I don't think a 13 month old can possibly be expected to learn from a time out; they don't have the brain capacity to figure out what they're doing is wrong let alone put that together with being abandoned in a play pen for what may as well be an eternity.

what I do with my 17 month old is hold her hands gently and say no, we use gentle hands, I show her how to be gentle all the time and praise her for doing so. it's mostly frustration I think or anger so I tell her what I think she's feeling and we take deep breaths together to calm down. she has a brother 3.2 so she's learning from him and I teach him the same.

If I'm really cross (because being hit does make one feel cross sometimes) I might turn her away from me on my lap or put her down for a few seconds while I compose myself, but I don't think DC spend time in time out considering 'what they've done' - I think they just feel overwhelmed with the emotion that led them to 'misbehave' and they have nowhere for that feeling to go but to eventually learn to bury it. by addressing the feeling/motive behind the behaviour and giving them alternative ways to express it I feel they are building up a better picture of how to deal with feelings and how to treat people than to shut them away or lash out. of course this only works when I am calm and I am as guilty of shouting as the next parent, but this is my aim of how to deal with it and if for some reason I haven't managed it I will talk my DS through what we both could have done better and in time I will do the same with DD.

I hope you find a healthy way to deal with the hitting, I've found The Aha parenting website invaluable with parenting wobbles, maybe you'll find something that works for you there smile

Graciescotland Wed 02-Apr-14 14:21:37

I do the same gentle hands as nice cup of tea. I stroke his face and use his hand to stroke my face and a little kiss on his palm (do this fast as he may try and grab your nose). If he's trying to smack his big brother, who knows he's not allowed to hit him back, then I'll pick him up to remove him but make a lot of fuss of the injured party.

Travelcot seems a bit much, I don't think he'd have the comprehension to understand why. I think the hitting in the face is his way of saying play with me! Best if you can teach him a better way of communicating through example.

NorthEasterlyGale Wed 02-Apr-14 14:25:56

I'd abandon the time out if I were you; he won't understand. At that age it won't have any effect - they don't have the impulse control to stop themselves hitting even if they wanted to!

I'd just distract, pop him on the floor with some toys if you need a moment to regain your inner calm or nurse a bruise grin

When a bit older, like poster above we started the gentle hands bit and he's a lot better now at 22 months, although still hits if tired.

I didn't realise that having kids involved being head-butted quite so much, I must admit...grin

VioLetsMum1 Wed 02-Apr-14 16:02:26

I used to use gentle hands too. I'd take her hand, tell her no you hurt mummy, put it to my face and gently stroke at the same time saying gentle. It worked mostly. In the times it didn't work pick them off your lap, place them on the floor a few steps away from you with their back to you without a word. She didn't like it, I think because she thought I wasn't paying attention to her anymore and learnt if she didn't stop hitting the first time then that would happen to her.

mummyxtwo Wed 02-Apr-14 23:11:27

Agree with the above advice. 13 months is far too young for time out, he won't understand and will just get very upset and frustrated. Time out worked for us from the age of 2yo onwards. Before then, not so much for your situation but for other 'bad' behaviour (usually going for wires and plug sockets - or with dd2 currently, always climbing on the dining table) it was just trying to exercise patience and constantly repeat "No... No... No..." while removing small child from dangerous object. You think they are never going to get it but eventually they do.

Rexandralpf Thu 03-Apr-14 07:28:57

I think just put him down and walk off. Save the word no for emergencies as he will start using it against you otherwise.

Some bright kids will understand time out from about a year and a half but many wont understand till 2. I'd only ever use it if totally essential.

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