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two year old suddenly hitting - advice, please

(5 Posts)
Burren Tue 06-May-14 13:17:56

My son turned two a month ago, and has suddenly begun hitting and pushing other children unprovoked - and occasionally me or another family member. He usually says 'Go away!' when he does it.

It has literally come out of the blue. One week, he was angelic at playgroup, the next I had to hover over him like a hawk for the entire two hours. It seems to have coincided with psychological growth spurt - his vocab and ability to put a sentence together are growing like mad, and, having been a child that usually played by himself or watched older children from a distance, he's now much more interested in interacting with other children.

I'm assuming this is a normal developmental phase, but how do I best deal with it? At the moment, I am taking him aside, holding his hands and making him pay attention, telling him that hitting hurts other people, and he mustn't do it, reinforcing that we are gentle with our hands, and then bringing him back to the 'victim' and making him apologise. I don't think it's registering, though - thoughts, anyone? If it's relevant, he's an only child, so has never been on the receiving end.


Burren Wed 07-May-14 09:11:00

Bump, after he smacked his unimpressed granny over breakfast.

MillionPramMiles Thu 08-May-14 12:58:59

Yup we had the same with our dd (nearly two) recently. She'd never hit a child or staff member at her nursery since starting over a year ago and then suddenly started doing it several times a day.
The worst of it only lasted a few days and we had some very good advice from dd's nursery which helped.

Sounds like you're saying all the right things though advice we had was not to 'force' an apology if its not forthcoming.
We (and the nursery) found Time Outs helped a lot, particularly if dd hit again after being told not to. At home we tend to say 'mummy/daddy doesn't want to play with you because hitting hurts' and move away. The nursery move dd away and sit with her separately for a minute. Dd tends to apologise without asking straight away and not do it again (at least for a few days anyway!).

The nursery reassured us it was a perfectly normal part of development and they saw it with most children so try not to worry. It certainly isn't anything to do with being an only child. At this age toddlers are starting to test boundaries and exert their will more. Be consistent and be firm.

emzzzz Thu 08-May-14 15:38:56

Hi there, I will read with interest as I have a 2 year old hitter. He seems to do it when I am talking to someone and not giving him my undivided attention and he will take it out on the other person (only people he knows like daddy or nanna) So I tend to walk away and say I do not want to play if you are hitting as it is always about my attention and not the person he has actually hit. Now I wonder if we we had ignored this behaviour right from the beginning or said nothing more than "oh we don't hit" and redirected him, would he still bother doing it? Now he knows it pushes our buttons so when he's in a temper or wants a reaction it's the first thing he does sad arrrgh!

Burren Thu 08-May-14 23:05:21

Thanks, you two. I think the time out idea is probably the way to go. Encouraged by him playing non-violently with two little girls at the weekend, sharing playthings and generally being his sunnier self...

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