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21 month old DS hitting me

(5 Posts)
phoenixrose314 Sat 27-Dec-14 16:28:19

Please help, I am at the end of my tether with my DS.

Recently (within the last 2/3 weeks) he has begun hitting me - a lot. We are talking about 20+ times a day now - it has escalated recently and I genuinely don't know what to do, I feel close to tears pretty much permanently and don't know where this has come from as in all other areas he is so amazing and has been the perfect child up until this point.

He hits me when I am trying to get him dressed, he hits me when I am trying to put his shoes on to go out, he hits me when I am trying to cook his dinner, he hits me when I am on the phone, he hits me when I am trying to play with him (sudden toy possession), he hits me when I am trying to explain that he can't do something (been trying to avoid the word 'no' as this is a massive trigger). I know this is common because pretty much everyone I have spoken to has said that their DD/DS went through the same thing - but my question is, how did you handle it?

I don't agree with time-outs and I think he's too young to understand the consequence anyway (although I have put him in a corner with just some books to calm down on occasion), I normally just say "we don't hit/no hitting" and either try to distract/remove him from the situation, or tell him we use gentle hands and get him to try and stroke me etc.

None of it seems to be working and I just want to cry. I work full time as a teacher and was so looking forward to two weeks off to spend time with him, but now I feel like I can't wait for him to go back to nursery as I just don't know what to do. I also feel very embarrassed as I am an Early Years professional and have a very high standard for behaviour in my classroom - so, so different when it's your own! These holidays were supposed to be a magical time for us to bond and build memories, but I just want to hide away upstairs and let my DH deal with it (FYI he has hit DH but not often, it's almost always directed at me).

Help. Just help. Please.

bronya Sat 27-Dec-14 16:48:58

He isn't too young to understand. Even the most basic forms of animal life can learn not to do something if it has a negative consequence. That's not intelligence, it's survival behaviour. If you can teach a tiny baby not to bite the nipple, then teaching a toddler not to hit is certainly possible.

I have a 2 year old also. He started to hit as a one year old, just every now and then, or if he was frustrated. What works for me if he's hitting me, is to act hurt in the way he would - so "Owwww! It huuurrts!" and pretend toddler type crying, curled up in a ball, away from him (so no attention for him as I've retreated away and am not looking at him). Then he knows he's hurt me. He usually runs off upset at this point, and comes back with his teddy to comfort me and make me feel better. We have a general cuddle and sorry time.

If he's having a tantrum, I do the '"Ow!" thing but keep more of an eye on him depending on where we are. If he hits again, it's a sharp "No!" to startle him, then I trap his hands/legs so he can't hurt me. He usually tantrums more at that for a little bit (throwing self on the floor - I let him get on with it, and ignore him at an appropriate distance depending on where we are), then calms down completely and is fine. On calming down he gets cuddles and all is forgotten. He hardly ever hits now, but the same sort of consequence applies to throwing/kicking/hitting whenever one of them crops up.

If it's someone else I say "NO!" as he's going to do it, lunge and grab his arm/leg to stop him if I can. This usually gives a lying-on-the-floor tantrum, so again I let him get on with it, then give him a cuddle when he's stopped the tantrum.

Works for me - he hits/kicks/throws once a month now if that, and as soon as he has, he usually starts crying and turns away 'cos he knows he shouldn't. His 'hit' now is a gentle tap, as he tries to pull it as soon as he realises he's doing it, and I often just need to act shocked and upset, then turn away from him, rather than the full blown 'Ow!' that I used at the beginning.

phoenixrose314 Sun 28-Dec-14 07:14:40

Sorry, I didn't mean that he was too young to understand consequences - of course he is. I meant that he was too young to understand the purpose of time out - I'd put him on the "naughty step" or whatever and he'd just get back up again, walk straight over and hit me more probably!! But as I said, I don't really agree with time out or any form of "love withdrawal" method and would prefer to avoid that if I could.

I think what you've said about exaggerating the upset/hurt is a really good idea as my DS does get very distressed when he thinks I am upset. And as I am on the verge of tears most of the time at the moment, won't be too hard to fake either!

Millie3030 Sun 28-Dec-14 19:28:37

Agree with bronya, and have a similar situation with my 18month old. If he hits me I cover my face and pretend to cry, he then pulls my hand away and gives me a kiss. If he tries to or does hit another child, I put his arms down to his sides and say "we don't hit!" In a stern voice with a serious face, I don't shout. He knows hitting others is not allowed but doesn't stop him doing it if he has a toy taken off him etc. They don't know why it's wrong yet but they will learn the consequence of what happens when they do.

I thinks it's good for teaching them empathy but no idea if it does! Good luck.

Emmie10 Sun 28-Dec-14 19:38:26

My 20 month old dd has been doing the same recently. It is always directed at me. I would say it reached a peak after 2 weeks and then she had a huge leap in her language development and since then it has reduced dramatically. I always take the hand she has hit with, say no in a stern voice and move away from her. After a couple of minutes (during which she screams the place down) I go back to her for a cuddle and encourage her to say sorry for giving mummy a 'sore bit'. I don't have a clue if it's making any sense to her but like you, I felt she is too young for a proper time out.

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