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how do i stop my toddler smacking me in the face/head?

(8 Posts)
kissmummy Tue 17-Feb-09 11:30:40

My otherwise lovely 18 month old DS has a horrible habit of lashing out at me when he's having a tantrum/is frustrated and i'm carrying him or pick him up. He starts hitting me on the face or head. I put him down immediately and say 'No, dont hit mummy' very sternly to him, and get him to say sorry, which he does very sweetly, but it seems to have absolutely no meaning for him and the message isn't getting across, because no sooner have we been through this mini routine than he will lash out at me all over again. He does not show any other signs of aggressive behaviour to me or anyone else. I don't know how to teach him not to do this.
I don't want to resort to any form of smacking as i don't agree with it and it doesn't seem a great way of teaching him not to smack me [hmmm]. Does anyone have any tips?

imaginewittynamehere Tue 17-Feb-09 11:38:35

It is difficult - the thing that worked best with my dd when she was going through this stage was me burstng into (fake) tears. She would stop & give me a hug. I carried on for about a week & the behaviour dissapeared - it could just have been the natural end of the phase but seemed very effective.

deaconblue Tue 17-Feb-09 11:41:11

it's a phase you'll be pleased to hear. ds' phase lasted 9 months though
I put him on the mat by the front door and he has to stay there for 2 mins if he ever hits/pushes but as I say it took a long long time for hte message to get through. I used to carry him in a fireman's type lift so that his arms were down my back if he was having a strop, that way he couldn;t hit me so easily. Was very emabarrassing carting a screaming toddler around when I was heavily pg with dd though.
you have my sympathy.

TheArmadillo Tue 17-Feb-09 11:42:53

They're not very good at controlling themselves at this age. SO it may be that when he is calm then he knows 'don't hit mummy' but forgets this when he is tantrumming/losing control.

If you hold him when he is tantruming you need to hold him in a way that he won't be able to hit you. If you kneel on the floor and hold him on your lap you can hold his arms down.

Also reasoning with a toddler will only go so far. There are not old enough to be able to fully understand or to carry this through when they are angry or frustrated.

If he hits you say no and walk away. Don't give attention but just remove yourself from the situation. Only for a minute or 2. Or if you are somewhere you can't leave him then remove him from the situation (if you are out then you can put him in pushchair or hold him but refuse to interact). Never do it for very long though - I think the guideline is a minute for every year.

Plus messages take a long time to sink in so it could take a few months for the behaviour to stop completely.

it's also normal behaviour, albeit one we want to teach our children to control. How many of us want to hit out when we are angry or fustrated? But we have the capability to restrain ourselves as adults. CHildren need to learn it but it takes a while.

nickytwotimes Tue 17-Feb-09 11:43:45

It was a phase for ds too, maybe 3 or 4 mhts? God, it is infuriating. We put him on a 'naughty spot' and left him on his own for 2 minutes. I know naughty stuff isn't for everyone, but it worked for ds. He doesn't do it anymore.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 17-Feb-09 12:11:14

most children do this at one time or another

agree time out, saying no and walking away normally works

have also done fake tears

be firm, dont laugh and hopefully the message no hitting will sink in

Sidge Tue 17-Feb-09 12:18:31

When he hits or smacks you, put him down firmly, saying NO loudly and walk away. No eye contact. Go and do something 'interesting' in the vicinity so you can see him out of the corner of your eye.

Making an 18 month old say sorry is IMO pointless. It's just a word, they don't know what it means and they parrot 'sorry' but have no understanding of why they are saying it.

After a few moments when he has calmed down or come back over to you, crouch down, look him in the eye and say firmly "now we don't smack/hit/whatever, it makes me sad and hurts me". Then go and carry on where you left off.

kissmummy Tue 17-Feb-09 19:38:28

thanks everyone. agree making him say sorry is pointless. it's just rather cute when he says it and makes me feel better - until the next fist hits me in the face a few seconds later!

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