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18 mth old DS hitting other children when he meets them. How to deal with it?

(14 Posts)
cheekychopsmum Tue 09-Jun-09 14:31:50

This has happened a few times. When we go to a friend house or to playgroup etc and I'm saying hello, he gets annoyed (he has very expressive facial expressions!) and goes to hit them with one or both hands and shouts (or grunts because he can't yet talk).

So far I have managed to avert him and he hasn't actually touched them, but his aggression is obvious. I don't know who to deal with this or why he's doing it. So far I have said "Don't hit, it's naughty to hit, say hello" today I teied a slightly different approach, because at the weekend a friend shook hands with him and he likes to do that now. So this morning, as he went to him a little girl, I said " Are you saying hello, do you want to shake hands with..." so and so. This worked and he shook hands and it was averted. But it still upsets me that he wants to hit and is obviously unhappy about something.

I don't know where he has got the hitting idea from. I asked at nursery (he goes once a week and enjoys it) if he has hit anyone there and they've never seen him act like that.

When my friends baby was born he did get jealous and cry when I held the baby, so I originally thought it was jealousy of the other children that I am talking to them, so I held back with picking up other kids and sitting them on my knee etc. and I reassured DS. This approach ovbiously hasn't worked as he has now stepped it up a gear.

Please give me advise on how to deal with this as I don't think he understands me if I expain it's not nice. I don't know whether I have drawn too much attention to it now, which is why he has persisted it. He is otherwise a very lovely little boy who loves being around other people and good fun.

Ripeberry Tue 09-Jun-09 14:38:15

You need to nip it in the bud straight away.
He needs to know that its unacceptable to hit others.
Not too bad when he's little and can't hurt anyone too much.
I've seen one parent in a playground with a 24month old and 3yr old hitting and kicking older school children.
The mum thought that because the school children were laughing that it was OK for her two little boys to be violent.
The school kids were just shocked to be chased by little kids!
Praise the behaviour you want, if he does manage to hit someone, go to that child/person first and make a fuss of them, then tell your son that his behaviour is not wanted.
He just wants Mummy all to himself and that is just normal at that age, he'll get better when he can express himself better

cheekychopsmum Tue 09-Jun-09 14:57:26

Yes, I don't find it acceptable and I do want to nip it in the bud, but so far what I'm doing isn't working.

wb Tue 09-Jun-09 15:15:16

Well, I agree that you need to nip it in the bud but it sounds like you are doing exactly that (the shaking hands thing sounds inspired).

I don't think many 18 mo children are aware that other people/children have feelings, can be hurt etc so yes keep telling him its not nice/ we don't hit but don't expect it to sink in for a while yet. Even if he does understand he may not be able to control his urge to hit (doubt he want to hurt them, or rather only in the sense that it focus' all your lovely attention back on him).

Divert his attacks where possible, if one gets through make sure he gets less attention that way not more (back in the buggy maybe) and I'm sure this phase will pass.

cheekychopsmum Tue 09-Jun-09 19:47:50

But why is he doing it????

Ripeberry Tue 09-Jun-09 20:01:24

Because you should only have eyes for him! They still do it when they are older, if i try and have a chat with other mums, my now 4yr old tries to drag me away!
I'm allowed to socialise as well, damnit! grin

deaconblue Tue 09-Jun-09 20:18:22

this is a toughy. Before I had children I thought children who hit had parents who didn't really discipline them. Then I had ds and he went through a 9 month long whacking phase that led to many anguished mumsnet threads. I tried to be consistent, he had to have time out every single time he hit, I stopped taking him to soft play type places in the end as it was so awful. In the end he just stopped doing it, and almost never hits anyone now a year after it all began.
so my advice is: yes do attempt consistent discipline, do be seen to care when he hurts others as other parents appreciate this BUT try not to stress as it's only a phase.

Ohforfoxsake Tue 09-Jun-09 20:28:03

He's doing it because they all do it.

Toddlers are the centre of their own world, they don't particularly like other children. They play independently, feel threatened by others.

We have to teach them how to socialise, so perhaps carry him and hold his hand out to wave hello. Make a big deal of saying hello. If he hits, say 'No' firmly and quietly, and hold his hand to wave, or reach out to stroke the other childs arm perhaps?

Think of children as small animals, they roll around, play fight, and get territorial (you are their territory).

And yes, I went for the 'don't go out much' option when DC1 was 18 months old. He was a biter, and OMG the STRESS!

Don't feel bad, and if anyone makes you feel bad, as parents of toddlers yet to hit that phase can, know that it is perfectly normal (just not desirable!)

KERALA1 Tue 09-Jun-09 21:06:45

He is doing it because he is 18 months old. My dd did this and is now 3 and an utter delight and would not dream of hitting another child. Its a stage and a really horrid one. I too agonised as I was a SAHM so didnt know where she had picked it up, couldnt even blame nursery grin. They just do it, don't blame yourself.

Just say no firmly and if he gets upset remove him from the setting. It will pass. Dd did it for about 2 months then just stopped don't think it was anything I did really she just moved onto the next phase. It did get so bad I stopped taking her to places I found this age to be the most difficult I must say. Good luck

Shooflypie Wed 10-Jun-09 00:17:01

DS is 14 mo and has just started doing this tho fortunately it's just been DP and me on the receiving end.
In addition to making eye contact + 'no hitting', I've also been trying to show him what 'gently' means (!). So stroking his cheek or arm and saying 'gently', taking his hand and getting him to do it back to me. Plus lots of practise with with his teddies which he likes doing.
I thiiiiink it's beginning to sink in....tho DP and I still have a fair few claw marks, I have to be honest smile

cheekychopsmum Wed 10-Jun-09 14:04:54

Thanks for all your messages, you've made me feel a lot better, though saying that I did get a big wack in the face this morning at play group - at least it was me!

I hope he moves on to his next phase soon (or could that be worse??!!)

deaconblue Wed 10-Jun-09 19:53:59

ds did poo on the playroom floor and he and dd smeared it all over everywhere - lets hope that's not your ds' next phase

Bluebella Tue 14-Jul-09 09:32:31

My baby is 14 months, but since 12 months he has been doing this - he thinks it is hilarious. He always smilings when he hits me/his auntie/other children.... I always say 'No, we don't hit' and take him away from the situation , kind of time out. Give the victom lots of attention , and him none. It isn't having any affect though and he still does it. He is on a behavioural plan at nursery where they record everytime he does it, and I have to go and see the head teacher tomorrow morning... I am so upset about it... I just pray it gets better soon.

Caz10 Wed 15-Jul-09 22:11:50

shock to a behaviour plan at nursery at 14mths bluebella! What was said at your meeting?

I came across this thread as I was just about to post v similar re my 18mth dd - she is very agressive towards other children, mainly over sharing issues and she shouts at them all the time, I am finding it difficult to deal with, am glad it's not just me!

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