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Thread: 15 month old hitting - what do I do?

  1. #1

    Default 15 month old hitting - what do I do?

    Hi there,

    My 15 month old son has just starting hitting kids when we go places. It's very embarressing, and even though people tell me it's a phase I feel very concerned about it.

    Up until now he has been a very placid child and now he is striking out at kids completely unprovoked.

    I've tried smacking his hand and taking him away from the situation, but he just laughs then goes and does it someone else.

    Can anyone advise me on what else I can try? I find it very hard when we catch up with others with children due to this hitting problem.


  2. #2
    Melinda Guest


    Jacob is 16 months old on Sunday and he has started hitting DH and I. He has never hit anyone else, and he only ever does it when one of us is holding him. We're at a loss as to why he does it to us but not others, but are quietly relieved IYKWIM? I guess I would prefer that he hit us than other people or other children.

    But we're at a loss as to what to do about it too. We have tried saying "no" firmly and telling him "we don't hit people Jacob" but he quite often does it again as soon as you say that, or he will start crying hysterically and hitting himself as well as us! (He quite often will hit himself with frustration and anger).

    The other thing we have done is to not say a word or react at all, and have put him down straight away (he only ever hits if he is being held by one of us - he never walks up and just hits IYKWIM?)

    Having said that, we have worked out a couple of reasons for these outbursts - tiredness and hunger!! If he is tired or hungry, that is quite often when he will lash out like that and get himself really quite upset. So those are factors for Jacob. I think the other thing for Jacob is fear - if he is being held by one of us and he thinks we're going to put him down into a situation where he's not feeling comfortable, then he will hit us.

    I know none of that has helped you Sandra, and it's a different situation as Jacob is only hitting us, not others, but I just thought I'd share. I'd been meaning to post about it before now actually! LOL

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    House of the crazy cat ladies...


    I really wish I had some good advice, but all I can say is that Aidyn has gone through that phase recently too, but now it seems he has moved onto throwing things around (and I mean anything, lol)

    I havent seen him hit other kids, but he has hit DP and myself out of frustration. Or he will hit himself or a nearby piece of furniture. This especially seems to happen when we tell him not to do something (ie. pulling the decorations off the christmas tree)

    When he hits us though I sternly say to him 'don't hit mummy/daddy Aidyn' and sometimes will add something onto the end such as 'hitting hurts' or 'I know you are feeling frustrated but hitting wont solve the problem' (not that a 18 months old would understand that though!)
    But anyway, once he has been told off he comes and gives us a cuddle... which is really sweet, as if he's saying sorry. Although on the other had I suspect it could be a bit manipulative too?

    ARGH... anyway, I have given you absolutely no constructive advice here, sorry!
    I would advise to just keep saying 'no' in a firm voice, and hopefully he will soon realise he shouldnt be doing it, and will get over the novelty of it?
    I have found that Aidyn is now at the age where he is very aware of what 'no' means, and although it frustrates him, he usually does learn to obey they rules after a time...

  4. #4
    Melinda Guest


    Jacob has also come over to us with a cuddle too, as if to say sorry! (not all the time mind you!) It's so cute! When he does that, I still say to him that what he did was wrong, but that saying sorry is lovely and that I forgive him and that now we'll go and play with X (something fun) just so that he is praised for "apologising" IYKWIM?

  5. #5
    Sweetie Guest


    I tell my almost 2yr old girl "NO" and she has to say sorry to whoever she hits.


  6. #6


    Thanks for your advice Girls,

    I would definitely try ignoring him if he was hitting me, but as it is other children (particularly kids his age) I have to intervene.

    I guess I will continue with smacking his hand and firmly telling him no and taking him away from the children. He definitely knows what no means, but I think if I went on try and explain why hitting is bad etc, he wouldn't understand, as he is only 15 months.

    I know it would be a mistake to stop taking him places, as he needs to learn social interaction. When I was talking to my mum about it, she said that one day another child will just hit him back and maybe that will be the best medicine - just hopefully it's a child his age and not a big kid!! Although he doesn't touch the older kids, thank god!

    Good luck with sorting out each of your hitting problems, I just keep hoping it's a phase.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2004


    Hi Sandra...
    Here is a couple of topics about children hitting etc [url][/url]



  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Rural NSW


    My DS has ocassionally pushed over other little ones his size at play group too. I agree with tired and hungry factors!

    When children did this at the creche I worked at the staff's (and my) first reaction was to comfort the "victim". Make sure the "perpetrator" witnesses this and exaggerate the 'hurt' that this type of behaviour involves. Try to extract an apology and praise the "perpetrator" if it's forth coming. We would never smack a child for violence of this nature. And I'm not sure that it would communicate the right message. I have smacked my DS on the hand (eg if he keeps trying to touch the hot BBQ... but I think smacking is best left as a very last resort so the shock value isn't eliminated).

    Anyhow I do all this now with my DS and it seems to be helping develop empathy for other children. Even if I have to use words that he understands like "sore!" when the pushing occurs i think he gets the message. Even if I don't know the child I help them up as the first step in the process.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
    Pietta Guest


    Ryley is 15 months and is hitting us too but only when we tell him off. He is also throwing things. I know how frustrating this is- i wish i could give you wonderful advice with an easy solution!!

    I think our main tactic is just to be consistent with how we react to the situations.

    Good luck!

  10. #10
    *Yvette* Guest


    I'm reading this with interest because Angus is going through this stage atm. There doesn't seem to be anything malicious about it, sort of a frustration thing. He's very gentle with the babies and gives them kisses. It's me or DH or the table/cup/wall/bowl/toy he hits. Once he hurt me and i drew a sharp breath, and now he sometimes hits me then makes that noise. It's like when he throws something on the floor then says "nooo" or "ooh, noo".

    I don't think it's something he's learned by example, it seems to be just a stage, and I find the best thing to do is play it right down. Stop him from doing it and look away, not give attention for it, and give lots of attention for nice things like kisses and cuddles and clapping and dancing etc. We use the word 'gentle' a lot too when patting the pets or babies gently.

    If you have to do something because other people or children are involved, I'd suggest physically stopping the child from doing it and telling them we don't do that in a firm but downplayed way, and then serious distraction to the best of your ability in a way that doesn't reward the behaviour, easier said than done I know.

  11. #11
    *Yvette* Guest


    Tanya I'm just currently reading those other threads. For a slightly older child who's speaking, the "how to prevent your child hurting others' suggestions look very useful.

    The age of the child obviously has to be taken into account when dealing with this behaviour.

    Angus really has no words yet & it's easy to see his frustration sometimes. We have to be on the lookout for his other ways of communicating.

    He's just worked out to bring me his empty cup and that I will fill it up for him and it's so exciting.

  12. #12
    jay+tyler Guest


    hi sandra
    my son is 22mths i actually went to tressillain to try and get help with tantrums and smacking naughtness even though what he does is normal i just wanted some ideas how to deal with him they seem to use distraction is the answer to everything in the beginning i thought it was a load of crap but in coming home i have found it does work he is rough with other kids when i was there he was being nice but would be rough or push and the helpers at tressiallan said its normal for kids to do stuff like that and when intervening can cause more probs but as for the smacking they told me to just distract them when ya see them heading in that direction of there goin hit i dont know if that advice is of any help just abit of what i found did help he is alot better but still a loveable monster lol
    good luck

  13. #13
    jay+tyler Guest


    also i have to totally sympathise with you i hate going out with jayden he is so full on and you never know what he's goin get up to it can be totally embarresing i found if a child hit jayden i would say oh its alright jay dont worry bout it but when he done it i would go off so i guess sometimes toddlers have to sort it out but parents can be unprediactalble and ya hate the fact people are seeing what your son is doing and thinking oh look at that kid what a bugger its just a really hard thing to go through totally understand

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