Reader Question:

Our son is 18 months and has started to hit whenever he doesn’t get his own way. We have told him that it is unkind and makes us sad but he carries on doing it anyway. What can I do? thanks.

Reader Responses:
1. A firm no, give him a sit on the spot time out, make him stay there for 2 mins with no interaction, put him back if he moves with another firm ‘no, sit down’. Be consistent, regardless of where you are or else he will think he’s not allowed to do it at home but can do it when we’re out and about.

2. Babies are babies, I don’t believe they understand time out at 18 months (I have 18 month old twins and one is a hitter), I do a gentle no and then gentle hands, so stroke rather then hit demonstrating with his hand and explain that hitting hurts, I also ask him
To say sorry which he does with a hug, he has defo calmed down with the hitting but as others have said its frustration I assume from a lack of communication skills so prob not that much you can do until communication gets better. You need to find a way that works for you and your little one, maybe try a few approaches till you find one that your comfortable with but I think it’s a phase that will last a while.

3. Listen to all the advice and try everything. However be prepared for it just to last a couple of years. Sorry to be dismal. Terrible two’s. Troublesome threes. Their pushing boundaries and unable to express or deal with emotions. They do grow out of it and I think the key to dealing with it is knowing that it won’t last forever.

4. It’s often caused by frustration when my boy can’t articulate what he needs or how he’s feeling. A firm ‘No’ but don’t dwell on it, then try to distract. I don’t think empathy & sympathy kick in until they are a bit older.

5. When my little one first hit me I pretended to cry, he got upset that he had upset me so much and after that if he hits I simply say ‘remember that hurts people’ and he hugs me and says sorry.

6. At that age repetition is the key. As zoe trigg says firm no goes along way. Then ignore him completely during time out. It is difficult. If u have a play pen remove the toys and use that as the time out as it does contain them safely. And while out if there is no where safe just pop him between your legs so he cant wriggle and again ignore him. It has to be consistent. No one should “ah” or giggle as this sends mixed messages. Kids need (and like) firm boundaries. Good luck it will pass shortly.

7. My boys 15 months old and we have started using time out because he bites us. I sit him in the same spot and say no biting in a firm voice and he has to sit there for 1 minute (I do a minute for the age of the child so if he was 2 I’d give him 2 minutes time out ect) and if he moves I put him back and the minute starts again. He’s soon got used to it and I make him hug whoever he’s hurt so he’s saying sorry! I agree about being consistent when you out and about too xxx