My sweet toddler is hitting

 My sweet toddler is hitting people | Honeycomb Moms | My son Donovan and I joined the rest of our family for a beautiful vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Donovan started hitting a few weeks after we got back. I think it had less to do with the trip and more to do with him getting closer to 1-year old, | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM My sweet toddler is hitting people | Honeycomb Moms | My son Donovan and I joined the rest of our family for a beautiful vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Donovan started hitting a few weeks after we got back. I think it had less to do with the trip and more to do with him getting closer to 1-year old, | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM

The time has come. I knew it would happen sooner or later, but I never imagined it would be this soon.

My sweet baby, Donovan, is starting to hit people, mainly me.

Now, I don’t think he’s doing it to hurt others. He slaps then smiles, seemingly unaware of the effects of his actions.

I think to him, he’s just playing, but to me, hitting is unacceptable.

So when Donovan starting hitting, I immediately began reading up on some age-appropriate strategies. I found one in a Parents magazine article that I wanted to test.

Consequences for toddlers hitting people

Ari Brown, MD, author of Toddler 411, shared a three-step process rooted in the idea of introducing consequences to actions.

I followed it. I established a rule: “we don’t hit mommy.”

I threatened a consequence: “When you hit mommy, mommy’s not going to play with you.”

Then, I followed up with action when Donovan ignored the threat. I turned away from him for 60 seconds.

Then, I told him again, “we don’t hit mommy,” and I gave him a hug.

I tried this again and again, and Donovan just found other things to do to entertain himself in that minute.

He’s very independent, so withholding my attention just isn’t a consequence he cares much about.

I tried putting him in his crib as a consequence, but that only bothers him a solid 20 seconds before he finds other ways to entertain himself in his crib.

It’s a blessing and a curse.

 My sweet toddler is hitting people | Honeycomb Moms | My son Donovan and I joined the rest of our family for a beautiful vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Donovan started hitting a few weeks after we got back. I think it had less to do with the trip and more to do with him getting closer to 1-year old, | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM My sweet toddler is hitting people | Honeycomb Moms | My son Donovan and I joined the rest of our family for a beautiful vacation in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Donovan started hitting a few weeks after we got back. I think it had less to do with the trip and more to do with him getting closer to 1-year old, | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM

The discipline approach that finally worked:

I was seriously running out of ideas when Donovan hit me yet again, this time, with his daddy sitting next to us.

“No, we don’t hit mommy,” my husband said calmly.

Donovan scrunched his face up and cried his eyes out in a way that he hadn’t before. He seemed hurt not just frustrated or impatient.

I intentionally didn’t scoop him up immediately. I wanted to show him a united front. So I repeated my husband and said, “we don’t hit mommy.” Then, I gave my son a hug and told him we love him but that he couldn’t hit me.

I felt bad to see his feelings hurt but also relieved to finally have an alternative to spankings.

Dad voice is real, and it works.

Varying my discipline strategies

I also refuse to rely on that alone. Donovan needs to listen to both his parents, and I can’t get down with using my husband as the sole threatening force.

That’s problematic in more ways than one.

So after talking to my mom in education administration, I changed my approach.

Instead of focusing on the hitting, I focus on teaching Donovan the concept of being gentle.

He hits me, and I get down to eye-level with him, softly grab his hand and say: “That’s not gentle. We have to be gentle with others.”

Then, I graze his face, and he mimics that action.

I call it progress, but the hitting hasn’t stopped.

Apparently, that’s normal.

“Expect to repeat yourself 20 times or more — especially if you’ve been inconsistent in the past,” Dr. Brown told Parents magazine.

I’ll repeat myself as many times as I need to, and I’ll try my best to be patient.

I’m sure I’m in for a long haul, but I won’t be giving up anytime soon.

I’m Donovan’s mother, and it’s my job to teach him right from wrong. I don’t take that lightly.

 My sweet toddler is hitting people | Honeycomb Moms | Just before my son turned 1 year old, he started hitting me and even hit another child during a playgroup. I acted swiftly and found discipline strategies to stop him from hitting. My goals were to introduce consequences for his actions and correct the behavior by being consistent instead of spanking him, | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM

My sweet toddler is hitting people | Honeycomb Moms | Just before my son turned 1 year old, he started hitting me and even hit another child during a playgroup. I acted swiftly and found discipline strategies to stop him from hitting. My goals were to introduce consequences for his actions and correct the behavior by being consistent instead of spanking him, | LAUREN FLOYD / INFO@HONEYCOMBMOMS.COM

16 thoughts on “My sweet toddler is hitting”

  1. toddler hitting, My sweet toddler is hitting

    Thank you for sharing this! I am also going through the same thing with my 18 month old son. He has been hitting, scratching himself and me. I have tried putting him in his crib as a "time-out" but it only backfired he would hit himself even more from being upset.
    So now I am trying to show him other ways to express his emotions and also to be more gentle. We’ll see how it goes.
    Best of luck ?
    Carolina from adoseofmotherhood

  2. toddler hitting, My sweet toddler is hitting

    I remember this stage with my son, my daughter didn’t experience this. I acted like I was really hurt and crying. I think he cried because he saw me crying. But it got his attention and then I would tell him "don’t hurt mommy".

  3. toddler hitting, My sweet toddler is hitting

    Hmm… I’m trying to remember if I experienced this with my boys but I guess not. Honestly, if it did, I probably just didn’t pay it much attention. The toddler years were a blur LOL

  4. toddler hitting, My sweet toddler is hitting

    Awww! My little brother was hitting when he was a toddler too. Just like you, my parents used similar strategies to get him to stop! Donovan with be fine I’m sure ❤️

  5. toddler hitting, My sweet toddler is hitting

    I was pretty fortunate that my girl never really had this stage. Toddlers just try out diff ways to express. I am glad you found a non aggressive solution.

  6. toddler hitting, My sweet toddler is hitting

    He is so cute with his chunky cheeks. I’m sorry to hear that he is hitting, but you are countering his behavior with the proper instruction and positive reinforcement.

  7. toddler hitting, My sweet toddler is hitting

    He is so cute. Great topic. I don’t have children but this is a common problem with children hitting. Glad to see you are trying things to see what works with your child. Yes, I notice kids listen to daddy and not mommy. Glad you are not relying solely on that concept as daddy will not always be around. Good luck

  8. toddler hitting, My sweet toddler is hitting

    He’s so cute! I find that a daddy’s voice definitely does the trick, lol. I don’t have kids yet, but this makes me think of when my sister had to deal with it with my nephew, and I also have to sometimes tell him and my niece what not to do (as far as be nice to each other, be gentle, etc).

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