20 Month Old Discipline Hitting

23 Replies
jwhite - April 1

Last night my dd started liek smacking me when I got her out of her bath, like she thought it was funny. So i told her to quit and that she does not hit mommy. When she wouldn't stop I smacked her bottom and she hit me again and pulled my hair. So then I turned her over my knee with her bare butt and spanked her she then cried and tried to hit me again. IMO I don't think spanking is working it's only teaching her to hit me. Any suggestions?? I'm to my end I don't know what to do with her anymore for discipline, she thinks timeout is funny and spanking doesn't phase her or she'll hit me back. I dont' know where she learned the hitting but maybe from me spanking her. please help!!


Sophia - April 1

Is this the first time that she has hit you? How old is she? What you should do is anticipate the hitting and hold her arm when it comes toward you. Then you said loud and clear, "No hitting. You are hurting Mommy" And leave her alone to think about it (if she's very young, like 2 ). If this is consistent behavior on your part (Telling her and walking away) then she'll get that this is making you upset and learn to not hit you. I do the same to my daughter who's turned 2, and she rarely does it. In your place, I won't give her time to enjoy it. Otherwise she'll laugh and do it again.


in the woods - April 1

I love this quote: "I was an expert in raising kids until I became a parent." I just think it's funny that theoretically you are against spanking, yet when faced with an out-of-control toddler, in the moment, that seems a natural thing to do. I would not be too upset that the spanking went against your beliefs. To understand limits that they are trying, they need sometimes a shock lesson. You read about the mom who threw a cup of water in her daughter's face, didn't you? Sometimes we need to get through to the toddler, when nothing else works, and don't beat yourself up.


fefer1 - April 2

I think at this age they still don't understand consequences yet...my dd is almost 19 months old and has started the hitting thing too. I say NO really loud and grab her hand and tell her it's not nice to hit mommy. She usually gets upset and cries but I have to keep repeating it. Even when she "play" hits I have to tel her no so that she doesn't get confused. I think part of it is the stage they are in - and it won't last forever. I can't spank her for anything - even though my parents spanked me...I just can't do it! :) Oh, if she hits me say, with her tooth brush or a toy or something, I take the toy away/brush away.


J.J. - April 2

wow, jwhite, your kid is one tough cookie. Pretty wild that she hit you back. I think you reacted naturally. When my son bit me at 14 mos old, I bit him right back. I know alot of people frown upon that, but after two incidents (i bit back hard) he never did it again. I think that 20 mos old is old enough to understand good/bad, reward/punishment. That said, she doesn't seem to care that she's "hurting mommy." So what does she care about? Special foods, reading a book at bed time, certain toys, pacifier? She made you uncomfortable, try to do the same for her. If she doesn't respond to TO, take away something she cares about, until she somehow acknowledges that what she did was wrong.... It's easy for us to say "well, you just correct them right away, give them time out, explain no hitting.." etc etc, but as your daughter proves, not all kids are the same. Good luck and let us know what works.


jwhite - April 2

Well what I did was she went straight to bed instead of being able to stay up a little and playing with dad.


CoLark - April 2

I have a 25 mo. She went through a hitting phase around 18 months. I would correct her by asking her to show how she can touch Mama nicely. It was just attention-seeking on her part, and if you can play up the nice touching as much as you would react to hitting, they will learn. She outgrew it...for a while. If timeout doesn't work, try changing it a bit. Some kids do fine sitting in the corner, some need to be put in another room, away from you (like in a pack-n-play) to understand it. I would not resort to spanking--not all instincts are good. My toddler recently started hitting me again. I soon realized it was because I was watching Nanny 911, and she was emulating their behavior throughout the day as a way to get my attention! How funny is that! Since I have stopped watching it, she hasn't hit me! Some parents spank. I think there are plenty of things to try before doing that. I have never had to with my daughter, and she is very spirited. Boy, is it exhausting though. Good luck.


ErinP - April 3

My son has been hitting lately too when he gets upset about something. He's a little older, 28 months. He understands that it hurts mommy and daddy, but since he only does it when he's getting out of control it doesn't seem to make much difference. We started taking away a toy every time he hit, so now he understands that that will be the consequence, so as soon as he starts swinging we tell him what will be taken and he stops.


falafal0 - April 3

Really it's not serious. There's no motive behind it, she loves you and she's so young you shouldn't be hiting her, sorry but that's how I feel. Shouldn't hit a child, period, as much as you feel like it. And it is hard and boy you do feel like it some days! I've got five children almost 12, 9, 5 19 months and 4 months. My toddler has hit me a few times but if you get your 'grumpy' voice with him, he totally changes. No hitting, be gentle and take her hand and get her to stroke you hair. Smile and give her a kiss each time she does it. Don't hurt mummy, give me a hug...etc, jsut mvoe her attention away and do something else. It'll pa__s quickly :-)You can't tell a child to stop doing what you are already doing yourself. Only makes it worse as they get older - I know! :-) Good luck


Justine1 - April 3

Personally I don't hit my children who are 2 and 1 - I just couldn't do it and they're basically very good kids anyway. My DH hit my DD (2) for the first time the other day then she just went to hit him back - I think its just teaching her to copy her Dad (then he hugged her -lol!). My 1 year old thought it was hilarious his Dad hit his sister! I think you need to explain why you are doing something. When my daughter plays with her food it drives my DH mad and he just starts shouting and so she just shouts back. What I do is say to her eat your food properly or it'll be taken away. If she plays I take it away then say if you can eat it nicely you can have it back. If she plays again it gets taken until she eats nicely. She gets the message and doesn't generally argue back to me.


drea - April 3

my dd is 18 months and has been doing the hitting thing also. She thinks its funny when I say "dont hit mommy" sometimes I say "do you want mommy to hit you" or "do you like it when someone hits you" and she says No, so I say then you have to stop. If she doesnt stop a lightly slap her hand and say stop. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesnt. I think they just go through a phase at this age of testing their limits. I know my dd is :-)


J.J. - April 3

My son only tried hitting a couple times and was pretty easy to discipline. When he did, I'd tell him sternly, "you can hit the floor and hit yourself, but nobody else." This would always prompt him to pat himself on the head, in an experimental way, or squat down and pound the floor. I know it sounds silly, but giving him this option or outlet seemed to diffuse the situation.


jwhite - April 3

Thanks for all the suggestions but I do not need anyone telling me I shouldn't do this or that with my child. If you read my post you will realize that I do believe in spanking but right now I do not think it's working, that it's only teaching her to hit. So please next time read someones post clearly before posting. For everyone that has told me suggestions I appreciate you for not judging me and just giving me some other ideas and suggestions. Thank you and have a great day everyone!


Bridget - April 3

My son (25 months) hits on occasion and it's only me. Sometimes when we are being silly together (singing fast songs,tickling,etc.) and he does it in excitement, I act serious or even like it hurts my feelings, and he gets serious and stops. Once or twice he even cried when I made believe I cried.Then I tell him to show mommy niiiiice (you know the long niiiice) and he does. I feel like I am teaching empathy with this technique, which works at certain times. When I tell him to stop tasting the shopping cart and he goes to hit me, it's a way different motive and so he gets a sharp no hitting! and I hold his hands for a minute or two while we shop (which he hates, being restrained that is) and then when I let go, I just change the subject or whatever. The hitting the floor one is funny! They all grow out of it,eventually.


fefer1 - April 3

there are some good suggestions here - i like having them try to hit themselves to see how it feels. :) Might have to try that one sometime. I really do think a lot of it is a stage they go through but being consistent on the rules is pretty important. As for the spanking thing I don't think anyone has been judging here - personal opinions - but no judging. I have read though that it does teach them inconsistency - you tell them not to do something and yet you do it ... so what the right thing to do is up to each of us I guess. I just read that in my "what to expect the toddler years" the other day .And as to them remembering consequences, it does take some repet_tion for LO's to remember things. Just think about how many times you have to tell them to not touch the TV or to not throw their food on the floor. eventually they get it - but is usually doesn't happen over night.


J.J. - April 4

I got the idea of suggesting that he hit himself, when one day, he was petting the dog, but also sticking his finger near her eye. I told him, "don't poke her in the eye. you don't like it if someone pokes you in the eye..." Well, that prompted him to test it out. (he laughed but got the message regarding the dog.) Anyway, i just offered it with hitting as well. I'll just say hit the floor or hit yourself. He'll just pat himself on the head but he'll go to town on the floor. Also, he's got this Elmo workbench and he pounds the hell out of that with the hammer. And I sometimes encourage that too ("if you want to hit something, go to your workbench.").


mjvdec01 - April 4

I have used 'time-out' with my daughter since she was 18 months old and she definitlely got the message early on. It corrected her bahavior very quickly. She is now 26 months and is rarely in 'time-out', maybe 2 or 3 times a month at the max. She knew when she was 18 months that she was being punnished and why. We use the Supper Nanny method. One warning down on her level in a stern voice that isn't yelling, with no negative physical contact. If she does it again, at any point in the day we get down on her level again, tell her what she did wrong and tell her she is going to 'time-out' for it. We put her in a boring spot and make no eye contact and we do not speak to her. She stays there for 2 minutes (one minute for each year of age), When the time is up we go over to her, get down on her level again and tell her she can come out. She comes strait to us for a big hug. We then remind her again of why she was in 'time-out', and ask for an appology. Of course when she was younger she didn't respond when asked for an appology but we would still ask so she would get used to the routine. Also when she was younger we had to sit a few feet from her, facing her with our head turned away so we could gently guide her back in to the corner if she attempted to come out. I swear this method works, you just have to be extremely consistent.



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