Ian\'sdad 's picture

2 year old hitting

Hello, I am new to this site and thought I would try it out.  I have a 2 year old boy who is wonderful most of the time, very friendly and outgoing.  However (as with most 2 year olds) he is very impatient and when my wife holds him or is working on his meal or getting him a snack he tends to slap her and this morning gave her a real whollop in the face (made her start to cry!).  I do not know where he picked up this behaviour but I need this to STOP asap.  I do not want him to think this is acceptable behavior and obviously the knee-jerk reaction is to yell stop it or no - not nice!  PLEASE can anyone offer advice??  He won't sit still in a chair if I try to put him there, but perhaps when he does this or something unacceptable to place him in his crib and walk away for a few minutes (obviously then telling him that was not nice and time for a time out)?  If so, how can I prevent him associating his crib with punishment?  PLEASE HELP!!  Thanks

gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

My little Zach wouldn't sit still for time out, so I would sit with him on my lap, but I would ignore him.  No eye contact, I wouldn't respond to the sounds he made.  About 2 min time out for a 2 year old, 3 min for a 3 year old... like that.  I also think that an occasional genuine response, like yelling "Knock it off!"  is kind of good for a kid.

jsf418's picture

Hi there!  First of all, try not to completely stress about it.  This is normal for this age.  My daughter is 2 1/2 and still does this at times.  When this happens with us, we get down to her level; tell her there is absolutely no hitting; we tell her that hurts us; we have her apologize to us; and give her another way to get our attention or express her frustration.  She tends to respond well to that. I find that she thinks time outs are a game and she does better with the conversation and the redirection.  We also try to watch for the cues that may set her off.  If you know your son gets impatient during meal time, make a point to recognize his frustration and say thank you to him for not hitting and tell him he is doing well using his words.  I do think most of these things are phases and with time, patience and consistency, they will go away. Good luck.

gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

I had another thought, too.  If this does happen mostly at meal times it could be a blood sugar problem.  Try giving him a protein snack about an hour before meal time, that way he will be hungry enough to eat something, maybe, at mealtime, but he won't be operating on low blood sugar.  2 year-olds and food,  I think that's the BIG battle.

MBeth's picture

Ian's Dad -
I have 4 grown children, have a degree in Early Childhood Education and 22+ years in the Childcare field.
Please believe me when I say....be careful of all the "techniques" out there.  The best very basic advice I have for you is to remember above all else - YOU are the parent and he is the child.
At this age you can not, must not, try to be his friend and try to win his love and acceptance.  It is your job to be his  authority.  Authority with love and respect, but he  needs to learn to respect and listen to you. We are all afraid of two words in this present generation and those words are "NO" and "obedience".
Parenting can be easier if you show unconditional love to your child and give him strong and consistant boundaries and insist that he obeys  you.

It is NOT acceptable for a child to ever hit his mother.It's really strange in today's society that spanking is taboo but children get away with hitting their parents all the time. Ian cant hit his mother or father. He needs to learn respect. Remember that a 2 year old's world revolves around him. He did not learn hitting from anyone except his own human nature. You need to train that nature to know where the boundaries are, and one of those boundaries is to never hit his parents. When his attitude is getting to that point, first try to redirect his attention to something he likes, not as a reward but a dirversion. If he is persistant, and he begins to hit or does hit mom. Grab his hand firmly (not hurting him) get down to his level and say "NO, you may not hit mommy!" and then turn him away and let him cry or direct his attention to something else. If he repeats the hitting, do the same. This time after telling hime "NO, you many not hit mommy!" put him in a chair. If he leaves it put him back. Repeat as many times as you need to until he stays. Remember that you can not reason with a 2 year old. He doesn't care if it hurts mommy. He doesn't understand a speech about hurting the world. He just needs to know that that action is unacceptable and he can not do it. You do not need to give this a title like "time out". Just do it. Do not use his crib because that should be his comfortable little safe haven at bed time.
If you need more information on exactly how to do those basic things, I would be glad to elaborate via email

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Sounds like she likes the attention, even if it's negative. Have you tried positive reinforcement? Also, start taking things away from her if she hits/pulls hair. Expl: Your daughter grabs hair at Wiggles concert, you leave concert. Daughter gets upset and hits you, you take something else away, and so forth.
You may want to supply your daughter w/ as many things to keep her occupied as you can. The distraction may keep her mind off of hitting or pulling hair. Maybe get her a doll w/ hair she can brush, rather than pull. It cld teach her how to better treat others by learning to care for this doll. Hope this helps.

MiniMom2424's picture

Thanks for this information MBeth. I have been going through the hitting, kicking, spitting right now with my 2 1/2 year old. I agree with everything you've said about the tough love. I have been working on it right now and hoping that the firm/strict time outs would help. We use to spank him, but we found that he would hit me back if I spanked him. So we have stopped that and just started sticking with the time outs. If he got up, we put him back. It's a tough time right now but I know that it takes time, but I've noticed a big change this past weekend from him. It's going to take more to change his ways and I don't expect him to be 100%. He is a 2 year old. But I just want him to respect me and the ladies at the day care. Thanks for your guidance MBeth, I thought I was doing everything all wrong but know I know that I may be on the right path with him.

ivaparents's picture

We have worries about our two year old daughter. She is not speaking clear words. She gets frustrated when she can not say what she wants. She is in a bilingual family. I am American and her mother is Japanese. My wife speaks Japanese to her all day and I speak english in the evening. Should we seek professional assistance or be patient?



concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

I think this is pretty common w/ children in bilingual homes. Did your daughter just turn 2? At this age, you can't expect kids to pronounce words perfectly. However, if your daughter's only saying a few words, or she seems to have a problem understanding things, then I'd voice my concern to her dr. Down the road, if you don't see any improvements, you can always get a speech eval. You might also want to get your daughter's ears ck'd to make sure there's no problem w/ her hearing. I wldn't worry too much, though. Most likely the issue is w/ the different languages spoken at home. This can be confusing your daughter, and therefore it may be slowing down her speech development.

acitez's picture

But do continue to have both parents speak their native language. I grew up not far from a reservation. The children who spoke Navajo at home spoke better English than the children whose parents spoke broken English in front of the children. These parents who wanted their children to learn English did their best, some of them stopped speaking Navajo when their kids were very small, which meant that their children learned that "movie Indian" staccato style of speech.

tharretk's picture
A child would have no idea what hitting is at 2 unless he was hit