Ashley Mozingo

Hi everyone! My name is Ashley, and I am a stay at home mom to two girls, Paislee, 3 and Keely, 1. My husband is in the Coast Guard, and is currently stationed at a Coast Guard unit on Camp Lejune. We have been married for five years now and have spent two of those years in Alaska, where Paislee was born, and two in Maine, where we had Keely. We were lucky to get stationed here in 2012, and call North Carolina "home". We were both born and raised in different cities in eastern North Carolina, and we are super excited to get to spend some time here with our girls and introduce them to some of our favorite places that we had as children. Before I met my husband, I attended East Carolina University, where I earned my Bachelors Degree in Communications. I have a love for writing, and a huge passion for being a mom, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to write about my experiences and exciting moments of this rocky ride that we all call 'Motherhood'.

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Toddler Frustration And Hitting

Sayle has always been very vocal in expressing his dislike regarding certain decisions that are made for him like; coming inside, taking a bath, getting out of the bath, not letting him eat dirt, and going to bed.  Basically we are pretty aware of where he stands and what he thinks of us blocking his fun or toddler-good-time.

I’ve blogged about temper tantrums before, remember, I love them.  I’m totally okay with the screaming and crying. BUT, as Sayle approaches the terrible twos, he’s adding some flare to these temper tantrums in the form of hitting-which I’m absolutely not okay with.

photo from Better Parenting

When I say “hitting,” I don’t mean like taking a full swing at something, I mean he slaps at something like the furniture or the wall or slaps at me or my husband-but hitting is hitting in my opinion.  He’s not hitting to get our attention, he’s not hitting because he’s just playing rough, he’s hitting because he is angry and frustrated.  The hitting is usually coupled with some stomping of the feet (kind of like a hard version of the running man), a shrieking noise, and then crying.

He is quick to hit the wall or furniture, but I think he actually thinks before and after he goes for me or my husband as he pauses before he does it and has this wide eyed look afterwards. Almost like he’s thinking to himself, I know I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m so mad I just can’t help myself” and afterwards its ‘Oh gosh, I’m in trouble now!”  Sayle got me really good once in the face while I was putting him in his car seat against his will.  It shocked the daylights out of me and I literally had to take a moment to check myself so I didn’t react in anger.

I’ve done some research on how to redirect the little angel’s behavior and discussed it with my husband to ensure we are on the same page and that Sayle will get the same reaction from both of us.  First of all, we both agree that he’s doing it out of anger.  Toddlers also hit to get reactions from adults or other children and they repeat behavior to see if they get the same reaction, but that’s not what we are seeing.  We are correcting the behavior no matter where we are.  If Sayle starts slapping at things during a temper tantrum in public, we still do a time out.  Again, hitting is hitting and we will send Sayle mixed messages if the behavior isn’t addressed in public but addressed in our home.

We also grab his hands when he hits and tell him very sternly “NO HITTING!  Hitting hurts, we don’t hit _____(whatever or whoever).

I also read where it is important to show toddlers mad rather than sad, and I agree.  I have found that Sayle actually reacts to my stern voice and stern look rather than a pretend cry, which he thinks is a joke anyways.

Finally, I’m a bit torn on the time out scenario.  Some people say you should remove yourself from the toddler, especially if you’re the mother, because toddlers are scared of being removed from their moms and the removal from the parent is actually the impacting part of the time out for the toddler.  I do not remove myself from Sayle when he’s in time out.  I may stand a few steps away from him with my stern look on my face, but I’m not going to remove myself completely like walking to a different room while he’s in time out to make an impact.  What we are doing now appears to be getting the message across well enough.  After the time out, I repeat my discussion on no hitting, hitting hurts and then I ask him to show me gentle hands.

I know that he’s frustrated when he doesn’t get his way, it is frustrating to everyone, but the hitting is simply unacceptable.  I feel that it is exceptionally important to get a hold of this now, as I don’t want to have issues with him hitting as he gets older.

How have you dealt with your toddler hitting?

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3 Comments on “Toddler Frustration And Hitting”

  • Judy March 16th, 2011 10:57 pm

    There were only a few times that I ever caught my toddlers hitting. This was years ago as my children are now 22 and 16; however, some things will never change. Monkey see, monkey do. First things first. I was very fussy about who my children played with. I never allowed my children to play with kids where the other mom did not believe in some sort of corrective action plan. In other words, I wasn’t going to correct my child if she wasn’t going to do the same.

    Secondly, one must be consistent so the child gets the same message and understands that this is unacceptable. Really. After a while, if you commit to staying on top of this the problem will go away, I promise. It can however be exhausting. “No,” means no. And sternly. Give it a try. It can be a battle of wills, but you must win at all costs. Buttons will be pushed, but push back. You have to.

  • Stu Pearson March 17th, 2011 3:47 am

    Hi there,
    Thankfully my two are well grown and we are away from that problem, but we did have it and just lately one of our best friend’s’ grandchildren have started with the hitting behavior.
    i have successfully helped them and (so far) they are free of the problem and have a great relationship with their toddler.

    I decided to put up some information to see if I could help other people too.

    I made a Squdoo lens at http://www.squidoo.com/my-toddler-is-hitting

    Now this might give you some ideas to start with. You can click through from there to my website at http://www.mytoddlerhitting.com

    There’s a link there to a very useful ebook that my friends’ kids found very helpful for their child, so I can recommend it.

    Good luck and remember – they do grow up.

  • Brooke Brooke March 17th, 2011 6:58 pm

    Hi Judy-
    Yes, it is exhausting, but I’m fully commited to correcting this behavior NOW. I feel that if it is not corrected, obviously the problem will only worsen. That is a good point about not correcting if the other mom doesn’t correct, but don’t you think that regardless of what the other kid was doing, if you believe it no hitting, then NO hitting. I totally get what you’re saying though, it totally sends mixed messages if one gets in trouble and the other doesn’t. I wouldn’t allow Sayle to play with a toddler who hits, which is why I don’t want him to be a toddler who hits!!!
    You are so right, this is a complete battle of the wits right now. Sayle is feeling his independence, becoming very opinionated, and testing out how far he can push things, which is exactly why we need to be on top of it.
    Since I have been correcting this consistently, when I tell him “NO HITTING” he stops hitting, but he cries louder and harder. I’m totally fine with that as I think he gets older and can communicate better, the crying will lessen as well. Did your kids do the same when you corrected them?

    Stu-thank you so much for the information!!! Your help is greatly appreciated!!! I am going to start digging now! Please check back to see if we have any questions! I have a feeling I’m not the only one going thru this right now!!!

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