Toddler Hitting

My two year old son has recently been hitting his older sister. I am concerned that he will really hurt her as he hits her over the head and sometimes uses toys. Time outs don’t seem to work. He definitely understands what he is doing. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!!

This is really tough, not only because you want to teach good behavior but you also don’t want your daughter to get hurt. Let’s see if @Drkarenweiss has any recommendations

Do you have a sense of why he’s hitting her? Or have you noticed when it’s happening/ what happened right before? Is it that he’s frustrated or angry with her? That he wants to play with her? Something else? Often two year-olds don’t have the words to express their feelings and to ask for what they want, and they resort to using their bodies in all sorts of ways to try to get their message across. Try to notice if there’s a pattern when it happens; this might help you figure out how to handle it. In general, though, I would first narrate for him what’s happening and how you think he’s feeling: “You want to play with that truck, but Sarah’s using it now. That makes you so mad!” This gets him used to the idea of figuring out how he’s feeling and putting words to his experience. Then give him another way of handling the situation. “If you want that toy, ask Sarah if you can have a turn. Or come find me and I will help you.” Communicate clearly that hitting is not OK. “But it’s never OK to hit. Hitting hurts. Look, Sarah is crying.” As he gets older and more able to express himself verbally, this will likely resolve itself. You may have to keep an extra eye on him when they’re together for now though!

Another thing to do is to give your daughter a strategy about what to do when she thinks he’s going to hit her. How old is she? This plan would depend on her age.

Great advice!! @MommaBear429 @mom2mz @laura @DreamComeTrueSleep @adashofdiscovery @Glamgrl @hannah2602 @RheaPT-WalkTalkPlay @redrose @Leona_Ziman_Kleinstein we’d love some other parents to offer some advice for this. Have any of you dealt with this?

Definitely agree with figuring out the function of the behaviour. Be sure to give a lot of verbal praise to all the positive behaviours your son shows too.

Its really hard when they’re using toys etc. I think the suggestion of narrating the situation is a really good one so that he is thinking through his actions and the consequences in a slower motion for his brain to process.

Also, I follow Big Little Feelings on IG and they say you can say yes to the feeling, but no to the action-so like…you feel angry at your sister, that’s ok, but you can’t hit. Would you like to hit the pillow or stomp your feet instead? or would you like to play with your sister or you want to play separately? I have found that giving those choices at the end is super helpful at getting past the moment and moving on without ignoring the feeling.

My kids do this to each other all the time!!! I have been told to give all the love and attention to the child being hurt and less attention to the culprit of the moment (cause in my house it can change by the minute). Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but it could be worth a try

Thank you so much!! There’s definitely no pattern…sometimes its when his sister doesn’t share (she’s almost 4) and sometimes its when they are randomly playing together. it just makes me nervous because he picks up toys and smacks her over the head! Im nervous that he’s really going to hurt her.

thanks so much! Ill try that!

Thanks!!! All of the advice has been really helpful! Going to try all of these tips

thanks!! she’s almost four, its hard to think of a strategy because it comes out of nowhere