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Old 03-08-2010, 03:19 PM   #1
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DD won't stop hitting DS

I am about at my rope's end with my 18 month old DD. She will not stop hitting my 5 year old DS! Sometimes it's in play and she just gets too rough, so we reiterate no hitting, be gentle, saying sorry. But most of the time she just walks up and smacks him for no reason at all! Sometimes it's with her hand, sometimes she gets an object to hit him with. Just a few minutes ago she went into the spare bedroom, picked up a candle that is in a box, came out into the living room and whacked DS on the arm with it. Most of the time she'll just come up behind him and whack him on the head. She doesn't hit anyone else; not me or DH, and none of the other kids we often see during MOMS Club events. She's gentle with our cat, too. Mostly she just ignores the cat. I don't know it is, but she just has it in for DS.

Whenever she hits, we immediately stop whatever is going on, get down on her level, firmly tell her, "No hitting! You hurt Nikko!" while signing "hurt" and pointing to where she just hit him. Then we tell her, "Be gentle," which she follows by gently rubbing her hand on DS (so she knows what "be gentle" means). If she hits him again shortly thereafter, she goes into time out on a chair in the corner, for about a minute. She stays in the chair, facing the wall, and cries her fake little cry, so she knows she's in trouble.

We do not do any spanking or hitting in our family, so it's not like she sees us and thinks it's acceptable to hit people. I don't know what else we can do, because it's not working! Poor DS is going to get his skull cracked one of these days when she is strong enough to grab a really heavy toy to hit him with.

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Old 03-08-2010, 03:57 PM   #2
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Re: DD won't stop hitting DS

My LO does this, too, though much less now than in the past. Is there any consistency to when/why she does it? My DS LOVED the reaction out of my daughter (a shriek, usually). He'd laugh as soon as she shrieked. If she didn't, he'd try again (if I didn't get to them quickly enough).

Often ot was an indication he needed some rough-housing. Or attention from me. Sometimes he was trying to get her attention so they'd play.

Tryinhg to keep on top of it was the best thing I could do. If he was wandering around acting bored, finding something to engage him with, even if it was just "helping" me do whatever I was doing. Making sure I was doing some rough-housing every hour or so has also helped. And, sadly, I think part of it was just time and giving him better tools to cope--like, now he can ask her to play.
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Old 03-08-2010, 06:49 PM   #3
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Re: DD won't stop hitting DS

It if is only with him then I would think it is just for attention. Are there many activities or games the two of them can play together? Seems like she is wanting attention from him and doesn't know any other way to get it and doesn't know how to play with him appropriately. I would concentrate on teaching her what is okay to do with her big brother.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:42 PM   #4
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Re: DD won't stop hitting DS

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Originally Posted by doodah View Post
It if is only with him then I would think it is just for attention. Are there many activities or games the two of them can play together? Seems like she is wanting attention from him and doesn't know any other way to get it and doesn't know how to play with him appropriately. I would concentrate on teaching her what is okay to do with her big brother.
This is totally my 20 month old! This must be kind of a phase that many go through until the can really know/communicate better what they want to do.
Generally for us it happens mainly when my 3 y.o. wants to play on his own, but Aaron wants to continue playing with him.
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Old 03-08-2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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Re: DD won't stop hitting DS

I think you may be right. It generally happens when DD is just kind of wandering around on her own and DS is reading or playing by himself. I'll try to get them engaged together or get DD involved with what I'm doing when I see her approaching him or after hitting him, and see if that helps things!
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:15 AM   #6
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Re: DD won't stop hitting DS

I don't have good experience with hitting directed at only one person/sibling, but one thing I would do is stop the warnings. She clearly knows at this point that hitting isn't allowed. But, she also knows she can do it at least once before she gets put in time out. I'd start putting her in time out the first time she does it rather than giving the firm "no" first. To me, once my kids, even at 18 months, clearly know not to do something, there is no longer a need for a warning, especially if it involves hitting or safety issues.
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