Q&A: How do I stop my toddler from hitting?

Q: I have a quick question with probably no easy answer. Our son is three years old and he's exploded into a hellion almost overnight. Right now he is really having a problem with hitting. My first impulse, of course, being to reinforce the very behavior I don't want by slapping him back. Obviously, that won't help. Do you have any suggestions on what we can do to curb that? Or any websites that would offer some suggestions or resources? Thanks! —A Mom


Sorry to hear about the hitting. With our children we didn't have the "terrible twos" you so often hear about. Instead, we had the "terrible threes", so I can relate and feel for you.

Hitting at this age, however, is a very common stage and learning how to respond vs. react is key. You're right to reach out for help rather than go with the "eye for an eye" approach of slapping back.

Without knowing specific triggers, your child, the details of his environment or your relationship with each other naturally I can only make general recommendations (this is the work we can do in individual or couple's parent training) but hopefully these are still helpful.

First of all, get and read as a couple Parenting with Love and Logic. Make this your parenting Bible! You will be so glad you did!

Secondly, attend parenting workshops (like mine, of course!) on a regular basis—no need to recreate the parenting wheel.

Finally, here are a few articles that may be helpful, the first being the best:







Hope this helps. Hang in there, mom, you'll get through this and help your child in the process.

Keep me posted.