"As children grow older, parents must give them greater freedom, including greater freedom to make mistakes. "

How to Stop Mommy-Hitting Toddler


Hi there, my 22 month old likes to slap/hit me when he's upset. At home I've started using timeout, which helps. What do I do when I do when he does it in public? I've read Making the Terrible Two's Terrific and have tried speaking to him beforehand of not hitting. I'm just not sure on what to do when he starts slapping me in public. I try holding his arms down, in which he starts head-butting me. Thank you!


Hello, and thank you for your question. Since it is NEVER okay for a child to hit a parent, this is a behavior that must be handled decisively and quickly. You may have to end your excursion mid-way through in order to send a clear message to your little one. That means abandoning the shopping cart or leaving the event early in order to sequester your son in a place where he can not try to hurt you, and explaining to him the reason that the outing had to end.

I also suggest teaching him a sign for "I'm really mad." You can research American Sign Language, or make one up yourself. Sometimes, our toddlers resort to physicality because they don't yet have the words to communicate their feelings (which compounds their anger). Having another way to express himself can give him an option when he's angry.

Wishing you painless and happy days ahead!

Wendy Faucett
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach
Facebook: Love & Leadership Parent Coaching

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