How do I stop my 18-month-old grandson from hitting out?

Categories: Behaviour | Boys | Tantrums | Toddler


How can I stop my 18-month-old grandson from slapping his mum, dad and his grandmother when he does not get his own way? Other times, for no apparent reason, he slaps and kicks them even when he does not appear to be upset. He also has a habit of throwing things. Any advice to curb this behaviour would be welcome.

It would be interesting to observe these interactions to see if there is any pattern to when your grandson hits. Also, how do the adults react, or respond, to this behaviour currently? Because your grandson is only 18-months-old, he doesn’t require any punishment, or harsh consequence for hitting. He just needs to be stopped from striking out.

Telling him to stop is not enough. We need to have a stern, commanding tone to our voice when saying “stop”, but we also need to back up the command with action, doing something (like moving out of reach, gently but firmly holding his hands, or legs) that actually stops him, such that he learns that he is simply not allowed to hit or kick.

Because he has built up a habit of hitting out, he may need repeated interventions, of clear verbal direction to stop, allied with some action to make him stop. Be willing and prepared to give lots of positive attention to his good behaviour too, as this will act as a nice, supportive, counterbalance to those times when you have to be firm and stern.