View Full Version : Problems with Slapping
04-03-2008, 11:45 AM
My 9 month old has recently started slapping me in the face. He usually does it when he gets really excited while I'm playing with him but occasionally he'll do it when he gets upset or frustrated. I've tried tapping his hand and saying no very sternly but he just keeps doing it. I've also tried taking his hand and stroking my face with it and saying in a calm voice, nice, nice but that's not working either. Any ideas?
04-03-2008, 12:14 PM
Have you tried stopping your play session and just putting him down? That's what I've seen suggested for babies who bite while nursing.
04-03-2008, 12:23 PM
Try to remember that at this age children do not yet have impulse control. He doesn't understand what you mean when you tap his hand. It's up to you to teach him that when he starts slapping, play ends. Ending the play is a really helpful suggestion. Also, what you are already doing, take his hand, stroke your face lightly and say "Nice touch, only nice touch," may help. Good luck.
04-03-2008, 03:42 PM
I have to agree with everyone else here! I've always been told that with that young of a child, just put him down and walk away, that will eventually give him the connection "When I slap mommy, mommy won't play". And I do like the idea of what you're already doing by taking his hand and stroking your face with it. He may not understand words yet at his age but he will understand actions. Just remember that it will take time, he's young and repitition is everything at that age. Good Luck!
04-03-2008, 09:34 PM
My daughter does the SAME THING! But she is learning. I firmly say, "No pat!" or "No hitting!" and she shakes her head because she understands that that means no. I will also hold her arms down while I say it, so she can't hit while I'm saying it. She still tries to hit sometimes but no nearly as often. It seems to be working.
04-04-2008, 10:41 AM
I think all children learn this bad habit. My daughter has been hitting for quite some time. We handle it by first and foremost giving her an alternative - we firmly tell her "No hitting" and then "Nice hands" and I'll stroke my cheek with her open hand, then in turn stroke her cheek with my open hand. It helps a lot, and just makes me melt when I say "Nice hands" and she reaches up to caress my cheek oh so sweetly. Of course, not always the case. She is in a defiant stage and will push the boundaries a lot. Hitting is now a no warning infraction. If I warn her not to hit, a lot of times I see that actually gives her the idea to do just that. So, anytime she hits, pushes, or bites it is an automatic time out (she is 17mo old). If she throws a toy, it is taken away. Physical violence is not tolerated, but we have to give her alternatives. A lot of time she isn't hitting to be mean, just to express herself or get my attention. Its up to us as parents to give her other means of doing that without hurting anyone. I've also had to tell the daycare that her hitting is not tolerated. She can be quite the little bully to the other kids; she is an only child. So the daycare is doing well in enforcing timeouts without warning per our instructions.
06-10-2008, 06:29 PM
My eleven month-old also occasionally slaps or smacks the top of my chest. I have found immediately putting her down with a "no hitting" admonition to be very effective. She does not like to be deprived of mommy contact and will usually be nice for the next few hours. The other side of that is to try to remember to give her immediate positive interaction and feedback when she is being gentle and interacting nicely. That way she doesn't feel the need to get my attention in a negative fashion. She is always thrilled by the positive interaction. Too bad it's harder to remember that than when you've just been smacked. We just keep trying I guess.
06-10-2008, 11:03 PM
I also had this problem along with slapping there was bitting. I simply stoped what we were doing and looked my daughter in her eyes and said, "Ouch thats called hitting and that hurts! We don't hit!" If she continued the behavior I told her I would not play with her if she was going to hit or bite then I followed through and if she did it again I ignored her until she was upset that I was ignoring her, usually only a few seconds to a minute. I then told her that I loved playing with her when she didnt bite or hit. Obviously I've had to do this many times but it has worked.
06-12-2008, 06:23 PM
I love all these responses and suggestions, and they all make sense if the child is doing the slapping out of the blue or maybe as a reaction to frustration, and in fact I used most of them with my older boys, but my problem is that I am getting slapped in the face as part of a tantrum. My fifteen-month-daughter has started slapping me when I pick her up to remove her from a situation, usually when it's time to go and she doesn't want to. Although my boys started their tantrums at age eighteen months or later, my daughter evidently plans to bless me by doing everything earlier (sarcasm), and her tantrums are epic. I know I've dealt with tantrums now for the better part of six years, but it feels new again with her, especially the slapping. Any advice?
06-12-2008, 11:04 PM
For the slapping out of frustration, I would try kissing. When my daughter was a little over a year and a half she didn't have enough words to communicate her feelings. She started biting. We tried so many things-- to no avail.
We found out it helps to have a "replacement behavior." I told her, "Don't bite-- kiss." Then I would kiss her all over. This was a good replacement to the hitting because it was something physical that she could understand and it got our attention (as opposed to the attention-seeking hitting). Kissing your child will also help to divert his attention and take advantage of the minute attention spans of this age group.
For tantrums, I really like the "Super Nanny" time-out approach. You set clear expectations and stay consistent. It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better.
06-13-2008, 12:49 PM
When I originally heard about this phenomenon I didn't think much about it, until it happened to me. I was surprised at how hard my 9 month old daughter could hit! My pediatrician recommended just setting her down and turning away. No need to leave the room. Setting her down abruptly, but gently, and diverting my attention was enough. It only took a few times for her to catch on!
06-13-2008, 01:58 PM
Take his hand and tell him with a BIG frown,"No, cheeks are for kissing NOT hitting." Then kiss his hand, and put it to his cheek If he does it again, I would put him down, and walk away. Each time his slaps you repeat the phrase, and then put him down so he recognizes that mommy won't play with him when he does that! This method worked very well with my cheek pincher! Within a week, the habit had ceased!
06-13-2008, 02:06 PM
It's working! My son is 11 months old now and I think he finally has caught on- slapping means no playtime with Mommy! I've been working on this now for about 2 months and the other day he slapped me, I set him down and walked about 3 feet away from him and sat down, he stood there for a minute and cried, then walked over to me and gave me a big hug and just stroked my cheek, it was sooo sweet! Just to let anybody else know who's having problems with this issue, keep working on it, eventually they'll get it!
06-14-2008, 04:24 PM
That's really wonderful and what a nice way to say he was sorry. I'm glad things are working out.
06-15-2008, 09:24 AM
when my 9 month old slaps it is usually because she is over excited and just doesn't know what she is doing. so i show her what she can hit, a drum, the floor, my hand (high five) in a possitive manner, no need to be negative since she is not hitting out of aggression. Also taking her hand and showing her how to touch mommys face nicely should help to stop the hitting.
06-15-2008, 12:16 PM
When my daughter was 11 months old she use to pinch me then laugh when I screamed and laugh even more when I told her off. My mom suggested to just ignore it, so the pinching continued another couple of days and I just pretended I hadn't notice she'd done it. She soon stopped. So my advice is to ignore the slapping and hopefully that will work. Good Luck!
06-15-2008, 04:24 PM
janamac, you made the magazine! :) Page 10 of the July issue. I just got mine in the mail yesterday, and thought I'd let you know. Cool!
06-15-2008, 05:09 PM
When my daughter (now 22 months) went through this phase, I would grab both of her hands and look her in the eyes (or face) and sternly tell her "No. We don't hit. We love. Hitting is owwie. You gave me an owwie" and she would give me a hug and a kiss, and usually tell me she was sorry and she loves me. Now it is really not much of a problem anymore!
Good luck, HTH
06-16-2008, 10:58 PM
I would only correct if they are slapping out of anger or frustration. Then say in a stern voice, "no hitting" and put them in their crib or play pen and walk out of the room. Set a kitchen timer for a minute or two then go back in and say, "tell mommy sorry." If they're too young to say it you can take their hand and have them sign it. (closed fist making a circle on their chest)
06-17-2008, 12:31 AM
This is like dejavu for me. When my now 14 month old son began slapping me at 9 months, I was at a lost as to what to do. I then got the idea to re-direct him whenenver he proceeded to slap me. I would take his hand and rub it softly against my cheek repeating "nice nice", and then he would smile and try to mimick it himself. After repeatedly doing this, he was programmed to respond to the phrase "nice nice" by rubbing me or himself softly on the cheek and thus ended the embarassing slapping phase.
06-17-2008, 11:21 AM
myboysmom, thanks for letting me know! Is it the Parenting magazine or Babytalk magazine, b/c I don't get Parenting, just Babytalk.
06-17-2008, 02:50 PM
It is in Parenting. It's not a big thing, but I just thought it was kinda cool, so I'd let you know! :)
06-17-2008, 11:13 PM
Ok, here is my situation. My son just turned 2 and he has started this smacking thing when we are out in public. Lets say we are shopping and he is in a shopping cart and he sees something he wants and I won't give it to him, he smacks me and will continue to do so several more times. Sometimes the smacking gets lighter and sometimes it gets really hard. I have tried to tell him No that it hurts, I have grabbed his hands and have given him a stern look (which then brings the smacking on even harder), I have tried to ignore him. I just at wits end of what to do. He does not have this behavior at home, he only has it while we are out doing things. It can be at a restaurant or shopping. The other thing about my son is that he is not talking at all yet and is going to speech therapy, so I assuming that this is just his way of telling me he wants something and mad that he can't have it. But I don't want him smacking me anymore. I have tried talking to his speech therapist who tells me to ignore him, but it doesn't do any good. I have looked up in so many books but everything refers to what do when at home and not in public. He is great at home and I have no problems with him smacking me at home. Please help me!!!
1st Time Mom - Again
06-29-2008, 01:19 PM
I have to agree - an immediate stop to play is key. Start out the next session with the stroking hands. If you stop on the negative note and start on the positive you child will more quickly understand that the hitting is what stopped it.
07-01-2008, 12:49 PM
My 16 month old recently started slapping too. I don't know where she has seen this as I am a stay-at-home mom, we don't watch violent tv shows, and no one in our household slaps. Like you, I started to correct the action by slapping her hand and saying "No, no, that hurts mommy" and making a sad face. That didn't help and I realized that I was trying to teach her not to slap by slapping her hand. I see why that approach didn't work. Again, like you, I've tried taking her hand and rubbing my face and saying "sweet and gentle" and giving her a big hug and smile. It's taken about a week but it finally seems to be sinking in. Now, when she throws her arm back to go in for a slap, she kind-of looks at me like she's waiting on me to say "sweet and gentle." I wish you the best of luck & I'm sure you will find the approach that works for you. I'm thankful to know that I'm not alone in this problem.
07-29-2008, 12:39 PM
My 3 year old son now at 9 months did much more than slap. He loved head butting and he wasn't gentle about it. Once he busted open my bottom lip. I believe he started doing it because he realized that he got a reaction every time that he did it. It didn't really connect in his head that it hurt me. All he knew was that it got a reaction. Distraction, distraction, distraction can be the best tool. At 9 months you can't reason with your child. So while I would hold him I would keep a toy with me. If he started trying to head butt I would show him the toy and make it more interesting than my head. As he got older I explained that it hurt and I would even some times hold his head. You may have to hold your sons arm to keep him from slapping you. I would also tell him in a stern voice "no" so he knew I meant business. After he got over head butting people he started using his head as a ramming tool into inanimate objects. I had to hold him, tell him that it would hurt him and in a stern voice again say "no". So if you have pets they maybe the next on the list. After the pets he may turn onto other children with slapping. Just be consistent in your behavior that it's not acceptable to slap and he will grow out of that phase. And it is only a phase.
Hope that helps,
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