I was hoping to find some advice to help me ease with the typical toddler behaviors that my daughter has abruptly started displaying. My daughter who is 22 months was a very happy and easy going child until a few months ago when she started hitting my husband and I. At first it was just once in a while but now it has turned into huge tantrums that last sometimes up to an hour and happen multiple times a day. We have tried various approaches in hopes to stop the behavior without luck. She has a growing vocabulary and seems to understand somewhat what she is doing. Our first course of action when the hitting started was to remove her from what made her upset, tell her ''no hit'' and sit her in 'time-out' to cool down. When she was calm she was to say sorry for hitting. This worked great for a few weeks. Now she will hit us, turn to us and say ''no hit'', point to the 'time-out' spot, say ''sorry'' and continue to hit us. When we ignore the behavior she will continue to hit us in places that are likely to get our attention, such as the face. I am 7 months pregnant so she typically aims for my belly or pulls my hair for the desired attention. At this point it is very hard to ignore because the hitting can cause physical pain not to mention the emotional toll it is taking on me. The hitting occurs whenever she is told something she does not want to hear or asked to do something she does not want to do. I try to give her choices (ones that I am also comfortable with) throughout the day to foster her independence and to make life less of a power struggle. Is she craving more structure and boundaries or just being a typical toddler pulling on her parents strings? Within the last couple of weeks she has resorted to hitting family and friends when upset. I feel I must be doing something wrong for the behavior to get worse instead of better.
Thank you in advance for any suggestions or advice.
You were doing right by immediately moving her to time out after she hit you. You say that that has stopped working, but have you been consistent with it? When she hits you IMMEDIATELY bring her to time out and say, "you are in time out because you hit". Don't say anything else and do not pay attention to her while she is in time out. Do not give her the time to hit you multiple times, you must bring her to her time out place as soon as she hits.
Make sure that when you ask her to do something, and she does not hit that you praise her and tell her that you are very proud of her. Essentially, give her positive reinforcement when she is acting appropriately.
You may be doing this already, but make sure when you give her choices they are very cut and dry, easy for her to choose between. She could be acting out because she doesn't understand what you want from her or she wants attention from you. If the case is she wants attention, make sure you give her lots of attention when she is acting appropriately.
Did you ever think that maybe she saw something on TV? My 2-year old boy was the same, happy and cheerful until one day, he saw Bruce Lee on TV and started following the "box and kick" moves. At first my husband was amused and they played and horsed around for a while until I realized it was not good at all when it continued on for days. He would "box and kick wike Buce Wee" and I wasn't finding it funny at all!
Just be consistent in talking to your daughter that it's not a good thing to do. I have a friend whose 4-year old kept hitting everyone around but he did grow out of it. I think they all will. It's important to explain to them why it's not good when they are bigger and understand better.
I find that our little one tends to turn to hitting and screamng at the end of the day. She gets tired and doesn't know how else to express herself. There's a little battle raging inside of them, they don't know how to express what they are feeling and acting out is the only way.
Timeout isn't usually a deterrent for her. You need to find some other touch point. With my daughter, I would actually pick her up and take her to a dark closet. I would go in with her holding her and tell her to calm down. The sensory deprivation would immediately switch her off. I was there with her so she wouldn't be afraid. This works surprisingly well for getting them calm. Don't leave them in there alone, it's both dangerous and cruel, but give that a try next time. Just keeping talking to them and get them to focus on your voice. Good luck.