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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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my son is 18months old and he has been hitting and pulling

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my son is 18months old and he has been hitting and pulling hair for about 2 months now. We tried removing him from the room or explaining why not to do this to him but it is getting worse. I can't even take him to play group as he makes all the other children cry?
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

At 18 months, a child will not understand reasoning but does understand firm voice. You are doing the right thing by removing him from the room and saying "no hitting or no pulling hair" in a stern voice. Then, distract him with something else to prevent him from going right back to the hitting behavior. The distraction can be a favorite toy or activity. It may feel like you are rewarding bad behavior but at his age the initial, stern "NO" is the consequence and distraction is required because time out and reasoning are not yet possible. After the "removal and distraction/prevention phase of discipline (infancy to 2 1/2 years), time-outs can be used.

Many 18 month old children become aggressive due to communication frustration. They are unable to verbalize what they are thinking and this is frustrating...especially for developmentally advanced children. This aggressive behavior improves once they are able to communicate better.

I hope this helps...warm regards,
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

He has also this week starting biting, do we apply the same stern voice and removal technique for this?

Any time i leave for work he will smack me in the face, he also does he same thing to my mother when she leaves? Is there a reason for this also?

Yes, same thing....pick him up, stern voice "no biting" and remove and distract. It may be his way of saying "I don't want you to leave." Again, he is unable to verbalize these feelings and so acting out is his only form of communication.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

He is also very quick once he smacks you to give you a kiss. Does this mean he knows his behaviour is wrong or is it just a habit?


Sorry i am just thinking of other things as we are talking!

He also seems to not like other babies, he will even hit them when they come on TV?

The common thread in all your examples is "What is the behavior communicating". With the aggression towards other babies, it is "Are you a threat to me? Will you take my things or my parents attention?"

I think the kiss means "I'm sorry" which indicates that your natural reaction to hitting has already taught him that it is wrong.
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