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The Mum Project 

My son keeps hitting us in the face, at first we thought it was funny but now he's really gouged me in the eye! : ) How did you stop your kids from hitting you? (he's 18 months btw...)

TOP RESPONSE
Let's Ask Livvy 
Hi The Mum Project- hitting is a very common phase and so many kids go through it. With any behaviour it is important to try and work out the function of a behaviour (why they are doing it) as this allows you to implement a good strategy- is it attention seeking, is he trying to avoid a demand you have made on him etc? As the strategy will be different dependent upon the function of there behaviour. As Mike Tantrum says- the attention given following a hit (doesn't need to be positive attention) can send a message that hitting is a good way of getting attention, getting out of something they didn't want to do, not doing something they were finding tricky etc. It is important with any aggressive behaviours that the child understands that hitting is not OK, so getting down to eye level- and giving a clear and firm "no hitting" and then removing your attention is important. Do not use too much language as this can give attention to the behaviour (so avoid long dialogue such as "ow, that really hurt me, it's not nice to hit, you've made me sad, I can't believe you did that etc). Firm, clear and concise works best. Also try to read the trigger signals and be Pre- emptive. If you know you are about to place a demand on your son that he may not like- make sure your face is a little further away- a hit to the body is easier to work through than a hit to the face. As you mentioned consistency really is key to behaviour change- so try to set a boundary/ rule that you can stick. Let me know if the above works or if more info would be helpful.
ALL RESPONSES
Ben Tantrum 
My little one's just a bit older and she went through this phase. The tricky thing is they quickly work out that hitting you gets your attention (a response good or bad is still a response to them) and they don't quite have the empathy skills yet to appreciate that it may hurt you. However they do definitely understand if it's something they're not allowed to do - so you need to make that clear to them (he'll also understand a lot of words in the very near future even if he's not speaking them yet so explaining gets easier). If we were being hit to get our attention we would put our daughter down and walk away so it got the exact opposite result of what she wanted. We also got down to her eye level to explain that hitting was a 'no' - which was a word she understood (although often didn't obey). The message got through eventually.
Ben Tantrum 
ps - just had a quick look at your profile - you can edit it by clicking your name and put a URL in (not sure you wanted to add an address?)
The Mum Project 
Ah really helpful! Okay I think he definitely understands No as he says it back to us, I think I need to be consistent as sometimes I let it slide and other times I'll be stern.
Ben Tantrum 
yeah - it's a bit of a kill joy but will save your eyes... 🤕
Let's Ask Livvy 
Hi The Mum Project- hitting is a very common phase and so many kids go through it. With any behaviour it is important to try and work out the function of a behaviour (why they are doing it) as this allows you to implement a good strategy- is it attention seeking, is he trying to avoid a demand you have made on him etc? As the strategy will be different dependent upon the function of there behaviour. As Mike Tantrum says- the attention given following a hit (doesn't need to be positive attention) can send a message that hitting is a good way of getting attention, getting out of something they didn't want to do, not doing something they were finding tricky etc. It is important with any aggressive behaviours that the child understands that hitting is not OK, so getting down to eye level- and giving a clear and firm "no hitting" and then removing your attention is important. Do not use too much language as this can give attention to the behaviour (so avoid long dialogue such as "ow, that really hurt me, it's not nice to hit, you've made me sad, I can't believe you did that etc). Firm, clear and concise works best. Also try to read the trigger signals and be Pre- emptive. If you know you are about to place a demand on your son that he may not like- make sure your face is a little further away- a hit to the body is easier to work through than a hit to the face. As you mentioned consistency really is key to behaviour change- so try to set a boundary/ rule that you can stick. Let me know if the above works or if more info would be helpful.

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