How to get a toddler to stop hitting?

my kid is almost 3 years old snd the last 6 months he’s been hitting his dad and me the whole time either with his hands or headbutting us. He wont hit anyone else even when he’s mad at his grandma he will come and hit us instead. He also hit us while playing or when he doesnt get what he wants… i tried timeouts, ignoring, holdinghis hands firmly before the slap and tell him no, tried to pretend crying that it was hurtful, let him stand in a corner for 1-2 minutes as a punishment, i hold his hand and let him hit himself and ask him if that’s nice, i stopped talking to him, threatened him that if he hits he is not allowed to go somewhere. I told him once that u dont hit, you only give us a hug and kiss and tell us what’s wrong. So always after he do it he gives us a hug and a kiss. He knows it’s wrong because he cries when i punish him and when i ask him is it nice he tells me no… i know its a phase but im at my wits end i spend literally the whole day mad at him saying “ stop hitting me”. Its not like he do it once its like 263838 times in they day. I tried slapping him on his butt or hit his hand and yes i know teaching him to stop by hitting is ridiculous but i cant handle it anymore and i feel like im failing as a mom… i know he’s testing our boundaries and everything but i take him out everyday, play together, do everything 24/7 for him but these lasts months im just yelling and screaming and crying because of this hitting problem, its his way to show me his frustrated or he needs attention (although he has my attention all day everyday) but any advice on how to make him stop??


Three chances, to stop, explain to me what is wrong and we’ll handle it together. Then into his bedroom for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes ask him ‘why are you in your bedroom.’ 2. ‘Is that naughty or nice? What do we do instead of that?’ 3. Say sorry and tell me why your sorry.
My three year old has gone through a few phases, not hitting (touch wood) but this approach seems to be working!


Soon to be FTM here so I haven’t experienced this personally, however this is something I’ve read on a parenting forum. Could be helpful but someone who has gone through this may have better advice.

The article talked about how if he’s recognizing it’s wrong it’s different than simple disobedience. He hasn’t made the strong connection as to what he is doing. You’re his safe space which is why he hits you and not other people. You’re the one he can go to with his problems. He feels bad for hitting you it sounds like it’s just the first way he tries to rid his frustrations. It’s a sensory overload type of thing and is like a physical temper tantrum. The article suggested they can’t really help it. It suggested offering something else of the same caliber. So giving a kiss and a hug and calmly explaining what’s wrong isn’t the same as smacking someone. It suggested if you’re at home give him a frustration board which basically sounded like a punching bag. Put a spot on the wall for him to smack instead of you to let him get that bit of anger out and then deal with the problem. Or it said to try and get him to stomp his feet instead of smacking.

The article went on to talk about how if you keep working on communication with him he will grow out of these habits but right now it’s the only way he is able to get those feelings out and it’s a reaction, it isn’t thought about.

Again, no experience, just something I’ve read. I’ll try and find the article and share the link here. Good luck!


When my cousin was doing this to my aunt, my uncle made a big ass paddle & hung it up, never had to use it… scared the crap out of him seeing it & he kept it up high out of reach for effect… :woman_shrugging:t2: I don’t really believe in spanking, but I do know, that sometimes you need to get their attention & for some kids those measures are a little more drastic unfortunately.

if I were you I would put up the playpen every time he hits one of you in he goes. And tell him every time you hit mommy or daddy you going to timeout because you cannot be social and it’s bad of you. First time I would do it for about 3 minutes second time 5 minutes third time 10 minutes I would do it up to 15 minutes and if he screams and cries let him totally ignore him it might take a little while but he’ll catch on and don’t let anybody else interfere you tell them your house your rules

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First of all don’t feel like you’re a failure as a mum as you 1000% are not, you have tried a lot of stuff and asking for advice so that clearly shows you aren’t. I know it can feel like it sometimes as believe me I’ve been there a hell of a lot. Is there anything that triggers it? Frustration etc but as he knows it’s wrong and gives a hug and kiss after I’d say it’s an outlet for his emotions, like a sensory overload and he’s not able to process it so hitting is releasing it all. Try explaining you can see he feels angry, upset, etc and that it’s OK to feel that way, maybe give him a distraction, something to go and do while he feels like that so he can just take a few minutes out to calm down x

Good luck getting him to stop,my Grandson Corbin does the same thing to his Aunt ,great Aunt and me. He thinks he is the boss. They are very mad about something when they do that.

Hearing all that you’ve tried to do and it not working, your biggest mistake is not being consistent in a form of discipline.
Also make sure timeouts never exceed child’s age.
Also if you spank, make sure you NEVER do it while upset, you send them to their room, calm down and then go in, and after you let them know that it was because they didn’t listen and were being mean. My daughter always wants cuddles after which is never denied.

Wear his tail out. I mean WEAR IT OUT every time. It’s called pain compliance


Ashley Rench,is right find some stories about this I am sure it will help

Try throwing a glass of water on him the shock will make him think or push him down he won’t get hurt his legs ore short but his butt will hit the floor

My son did this headbutt thing for a minute. Nothing was working so he came at my abdomen one day and his headbutt landed him on the other side of the living room. Scared him. Not saying that it is something you should do. Just helped me

It takes time. You need to remain calm – do NOT hit him. He’s frustrated. Talk to him about using his words instead of hitting. Be aware of the triggers for this behavior before it happens. Children use instinct and not reasoning. If he’s upset, let him have a fit. Tell him you’ll be there when he’s calm. Hug him or pat his back, but that’s about it. If it escalates into hitting, stop it before it starts. Catch his hands, look him in the eye and tell him that we do NOT hit people. It takes a lot of patience, but he’s looking to you for guidance, and it won’t stop overnight.

Try cutting hand prints and putting them in common spots throughout the house! Tell him when he’s mad, to go hit those hands instead. And if he doesn’t, then he can go sit in time out if he comes to hit you instead. And again, stay consistent with that. Don’t just uproot if it doesn’t work the first day or two, just be persistent and the routine of it should hopefully make a difference