It is certainly not all butterflies and pink flowers in our house. Yesterday, after a frustrating "session" with Grace I turned to the What to Expect: The Toddler Years book to find out what to do about hitting. Ahhh, yes. My sweet, adorable, smart, child has been hitting me for a couple of weeks now. It isn't all the time...just when she is angry or frustrated. For example, if I tell her to put something down (like the cord to connect my camera to the computer) or if she has to do something she doesn't want to do (like have her diaper changed). I have seen her hit things - the floor after she has fallen on it, the chair if she bumps into it, or a toy when she can't make it do what she wants. I have been firmly telling her, "No, we don't hit" or "It hurts Mommy when you hit her", and "Hands are not for hitting" (did you know there is a book with that as a title?), but it hasn't seemed to have any affect on her. So, I have started to get a little firmer, blocking or holding her hand mid-swing. Smarty pants that she is, when I have held one hand, she swings with the other. And, when I hold the second hand, she head-butts me! Yes, the joys of toddlerhood.
So, I went to the book yesterday, to see what to do. To look on the bright side, right there in the chapter entitled "The Twentieth Month" (which we are right in the middle of now) was a huge section on aggressive behavior - mostly hitting. Okay... the good news?.... this is normal. Toddlers hit for many reasons - a drive for independence and identity (yep!), frustration (yep!), egocentricity and lack of empathy (ahhh, interesting), interest in cause and effect (I hit Ryan and he cried, I wonder what will happen if I hit Josh), and lack of language (oh, yeah!) to express their feelings, wants, etc.
So, that helps but what am I supposed to do about it to make her stop? I suppose just what I have been doing. They say to try to keep my cool, redirect her, remind her (a million times if necessary) that we don't hit, try to minimize frustrations, and praise good behavior.
No one said this was going to be easy.....