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She doesn`t often hit other children, but hits myself and my husband in the face

my daughter is 23 months old, and has recently started hitting. she doesn`t often hit other children, but hits myself and my husband in the face. it is usually when we are playing with her and she gets a bit excited, not really in temper. she only hits our face, nowhere else. we have tried taking her hands from our face, getting down to her level and telling her firmly no hitting, but it doesn`t seem to work, she laughs and sometimes hits more. is there anything else we could try? i don`t like to yell or smack, and time out just causes a tantrum. i am currently 7 months pregnant and suffer with depression, and so try to avoid tantrums or any sort of conflict as it really stresses me out and upsets me. when she does tantrum, i am also not sure how to deal with that

Sally...
Answer: Hi, Hi. Thanks for your email. Tantrums are often stressful for parents to deal with, but are a necessary time for toddlers to explore various behaviours. When your child hits you, you need to immediately withdraw your attention. You mentioned that it is not in anger, so you need to move straight away (ie. ignore her) to let her know that her behaviour is not appropriate. Grabbing her hand or talking to her (with the exception of the very first time she ever hit you) is giving her attention for negative behaviours. You have told her on a number of other occasions that you do not want her to hit you, so she knows that she is not doing the right thing. She laughs and continues to hit because that was how she got your undivided attention in the first place. After ignoring her for the poor behaviour, make sure that you find another time where she is doing the right thing and give her some positive attention then! Good luck with your new baby – it will be an exciting new year for your family – ENJOY! All the Best! Sally-Anne
Answered: 22 Dec 2007