I have a 1yr old daughter out of control PLEASE HELP!!! #139089 - Ask Extension


I have a 1yr old daughter out of control PLEASE HELP!!! #139089

Asked July 08, 2013, 3:35 AM EDT

Hello my name is Yanet I have a 1yr old daughter who seems to me that she is violent. You see i understand babys get tantrums but my daughter seems to be out of control. For no reason she tends to hit me and dad with what ever toy she is holding i try telling her no and explaining to her thats not right but she just laughs and does it again.The words NO,STOP IT and STOP dont work with her i also take the toy with wich she hits me with and she will go on crying non stop. she tends to just fight with everyone.IM OUT OF IDEAS. WHAT CAN I DO???.

Fresno County California

Expert Response

Wow -- it sounds like your daughter's behavior is really frustrating to you. I can empathize; dealing with a 1-year-old's attempts to become an independent person can be challenging.

The good news is that your daughter is not a bad person; the behavior you are describing is very typical of children this age. (That doesn't make it any less frustrating to you, but it may reassure you a bit.) One of the biggest developmental "tasks" for children between ages 1 and about 3 is to begin seeing themselves as independent people. Toddlers have a need to control their world, and they do this by testing limits. You are doing exactly the right thing by setting rules (e.g., no hitting people) and enforcing those limits when she breaks them. When you take the toy away, she is learning that her actions have consequences. It may not seem like she is learning very quickly, but remember that toddlers need to have the same thing repeated over and over again before they truly learn it. 

When your daughter misbehaves, I would suggest using very simple language to stop her. "No hitting people. Hitting hurts." is a simple set of phrases that communicate clearly that the behavior is not appropriate. You could also try telling her, "I'm putting the toy away because you hit me with it." She may cry because she's frustrated at losing the toy, but she will also begin to see the connection between her action and losing the toy. 

The other key is to give her something else to do instead of the misbehavior. If she really wants to hit something, give her a pillow or metal pot or drum or something else that's safe to hit. You can redirect her when she tries to hit you by saying, "No hitting people. You can hit this box if you want to hit something." 

It sounds like this behavior could also be an attempt to get your attention when she thinks you are distracted. If you don't do this already, try setting aside specific times to play with her -- and be sure you focus your whole attention on her during those times. Put down the smart phone, turn off the TV, and don't try to do something else while she plays. That focused time will give her more of your attention, which may reduce any attention-getting behaviors. Crying can also be a way of getting attention. Pay attention to crying that tells you she is scared or hurt, but if she is in a safe environment, you can let her calm herself down. Also keep in mind that she is still learning language, so keep your explanations short and simple. 

Above all, remain calm and be consistent. Toddler behavior can be incredibly frustrating. Take a deep breath (or two, or three) and speak to her in a calm voice. Gently but firmly redirect her to a more appropriate activity. And if you can identify times or situations where she is most likely to act out, think of ways to prevent the behavior from happening. If she is most likely to hit you when she is tired, for example, be sure you put her to bed before she gets that frustrated. 

This, too, shall pass as your daughter learns language and more socially appropriate actions to express her frustration. Hang in there, and let me know if I can help you further. Good luck!
Diane Bales Replied July 08, 2013, 10:50 AM EDT
Thank you soo much and I will take your advise in taking time  away from my day to spend with my daughter usually i play with her but with the tv on. I will let you know how it goes i already tried  talking  to her in short phrases explaining to her why i take the stuff she hits us with away she gets these horrible tantrums she will go on crying for 5-8 minutes is that normal? Thank you for your response. 
The Question Asker Replied July 17, 2013, 6:54 AM EDT
I'd love to hear how it goes. Temper tantrums are not that unusual in children her age. For some children, when adults stop rewarding the behavior by giving the child attention, the tantrums may eventually become less frequent and less intense. Good luck to you!
Diane Bales Replied July 17, 2013, 7:03 AM EDT

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