Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon for children to act out, and to hit other children or adults. Hitting is a relatively common problem. When trying to figure out how to go about disciplining a child who is hitting, it is important to first understand why it is that the child is hitting.
For a toddler, hitting might just be a sign that they toddler is developing at a normal pace. Toddlers have a difficult time trying to understand, for example, how hitting will harm another person. They might not have any aggression, for example, when they are hitting. Often a toddler will hit just in an effort to try to make a point. For other toddlers, hitting might represent an experiment with cause and effect. If a toddler punches his sister, for example, he gets to hear her scream.
When you are disciplining a child who is hitting, there are some things that you might try. First of all, your child is probably not trying to actually hurt their playmate. You need to explain that his hitting hurts his playmate. You need to assume the best, that your child is probably not trying to misbehave, but rather express herself. If he is hitting because he is frustrated, learn to recognize the signs that he is getting frustrated. Help him learn problem-solving skills to deal with that frustration, and then keep an eye out for when he is getting frustrated. In addition, don’t reward the child who is hitting with attention; instead, give more attention to the child who has been hit.
If your child is hitting regularly, won’t stop, and is hurting other children, you may consider seeking the help of a child psychologist, psychotherapist, or even your family physician. Each of these people can help you explore other possible causes for the hitting, and help to find the right remedy for your child.