Bad habits

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2013
Bad habits
Mon, 03-03-2014 - 1:07pm

Hello all mommies. My son is 13 months old and has this bad habit of hitting. I've tried showing him the appropriate time to hit (i.e. a high 5) but it doesn't work. 9 times out of 10 if he's picked up, he'll start hitting your head and face. This is a problem because I'm due with my and my husband's second child in August and I don't want him hitting the new baby.

He also will NOT be quiet when he needs to. He's perfectly fine at home. He doesn't act out or scream too much at home but as soon as we go somewhere where he has to be quiet, (i.e the library, church, movie theater) he starts yelling and throwing a fit. We've tried offering him snacks, his sippy cup, his favorite stuffed animal, even his little cardboard books which he loves and he still won't be quiet. It comes down to me sitting in the back of the church with him (my husband is a deacon and has to be up front), my husband and I taking turns leaving the theater, or having to cut my schoolwork short because he's making too much noise.

Please help me with these. I really don't know what to do. Time outs aren't effective because he doesn't want to sit still and I eventually give up.


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-26-2005
In reply to: ACDCjunkie
Thu, 03-06-2014 - 5:07pm

Hi there.

It sounds like the hitting is an issue that needs to be resolved.  13 month old babies don't quite understand reason or logic unless it's direct and immediate.  Time outs may be a bit over his head, but being immediately set back down when hitting he may get.  If you pick him up and he hits, you set him down.  It may take quite a few tries, but you have to be patient and persistant.  

Another thing that 13 month old babies understand is food.  If you pick him up and he doesn't hit, you hand him a snack to reward the good behavior.  Taking away a snack for hitting may not be as affective, since the connection isn't as clear.

As far as the being quiet goes; you're going to have to wait a year or so.  There's really no reason to expect a child this young to understand that it's important to be quiet in certain places.  Try to find a library where the children's section is isolated from the regular library.  Other little kids won't be nearly as annoyed with his lack of being quiet as adults.  If you need to spend an extended period of time in the adult section of the library then go without the baby.  If you really need to go to the movie theater, then leave the little guy at home.  He's way too young to understand how to be quiet in a theater.  As far as church goes...aren't there church nurseries for little people while adults attend the service?  That's because babies don't comprehend church or how to be quiet for an extended period of time like that.  

Hope this helps. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
In reply to: ACDCjunkie
Tue, 03-11-2014 - 11:13am

I don't know if I have much advice with the hitting, except that I would just hold his hands to prevent him from actually hitting and say no.  As far as a 1 yr old being quiet, forget it.  Kids that age just aren't old enough for the movies.  Even when you go to a kids movie and have a bunch of toddlers around, it's like mayhem with kids running around and being noisy.  As far as church, I remember when my DD was making her first communion and my son was about 2--he didn't even last in church until the service actually started--he was going under the pew, trying to run around, etc.  I just had my older nephew take him into the "crying room" in the back--that's the reason for those rooms.  church is totally boring to a little kid and it's unrealistic to expect them to sit quietly for an hour and stay in place.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-07-2005
In reply to: julygal
Thu, 03-27-2014 - 4:59pm
Totally agree with the couple of replies before. Both behaviors are in a sense, age appropriate - not ideal, but pretty common. Hitting is certainly not ideal and you want to do everything you can to stop that behavior, but the key in many cases is patience, repeatedly rewarding good behavior is an awesome idea - for so many behavior issues - and ages! Also, just holding his hands down might just be a partial answer until he is old enough. But he is just too little to really understand all you are trying to teach him. I know it can be totally frustrating but, the reality is there are likely tons of moms around you who know exactly what you are going through and know you are doing your best to help teach your kids as you go - it will take years for them to really learn manners - how to be quiet and well, not hitting needs to be taught early on too - that will cause problems when he goes to school, or if you send him off to daycare - but sometimes it takes multiple strategies and a lot of patience to change one little behavior. MY LO is almost 4 and we find that positive reinforcement for good behavior is the best way to try to push out the bad behavior, but it is all so different every year, or even every 6 months with little ones. Best of luck!