Originally Answered: How to discipline 16 month old son hitting everybody?
Oh my goodness! Where to begin... First off, from one mother to another and being a preschool educator, please do not follow the advise from others that is listed here!!!
Your son is only 16 months old, he does not have a fully formed brain, and therefore does not retain information about so called "consequences". Everything that I have seen listed here so far is punishment, not a consequence. Children this young should not be punished. They should be redirected.
There is only one true answer to why children hit when they are this young. They want something. Whether it is a toy, or your attention, they will be the judge of that. It is called a mistaken goal. Your child does not have the words to say that he wants a turn with something (nor would he want to wait) or to tell you that he wants your undivided attention.
As an example: when you are playing with your son and the phone rings, do you get up and answer it? If so, what you are teaching him is that the phone is more important than he is. I bet that is a time when he starts hitting or getting really loud. When you were sharing yourself with only him, it made him feel great. But as soon as you walked away the attention was gone and he wanted it back. It is a pattern that your child will learn very early and very quickly. Your child will feel unimportant and inadequate. It is interesting how something so simple can be so complex.
Telling our children "NO!" is a big no no. What do you think he is going to start saying in about 1-3 months, repeatedly? "No" will loose all meaning to him, it will become a white noise.
When you see your son hitting another child, I encourage you to go over to him and ask him what it is that he wants. You may be surprised- cause I bet that he will point to an object or to you. If he doesn't point, you may want to point to whatever it is that the other child is playing with and ask him if he wants a turn playing with it. Tell him that they can both share the toys, and right now the other child is taking their turn, but he can play with it in two minutes. Also tell him that when he hits, it hurts other people, it feels "ouchy" (or what ever you say when you get hurt). Do not force your child to say that they are sorry, because you will be teaching them to lie if they are not truly sorry. You can ask your kid if he would like to apologize to the other person, and teach him that when you feel bad for doing something to someone else- or when you hurt them- it helps make them and you feel better to say that you are sorry.
When your child hits you I suggest that you put on the biggest pouty face you can muster, and act like you are going to cry. You can say your "ouchy" word and use your own words to let your child know that they hurt you. If the message does not get through by using body language and simple words, calmly walk away and let them know that you are going somewhere where you can keep your body safe because it hurts when you get hit. Also, as an adult you can take what is called a positive time out. You can tell your child that you are really sad, hurt, or frustrated, and that you need a time out. Also, I do not suggest that you hold your child's hands in a binding manner to get him to stop hitting you. I urge you to teach your child about soft touches that feel good. When you are handing him a toy, brush up against his arm gently. When he hands you a toy, touch his hand softly.
While re-reading your description of contributing factors to this issue, a thought popped into my head. It sounds like your son is being incredibly territorial, and it also sounds like you may need to spend more time down on the floor playing with his toys with him. I'm not saying that you don't because I don't know- but maybe if you did more, it could help.
You are a great mother. Don't get discouraged by what other people say. They should be minding their own business anyhow, and I am sure that the only reason why they are saying anything at all is because that is how their child acted, if not 10 times worse. I understand that motherhood can be frustrating, and no one is an expert at it. But, we as mothers (and fathers) do our darndest. Smother your baby in love and encouragement. And remember that he is just that- a baby. If he continues this behavior after he turns 6 years old, then you might want to be concerned. But for now, you have a completely normal child. :o)
I strongly urge you to pick up a copy of "Positive Discipline For Preschoolers" by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Ann Duffy. Also, please look at a copy of the Mistaken Goals Chart, I believe it will help you further understand: www.creducation.org/resources/Mistaken_G... (it will open in Microsoft Word)
Best of luck to you and your little boy!