7 Reasons Why Your Toddler Hits People

This guest post is written by David.

You may be wondering why your toddler is hitting, but don’t worry it’s a very common problem. Toddler hitting problems can be extremely frustrating for parents to deal with. Controlling bad toddler behavior requires parents to relax, be patient and learn to understand what’s going through their child’s mind and how to point them in the right direction. After all, it is quite likely that your toddler will have no idea of the difference between right and wrong. Your child may be completely unaware that his or her actions have bad consequences that can hurt the victim of the hitting.

Toddler fighting

Flickr image by jessgrrr

It’s very uncommon that toddlers hit purely out of aggression, children get a lot of attention from hitting and will easily figure out how to utilize this to get even more attention. However it may look, the aggressive behavior is not down to them being nasty. A toddler is too young to realize that what they do can influence other people’s feelings. Also, if they are feeling tense or uncontrolled then they will hit other people to try and express themselves.

Below are 7 reasons why your toddler may be doing this:

Experimenting With Cause and Effect

Toddlers often tend to experiment with cause and effect. What will happen if I hit someone? Because they have no prior experience they don’t realize that hitting someone can cause pain or harm, or that they can make their victim cry or upset. To a toddler, hitting isn’t bad; it’s just another means of experimentation.

Attention Seeking

A lot of toddlers believe that by hitting someone else they will gain their parents attention. This is basically the child’s way of telling their mum and dad “look I’m hitting someone, pay attention to me” By diverting the attention from your child to the victim that they have hurt they will learn that there are consequences to what they have done.


Children often view themselves as being the center of the universe with everything revolving around them. Therefore, when they hit another child they think it’s all about them and their needs rather than the person they are hitting. They haven’t learnt that the world does not revolve around them and that there are other children who also have feelings too.

Unaware Of How To Deal With Conflict

Toddlers are very often unaware of how to deal with conflict, to them, if they see another child as a threat (such as taking their toys), then they will deal with the situation in the only way they know how, and that’s by hitting.

Hitting And Throwing Due To Limited Skills

Although your toddler may be walking around and talking, they are very limited in their ability to effectively deal with emotions, challenging situations and tiredness. Parents often forget that their toddler is only one, two, or three years old. Hitting or throwing, especially when part of a tantrum are the only ways that children can express themselves and ask for attention.

Can’t Find The Right Words

Just like anyone else, toddlers also get tired, hungry, bored and overwhelmed. The only difference is they lack the verbal skills to effectively communicate these emotions, this leads to them getting very frustrated. Because a toddler’s vocabulary isn’t fully developed yet, it is more likely that they will hit other people to express themselves.

Hitting and Throwing Out of Boredom

A toddler may enjoy hitting and throwing, this gives them a sense of control. They know that they will gain some attention from the misbehavior. Sometimes throwing an item or hitting is just what toddlers feel like doing, and because they do not know how to control their feelings like older people, they throw and hit out.

About the author:

This article was written by David at Pathway Foster Care, an Independent foster care agency that provide mainstream foster care services throughout Wales & the South East and West of England.

6 Responses to 7 Reasons Why Your Toddler Hits People

  1. Hi David and Binny,

    Good to be over at your blog too Binny, and I see it’s a lot about parenting 🙂

    Yes indeed, some toddlers hit people and they do it mostly for the various reasons you mentioned. With their limited minds and various thoughts, it’s certainly not easy for them to express themselves. So, perhaps they resort to hitting others.

    I guess being parents you need to take in a certain amount and alongside ensuring you explain things to them, so that it doesn’t become a habit with them later in life. Listening to their problems and the reason why they are doing it, helps a great deal.

    Thanks for sharing. Havehave a nice week ahead 🙂

  2. Hi Harleena,

    I am so glad you take out some time to visit my blog. And thanks for the valuable inputs you have shared here. Looking forward to see more of you here. Thanks a lot. You, too, have a great week ahead!

  3. This post is really educative. There are so many salient points listed here about why toddlers react the way they do. From these, however, the point that is very important for me is this: ‘Experimenting With Cause and Effect’. I think that’s the major reason for kids hitting others…
    All the same, David, this was a really enlightening article.

  4. This is interesting. I always believe in dealing with hitting calmly, and firmly, if it is deliberate and directed towards another child. I wanted to thank you for all the plus ones on my Google Plus posts!

    • Welcome to my blog, Tarana. Thanks for the visit. As for the plus ones, it’s my way of acknowledging good posts I come across and hope to give you lots more. 🙂

  5. Yes, Quite valid reasons are listed here.
    I must forward this to my best friend Gary living in AU, hope he gets some tips in handling his super danger toddler. Haha 🙂

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