When my 10-month-old child gets close to others, it will reach out its tiny hands and start scratching.
Is it possible to communicate to our child to stop scratching people or animals heavily?
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We had an issue with hitting around age one year. We think the issue was negative attention. He learned that he could create a flurry of excitement by hitting people, and that reinforced his behavior. He also got a lot of positive attention from some teen friends that thought it was cute. :-(
The answer is to respond as attention-less and dispassionately as you can. Minimal or no speech. Remove him from the center of attention. Attend to the victim. There are bunch of answers in the articles below.
I do this thing with my son where we "practice". When we are both in a good mood, first I might dialog with puppets, or fingers, or action figures to show him the "proper" interaction. Then I start the same interaction directed at him. For example: me:
<silly voice> "Oh, hello little boy, nice to meet you!" Then if he responds as I hope, without hitting, I shower him with hugs and keep the fun going. If not, I remember I left the stove on, and come back and try again.
There are many good articles on "negative attention". Here are two that seem to be written for your question: