My 2-year-old son has learnt a new word "No" recently. He is aware of what "No" indicates and when to tell this in the perfect situation. If he doesn't like anything or if we change the channels on television.

  1. First word coming out of his mouth is "No"
  2. And it is really aggressive.
  3. Sometimes he started beating us (hitting us repeatedly).

We started saying "Bad Boy". He feels irritated if we use this expression. Is this a good approach to stop his "No" behaviour? Or do you have any better ideas?

  • "Sometimes he started beating us" What do you mean, does he literally strike you repeatedly?
    – Adam Heeg
    Aug 29, 2018 at 21:15
  • Yes. He was saying "No" and hitting us repeatedly Aug 29, 2018 at 21:16

2 Answers 2


The key with these sorts of behaviors, in particular at this age, is to focus on the behavior, not the child's self.

If he's a "bad boy", then he can't help what he's doing - he's just bad, and bad boys do things like hit and bite. So teaching him that he's bad is exactly the opposite of what you want.

Instead, focus on the behavior. Focus both on stopping that behavior, and on why. Even at two, it's possible to make him understand. Focus on the behavior, and on finding alternate solutions for expressing his feelings (which is what the hitting is usually doing).

Please don't hit me. I don't like being hit, and it makes me sad. See my sad face?

Please don't hit me. Do you like it when children hit you? How does it make you feel? I feel the same way.

We don't hit; hitting hurts other people. Are you frustrated? Can we find another way to express that feeling?

  • 1
    Thanks Joe for the answer. But what exactly is alternate solution for express his feelings. Still not clear. Aug 29, 2018 at 21:10
  • @RagavanRajan Lots of options. How do you express frustration? Within his ability to speak, he should do so. Run around. Cry. Shout. Some of those aren't appropriate in all situations, but for a 2 year old they're often better than the limited alternatives. There are books you can get for kids that help.
    – Joe
    Aug 29, 2018 at 21:22
  • Thanks for your prompt reply. Will try that today and update the status Aug 29, 2018 at 21:23
  • I have tried the strategy of distracting him by saying some animal names which he likes. He doesnt want to come out of that "No" but still he is trying to answer me somehow which makes us really happy. I will try the strategy for some more days. Aug 31, 2018 at 1:09

Keep in mind that this is a long game you’re playing. You can change your response today, but kids take time get accustomed to that and at that age they’re constantly changing. In Other words don’t give up if it doesn’t work the first, or second, or 10th time.

With my second child, a boy who is now 4, we have learned to help him by avoiding situations that can bring this on. Maybe you need to just keep the tv off for a couple weeks and play games or go outside and then add it back in as they get adjusted to your new interaction style. With my son we’ve learned that much more so than his other siblings his behavior is negatively influenced by hunger, being tired, or needing to go to bathroom. Consider if there are physiological needs you can help meet too (perhaps he is telling you that he really needs to napping at this time for instance).

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