My son is turning two at the end of this month. For about the last year, he often punches, slaps and bites either me or his dad. He sometimes even bites himself. Is there any way we can stop all this happening? It's making us look like we are bad parents.
Pinching, biting and slapping is a normal stage of development. It is not pleasant for us parents but please be reassured that lots of children go through this phase. You are absolutely not bad parents!
It is often due to frustration. At this age they are really developing their communication skills and developing their will.
Show understanding of their frustrations. Keep reminding your little one 'I won’t let you hit. I understand you are upset because we have to leave the park.' Or whatever the situations is.
You kind of need to bodyguard them a little. This is easier said than done and you cannot always be there. The moments you can catch him, remind him again 'I can see you are finding it hard not to hit. I will help you and hold you hand for now.' Or distract him from the hitting.
If it's biting, tell him 'I won't let you bite me. That hurts. I have to put you down now and find you something you can bite.' And then offer him something he can bite.
My little boy used to hit. When he had the urge to hit when he was frustrated or cross. I would give him a pillow and he would hit the pillow.
I hope this helps a little bit. Best not to give a big reaction (again easier said than done, when it actually hurts)! If you give him a reaction he could do it more for attention. So, just stay calm and keep reminding him.
Please know you are not bad parents and it is such a hard stage to go through and really emotionally exhausting for you. Parents with toddlers will understand. He is not being naughty, he is just frustrated and maybe trying to get a reaction. It will get better. Do chat if you need anymore help.