You've told your toddler that hitting is wrong. So why does she sometimes lose her cool and take a swing at another kid?
"Toddlers hit because they don't know how to work things out when they're upset, so they physically act out," says Corinne Gregory, president of SocialSmarts, a schools-based social-skills and character-building program.
It's up to you to guide her along. Calmly stop her, and ask her what's the matter, even if you know. Have her apologize and articulate why ("because I hit you"). Then give the injured party a chance to accept her "sorry."
Don't be surprised if she lashes out at you. "It's common for the first victims to be the people a child is closest to," Gregory says. Love hurts -- but turning the tussle into a learning experience can help you both in the long run.