Q: Every time my child sees a toddler at the park or home he starts pinching or hitting. I say ‘no’ but should I be giving a time out and if so it means I would have to carry him to the side and probably hold him for about 30 seconds? I am not sure if this is going too far? How do I stop his anger?
A: First and foremost analyze why he is hitting others? Is it jealousy; the other toddler has something that he wants; he wants to get into that space or the other child is in his space? Look at the environment and bigger picture so this situation can be dealt with in the future. Is it a language frustration for him to hit? If so, encourage him to speak with the other children. Model how he should be treating them and play gently with the other children.
If your toddler hits or bites in park, tell him to stop and that he needs to be gentle. Tell him it hurts other children and that it is not what we do. Then move him away to another section of the park. It is not necessarily to have time out but to simply avoid the circumstances to happen. It can be difficult to discipline in public but if he gets the message of what he is meant NOT to be doing he will hopefully be able to learn to positively socialize with others.
The consequence for him hitting is that he is not able to immediately do what he wants to. If after a few minutes he does go back to that same activity with the other toddler, let him but remove him (model to remove him gently, not roughly as that is the behavior you do not wish to see) as soon as he goes back to the old behavior.