Our 17 month old daughter has been biting and hitting for the last few months, although most recently she has just been hitting. She often hits children her as or smaller - sometimes right when she sees them and other times clearly over frustration around sharing a toy. When I'm holding her and someone else comes to hug me (everyone from a friend of mine that she doesn't know well to my husband / her father), she very often will hit them. Sometimes I think it comes down to what she deems as her "personal space" but that doesn't justify all of her hitting.
Additionally, she has particularly bad behavior around my husband when I'm also in the room. She has a clear preference for me which I know will change over time but it is upsetting to see her swat at him.
When we correct our daughter, we try to avoid the words "no hitting" as we have been advised that all she hears is "hit", so instead we ask for her to use her "gentle hands". We also do a time out when she does act up, taking her away from the situation, holding her hands and counting to 10. She rarely seems to mind this "time out" and it does not seem to be changing her behavior, but it feels like we have to do something to correct the bad behavior.
What can we do? Thanks so much for your help!