Thursday, September 27, 2007

Help!! My child hits other children!!

Dear Monicka

The Kidsgoals newsletter is really helping me to deal with my children.
Your tips are really great .

I have a son who is 2 and half years old and has got in to the habit of
hitting others . I am a working woman and I am not able to spend time with him, to
understand his problem.

Can you please give me advice on how to deal with him?????



Dear S

Thank you so much for your wonderful comments about kidsgoals. Cassie and I
are always thrilled to hear from our readers.

I think your son is starting to discover his power and by hitting other
people he is trying to see what kind of reaction he can get. He is testing
the waters to see how others will react when he hits them. Because children
your son's age do not understand that other people may have other ideas
about his experimenting. He thinks that if he enjoys hitting, than everyone
else must be thrilled about it also. After all the only concept he has right
now is that he understands how he feels and not anyone else as they have yet to develope empathy.

Toddlers are totally fascinated when they hit and cause someone to cry or watch you get
upset. They get a reaction even if it is not always a positive one and they
may test it again and again to see if they can get the same result.
Children like to do things over and over in order to cause a predictable
outcome. Think of the child in the high chair that will drop his cup on the
floor many many times and watch you pick it up over and over again and
totally delight in the control he has over the outcome. That kind of gives
you an idea why any child will continue to hit.

He is learning as he goes, but sometimes it make take a little while to get
the message that even though he is enjoying hitting, other people are not so
happy about it. It can take a bit of time as there is a lot to learn when it
comes to understanding what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior and
how other people are feeling. Keep in mind that your son is learning how to
communicate with his peers. Being a parent you need to be as supportive and
understanding as possible while he is going through this development stage.

It is good to offer another way to him when he hits. Because he is trying to
communicate and get his point across you can take him aside and show him
gently that there is a better way. You can phrase it to him in a simple way
such as if he hits because he wants a toy another child has to say, "toy
please" or some other way he understands depending on your son's vocabulary.

Try and comfort whoever he hits and maybe have your child help by getting a
cold cloth or ice pack and hold it to the injured area so he sees that he
made an owie or boo boo (or whatever word you use with him when he is
injured) and it hurt and he needs to help the other child feel better.
Always tell him that he hurt someone and they are crying because of what he
did and also that they are not happy.

If possible try and anticipate when he is about to hit someone by making
sure whoever is watching him is keeping a watchful eye on him. If you can
stop the behavior in its tracks before the damage is done and show him
alternative ways to get his message across he will learn a lot quicker.

Hope that helps

Cheers, Monicka

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