Thursday, July 5, 2007

Hitting Problem

I received a question a few days ago that I'm sure many moms are dealing with. A mom wrote in and asked what she should do about her one-year-old son who was hitting. I have dealt with this situation plenty of times myself. As a matter of fact, my 18-month-old little girl, Kenna, has unfortunately found that hitting is a great way to express her frustration.

First of all, I am ruling out the fact that the mom is hitting or spanking the child. If that's the case, then the child is simply playing copycat. Spanking is usually done when you can't think of a better way to handle the situation, not for smart moms like us!! And a one-year-old never should be hit or spanked.

Usually infants and toddlers will hit as a means to get attention. They love to get a rise out of people, and hitting someone definitely works. The most important thing is to not react with a lot of emotion (if you do, then the child got what he wanted). Do NOT hit back. I always grab the hand that hit, hold it firmly, look straight into the child's eyes on their level, and say "No," Then, immediately redirect the child's attention. Show them a design on the wall, your clothes, their shoes. Pick up anything that's close by and show it to them and tell them something about it. Just do something immediately so that they won't continue with the hitting. I have found that this works like a charm. The trick is to not show a lot of emotion and immediately redirect their attention. If they don't get reinforced for the behavior, then it will not continue.

Remember, also, that children go through stages. This may just be a funky phase that he is going through. Handle it with patience and diligence and it will pass smoothly.

Now it's your turn, mamas. If you have some advice on handling this situation, please write in. We're all in this together, and I love hearing from all of you wonderful, blessed, luminous women!!!


Pattie said...

I am having this problem with my 4 year old!! He is constantly hitting his sisters. I will try this and get back to you with my results. Wish me luck!!

Eric said...

I have a 5 year old daughter who is hitting at daycare. The daycare uses the redirection method as we do at home but my daughter seems unconcerned and continues to display bad behavior even when she is redirected. The daycare is ready to have us pick her up. What do we do when redirection doesn't work.

Mike said...

My son is 2.5 yrs old and is hitting US anytime he gets frustrated. This weekend he has been under the weather and just been terribly unruly and I feel the hitting is more frequent than usual and it worries me. Day care loves him and says that he is only a reactive hitter in that he only defends himself. We are very very very much against violence against others and this problem is a bit scary to us. Everyone tells us it is just a phase, but is it?