Monday, March 30, 2009

Hitting is a NO NO

As I embark on the wonderful world of toddler hood with my son, I learn more and more every day how to find some inner zen, not freak out over the little OR big things, and to figure out new ways to hide the veggies.

But one thing I don't think I am doing so well at? Teaching my son not to hit. Yes, I have to admit it: I have a hitter.

In ways, I am glad he is not the kid getting hit, so in a way I am happy he stands up for himself. Like yesterday at the park he hit a kid BIGGER than himself. Yea, my Little Dude sticks up for himself very well when the bigger kids run him over.

But what about when the kids haven't done anything to him? Like at the park, the bigger kid had actually done nothing except play with some mulch. Little Dude marched across the playground and let that kid know that the mulch was his and his alone. Thus, Little Dude was in huge trouble, had to say sorry, and then had to come home and not play at the park anymore.

But how can we prevent the hitting? What can we do? We do discipline him quite well, I think. Mostly time outs, occasional, rare spankings (like if he runs into the road, or tries to get a knife out of the drawer and other such very dangerous activities that apeal to him...) and losing toys. Those all work pretty well, except with the hitting.

When it comes to hitting, Little Dude will show remorse, and even tell us if his trains hit each other (because in pretend land they sometimes do..) and then he puts them in time out and takes away their toys(stick with me, we are in pretend land). Anyways, he KNOWS it is bad, that he shouldn't do it, and that there is punishment. Yet, he continues to do it, and sometimes unprovoked.

So how do I go about teaching him stick up for himself, but at the same time teach him not to hit? Any ideas? I think we will get it under control as he gets older, since he is only 2 and a half, but still, if anyone has any ideas that might work, I would love to hear them. I certainly don't want my sweet Little Dude to be the playground bully!


John and Caitlin said...

So I'm sure this won't help, and I have no good advice, being childless and all but it reminded me of a funny story...

When I was about 17, I babysat for a family at church. I had been watching them for years, since the youngest was about 18 months. When he was about three, he became a biter. I was teaching him to swim one day at the pool while his mom watched his two sisters nearby. He decided he was done with swimming lessons and so he bit me on the arm....hard. Without thinking about it, I bit him back. :) Not hard or anything, but it shocked him and he ran to his mom crying that "caitlin bit him". His mom looked at me, looked at him, and asked if he bit me first. He said yes and his mom shrugged and said "well, thats what happens when you bite." When he walked away she looked and me and laughed so hard she cried. He never bit anyone again. :P

Stephanie said...

Michelle, it sounds like you already have a good discipline plan in place. Ethan didn't really go through the hitting stage, although his 1 year old sister now is. :( But, I will say sometimes, there's not a whole lot we can do when kids go through these different phases. Except of course, to be consistent so they know this is unacceptable. Kids are smart and they'll learn sooner or later. Hopefully, sooner, for our sake! Ethan is in the very whiney phase right now and I'm just trying to stick hard to my discipline and tell myself it will soon end!

Momma said...

Maybe hitting is the only way he knows how to release his anger. That's really all I can think of.

As a parent, I got really excited when you said you disciplined him for his hitting. Hitting in general doesn't really bother me. Kids are kids. They are going to do it. What kills me is when parents just sit back and don't do anything at all. I can't tell you how many times I have been to the children's museum or the park and have all the kid's running wild. Why aren't their parents watching them?!?!? That is why hitting continues to beyond the age it should. So keep up the good work!! (and sorry about my little rant there)

Such Lovely Freckles said...

This comment comes without any judgment whatsoever. Children hit because they get hit. Children give timeouts because they get timeouts. They copy their parents in every which way, and we alone have the power to change. :)

Having said all that, my son, at 13 months (the child has never received a spanking in his life) started hitting people for a brief period of time. You cannot punish a 13 months old child. He won't understand. (Of course punishment generally defeats the purpose of what you're trying to say to your child) With him it still helped to flatten his hand and stroke the person he just hit. The phase was over quickly.

Your son understands talking. Communicate with him. Not just by saying, it's not okay to hit. Offer possibilities of communication, that he hasn't figured out yet. Kids are bright, they get it, when we are serious about stuff. :)

Fiona said...

my daughter hits too. I think sometimes it is out of frustration because she can't communicate what she is feeling. We are workin on it!