rules when kids hit

Dealing with Hitting

Useful Rules for Successful Parents

When children are angry and frustrated they sometimes turn to hitting in order to take matters into their own hands and produce the outcome they desire. But hitting is not a behavior that can be condoned in any instance. Parents need to convey to their children that violence is never the answer to a problem.

Here are some tips on how to deal with children who are hitting:

Create a zero tolerance rule. Hurting another person physically which includes hitting, punching, scratching, biting, pulling hair, etc. will not be tolerated. Make sure this message is very clear to your children. Hurting another person because you are angry and frustrated is not allowed in your home. Discuss this at a family meeting. Allow your children to help you come up with a consequence for this behavior.

Teach your child acceptable behaviors which are alternatives to hitting. This is an important second that as if you did not teach your child what to do and only teach them what not to do they will end up confused and frustrated even more. At that point they are more apt to return the unwanted behavior of hitting or having a complete meltdown.

Acceptable behaviors include walking away from the person who is frustrating you, telling the person how they made you feel, leaving the area and dealing with the frustration by exercising, hitting a pillow, etc. or going to a place that will help them calm down. There may also be times when the child feels they need an adult to help. For instance, if a child gets hit and does not want to hit the other child back. These time should not be considered tattling, listen to your child take care of whatever hurts they have and when everything is all better, deal with the child who did the hitting.

Reinforce acceptable nonviolent behaviors when you see your children displaying them. In other words, catch your kids being good. Catch them sharing even though they are frustrated or notice when they are using words instead of their fists.

Reasons Children Hit

Your child’s age might have something to do with it. If you think being a certain age is part of the reason for hitting, take a good look at the developmental milestones your child should be reaching. For instance, if you are raising a toddler and their language development is behind they may resort to hitting in order to get their point across. They simply don’t have the words to say it. If you are faced with this problem you could work on your toddler’s vocabulary and that would take care of the hitting problem.

Peer pressure can cause children to fight, hit, and hurt each other. If this is an issue with your child at school, discuss it with the school’s guidance counselor. Then, talk to your child about learning to walk away preferably before it gets to the fight stage.

Sometimes gender plays a role. Boys get a little rough wrestle and/or play fight. Put a stop to this by offering more positive ways to compete with each other.

How to Handle a Hitting Situation

When a child hits another child, you need to give attention to the child that had been hit first. This will let the child who does the hitting know that they do not get attention for this behavior. Model empathy and take care of the child physically.

When you know the other child is okay take the child who did the hitting timeout. Explain to the child that hitting is not allowed. Hitting hurts. Ask them sit in timeout for certain amount of time to think about the situation and how they can do better next time.

When timeout is over, have the child who did the hitting apologize to the child who got hit. Then talk to the child about alternatives that they can use instead of hitting.

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