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HELP! My Son is Suddenly a Hitter!

By khulac
Monday, June 2nd, 2008 at 12:11 pm in Advice, Parenting Issues.

Had a run-in with my boy (just turned 4) and the shy meek out-of-town cousin (a very young 5-year-old girl). Bottom line: She stuffed something into his Easy Bake Oven that tripped his trigger so he hauled off and smacked her.

My sweet angel has been doing the hitting thing recently. Not at school (where he’s the model child), just with his loved ones at home. We are working on it, but please, if you have any suggestions, send them my way. I feel terrible and am doing all the obvious–telling him to use his words; giving him time outs; taking away privileges, etc. etc. But it’s hard.

I feel part of it is just more vigilance on my part…staying alert to his interactions and conflicts to intervene with a “teaching” moment before he hauls off and whacks someone.

I grew up in a family of four girls, so there’s a slight lack on knowledge about the innate testosterone-fueled aggressiveness of boys on my part. I do know from spending time with his friends and classmates that he is certainly not outside the norm compared to his peers.

But I of course want it to stop. Help!! Send advice!!

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No Responses to “HELP! My Son is Suddenly a Hitter!”

  1. ontheedgeofacliff Says:

    lady, you need to open a can of whoop a@$!

  2. Rona Says:

    It’s not unusual for children (especially intense ones who get frustrated easily) to react and use physical means to communicate their feelings. This is why it’s so important for parents to demonstrate ways to resolve conflicts, other than using spanking or hitting. Our kids learn from us! And there are kids who are never hit who hit just because they’ll still learning how to cope with strong feelings. So, you have been trying discipline measures that make sense, but since they aren’t working yet, you might want to try something else. You can help him find other ways to express his frustration, and even do some role-playing with him for practice. So for example you can get some dolls or stuffed animals out and set up a scenario like the one with his cousin. You can play him and he can play the cousin. Then when you get mad about what she did you can say things like “I’m so mad I want to hit you, but I won’t” or have the doll say strongly “You can’t do that to my oven.” You can then see what ideas he has about what else he can do besides hit. If it’s done in this way, he’s more likely to remember it in the moment next time. Also, check in with his teacher or childcare provider to see if there are older kids giving him a hard time. Also remember to give him positive feedback and attention when he gets mad and doesn’t hit.
    Discipline is all about teaching and setting limits. So letting him know it’s unacceptable to hit and giving him tools to do something else with his feelings is a powerful approach. I know many adults who haven’t yet mastered this one.
    Best of luck, Rona

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