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WWYD re 3 1/2 yo hitting?

(4 Posts)
elvislives2012 Sun 23-Feb-14 15:50:02

My friends son is 3 1/2 (nearly 4) and hits people when he is angry or upset. He did it the other day and hit his gramps. My friend makes him say sorry then says it's because he's tired. I was talking to my DH and we thought he should have it explained every time why it's unacceptable or at least punished (ie time out). We have a DD but she's only 16 months so am sure we have all this to come grin
He's not got any SN.

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown Sun 23-Feb-14 19:45:45

I don't believe in time outs personally and I also don't believe a child should be made to say sorry but that's just me. my DS has begun hitting through frustration, anger, jealousy etc and I must say that it's not always the children you'd expect who do it..he is the sweetest natured boy, I just think his feelings overwhelm him and he doesn't know what else to do in the heat of the moment. we work on removal from the situation/removal of the toy if there is one in question for a few minutes until he is calm, perhaps it's time out for toys but then I'm not worried about them feeling abandoned in their moment of need smile

if it's DS I'm removing I do some deep breathing with him and then repeat the same thing every time "we use gentle hands in this family. hands are not for hitting." I then usually talk to him about whatever feeling I think has driven the 'attack' and try and think of other ways to express them. I'm still learning myself though, having never been taught what to do with anger or frustration (other than repress it) it's a learning process for us both.

I think your friend is probably embarrassed and that's why she's saying he's tired (he probably is but I'd bet she's struggling as we all do when our precious DC 'act out') - there's probably part of you (if you're anything like me and most parents I know) that thinks your DD won't do this or you won't allow her to get away with it but trust me it comes from nowhere and it's so hard to know how to handle it especially when you feel like you've tried everything and it's not working. I think it's just a phase, possibly fueled by testosterone surges at his age but also frustrations at the injustice of being 3, having free will but only being allowed to use it when it suits your parents (through their eyes at least) - my aim is to be firm about rules about not hurting people but still empathise with the feelings that drive the behaviour. it's tough being a toddler grin

HighVoltage Sun 23-Feb-14 20:17:06

It depends on the child and the circumstances really. Sometimes the behaviour is part of an attention-seeking pattern and so to explain in detail and put them on the naughty step etc might encourage the behaviour you're trying to stop.

elvislives2012 Sun 23-Feb-14 20:44:54

You're right, it's so easy to say 'my DD would never behave like that'!
He was quite badly behaved and she didn't really do much about it which was frustrating. I hadn't thought of her being embarrassed about it, though

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