3 year old hitting - how should I handle it?

(4 Posts)
BumboBaggins Tue 21-May-19 08:11:23

My DD is 3.2 years. She has always been feisty, independent and very keen on getting her own way. We also have a DS who is almost 1. When she gets frustrated or doesn’t get her own way, her reaction is increasingly frequently to hit me (usually me as I am with her almost often, but occasionally daddy or grandma). I don’t believe she does this at nursery or childminders, where she is generally very well behaved. I do not and have never hit her.

I have tried ignoring it, putting her on the naughty step, cuddling her - but I feel like she has to know it’s wrong to hit, and that there should be a consequence of hitting. I have obviously not been consistent in the way I’ve dealt with this, which can’t have helped, but it’s because I’m not sure how I should be dealing with this? Any tips??

In addition, she is quite often unkind to her baby brother. She refuses to share toys with him and whatever it is he is playing with, she will go and take it off him (and then not play it, just leave it on the floor but so that he can’t play with it). She doesn’t seem to “love” him in the way that I’ve seen other siblings interact, which makes me really sad. I just want them to be friends! Maybe I’m expecting too much from a 3 year old... But I don’t know how do deal with this behaviour either. I sound like a rubbish mum who has no clue what she’s doing.

She can be very kind and caring when she wants to be, but whenever I do anything she doesn’t like or tell her no, she tells me she doesn’t like me and the hitting is grinding me down. I feel like a terrible mother because all the other toddlers I know dote on their mums and mine just seems to hate me! I do try but sometimes it really gets to me and I snap and just shout “fine, do what you want” or something like that. Her temper reflects mine I guess (I can get angry and she has seen this sometimes), but I feel like the damage is done now, and I can’t change it although I desperately want to. I try and give her cuddles and affection and as much attention as I can, but it’s hard with a 1 year old too to give her as much attention as she perhaps wants.


OP’s posts: |
MummyBear2352 Tue 21-May-19 10:47:18


I feel your inconsistency in parenting her bad behaviour and allowing boundaries to slide is most possibly at the root of this.

I feel that possibly in her mind she has cottoned on to the fact that you give in at times and so she knows now that she can take advantage of you and others by upping her ante which has resulted in her exhibiting bullying behaviour. As you know, bullying is unacceptable from anyone regardless of whether they are a man, woman or child.

I feel it’s a very unhealthy thing for a child to feel they are the parent of themselves, too much responsibility for such young shoulders no?

I feel the key here is to be consistent with the naughty step and also to start some reward system for when she is showing good child behaviour.

SuperNanny has a mountain of books and videos, which can be found online.

All the best

BumboBaggins Tue 21-May-19 14:52:47

Yes you are right - consistency is important. And rewards for good behaviour too. I haven’t been doing that so I’ll try that. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
piscis Wed 22-May-19 13:48:30

My DD does this hitting thing as well, she is 2, which is a tricky age as she cannot communicate well and I cannot reason with her so much.

After reading on the subject we decided we'll try this technique: every time that she hit us (her dad and me), we leave the room. We just tell her not to hit and we leave her, just for 20-30 seconds, we want to pass on the message that every time she does that, this would be our response, and she doesn't like it. Then we return normally, no shouting, no being angry...

I agree that consistency is very important. We do it every time (unless she does it in a place we cannot obviously leave her alone!), and if it is my OH and me in the same room and hits me, for example, both of us leave the room. It has improved a lot (not solved 100% yet though).

Our cases are different because they are different ages so the techniques have to be different but I think consistency is the key element here.

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