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3yr old son pushes and hits playmates. When will this stop? Anyone got any tips?

(7 Posts)
gder Sun 12-Jul-09 20:26:02

My very sociable 3 yr old son pushes and occasionally hits his play mates. I find this very embaressing. I always discipline him but he doesn't seem to be taking it on board. What can I do?

MogTheForgetfulCat Sun 12-Jul-09 21:57:39

I wish I knew the answer to this, as I have been going through this with my DS1 (3.4) for ages now - I just didn't want your post to go unanswered.

There have been periods when it has got better, but it has, so far, always returned, and we are in a bad phase of it now. I find it mortifying, and feel very discouraged that he just doesn't seem to get it. For what it's worth, we have decided that he is now old enough to understand that it is wrong, and we just leave the park/playdate/whatever when he does it - he gets one warning, delivered as calmly as I can manage it, and if he does it again, we go. It has meant quite a few ruined outings, and I just feel like I have to sit tight and wait for it to sink in.

It's odd, because it generally crops up over someone wanting to play on/with something that he's using, and he gets very territorial over it - and yet he will share things (food, especially - so maybe that's quite different to him?) with his little brother. Sigh.

I'm sorry, I really wish I had some pearls of wisdom for you...

saintmaybe Sun 12-Jul-09 22:06:10

We did the same, and it did work with ds1; one warning then we went home. You have to be prepared to do it every time, though, for a while, which is a bit gutting when it's somewhere you want to be and it took you an hour to get out of the house.

This was years ago, he's 12 now! I think I would try to spend more time trying to talk to him about what was going on for him as well if I were in the same situation now; I was so panicky that I wasn't able to have a calm, listening talk with him. At 3 he's probably able to talk about it, or even come up with some ideas about what you should do when it happens.

gder Mon 13-Jul-09 13:40:47

Thank you for your listening ears and advice. I think the worst thing about it is that other mums seem to judge me and him. He is a lovely boy with many lovely characteristics and I want him to be liked. It does feel as if its been going on for ages. I will try the one warning and go method but I am a sociable person and have another son. I don't want his bad behaviour to ruin my younger son's days out or stop me from having much needed time out of the house.

I do know that eventually he will come through it and be a nice boy to his peers but I don't feel i can just wait for this to happen.

MogTheForgetfulCat Mon 13-Jul-09 13:54:46

I know that feeling that you are being judged - horrible. As I said, I find it absolutely mortifying, but also infuriating as I know DS1 is not an aggressive oaf, he's a sweet, sparky, sensitive and loving little boy, but all other mums see is someone shoving their little boy/girl.

I know what you mean about not wanting time out of the house spoiled, or your other son's trips disrupted - I have waited until now to start leaving things early for the same reasons, but feel the situation has become so untenable (for me, not because the pushing is so bad - it's not, I just find it v hard to deal with) that this is the only way to deal with it. Luckily, my DS2 is only 1.5, so pretty easy-going about what we do and when. Am hoping (well, begging, really) that by the time he is old enough to start feeling aggrieved by having his day out cut short, it will have sunk in to DS1's head that pushing/hitting is a no-no!

saintmaybe Mon 13-Jul-09 15:19:14

I think it only took us about 2 weeks, once I really did the 'have to go home then' thing properly. Not to say that would be the case for you, though. My other son has autism, and no amount of going home would be enough to take him out of aggressive meltdown.

God, the judginess is hideous, isn't it? Don't assume everyone is though, lots of people will be understanding, especially if they see you hovering vigilantly. Almost everyone with older dcs will have been through it themselves at some point.

And those who do, well, they're lucky if their dcs haven't done it YET. Sometimes they're just feeling super-protective, some people are just judgy, it makes them feel better about themselves. You can't do anything about them.

and this too will pass...really

gder Tue 14-Jul-09 13:37:17

Thank you again, you don't know how much better I feel knowing other people have gone through this too. I was beginning to think it was just me. I am going to try the leaving after one warning and be really srtict about it. I just hope it is a short job.

Thank you.

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