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those who don't do naughty step: how do you deal with 3yo hitting?

(13 Posts)
MamaChocoholic Sat 16-Jul-11 19:15:52

ds1 is 3.5yo. just recently, he has begun playfighting (learnt from nursery) which have told him he cannot do with the dts (9mo). today he has been hitting us (dp and I) and "play-hitting" the dts. not very hard, not in anger, but hard enough to hurt me. I asked him if he knew he was hurting me and he said yes. I asked him why he wanted to do that and he said he liked doing it. I said it made me sad when he hurt me, did he want to make me sad, and he said no. he said sorry, we chatted a bit more and I took the dts to bed. then he hit dp, who had pretty much the same conversation with him and removed a tv program from the bedtime routine in punishment.

we have never really used naughty step, there being natural consequences for most of his behaviour in the past (eg if you throw food on the floor, you clean it up). but what is a normal consequence for hitting? or what would you do? I feel like he needs an instant consequence for it, we want to nip it in the bud, but what?

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 16-Jul-11 19:21:01

We usually have a conversation about bad behaviour but I think violence is a different matter, it needs to be instant and obvious so we would use the naughty step for hitting.

MamaChocoholic Sat 16-Jul-11 19:50:04

that's my instinct too JJJ, something instant and obvious.

BertieBotts Sat 16-Jul-11 19:52:41

Sounds like you are thinking too much in terms of behaviour : reward/punishment, if you're wanting to avoid the generic punishment thing. Try thinking about discipline as a whole, ie, to teach.

Your conversation with him was a good. DS is 2.9 and he'd probably react in exactly the same way - first respond reasonably in a verbal way, but then completely forget it next time it came to the situation he was in where he hit (so frustrated/excited/whatever the trigger is). What we've found works with DS is helping him work through an alternative for that situation. So we suggested things he could hit or things he could do when he felt cross which didn't hurt people. He does need reminding most of the time but usually we can catch him before he does hit, this morning he spontaneously went and hit the sofa instead of hitting DP for something, so it's improving, and quite quickly. I stopped him biting in the same way - got an old teething ring of his out and said he could bite that if he felt like biting something, but not me. He bit the teething ring a couple of times - and really hard shock but actually then he seemed to lose interest in biting altogether.

BertieBotts Sat 16-Jul-11 19:53:50

Obviously if you're not particularly trying to avoid the generic punishment thing then ignore me! smile

MamaChocoholic Sat 16-Jul-11 20:04:45

I would prefer to teach than punish, yes BB. but I don't think there is a trigger, he's not doing it when cross, more like it's an experiment: what happens if I hit? presumably there has been some hitting at nursery in amongst the play fighting. he and a friend have been winding each other up, and we've talked about how he should go play with another friend when either of them starts to get wound up, which seems to have magically helped.

but like JJJ says, I am not really comfortable with just having a chat about things when it comes to violence. this is something I think we need to be very clear about. I cannot keep him apart from the dts at all times, and I cannot risk him hitting them too. instinctively I don't like the naughty step - it is clearly punish rather than teach - but I'm not sure how else to deal with it.

wompoopigeon Sat 16-Jul-11 20:07:01

We don't do the naughty step in this household but hitting is something which I come down on! (two things actually, hitting and road safety, the only things I am super strict about!). We do talk about it yes and read books like "hands are not for hitting" (see Amazon). But at the time I am much much firmer : <apply very firm voice not usually deployed> "We do not hit each other in this house. I do not hit you and you do not hit me". and then I pop her in her bedroom for a couple of minutes. Then I explain why I did that and I hug her and then we carry on playing.
I just think hitting absolutely has to be nipped in the bud, for example, what if they hit another child in nursery or playgroup, or actually hurt a younger sibling. So I prefer to be strict at the time and talk about reasons, mummy's sad etc later (normally when putting to bed and having cuddles).

itsnotpossibleisit Sat 16-Jul-11 20:10:54

DD had a phase of hitting too and I tried different things with not much luck. At the end what I did was to completely ignore it, even though it was hard, and remove myself from the situation. At the end she stopped on her own, probably because she realised that it didn't work, who knows? She is only 23 months but it started around 18 months and stopped a few weeks ago. So it took us a bit long but naughty step or other punishment techniques that a lot of people use didn't work with DD, it made things even worse.

We are know on the phase of bitting and I am doing excatly the same, just not giving it any attention or showing that it bothers me at all. If she tries I try to stop it from happening and distract her with something funny, most of the time I just tickle her and then she forgets that she wanted to bit me.

Hope this help and good luck

MamaChocoholic Sat 16-Jul-11 20:16:06

thanks. itsnotpossible I think you're dealing with it in an age appropriate manner, but I suspect ds1, being that much older, will see ignoring it as a green light to carry on!

wompoo, we're done that (put in his room for a minute or two) previously. tbh, I don't really remember what it was he did to cause that for a while (it was last year sometime), but yes, I think that's an immediate consequence we could use. I don't know why it feels different to a naughty step, but it does.

BoysRusxxx Sat 16-Jul-11 21:12:40

We dont like the naughty step here either. Ive just started a great book by Dr. David Coleman. It is called 'parenting is childs play'. I havent got to the hitting section yet though!

Lindax Sat 16-Jul-11 21:24:53

with ds we have used time out, sometimes step, chair or whatever is around. have never called it the "naughty" step/chair, its a place for him to calm down/think about what he did before talking it through.

We dont send to his bedroom as he plays there regularily himself so would just play away with his toys and forget why he was in there so not really a consequence for him.

PotterWatch Sun 17-Jul-11 15:43:28

We don't do the naughty step and I am not a fan of this phrase and the association that they are 'naughty' but for severe things like hitting/kicking etc then we do time out. As we dont have a hallway, we shut all the upstairs doors (DS can't open them as the handles are stiff) put him on the landing and shut the stair gate and go downstairs ignoring him for a few minutes. He hates being removed from the room and being ignored by us so it is pretty effective and we don't use it often and it is only for extreme behaviour, like he bit his baby sister the other day (first ever biting incident at 3.5 which was very random). We then ask him if he is ready to behave and if he is, then he can come back. He also has to appologise and is told that hitting etc is NOT acceptable as we wouldn't do that to him so he is not to do it to others. Luckily it is a rare thing and we find it is when he is over tired. If he does it as he is getting ready for bed (which is probably where he does it the most) then he loses his bedtime stories as we tell him we don't want to sit nicely and have a story with him when he is behaving like that.

OhWhatNoooow Sun 17-Jul-11 18:46:21

We use a traffic light system, which takes away the 'punishment' from it. When they start hitting or are about to hit, we say 'stop' which is red on the traffic light. Then, they have to sit on a chair or somewhere and clench their fists tightly for a few minutes or 20 secs whatever you think is a good amount. This is orange, 'thinking time'. They need to think of a better way to resume play. After this amount of time, they can go to green 'go'. Once they unclench their fists, it actually releases some tension in the body and the child feels better and more relaxed. It really works.

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