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How do I let ds know I understand why he hit without saying it's okay?

(5 Posts)
Sleepglorioussleep Wed 07-Sep-11 13:34:44

Ds is 2.10. He is starting to have much better language skills, and can express himself more. But in conflict situations, he either chooses, or I suspect resorts when language fails him, to hitting, scratching or biting. It is always when someone is trying to take his toy, or screaming or shouting at him-usually his sister or a younger child. It is not when he wants a toy or book from another child. Adults and older children tend to behave more sensitively to his needs and listen when he says he doesn't like something. I try to hover unobtrusively and intervene, but with a little baby this isn't always possible. He is old enough that there needs, I think, to be a consequence to his action. However, I also think it's fair to him to let him know that he wasn't wrong to dislike the behaviour of the other child, just in the way he reacted. When it's his sister, I point out to both why they were wrong and they both say sorry. And are taken away from the activity if necessary. I feel uncomfortable saying anything to the other child and it is the other parent's role to help their child to appropriate behaviour. But that sometimes leaves ds "in trouble" and the other child not-as physical aggression trumps all else in some books (mine too-but not all unacceptable behaviour is physical). I want him to feel understood, but also to learn that dealing with things physically is totally unacceptable. Ironically, He seems to have learnt to share, will give up a toy willingly when asked and he's had a turn and just can't cope when it's unfair ie he's having a turn and someone wants to force him out.

BlueChampagne Wed 07-Sep-11 13:42:18

I think you just have to say what you've said in your post in very simple language he can understand. Also I would say "excuse me, that's not fair, we all have to share" to another child. Not all parents will be grateful, as we don't all hold the same values, but it will demonstrate fairness to your son.

Do you think this would work? "I see you're cross because X has taken the toy/book before you've finished. I'd be cross too. But hitting is a no-no". Then try to distract (if possible!) with another toy or activity.

Good luck - I'm sure the incidents will soon diminish as his verbal self-expression improves.

Sleepglorioussleep Wed 07-Sep-11 14:03:36

That's a great script to use, thank you! I just felt sad today because I could hear (not in words-too much screeching!) "but hey-no one told her off and she was shouting at me and taking my toy. You were feeding the baby, I said no like you told me too and she didn't listen. I'm sorry I hit her but I just couldn't find the words" I know that's a bit far fetched, but I feel for him really. I am afraid that I do intervene with sharing situations when I'm on hand and remind ds that the other child would like a turn when he's finished. Usually everyone's happy then, because ds responds pretty quickly and I'm happy to distract the other child or explain than he/she will have to wait their turn if they aren't responding to the distraction. But it's a big old world and I won't be there to do it at Pre school and can't always get there when dd2 is latched on!
Other parents often don't seem to care why the push etc happened. When ds gets hurt I do try to get to the bottom of it, whilst def not accepting the violence as okay. I am well practises- afraid dd1 still uses force over talking still. Not often now-more likely to shout or tell tales - joy!

SarkySpanner Wed 07-Sep-11 16:40:44

You might want to read "how to talk so kids will listen"

It is good on stuff like this IMO.

Sleepglorioussleep Wed 07-Sep-11 16:44:16

Aha! I will go back to that one! It's the book that made me start to try to understand and empathise with my children in the first place! Good reminder.

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