Q: “My toddler likes to hit people when he doesn’t get what he wants. What can I do about this?”
A: As adults we learn how to manage our emotions. Whether we’re happy or sad we know how to reach out to other people. When children become upset they are not yet capable of verbal communication so therefore they display their emotions, in this case – physically. Children may learn to hit when they see someone hitting somebody else. It may be just an aggressive child at playschool, or from what they see on TV or video games. So always make sure to monitor what your children are watching and as importantly, the type of people they are exposed to.
It is always best to talk calmly to your children when they get upset. Yelling or hitting them when they don’t get their way is definitely not a good thing to do especially when out in public places because embarrassing them may create insecurities when they grow up and can even pave way for other unpleasant behaviors like talking back and being generally disrespectful.
For example, you’re on your way out of the toy store and he or she starts to throw a tantrum because of not getting a toy before going home. Before you even go to the mall, explain to your child that you are just going there to look around, have fun and spend time together, and that he or she can pick a toy but it will be purchased the next time you come back. To take your kid’s mind of the toy, you can offer this compromise: “Sweetie, instead of buying toys we will be going to the amusement center so you can play with your favorite games, meet new friends and then you can pick your favorite ice cream after!”
Here are some ways to stop your child from hitting:
1. Stop the behavior as soon as it begins to show.
When your child starts to hit, talk to him or her right away and discourage the negative behavior. Speak slowly and meaningfully. The calmer you are, the more they will listen. Take time and talk to him or her until they begin to quiet down themselves. Don’t rush and let your kid know you’re there to listen. This doesn’t always work the first time however it will after a few meaningful tries. Encourage healthy conversation regarding self expression.
2. Teach your kid how to express his or her emotion in other ways.
Talk to your child and tell her that if something makes her upset to go to daddy or mommy and explain what happened. If your child is with another family member or the nanny, she can still do the same. It is also best to teach her how to handle unpleasant situation by setting a good example in proper behavior.
Click here to read more on how to deal when your big kid hits.