Children naturally use their bodies to express emotions. However, when their expression of aggression hurts others, a stop needs to be put to it, and quickly. It's important when dealing with your child that they understand that they are entitled to feel frustrated, but they are not allowed to express their frustration or aggression by hurting others. There are other ways to effectively express emotions and as a parent it's your job to help them model more appropriate behaviors.
Stop the Hiting
If you catch your child hitting, immediately stop them by removing them from the situation (block their hands from hitting you or another, and if needed, remove them from the room). Firmly tell them to "STOP" without raising your voice or showing anger or frustration.
Children hit as a way of expressing emotion. If we lose control and react to their hitting then we are modeling to them behavior that we are trying to stop in them. Doesn't make much sense, right? So, stay calm and in control, as hard as that may be. It's frustrating when you have a hitter, whether they are hitting you or another!
Talk to Your Child
Have a conversation with your child about hitting and WHY they were hitting. Try to get them to use words to express their emotions so that you can get to the bottom of why they were hitting. Was your child frustrated? Angry? Tired? Wanting attention?
Testing the boundaries? Discuss how hitting makes them feel. Did they feel good about themselves afterwards? How do they thinking the person they hit felt? Explain that hitting is a physical act that HURTS other people physically and emotionally. Not only does getting hit hurt the spot where the impact happened, it hurts feelings, too.
Use Postive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement works! When you see your child chose to express their emotions in ways that are appropriate, praise them! Tell them that you noticed that that made a choice to not hit as an expression of frustration, anger, boredom or whatever the reason is. You might also want to consider a reward chart, which have worked wonders for our children!
Do Your Part!
Try not to let your child get cranky or out of their schedule, which can lead to bad behavior that can be easily avoided! Try our Happy Day Spray!