If you want to know how to stop a child from hitting, you will have to learn to manage this behaviour until the child learns other non-aggressive ways of expressing themselves.
If your child is hitting you or other kids, it is important to teach them to curb their impulses. However, you need to know that kicking, biting and hitting are all normal for young children. They are just learning about aggression at this age, and they prefer to lash out when they are upset rather than talk it out.
Sometimes your child can hit people around them even when they are not upset, meaning that this could be just a game to them. Your response will determine if the child’s behaviour continues, and that is why you need to know how to stop a child from hitting.
WHY DOES YOUR CHILD HIT?
Hitting, biting and kicking don’t make your child bad. So, why then do they occasionally hit?
1. They are afraid
Fear can make your child become aggressive. Young children haven’t mastered how to process their emotions, so fear could make them try to hurt the people around them when they are scared.
2. The child is upset
When your child is upset, he may try to get your attention by hitting you or other children around them. Your child’s communication technique is not yet fully developed, so they may find it hard to convey their emotions. By hitting, they are trying to tell you that something is wrong.
Children can hit when they are hungry, sad, sleepy or distressed. You should learn to recognize the signs if you want to know how to stop a child from hitting.
3. Your child is going through a natural phase
As mentioned before, sometimes hitting, kicking and biting are just phases your child is passing through. They will surely outgrow if you learn to manage it well.
HOW TO STOP A CHILD FROM HITTING?
There are many helpful methods you can use to stop hitting. But you have to know that your success will depend largely on how you approach the correction. Here are tried and trusted ways you can get your child to manage their emotions better.
1. Don’t scold
You can get the child to change their behaviour without scolding or losing your temper. Raising your voice will only make your child want to hit you more than ever. Remain calm and explain why hitting is not a good thing. You can say things like:
Sorry, I can’t let you do that.
You hurt … (mention whoever the child had hit, but say this gently without raising your voice)
Instead of hurting mommy, can we talk about this instead?
2. Hold the child’s hand when they are about to strike
If you are watching the child from across the room and they raise their hand to strike someone, you can get there in time and hold their hand. You have to be fast enough to prevent their hand from connecting. Hold them gently and don’t let go even if they squirm or throw tantrums.
You can explain to the child that you will only hold on to them until they calm down. Once they have calmed down, keep to your promise of letting go of their hand.
You can say to him, “Are you feeling better now?”
Your calmness is a great example! Before long, your child will learn to stay calm no matter how upset they feel.
3. Take the child home when they start hitting
If you went out with the child to the park or other social settings and they start to hit other kids, you can pick them up and tell them you are going home. Act as if taking the child out of that situation is not a punishment.
Once you get home, you can say the following to the child:
We came home so you can calm down.
The person you hit is your friend, and we don’t hit anyone whether or not they are our friends.
You are safe at home. No one will get you upset here.
How to stop a child from hitting will depend largely on your approach to the situation. These are warm, friendly ways to teach your child that physical aggression is a no-no.
This article was first published on AfricaParent.com
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