Why does my child keep hitting others?

Has your child ever lashed out and hit you or another child?  Have you had complaints of your child kicking or shoving another?  How about hair pulling?  Just like tantrums (blog of the 12th June) - physical ‘violence’ in a child is something they need to learn (as early as possible) is unacceptable behaviour.  They must understand that there will be consequences with this type of behaviour and this does not mean hitting them back!

Why the violence?  Most of the time it is the result of feelings of frustration in your child.  It is their way of expressing a deep level of frustration or anger and they lash out physically at people they feel are ‘causing’ their pain.

 What to do?

Ask your daughter why she is feeling angry.  Ask your son what you can do to help him get rid of his frustrations.  Through talking to your child work out what is the cause of the behaviour and the reason behind their feeling hurt, pain or frustration.  Sometimes just by letting them know that you are paying attention and have noticed how they are feeling will already do a lot to reduce their frustrations.  Use positive parenting a lot – which in this case means age-appropriate directions and logical and clear consequences.   

Remember: No shaming / No Guilt / No labelling - it doesn't help things!

Just like everything else you do – be consistent.  It’s NEVER OK to hit another child or lash out in public.  Stop it the first time – and every time.  Be clear about what type of behaviour you expect – and MODEL it yourself.  Make sure your child knows you are watching carefully and praise them when they behave well.

It is so important to catch this early as if left unchecked - this can develop into some nasty 'bullying' habits later on....

+ More specific tips on biting in 2 weeks time…