Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Don't Hit

I witnessed something troubling today at gymnastics drop-in. A young boy - probably two and a bit - hit another little girl and in return his father smacked him while loudly scolding him. You have to wonder what message this father was trying to give his child by doing this. Not only was the father repeating exactly the behaviour his son had just committed, but he was teaching his son that hitting is the correct response to anger. How will a child learn not to hit if you are going to hit him as punishment and shame him in front of his peers?

Eloise is certainly entering the hitting stage, so in a way I understand the father's frustration. Hitting is apparently part of the developmental stage from 18 to 30 months since children do not yet have the verbal skills to communicate their frustration. When Eloise hits we are quick to say "no hitting" and ask her to use 'nice touch' which we demonstrate by stroking or gently patting her arm. If she persists, we put her on the floor or walk away and let her know that hitting is "not nice and is unacceptable behaviour".

Ask Dr. Sears has some helpful information about hitting and biting in toddlers and their gentle approach to correcting this behaviour makes a lot of sense. Check out 16 Ways to Stop for ideas on how to curb hitting in your toddler.

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