It is important to stop physical aggression on the part of the child in time, before it becomes a habit, and everyone around the baby begins to suffer from it.
You are calmly playing with a child, and suddenly he hits you for no reason at all. Such sudden aggression can throw you into shock and make you wonder if you have made mistakes in upbringing somewhere. However, it is most likely not that you are a bad parent, or something is wrong with your child. He hits you not to hurt you, but because he can’t cope with his emotions.
It doesn’t matter whether a child hits you with a laugh or an indifferent expression, there are always emotions behind aggression. As a rule, this emotion is fear. So how to react to this behavior?
If you strictly punish the baby, it will only lead to the fact that he will become more aggressive in the future. Try to understand why the child hit you, and eliminate the true reason for this behavior.
Why does the child beat you
Even disciplinary measures and punishments are better introduced from a position of kindness and compassion, and for this it is necessary to understand what is behind such behavior:
- Children test the boundaries of what is permissible: they throw food at others, make scenes in public places and, of course, fight to check what is permissible and what is not. Over time, the child will learn that hitting his mother is not the same as hitting his toy drum, and a brother or sister will cry if you throw a typewriter at them.
- Children do not know how to control themselves: the toddlers do not yet have impulse control. If they are bored or annoyed, they use their fists without thinking twice. The good news is that impulse control usually appears at the age of 3 to 6 years.
- Children do not understand that it is bad to do this: children can use force simply out of curiosity and for no reason. Toddler still does not have moral guidelines and an understanding of why it is wrong to cause pain to others. According to the American medical portal Healthline, most children aged 11 to 24 months do not experience psychological stress when they beat other people.
- Children have not yet learned how to cope with emotions: for a child to beat himself or others can be a way to “manage” strong emotions. Most do not yet have the self-control or vocabulary to explain emotions or even formulate them in their head.
Try to observe the child and determine which emotions precede aggression. However, this may not be so obvious: a toddler may hit a parent because of an outburst of anger, hunger, or because he lost a toy.
If this is the reason for aggression, you need to teach the child to express emotions in words. For example, a girl hit her mother because she was given water, not juice, and you answer: “You want juice. Say “juice”.”
What to do if a child hits you
There are several disciplinary strategies that will help reduce the likelihood that aggressive behavior will become a habit of the todd. Not every strategy is suitable for every case, so it is better to experiment with different combinations of them, keeping in mind the main goal — to teach the child to express emotions and manage them.
Physical measures: limit the movements of the toddler when he tries to hit you. Such a restriction should not cause pain to the child, it should be a calm and strong embrace in which he can not hit you.
A calm and strict “no”: the American portal Parents advises to get down to the same level with the child, look him in the eyes and say: “You can’t beat me. It hurts.” If you explain for a long time to the toddler why it is impossible, then he can get distracted and not remember the main rule and will begin to associate aggression with receiving attention from a parent.
Penalties for violating the rules: if a child violates the rules, then this should be followed by consequences in order to prevent undesirable behavior in the future:
- A time-out, in which the child physically withdraws from the problem situation and is isolated, or a time-in, in which the child withdraws from the situation and spends time with the parent, having the opportunity to express his emotions.
- Loss of privileges: a practical and effective disciplinary strategy. Limit your child’s access to your favorite toy or gadget for a day or less, depending on the age. The younger the child, the shorter the period of loss of privileges should be;
- Running errands around the house for the child to make amends.
Reasonable punishment will demonstrate to the child that violence is unacceptable. For the same reason, avoid corporal punishment, as they will only reinforce the attitude that anger can be expressed by using fists. The sooner you start teaching your child to express sadness, anger and annoyance constructively, the better he will learn it.