Current Parenting Tip
When Your Toddler Hits
Toddlers hit out of frustration, anger, or for mere entertainment. What should a parent do? Sometimes the solution is simply to distract your child with a different activity. But if the problem persists and you feel like discipline is necessary, we recommend that you take consistent, firm action. Keep in mind that a firm approach doesn’t require harshness.
Immediately set your child down on the floor, with a firm statement like, “Be gentle” and step back to avoid getting hit again. Don’t display anger but be deliberate and firm. Your child needs to learn that hitting doesn’t work. She can’t stay in your arms or on your lap. If she hits you will remove her from that place immediately.
But that’s not the end. The next thing your child does is come to you for a hug. This is the precursor to the Positive Conclusion you will use later. “Are you ready to get up. Come over and give me a hug. Show me what gentle is.” Allow the child to give a hug or stroke your arm with her hand in a gentle way. Praise her for her gentleness.
When you set your son down after hitting, he may have a temper tantrum. If you’re in a situation that allows, the best thing is to ignore him until he’s calmed down and then encourage him to come back for a reuniting time.
Immediate, consistent, temporary separation like this followed by a Positive Conclusion will discourage the hitting and replace it with something else. A careful balance is needed here between a firm approach and a loving relationship.
Children who can’t yet talk or communicate well, often get frustrated and act out with violence. Don’t just ignore it. While you’re teaching communication skills, also teach limits on hitting, biting, pushing, and other forms of physical meanness.
This parenting tip comes from the audio series,Parenting Toddlers. You can listen to Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller teach that series on CD or MP3.
This tip is posted from biblicalparenting.org.
Focus on the Family:
The Place for Single Parents and Blended Families:
The National Center for Biblical Parenting: