Child Hitting - Stop Child Hitting Parent without Yelling

How do I stop child hitting parent?

Child hitting, like child biting, is a behavior that parents need to address immediately and consistently. Many parents have written to me asking how to stop child from hitting and about half of these parents have admitted that when their toddler hits them, they hit back to "teach the child what it feels like."

(Author's note: this article is geared to parents of toddlers and young children. If you have children who are constantly fighting or hitting each other, who are defiant and disrespectful and you yearn for some peace and quiet in your house, then this behavioral program will help you teach your kids the limits and get back your sanity. The program is excellent and is available on a trial basis.)

When a parent hits back, she is reinforcing the child's behavior. This is the opposite of what you want to teach. By hitting your child back, you're telling him that his behavior is okay which means that he is likely to continue this behavior outside the home.

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If it's not okay to teach your child not to hit by hitting him, what should a parent do instead? I'm glad you asked. What I suggest you do is to consider a "child hitting parent" scenario a "teachable moment" and focus on building compassion in your child.

child hitting

To show you how such a scenario would play itself out, let me give you an example. Let's say that you're at the park and it's time to go. Your two-year old wants to stay and puts up a fuss. You pick him up, carry him to the car and while you're strapping him in the car seat, he swats you across the face. Rather than covering up your hurt and shock with anger, try showing it. Put a sad or shocked look on your face and say, "You hit me! Ouch—that hurt!" By showing your true feelings, in particular your vulnerability, rather than covering it up with a feeling that makes you feel powerful and righteous, you are planting seeds of compassion that will sprout as your child begins to see how certain behaviors hurt the people he loves.

The Deeper Need Behind Child Hitting

Next, figure out what drove your child to hit you. Was he angry because he didn't want to leave the park? Maybe you snatched him out of the moment, rather than giving him time to adjust to the reality that it was time for you to leave. Perhaps he was frustrated, overwhelmed or tired and this was the only way he knew how to tell you. Maybe you were ignoring him at the park, focusing instead on a conversation with another adult? Is it possible that the smack was a bid for your attention?

Help your toddler to identify the feelings that caused him to hit you. Talk about how your child can express these feelings next time in positive ways. Although your child may not understand everything you say, over time, he will get it and his hitting behavior will subside. Do you see what a gentle and caring way this is to put an end to child hitting behavior? Contrast this with what most parents do: yelling, screaming or hitting back. It's no wonder we have a nation of grown adults who act like children.

It takes a mature adult to raise a child to maturity. Choose to become one.

About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the multiple award winning book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting The book combines ancient native ideas with heart-centered psychology to who parents how to cultivate emotional intelligence in their children and raise them to develop their innate strengths. In addition to being a journey of self-discovery for child and parent, this helps children grow up to know who they truly are, share their strengths with others and make unique contributions to the world.

Laura also teaches a parenting class via teleseminar. Reserve your spot now.

Child Hitting - Parenting Tips

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