okay, where to start? i'm the mamma with the hitting kid that doesn't make him apologize. hitting is a large part of my life sometimes, like this past month with the weather being too hot to get out and dh working an extra hour a day and having more gigs. i will bet money that most of you will not have an almost six that is still reacting this way. so that's my disclaimer. i'm sort of an expert on my own family, and that's about it.
hitting and other annoying society frowntype behaviour have pretty basic reasons. for this age, the 18 month, some of it is just experimental play like everything else. you show them the soft touch or other things they can do or you laugh or you say ouch but take it in the spirit it is in. no panic. be calm and easy mamma and don't give it any more attention than anything else they do that is new.
a second reason is between the child and siblings. a creative drama that works to get parents involved. sometimes i have to pretend that it isn't happenning and go back to folding laundry. if i stay in bed after all three are up in the morning there are no altercations until i get up. sometimes i have energy to show them how to work it out, which sometimes is talking, reminding them to get me, and sometimes telling clay just to get away from reed.
third reason is tiredness sickness hunger frustration stress you name it. and here i offer two books that have helped me. one is the five love languages of children which reminds me where i am coming from. the other is called easy to love difficult to discipline which has the premise that we have to have the skills we want to teach.
i have certain goals as a mamma. i am fostering adult mental emotional spiritual and physical health. for me this means that certain tactics, and i have used them all, like distraction, fear, suppression, rewards and punishment, reasoning, you name it, do not address the problems, and sometimes create more.
i have had to look at how i behave and how i react. i need validation and acceptance no matter how ridiculous it may seem. i need rest and food and love. these are what our kids need unconditionally.
so one thing is to observe and prevent some of the outbursts. they are our teachers. if they are obnoxiously tired, you are the discipline they do not have and you help them. if certain people have the wrong vibe (like reed whacking my mom with a metal pipe last week) then you will have to control the exposure. make your home so that you do not have to say no. out of sight is out of mind. hide the things that can cause frustration for both of you. the little things add up.
the way i have come to see it, is that my kids are human. i am human. we are all animals. we get mad and upset, and in this world there are minutaie of stresses. it is natural to hit and flail. we all need to scream sometimes. or maybe not, my family is chock full of intensity. another form is whining and biting. it is okay to feel these ways, and we special mammas are going to see it because we rear our children to feel completely comfortable to do so. in our society it is not okay to behave these ways and people become closed and depressed and afraid and truly angry. i have come to live comfortably and see more the beauty of raw negative emotions in all people. in their best form they can become motivating and empowering. i want my kids to know their bodies and feelings. so yes, they run like wild animals. and they are openhearted, beautiful creatures.
impulse control is needed before the negative behaviours go away if you want them conditioned even with any form of discipline. so, no, for our babies, it will happen often or rarely until a certain age. what i'm saying is don't work too hard. just be cool. i'll say for many kids, things change around threeish. and five. and seven. a good tool is to know how kids behave around certain ages. and the acting out physically is a part of going from a lump to walking and talking and knowing that they are themselves is the terrible two people are talking about, the two year old negative stage that we are beginning already. observing older children will help you feel better about your own kids behaviour. it is normal, and the reality of emotions is quite an amazing thing.
i had to decide again whether i was doing the right thing, parenting this way. it is hard because we lack the village. in the village all the kids would have all the same rules and very little punishment would need to be given because all the kids would know. so we tend to be our own little villages in each household, and this requires much more energy and reinforcement or safety. though it is nice to have our own private paradise.....i had some well intentioned mothers seeing how frazzled i was offer spanking and revoking privileges as tools, and i was very open to their perspectives..... and came to realize again that i am intentionally disciplining by rolemodeling and natural consequences.
so i guess i'm better at troubleshooting, but the general rules for me apply for hitting. the cure for a fussy baby is rest for the mamma. be happy or become happy, which starts with forgiveness. know myself and know my children and help them know themselves. learn to be. start by noticing a moment you are alone with a child, and completely focus your attention on them as long as the moment lasts. believe we are all doing the best we can and learn how to live assertively with it. know that we can change our minds about what we are doing at any time by following our hearts.
so there, once again more than i'll daresay to some irl friends on the subject.