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#1 of 14 Old 01-12-2013, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is almost 2.5 and the hitting, slapping, kicking is out of control. With our 2 dogs he frequently hits them in the face or head, or grabs them by their skin, sometimes pulls tails. We are so lucky that they are such good dogs, but I still worry. The cat he also hits, or pulls around the kitchen by its tail. We've been modeling gentle touch since he could crawl, praised gentle touching.

With us he frequently hits anywhere he can reach, kicks, pushes. We've tried gentle touch, modeling, "mommy likes...", "when you hit fun is over", ignoring. This had been going on since he was around 1. He used to head butt me so frequently, so hard, that it caused me to get vertigo for awhile.

I'm so fed up with being hit. I'm starting to slap back. He doesn't do any of this maliciously. Please help!

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#2 of 14 Old 01-12-2013, 11:05 AM
 
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Recognizing how difficult this must be and wanting to give your some support for struggling with what must be a frustrating phase, I want to emphasize that hitting back is not something you want to be getting into, which I'm sure you know but maybe you need to hear again. The thing is that hitting back (if it even works to stop the behavior) sends a message that on some level and in some circumstances hitting is ok. This is not the lesson you want your child to take from this. 

 

I tend to not be this way (behaviorist) when it comes to most things but with hitting or biting, I tend to focus on just prevention (not so much root cause and etc. like I may with other things). What I see (when observing toddlers who hit frequently) is that there is a great deal of attention that comes from acting that way, whether it be from enforcing gentle touch or reprimanding and etc. It's just an undeniably charged thing (for good reason!) and my observation is that there is a lot to be learned about human interaction when a child hits and sees what happens. 

 

When you have ignored it, how does that look? 

 

Can you set up a few days/or a week to do heavy, heavy preventative intervention? Like where you watch like a hawk and change the scenario if you sense that he may hit? To the point where it just isn't available as something to do for several days? My (untested) theory is that this can just clear the focus and help the child forget that hitting is so interesting. 

 

Also, pay close attention to triggers. Is this when he's bored? Or tired? Or hasn't been outside? 

 

If you need something to do in the mean time that is more "action based" to replace hitting back, I suggest a firm, "When you hit me, I am leaving the room," and then get up and go to another room for a while. 


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#3 of 14 Old 01-12-2013, 01:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thank you for the reply. you are right, we don't want to hit. I grew up emulating my father's extreme temper & I thought I'd done what I needed to to not be that parent. until I had my own child:( I read a lot of discussion for and against hitting and firmly decided I don't want to, yet here I am doing so:(

I'm not sure how to describe what ignoring looks like. I guess an example would be last night when I leaned in four a kiss and he tried to slap my face I just blocked the hand and gave him a kiss. But then he hit me with the other. at which point I said mama doesn't like that or something and walked away.

I will try harder to make those my default responses. I'm sure part of this is other stress going on for me, making me frequently on the edge of losing my temper. It's medical, so not a whole lot I can do to change it. I'll watch for his triggers but honestly it seems to be always.

I'm not sure about being able too do the reset. I don't know how I could separate from the animals completely for that long?

I do feel like I could pay more attention to him, but it feels like every time I do it ends in getting hit.

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#4 of 14 Old 01-12-2013, 04:51 PM
 
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Does this physical behavior mainly happen when he is angry, or does this happen all of the time? If the behavior mainly happens when he is angry then I would give him safe opportunities participate in these behaviors without hurting others, here is a partial list:

 

pillow fights

 

throwing toys

 

jumping on a trampoline

 

destructive art

 

ripping papers or breaking up boxes

 

If this behavior happens all the time then you may want to explore the possibility that your child may have sensory issues. He sounds a bit hyposensitive to tactile stimuli to me, also possibly hyposensitive to vestibular and proprioceptive stimuli, but that may be just a 2yo thing. Here is the spd checklist for you to check out if you wish:

 

http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html

 

It is extremely important for you to protect your animals from your son when he gets like this, I can not stress this enough. Please remember all animals have a breaking point and if they are pushed beyond that breaking point they will defend themselves with whatever means necessary! I am very concerned about your son's safety, and the well being of your animals if this continues; they can seriously hurt him, but they are choosing not to. Please separate the animals from your son when he gets physical!!


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#5 of 14 Old 01-13-2013, 05:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by neonalee View Post

thank you for the reply. you are right, we don't want to hit. I grew up emulating my father's extreme temper & I thought I'd done what I needed to to not be that parent. until I had my own child:( I read a lot of discussion for and against hitting and firmly decided I don't want to, yet here I am doing so:(
 

Mama, I grew up in a gentle household and even I can understand the temptation. I really admire and sympathize with parents who have an upbringing to struggle with in addition to the everyday challenges of being an effective disciplinarian. 

 

Sometimes I think that time fixes some of these things better than anything else but that's little comfort to a parent looking for solutions yesterday. ;-)  

 

Doing what you can to be sure that your reaction isn't somehow encouraging this, limiting as many options to hit as you possibly can, and a renewed focus on self-care is an OK way to go for now if that's what you can manage. 

 

Does anyone else have some help for this mama? 


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#6 of 14 Old 01-13-2013, 08:48 AM
 
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Its really hard to figure out what he is getting from the hitting, pulling, and being rough from the post. Its hard to figure out what to do unless you know what he is getting from it or trying to get from it.

 

I would take a stab and guess its sensory. Does he do everything physical a little more intensely, a little more wildly? It seems like it would be worth a shot to try to provide swinging every day (swinging really helps "normalize" the sensory system), and maybe a mini trampoline in the house with a bar he can hold onto, encourage lots of rolling, bouncing play such as by putting all the couch cushions on the floor and encouraging him to climb on them, pick them up, carry them, stack them. When DD was that age we used to put her in a blanket, hold the ends, and gently swing her back and forth while singing to her. She also liked being rolled up in a blanket like a burrito (leaving head and shoulders out) and being unrolled. Sounds paradoxical but horseplay on the floor with him can actually reduce the hitting.

 

Also, this isn't ideal, but I understand the need to DO something when you've just been hit and are hurt. It can be really hard to control that response that wants to hit back. If you're finding it hard to just walk away, it might be better to firmly grasp his forearm, "pin" it to his waist for a moment, and say "no hitting" than to hit back. Moving away is preferable, though.

 

Another thing that might help is teaching him to do "safe hands." Safe hands is one hand clasped in the other. It gives his hands something to do instead of hitting - it teaches a new automatic response. You would practice "safe hands" frequently during the day when he is not hitting, and right before getting close to him. Then when he hits or looks like he is about to you can say "safe hands!"

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#7 of 14 Old 01-13-2013, 09:25 AM
 
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My DD was in an awful hitting phase too, and we also said we wouldn't hit. One day I snapped and hit back, and felt horrible. I didn't even want to tell my DH I felt so bad, but I did and we talked about it and agreed that it wasn't what we want to do. I Completely understand the frustration, feeling like nothing else will work, and honestly just snapping. Since then I haven't hit back (mainly because my logical brain tells me that it doesn't make sense to teach "no hitting" by hitting), and I sometimes have to literally walk away from her to get away so I don't lose my temper anymore. We tried more gentle approaches, like saying "we don't hit" and talking about what she can use her hands for instead of hitting, hitting into a pillow etc.

Here are two things that have worked for us somewhat consistently, but only once DH and I agreed that it was what we both were going to do every time. We would hold both of her hands down and say, "I'm not going to let you hit me." Then she would have to calm down and apologize before we would let go. The other thing we would do sometimes is pick her up and hug her, and not let go until she calmed down.

Honestly the other thing I thing she needed (and still needs) is to get older and learn better communication skills. It might be something we just have to wait out, but I think as long as it is maintained that hitting is unacceptable and never will be acceptable, it will hopefully get drilled into their little brains. I hope things get better with your DS soon!
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#8 of 14 Old 01-13-2013, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the responses! I will read them in depth & respond probably tomorrow when I have real computer time (at work lol)

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#9 of 14 Old 01-14-2013, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Mittsy View Post

Does this physical behavior mainly happen when he is angry, or does this happen all of the time?
If this behavior happens all the time then you may want to explore the possibility that your child may have sensory issues.
It is extremely important for you to protect your animals from your son when he gets like this, I can not stress this enough.

It is not related to being angry. Rather, it happens most when he is really wound up/excited/happy. I took a look at the sensory lists and those don't sound at all like him. However, I've seen some hints that he may have the same OCD that I do and I believe it is sensory related so I will keep an eye on this possibility. Thank you smile.gif

Also - I hear you on the animals. I feel like when this starts happening I'm going to have to put the dogs in their crates. That makes me sad because really, that's punishing them because of my son. The configuration of our first floor pretty much means we can't gate off an area and going upstairs isn't always a possibility. Also, that would basically mean we are separated from the dogs most of the evening, every evening. For one, that doesn't give us any opportunity for him to learn to behave appropriately, and two, these are true family dogs. Meaning they get sad and depressed when they aren't allowed to be part of the family. That seems silly to those who don't have these kind of dogs, but it's the truth. That said, I don't discount the seriousness of the situation.

Hm. Something that just occurred to me. I wonder how possible it would be to gate off the kitchen. It would really suck, but it might be possible.
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

Mama, I grew up in a gentle household and even I can understand the temptation. I really admire and sympathize with parents who have an upbringing to struggle with in addition to the everyday challenges of being an effective disciplinarian. 

Sometimes I think that time fixes some of these things better than anything else but that's little comfort to a parent looking for solutions yesterday. ;-)  

Doing what you can to be sure that your reaction isn't somehow encouraging this, limiting as many options to hit as you possibly can, and a renewed focus on self-care is an OK way to go for now if that's what you can manage. 

Does anyone else have some help for this mama? 

Thank you hug2.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie View Post

Its really hard to figure out what he is getting from the hitting, pulling, and being rough from the post. Its hard to figure out what to do unless you know what he is getting from it or trying to get from it.

I would take a stab and guess its sensory. Does he do everything physical a little more intensely, a little more wildly? It seems like it would be worth a shot to try to provide swinging every day (swinging really helps "normalize" the sensory system), and maybe a mini trampoline in the house with a bar he can hold onto, encourage lots of rolling, bouncing play such as by putting all the couch cushions on the floor and encouraging him to climb on them, pick them up, carry them, stack them. When DD was that age we used to put her in a blanket, hold the ends, and gently swing her back and forth while singing to her. She also liked being rolled up in a blanket like a burrito (leaving head and shoulders out) and being unrolled. Sounds paradoxical but horseplay on the floor with him can actually reduce the hitting.

Also, this isn't ideal, but I understand the need to DO something when you've just been hit and are hurt. It can be really hard to control that response that wants to hit back. If you're finding it hard to just walk away, it might be better to firmly grasp his forearm, "pin" it to his waist for a moment, and say "no hitting" than to hit back. Moving away is preferable, though.

Another thing that might help is teaching him to do "safe hands." Safe hands is one hand clasped in the other. It gives his hands something to do instead of hitting - it teaches a new automatic response. You would practice "safe hands" frequently during the day when he is not hitting, and right before getting close to him. Then when he hits or looks like he is about to you can say "safe hands!"

Thank you for these ideas! Yes, I think he might be a bit "wild" with the physical stuff. Not so much that I was ever concerned, ya know? Just like boy/toddler/active kid stuff. But he is definitely ... exuberant!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kristah1000 View Post

My DD was in an awful hitting phase too, and we also said we wouldn't hit. One day I snapped and hit back, and felt horrible. I didn't even want to tell my DH I felt so bad, but I did and we talked about it and agreed that it wasn't what we want to do. I Completely understand the frustration, feeling like nothing else will work, and honestly just snapping. Since then I haven't hit back (mainly because my logical brain tells me that it doesn't make sense to teach "no hitting" by hitting), and I sometimes have to literally walk away from her to get away so I don't lose my temper anymore. We tried more gentle approaches, like saying "we don't hit" and talking about what she can use her hands for instead of hitting, hitting into a pillow etc.

Here are two things that have worked for us somewhat consistently, but only once DH and I agreed that it was what we both were going to do every time. We would hold both of her hands down and say, "I'm not going to let you hit me." Then she would have to calm down and apologize before we would let go. The other thing we would do sometimes is pick her up and hug her, and not let go until she calmed down.

Honestly the other thing I thing she needed (and still needs) is to get older and learn better communication skills. It might be something we just have to wait out, but I think as long as it is maintained that hitting is unacceptable and never will be acceptable, it will hopefully get drilled into their little brains. I hope things get better with your DS soon!

Thank you hug2.gif


Many thanks again to all who responded. We've already discussed and started flat out ignoring the behavior when it is directed at us. It was surprisingly easy once I re-framed it in my mind. Because, honestly, 8 times out of 10 he isn't actually hurting us at all. Any input on how long we should expect if this is going to help?

We've also discussed starting the safe hands idea, to start.

I'm a little worried about this week. 3 nights this week DP (who works nights) has an earlier than normal start, meaning it's all on me when I get home. Dinner, clean up, bedtime. Playing/attention. Pet care. I know other mamas do this nightly, but I find it such a struggle lately. He will at least have dinner done (crock pot) or prepped, but I'm really dreading this week.

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#10 of 14 Old 01-14-2013, 04:30 PM
 
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Many thanks again to all who responded. We've already discussed and started flat out ignoring the behavior when it is directed at us. It was surprisingly easy once I re-framed it in my mind. Because, honestly, 8 times out of 10 he isn't actually hurting us at all. Any input on how long we should expect if this is going to help?
 

What is ignoring looking like now? Are you getting up and leaving for some time if he hits? What are you doing to prevent or stop it in addition to the ignoring? My guess is that if you were picking him up, moving him to the side with a stern look on your face and walking out of the room or moving the dogs out of the room, that this should happen pretty quickly. The message he is getting is that mom doesn't want to be in the same room with me when I her her or the dogs. Take a few extra minutes for yourself if you need this week. That will only make the message that much stronger and it will give you a few minutes to recharge. I would say that if it doesn't start to show imporovement in about a week that you may want to try something else or in addition. Hugs to you too, mama! 


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#11 of 14 Old 01-14-2013, 06:38 PM
 
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I have to say that because of the OP problem, that I myself have gleaned valuable information. Our daughter has many of the things that the OP put. I can only tell you that I do understand your frustrations and know that what you are going through is not easy. There are many of us out here struggling daily. Hugs to you mama and know that if we could all meet we would all probably offer huge hugs and shed many tears...
 


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#12 of 14 Old 01-15-2013, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you schoolmom07 hug2.gif And good luck with your daughter as well!

Identitycrisesma - well. It looks like 2 things, which is not consistent. I'm not sure which is the better approach. The first is just pretending it's not happening. Absolute ignoring. Making this a habit has really helped me not react. Not reacting ... I can see that a reaction IS what he's looking for. However, sometimes it is moving away, or putting him away from me. This happened with some good results last night. We were in bed reading some of his favorite books while we waited for daddy. We were having fun and he started to get excitable and hit me. It was so out of the blue that I got mad, but I didn't hit back. I picked him up, put him in his bed (crib side carred to the foot of our bed) and said I don't like when you hit. I laid down in bed and "went to sleep". He was silent for a few minutes. Talked to a stuffed animal for a few, then came back up by me and said "sorry. sorry for hitting mommy". (We've been enforcing that he say why he is sorry when saying sorry for months now). I gave him a kiss, we cuddled together and fell asleep.

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#13 of 14 Old 01-15-2013, 12:58 PM
 
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Yes, I do think you will see much better results if you "show" him in some way that hitting is not OK and the consequence is that people (or animals) will have to get some distance. I don't think ignoring hitting and just staying in the situation is a great plan. I'm not sure what the lesson there would be but I think it may be kind of confusing, yk? Every once and a while I can see doing that but I think for a pattern you'll have to get up and move out of the way (or move him out of the way).  If talking works - GREAT!  My DC at that age wasn't a great talker but if talking is helping, I would keep up with that for sure. Congrats on a success last night!! 


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#14 of 14 Old 01-15-2013, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much!! I'll discuss this with his dad so we are on the same page. I feel like we were doing this before, but it must not have been consistent. I don't know if talking really helps, but I saw in my step-daughter that she would just say sorry whenever someone was angry with her and most of the time had no idea why. I don't want my son to get into that habit. Even though I've known her for 7 years and she has lived with us for 1.5, she still just says it whenever she thinks it will get her out of anything that might be wrong. Then again, she IS a teen eyesroll.gif

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