4 year old hitting....sigh - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 08-24-2005, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DS turned 4 in July and I don't know how/when the hitting phase ends... 3 was pretty hard on us because he would hit his peers in preschool, especially the older boys..and his friend. Usually around sharing issues.

We are not in summer school this year (teacher would not keep son since he still poops in a pull up)... but I go to the gym a lot and take DS to the child watch there... anyway, he has been good at the child care a lot this summer. No hitting, no throwing, etc... well, yesterday I went much later in the day than I normally go. It was much louder and more wild and evidently my DS hit several kids. Also, a baby who tried to take my ds's truck my ds pushed baby. I was horrified. Anyway, the staff told me it seemed totally innocent by DS that it was more of him trying to keep the truck (his favorite there) and the baby lost her balance. But I was so disappointed.

can some of you tell me about 4 and hitting? I guess I just thought it would all go away, poof...when he turned 4. ...am I just dreaming? okay, I also have dreams of fitting in size 8 pants again. sigh

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#2 of 7 Old 08-24-2005, 03:52 PM
 
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Hey, welcome to my life!! Except that my ds, who turned 4 in June, is hitting us too now. Sigh. I really truly believe this is a stage, and I have read about it being a stage in the "Your 4-yo, Wild and Wonderful" book, have you read those? They are somewhat outdated (ignore the advice) child development books from the 60's or 70's, and they just have a bunch of basic info on what's going on with your child at the different ages.

Anyway, 4yo hitting (and kicking, and spitting, oh joy) is supposed to be way normal. They are ahead of themselves physically and mentally now, and still waiting for the emotional maturity to catch up.

I think the trick to is is how you respond. We have had varying success, and I am trying to figure out a way that feels right to me. I've ranged from ignoring it, but don't want to let him feel that it's ok to hit, especially not women, all the way to whacking him back, unfortunately, something I'm not proud of and didn't plan, but I was hit a lot in childhood, and my immediate reaction is to defend myself. I think there is a better way, somewhere between the two extremes, I just haven't found it yet.

Anyway, I've been working on increasing our connection, I just bought "Playful Parenting" and have been playing with him more, which helps, and have been trying new ways to avoid power struggles, which is how the hitting always seems to start in our house.

I hope some of that helps, just know you are not alone!

People whose kids have different personalities just don't understand, they are like, oh it's so shocking, how can your kid hit you, oh he must be messed up etc etc, but really, I think some kids just have a harder time channelling those negative emotions, and are going to need more guidance for a longer time. At least mine will...


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#3 of 7 Old 08-24-2005, 07:28 PM
 
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While we have gone through this phase [at about 3 to 4.5] a preschoolmate of my son has been hitting [punching, whacking, hard] all along and still does at 5.5 too.

What was suggested to us was 1) direct eye contact, low voice, "No Hitting" and re-direct etc. 2) Recognize and talk about the "order of events" too as best as you can if you can. For example, Jane took Johnny's toy. Johnny said "Mine" and Jane ignored him. So Johnny whacked Jane to get the toy back. [What to do? Sigh.] Johnny, No Hitting. JANE give Johnny his toy back and wait your turn, etc.

We parents also talked among ourselves and gave permission to address specifically hitting in specifically this way regardless of who saw it. [Though of course preferably the parent of the hitter and/or hittee.] This was, frankly, a "nice" way of dealing with the fact that this one boy was "getting away with it" because his parents had been ignoring it, etc. I think the idea was to treat playdates more similarly to daycares where Focus was on the kid's issues Not the adult's, etc.

PS. FYI. Turns out MY son is/was pretty quick with learning a "verbal" repsonse to his anger. So much so that he was down right MEAN [and getting hit for it almost daily] and so we've been working on "hitting isnt ok, good you didnt do that, BUT you must also be careful of the way you say things..." Oh My!! Do we ever grow out of THAT?! :
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#4 of 7 Old 08-24-2005, 07:37 PM
 
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My ds hits...and then quickly says "I'm sorry. We don't hit in this house." Kinda smart-aleky. He does it when he's really really angry so I try whenever possible to intervene when I see the anger building, to help him think of something else to do.

He is welcome to hit a pillow and often does, but we have to remind him of this option usually.

Anyway, bottom line, he knows that if he can't be nice to people, and obviously hittings not on the nice list, he can't be around people. He gets time in his room when he does hit. Is this working? It definitely does in the moment and since he totally *gets* that hitting is not OK, all I can do is continue to reinforce this...and he will continue to get sent to his room when he chooses to hit.
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#5 of 7 Old 08-25-2005, 01:26 PM
 
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.

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#6 of 7 Old 08-26-2005, 10:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverWillow
FWIW, DD's preschool doesn't seem to think hitting is unusual - they have a planned (gentle) response in place to deal with it. They expect it will happen sometimes.
Wow, I'm so jealous. My ds is a "hitter" when he's frustrated and his preschoool acts like they've never in their life seen such behavior. While I don't condone aggression, its an issue we've been working on for a long time with slow but steady progress. I'm always surprised that his teachers seem so shocked that a 3 yo might hit when mad. Anyone have any advice for working with preschools on this issue?
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#7 of 7 Old 08-26-2005, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Anyway, 4yo hitting (and kicking, and spitting, oh joy) is supposed to be way normal. They are ahead of themselves physically and mentally now, and still waiting for the emotional maturity to catch up.
Water,
Yes!!!! this is what if feels like to me. There is so much about DS that seems so smart and bright...and phyiscally he is like a teenager. When he rides a scooter he looks like he is 16. But this emotional thing is not equal to the other...it is still very young.
this is part of the reason why I am pretty confident we will have him do preschool twice so that he can start kindergarden when he is 6.

Love your name by the way.


levar,

Quote:
PS. FYI. Turns out MY son is/was pretty quick with learning a "verbal" repsonse to his anger. So much so that he was down right MEAN [and getting hit for it almost daily] and so we've been working on "hitting isnt ok, good you didnt do that, BUT you must also be careful of the way you say things..." Oh My!! Do we ever grow out of THAT?!
first of all thank you for indicating your son still had hitting in him until he was 4.5 and thanks for the heads up about the playmate still doing it at 5.5. Also, ds had a schoolmate at school who was very verbal and he was very mean with his words. I was kind of shocked by it. Just like I'm sure parents are shocked when my son hits. Sigh...we all have these paths that we have to travel.....anyway, I really understood that some of the stuff the other boy said he understood and and some he really didn't understand. And curiously, DS has been asking about that boy a lot lately. We're changing schools so we won't see him but DS keeps bringing him up like he might even miss him. and they had a pretty rough year. life is funny.

Ummbnb,

DS also says, "I'm sorry" after hitting and after other stuff and it is definitely sounding rote. Like it is the thing he knows he is suppose to say. There are times when he really does get it but many it is just ...oh, yeah, "this is the thing I gotta do."

We too keep reinforcing the right behaviours....and praying that it will sink in.


silverwillow,

We too try to limit the things that might ignite him but really it seems like the hitting is an issue when we are out of the house and it is a case of sharing something with other kids...this is where it is so hard. A kid with a cool toy at the park or a kid at the gym who tries to grab the toy DS is playing with at that moment.... the negotiating, the prepping, the discussing and then bam there can still be a hit. luckily it has toned down but that still took me for a surprise today at the gym.



Quote:
FWIW, DD's preschool doesn't seem to think hitting is unusual - they have a planned (gentle) response in place to deal with it. They expect it will happen sometimes.
this is so nice to hear. Or DS's school was not very helpful when DS hit. It made it difficult for us and in many ways hurt us.. We're changing schools this fall.

hhurd,
Quote:
Wow, I'm so jealous. My ds is a "hitter" when he's frustrated and his preschoool acts like they've never in their life seen such behavior. While I don't condone aggression, its an issue we've been working on for a long time with slow but steady progress. I'm always surprised that his teachers seem so shocked that a 3 yo might hit when mad. Anyone have any advice for working with preschools on this issue?

yeah, like I said, DS school also seemed shocked by his hitting and he was one of the youngest in the class and was literally taunted by the more verbal kids. It just about killed us...like I said, we're changing schools.

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