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Suddenly our 3yo is responding to us with hitting/scratching/spitting. (In response to very ordinary requests, which he very well perceives as interruptions of his work)<br><br>
It started while traveling, and we've only been back 9 days, so maybe its related to stress of traveling (and stress of staying with relatives in much less child-friendly homes), but that still doesn't guide me to how best to respond. Just knowing its stress-related doesn't mean its acceptable for him to be hurting me or physically lashing out.<br><br>
I've decided to first say, "we don't hit" or "its not okay to hit me" in a calm voice, or at least I aspire to a calm voice. If he hits more, or scratches, spits, or head-butts, I firmly hold him (but not in a rough or hurtful way) and say "I am not going to let you hurt me". Usually he struggles for a moment and then relaxes and says "I'm done hitting" and wants a hug, and everything seems fine. I try to do this all without getting emotional myself. I do not always succeed at remaining calm but I do my best. The whole interaction lasts only a few minutes.<br><br>
My husband is very uncomfortable about what he says is me physically overpowering our child. He was spanked as a child, also yelled at, punished, and humiliated frequently. I was not, so perhaps he sees this differently? We've talked about it but he doesn't really have any suggestions for alternative responses other than verbal ones, and the behavior really makes him angry (so, it seems like his response it to yell at our son?). I am trying to think about what I've been doing, and be more careful to treat our son with love and gentleness even when I am actually physically preventing him from hurting me. Luckily the hitting and spitting seems to be happening less frequently.<br><br>
Other than time outs and (ineffective?) cajoling, am I "forgetting" something? I'd love suggestions for appropriate ways to respond to physical lashing-out from a 3-year-old? Have you dealt with this? To me it sort of feels developmental, like something that will pass-- but meanwhile its still not okay for him to hit/bite/etc.<br><br>
THANKS
 

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IMO your response is gentle. Just so long as your hands are firm but gentle, your voice is calm and even and you remain consistant. Yelling is much scarier for a child. Your son doesn't seem to have any adverse reaction to what you're doing, he calms down and then wants a hug from you. He obviously has no fear of you!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br><br>
Something you could add that worked for us when our son was 4 was to have him sit down once he's a bit calmer and place a scarf or smooth cloth or just your own hands over his and say, "There, when our hands are warm and strong, they don't hit."<br><br>
Sounds hokey, but it worked, in a few weeks he had stopped altogether. We did it every time he hit.
 

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Sounds to me like you've found a good way to help him cope with it as well.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>emmaegbert</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10284707"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Suddenly our 3yo is responding to us with hitting/scratching/spitting. (In response to very ordinary requests, which he very well perceives as interruptions of his work)</div>
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Our 2yo just went through this stage. Frustrating, isn't it?<br><br>
Are you giving him a few minutes' warning, or a minute or so to wind down what he's doing, before he needs to carry out the task? Of course, that's not always possible, but my kids do TONS better if it's not quite so abrupt. I.E. "In just a minute it's going to be time to do such-and-such."<br><br>
One thing that seemed to be really key for us to stop the hitting and spitting was, once we got her calmed down, recreating the situation and having her work out and act out a more appropriate way to deal with her emotions or ask for what she wanted. It's so important to give the kids the tools they need to know what TO do, not just tell them what NOT to do, KWIM?<br><br>
Here's my thread detailing what we did: <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=827012" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=827012</a><br><br>
And here's my older thread asking for suggestions: <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=818580" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=818580</a><br><br>
ETA: Here's another thread I found listing a bunch of ideas I was trying when she was lashing out physically because she didn't feel well. We'd had to take her off her reflux meds for allergy testing, and once she got back on them again she was a different child. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> In that situation, I ended up having to just not let her near the other kids without me right there for a while. <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=722840" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=722840</a><br><br>
HTH!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the encouragement and suggestions. I think I should think more about what to do afterwards, perhaps more than a hug, for closure and learning. I find its hard to know with a 3yo, it seems when the emotion has passed, its already over for him. But I think he would like a simple ritual of forgiveness/positive emotion afterwards.
 

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I did just the same thing in response to hitting just two days ago. It was the best I could come up with at the time. We were both very upset, but I was able to keep my head, so I wasn't yelling or anything. It's a last resort for me, which I never would have had to do except that ds was hopped up on Capri Sun from Sunday school.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">:<br><br>
DS hardly ever hits, but something else I have tried is suggesting he go play in his room. I tell him I don't want to be near him if he's going to hit me, and I need some quiet time. It's not a timeout, as he gets to decide whether he wants to go in there or calm down and stay with us. Either way, he needs to give me some personal space for a few minutes. He is free to play and do whatever during that time. This approach is one of those things I tried in the moment once, and I was shocked that it actuallly worked.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="innocent"><br><br>
I feel strongly that we as the parents have the right not to be hit by our children, and I don't believe it's coercive to communicate that.<br><br>
It sounds like you're doing very well. I think your instinct that this is a passing phase is probably right.
 
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