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nak

lately my 4 year old (and I!) has been getting in trouble at playgroup for hitting other kids. every time, though, he has a reason that justfies it, at least to him.

eg yesterday - a mom complains ds hit her kid in the head, ds tells me the kid hit him first
- i see ds throw a bike at another kid, one of the teacher gets to him before i do and explains why that's not such a hot idea (no one was hurt), ds tells me the kid spat at him
-a mom yelled at ds to not hit her dd, said dd had dumped ds' food on the floor

It's always him standing up for himself, which I want him to do, but obviuosly not by hitting. Problem is, I don't have any constructive ideas for him to use. These other kids are his own age or younger. I know what kinds of things their parents should be doing (none of the parents saw this stuff, it seems like it's always just my kid getting caught, which makes him seem like a "bad" kid to everyone, even though he's just trying to protect himself) but I don't know what ds can do, so he feels like he's defended himself but he's not hurting anyone.
 

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My kid is a "right-fighter" quite often (forgive the Dr. Phil-ism). He'll say things like, "Don't hit me! It's mean and I don't like it!" Maybe you could practice some things like this with your son that he can say when other kids do things that would otherwise make him strike out physically? It would serve two purposes - stop the hitting and alert the other parents that something's going on.
 

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I think practicing, doing role-playing at home, would really help. Play games where you take something of his and put it on the floor, and teach him how he can deal with that, what words he can say, etc. He might find it fun, and repetition will be a good teacher for him, in a safe environment.
 

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Definitely help him practice other responses to his anger.
Also I would try to get away from defending hitting as "defending himself" except in the case where he stated that the other child hit first.

Instead of hitting he can tell the other child "That makes me Angry." "I had that toy first." "Spitting is not nice." or even "Don't spit at me! That is dirty!" "I do not want you to take my toy."
He can stand up for himself without hitting, bullying, overpowering or resorting to violence.
He might not have much practice if he doesnt have siblings (even my 2 year old can tell her brother "That makes me ANGRY" but siblings get lots of practice with anger management! LOL) But you can practice with him. You can also stick nearby him at playgroups and help him master new responses.

Good Luck
Joline
 
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