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Hitting and pulling hair

508 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  Louisep
We are a punishment free home, and until recently, a yelling free home (at least, the parents didn't yell at the kids). My daughter was a breeze, my son is high needs.

He is almost 2, she is 7.

To my knowledge, my son has not been hit by anyone and he hasn't been in the care of anyone other than me or DH other than with my brothers about once a week for ten to 30 minute stretches. My daughter hasn't ever been hit and wouldn't know how to hit. But my son has taken on hitting, and he has been pulling DD's hair for a long time now, and brings her to tears sometimes.

He used to pull mine, he doesn't anymore. I've tried to figure out why he stopped pulling mine so I could help DD through this. The difference I can see is she reacts in a very big way, and as a wise friend told me, "If you act like a squeaky toy, they'll love to make you squeak" - a cause and effect experiment, and this seems to be true. Whereas I never reacted, I just gently grabbed his hand as he was holding my hair and squeezed it a little to kind of open it and said "let go". It seemed to, eventually, do the trick.

It seems whatever we make a big fuss over, he wants more of. My mother lives downstairs and has different "rules" to us. We have compromised on many things, well, SHE compromised and changed many things to accommodate my parenting goals and I am very grateful. But there are still a few things he can't have or do down there, and they are exactly the things he wants to do.

This, I believe, is the basis for his hitting and hair pulling. I made a big fuss some weeks back when he hit me hard enough to do so. It really hurt and out of a fairly natural reaction I grabbed his hand and said, "OH MY!! Ouch! Be gentle, please." I wish I never did because he started hitting much more frequently and has recently taken to using objects. DD makes a big fuss, sometimes even crying when he pulls her hair as her scalp is sensitive (like mine). Actually, she is a sensitive soul and all this rough stuff is stressful on her. We have told/asked him to be gentle and also made a big fuss of DD when it happens and all the things I found interesting in the Siblings Without Rivalry book.

So I've made a new rule, or I should say, trial, in the house. We ignore the hitting, remove ourselves from harm's way (from him if necessary) and as a natural consequence, two things will hopefully happen,

- he won't get the feedback he enjoys, the "squeaky toy" effect, and

- DD will feel like she has some control over the situation. As a non-punishing family, it is most difficult on siblings as they feel there is no justice.

DD understands, and tried retaliation a couple of times until I explained that two wrongs don't make a right and this is something he needs to be shown over and over by observing us. If we show him violence/retaliation, that is what he will learn. She's a smart girl and gets it. But it still chafes her ass to get a swipe from him and can do nothing about it but tell him to be gentle. She is constantly yelling at him now, as it is her only way to vent or retaliate. He has become completely immune to yelling because of it.

If anyone has any ideas or experience in this, preferably successful ones
, let me know.
I'm sure I'm overlooking some options that would help us out of this.

For more info on our situation, I have a new thread here also.

I put this here and not in the gentle discipline forum as we do not discipline.
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Oh, and he is hitting the dog. The dog should bite him, in my opinion, because I'm a big fan of natural consequences. But the dog wouldn't do that. I lost it on DS today because he hit the dog really hard and the poor little guy is such a gentle sweet natured dog. I'm not sure what to do. I yelled at DS and plonked him on the floor. DS was shocked and freaked by this and then I felt like poop.
Subbing. My 13 month old is doing this hitting thing too. It's not learned behavior either so I have no idea why. Until today I've gone with the "gentle" mantra which he really gets with the cat, or just ignored him. Today he hit me hard and I said a firm no. He cried and starting hitting even more. Maybe it's just a phase that is best ignored?

I'm worried about him doing it to other kids. How can you ignore that?
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