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Discussion Starter #1
I'm wondering not only about what you say, but how you say it (e.g. tone of voice, body language).<br><br>
DS and I hang out once a week with 3 other toddler boys and their moms. The oldest just turned 2 and DS is the youngest (21 months). One of the boys is very...active. Lots of energy. Very verbal - early talker and can speak in complete and lengthy sentences. While all the boys hit or push or grab one another from time to time, this one child is currently responsible for most of the hitting, grabbing, etc. Over the past couple months, it has become his "go-to" way of interacting with DS. The "hugs" this child gives DS are what DS mentions when this child's name comes up. The "hugs" involve grabbing too hard with both arms, usually around DS's neck, and then pulling DS onto the floor. When parents pull them apart or prevent the hug from even happening, his next step is to hit (or try to hit) DS repeatedly.<br><br>
The child's mom always intervenes when she sees this happening and talks to her son about not hitting friends and asks her son to say “sorry.” (I don't think he understands what sorry means, of course). She or another parent will distract her son with something else, but inevitably, once DS (or another child) catches his attention, he's up to his old tricks. I understand that much of this is considered “developmental.” But I also wonder about his motivation. I say motivation because I get the distinct feeling that he's getting something out of this. When the other boys hit, push, grab it seems so obvious that it's an impulse control issue. With this little boy, it's like he sees one of his friends and goes over with the intention to interact in this aggressive way. I've been trying to suss out in my head if it's an attention-getting behavior, but I'm feeling unsure. His mom gives him attention no matter what he's doing, so it's not like this is the only way he's found to have her focus on him. Or maybe he wants so badly to interact with his peers but can't figure out how....but he's had constant modeling and I've seen him happily “play with” one of the boys who he sees three times a week (their moms swap babysitting on a regular basis) – I should add that this other boy is very big for his age and usually seems unfazed when grabbed, pulled, etc. by this other toddler.<br><br>
When DS does something that is really not ok (i.e. potential for causing harm, damage), I am very firm and no-nonsense with him. Doesn't mean he'll never do it again – not by a long shot – but it often is effective in the short-term. When ineffective, like many on this board, I remove either him or the object involved from the situation. I'm wondering if certain ways of communicating could be more effective than others for letting toddlers know they need to stop a certain behavior. When I hear the mom of this other toddler talk to her son about not hitting, her tone is kind of a mix of firm and....I don't know...cajoling? Whatever it is, it doesn't feel as no-nonsense as the way I would say it. The other day when this toddler was about to hit DS yet again, I reached over and grabbed hold of his arm firmly (not in a hurting way, obviously, just in a you-may-not-use-your-arm-in-this-way way), and said in my stern voice (honed after years of teaching) something like, “No more hitting.” And the boy looked at me and then walked away. Often when his mom talks to him, his response is to try hitting again unless he's distracted by something else.<br><br>
I'm wondering if others here have found that some ways of dealing with/communicating about hitting are more effective than others...<br><br>
ETA: Just to clarify, this other boy is not hitting/"hugging"/etc. out of anger, frustration. He seems downright jolly about it. Approaches DS with a smile.
 

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We aren't dealing with this yet, but I read about it recently and the advice was to 1. offer an alternative release of frustration and rage (i.e. hit a punching bag, stomp your feet, run around the room 10 times) and give an alternative way to touch the other child (pat, hug, high five) instead of just saying "don't hit." Hope others have first-hand advice for you!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
bumpin'
 

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My child is a hugger/hitter. And it's not anger, so it's not like he needs to go punch a pillow or something. I think it's impulse control. He just turned 3. I tell him he has to keep his hands to himself, because honestly i think it's better if he doesn't do a high five or some "alternative" touching at all. I would love to hear what other parents are doing about this. I try to remove him ASAP, tell him what he's doing is hurting the other child. I feel like this doesn't sink in though. Today I told him if he did it again we'd leave the playgroup, so we left and he didn't get his post-playgroup snack, either. Any help would be sooo appreciated!
 
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