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For my nephew we had a mantra which we repeated many, many, many times a day. "Gentle touch with people, pets, and plants." When he was not being gentle, I would get down to his level, take his hands in mine, and say, "I do not hit you, you do not hit me" or "The dog does not hit you, you do not hit the dog" in a firm medium voice tone while looking him right in the eye with a very serious look on my face. Then I would say "Gentle touch with people, pets, and plants, what is the rule?" He would repeat it. Was it perfect? No. But I was consistent with that routine. Our biggest problem was the dog. After hitting incident #3 he then had time away from the dog. I would do the same routine as before but at the end I would add, "Because you are not being gentle with the dog the dog does not want to play with you." Then I would make sure the dog stayed in a different room or outside for awhile. Some may disagree with this but I think since we are not using violence to teach that violence isn't right (hitting=spanking) that when words aren't enough there has to be some other "consequence" for it. For me the seperation was logical because in life if you hit, people don't want to be around you.

I also want to say that hitting the cat gets your attention quickly. I would add more positive attention through out the day and see what happens. Also, I believe it is pretty developmentally appropriate for a 3 y.o. to push boundaries in search of his/her personal power. Hitting/kicking is a way to do this. Does mama really mean that I shouldn't kick? Or is this fun thing something I can do and gets me attention to boot?


Good luck! Hugs for the kitty!

Jenne
 

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One day? I wish. I wish it wasn't naive to believe that people don't hurt children in horrible ways just because they can. So, no, not one day, most days.

Nephew was living with us because his home was physically and verbally abusive. He already new that he was small and weak and that he was going to get hit. So it was my job to let him know that he didn't need to use violence in our house because there was not going to be violence in our house. For his situation we needed to teach him: 1) that we loved him and wouldn't hurt him so he could relax and not hurt us 2) ways to defend himself appropriately in the future as this wasn't a going to be a long term placement. I did not think it was in HIS best interest to be told to never hit/kick/bite/scratch/etc because it just wasn't going to be a realistically safe strategy given his homelife. We practiced using words to defend himself mostly but I never said that he couldn't hit someone who hit him. It was/is a VERY VERY VERY sad situation. Hopefully his time living with us in peace will translate into a meaningful experience in some way and if not at least he was safe for awhile. The last words my DH said to my nephew were something like: Call us if you need us and no one has the right to hurt you.



Jenne
 
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