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The "hitting pillows instead. ok?" thread got me thinking.
It seems that most people would be wary of telling kids to hit a pillow instead of a person, as that may just increase violent type tendencies, and isn't really an outlet of anger at all.

But what about experimental hitting? Hitting just to see what happens? DS is 15 mos, and sometimes he hits us or our dogs, just to see what happens, or because he's excited, or whatever. (It's not often at all). We have a drum set downstairs sometimes, and he LOVES to bang on the drums. So he has his own drumsticks upstairs, and if he has those (or any other stick type thing) he tends to go around banging on stuff- including people and dogs, sometimes. He seems to really like the different sounds that banging on different things produces.
When I stop him and tell him "don't hit the dog, it hurts, she doesn't like it (whatever)" "Here, you can bang on the couch, or the wall, etc, or pet the dog gently" he almost always stops hitting live things, and goes for the "ok" things. Sometimes he will stop the hitting and pet the dog gently too. And he usually looks at me like he's really thinking about what I said. VERY rarely does he continue trying to hit us or the dogs (and that's usually when he's tired or wound up or something like that)

Does that seem ok? To redirect his hitting to something else? Genuinely curious if this is a bad way to handle this. If so, what other suggestions are there?
 

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Personally, I see no harm in redirecting his hitting to something more appropriate.

On things like this, each family has its own limits. On a related example, we're teaching our son (14 mos.) that he may throw soft toys, needs to set hard toys down "gently" (that's his cue word), and he may roll balls. Other families have a no throwing at all approach, and still others may let their kids throw balls but nothing else. Most things are very much to each is own.

~Nay
 

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Ds (18 mo.) loves to grab a wooden spoon out of the drawer and whack stuff with it, all in fun. He can pretty much hit whatever he wants, but when he goes for the cats I redirect him to hit something else (usually a big plastic storage bin,) and say, "That hurts the kitties." Works like a charm...so far.
 

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I'm the OP in the other thread, and I think what you describe is okay. I used to do it, too, when DD was in the "experimental hitting" phase (which the other thread isn't about...I think it's very different).
 

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Our rule is no hitting people or other animals or things that can break (that you don't want to have broken). Doesn't matter if the motivation is curiosity or anger--it's simply not okay to hit living beings or to risk breaking something. We redirect to more appropriate targets or instruct ds to use "gentle hands" instead. For us, the consistency of the rule works, as hitting was a real problem for a while, and still flares up now and again in a negative way.
 

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Our daughter has started this kind of "experimental" hitting with me - not very hard, fortunately. I try not to react much, just quietly say, "Gentle hands," a phrase we've been using for a long time. Then I ask, "Can you touch mommy in a gentle way?" and she will reach out and stroke or pat my face. I have also tried starting a conversation about "What else can we do with our hands that's gentle?"
 

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OK-I have to first admit that I haven't been on the GD board for a while.
I also need to look at that other thread...but I remember topics like this being discussed before.

My dd now 18 months went through a hitting phase a couple months ago. She would hit out of frustration, anger, curiosity, etc. Everything from me, dh, the dog, drums, pots, pans, pillows, toys, etc. For us, like the pp-we only use gentle touches. If dd is wanting to play the drum-which she fully understands is different than hitting it then that is ok. But, if she is just going around hitting and banging on things we say to her, "Only gentle touches." "Show mama gentle." "We need to be gentle to the dog-it hurts him when you hit." "Gentle w/ the toys so they won't break." And stuff like that. If dd is having a hard time I will ask her to use her words and take a deep calming breath. I will use redirection, but to appropriate gentle behavior.

I may not see this the same way as other mamas...I want to teach dd that hitting can hurt, break, etc. and is unacceptable. I want her to be able to express her emotions and know that it is ok to be frusturated, curious, angry, etc. but hitting things is not ok. I think that experimenting w/ sound, rhythm and vibrations is very different than redirecting a child to hit a pillow or bang on the sofa, etc. I hope that makes sense and doesn't upset anyone
 

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The way you describe it sounds like it is more of a physical curiousity...what does it feel like when I use this tool to bang this object? I think that is totally fine! I also think it is something of a phase, I remember dd going through it.
 
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