9 Things To Do If Your Child Starts To Hit You

From the age of 17 months old, children can experience violent episodes. Adjusting to the realities of life with their parents can be challenging for them and can even provoke surprising reactions in some of them. Kids often get frustrated by limits and then try to test us. Since they don't have the words or vocabulary to express themselves, their emotions are difficult to control and can translate into angry outbursts. It's up to us to help them get through this phase, while remaining firm. Here are 9 tips from a mom who's been on this journey to correcting her son's behavior.


 Violence acts like the solution to a problem, when in fact it is the problem. 

9 tips for dealing effectively with a violent child  

Find out how I got my aggressive kid back on track...

1. I reacted quickly

My little monster needed to be able to quickly channel this violence, before turning into a conflicted teenager, or a violent adult. My child needed limits to develop, so I refused to accept the unacceptable. If the results weren’t immediate, and if my reaction makes him angrier, I chose not to panic. The consistency of my interventions will pay off in the long run.

2. I made my son understand his behavior was unacceptable

Concretely, after the shot is fired, I crouch to my child's height and look him straight in the eyes. I firmly and calmly express my disagreement. Short sentences such as "In our family, we don't hit. ", "Stop! It hurts."or "You have a right to be angry, but I'm not going to let you hurt me." Will hit the nail on the head. The shorter my sentences, the easier it was to get my message across.

> Discover my open letter to my kids

Note: You are your child's first role model...

Smack child

If your little bundle of joy hits someone else, don't hit it back. Doing so will only confuse them. If you don't want them to hit you, don't hit them back.

> Find out how to reduce stress in children here

3. I laid down the rules

My intonation, my gaze and the gestures I used had to be consistent so that my little boxer understands that it is neither a game nor a wish, but an imperative. I needed the rules to be clear so my angel didn’t feel unjustly punished.

4. I didn’t back down

To my child, I represent physical and psychological security. I must never be shaken by their actions. By imposing limits, by showing a solid framework, I make them feel secure and put them back on the right path.

5. I isolated my child  

If my little terror kept hitting me, I calmly told him that we needed to be in separate rooms to calm down. Remember, you're isolating your child because you want them to calm down. When the tranquility has returned, you must explain your actions and what you now expect to happen going forward.

6. I tried to understand the root causes

If, despite everything, my child tries to follow me, it’s likely because he wants some attention but doesn’t know how to express it. Taking them tenderly and firmly in my arms to giving them a big hug may be the solution. Even if they resist at first, I never give up. This is a very effective calming technique.

> Did you know that? Cuddles have amazing powers.

7. I followed through with my actions

Leaving my kid’s side after saying "no, we don't hit" would have no impact. To back up what I say, I stay with my child for a minute, crouch to their level and take their hands. Containing him is important: he is not trapped but held so that his frustration and agitation can diminish.

8. Once calm is restored; I ask him to express himself.

Even if toddlers are not professional talkers, tell them how you felt and ask them too. Suggest another expression: "I think you were angry because..., but I won’t stand for you hitting. You can tell me what you want in words."

I'm a woman who doesn't want kids; so what?

9. And if he manages to control his emotions...

I congratulate him!

Parent and child

The editor's opinion - Parents don't have to accept everything

Even if they're still newborns, you have to show you disagree from the very first attempt, or else the situation will get out of hand as they grow older. "As soon as a child attacks our bodies-whether it's by pulling our hair, biting our breasts while breast-feeding or giving us a pat on the head-we have to set limits," warns child psychiatrist Michael Larrar.

A child who slaps feels frustrated, sometimes harmless. Jealousy, demand for attention... Generally speaking, violence is a fantasy of power that is activated when an individual is anxious or feels in trouble. Hence the importance of reducing stress in children before they become aggressive to reassure themselves.

Parenting requires staying firm on educational issues, while listening to what you have to say. Help your child put words to his emotions to better express them. If the problem comes from an intense need to exercise, physical activity would do him good. And if all this effort doesn't pay off, a couple of visits to a specialist can help to unblock the situation.

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