What Do Do About a Hitting, Biting, and Spitting 3 Year Old

Updated on July 26, 2008
L.W. asks from Portland, OR
4 answers

My three year old, who is overall very well behaved and a very happy child, some times has a problem with hitting, biting, and spitting. He does not do it out of anger or spite, only for play and fun (or at least to him it is). However, it can hurt. It mostly is upsetting to our 9 year old boy. We have tried almost all recommendations, but would still love to hear any suggestions anyone may have. Im sure some of it has to do with his age too. Thanks!

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K.O.

answers from Portland on

Does he have speech issues as I noticed this from my son being he was frustrated by lack of words and hence retaliated with biting and hitting.

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S.H.

answers from Portland on

Hi,

I would make sure to get down to your child's level, maintain eye contact and maybe hold his arms (if you think he will flee) and say very firmly that hitting, biting, or spitting ARE NOT OK! Then tell him if he does it again he will have a time out for 3 minutes (one minute for each year of age). Then if he does it again, follow through promptly. Tell him it is never OK to hit, spit, whatever and so you are putting him in time out. Make him stay in the place you have put him. When it's over, tell him he needs to apologize for his bad behavior. Then give him a hug and tell him not to do it again. That behavior should never be tolerated. Children need to be taught this from day one. If you let this go, he will have a very hard time getting along with other kids and constantly get in trouble at school. There are many other ways to have fun and you should redirect his energy before he hurts someone!

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T.R.

answers from Portland on

Hi there! I would suggest saying OW!! loudly and turning away or putting the child down then walking away whenever the hitting or biting occurs. With the spitting I would say "I don't like that" or "thats not ok / nice")and walk away. If he is doing it for fun he will quickly discover how abruptly the fun ends when he does this (no attention = no fun). If everone follows this protocol the behavior won't last long. Good luck. T.

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A.C.

answers from Portland on

My best advice to you would just be to pick some form of discipline and be CONSISTENT! I have found that to be most effective with my tantrum thrower. The same consequences for each action EVERY TIME they disobey. And not letting it slide..even once. It will most likely wear you down a bit, but it's worth it when they get it quicker! Hang in there, he will be 4 and then 5....:-)

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