He Won't Stop Hitting

Updated on August 26, 2008
J.M. asks from Tucson, AZ
9 answers

My three year old has just recently started hitting again and thats including himself. I broke him of it when he was a baby and he was fine for a very long time. Now he's doing it again. Usually when he doesn't get his way of course. I've tried grabbing his and telling him not to hit, I've taken away computer time, I've taken away TV time nothing is working. He's also started throwing fits after being put to bed I'll walk out of the room and he'll start screaming it gets so bad some nights I'm surprised my neighbors haven't called the cops. Any advice you have for would be great I'm at my wits end. TIA

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So What Happened?

Thank You very much for all your advice. What I did was we went to Teaching Tools and I let him pick out what color poster board he wanted and two sets of stickers and a set of stamps. We hung the board next to his bed and every night he goes to bed without a fit he gets to put a sticker or stamp on it in the morning and so far it's working great. He loves doing the stamps himself. Again thank you you guys are the best.

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answers from Santa Fe on

Hi J.,
I just started reading a book written by Dr. Kevin Leman. It is titled. "Have a New Kid by Friday". So far it gives so much good and senseable advice for all sorts of behavior. I ordered it after listening to him speak on a radio talk show. You can find it online at Focusonthefamily.org. There is also a lot of helpful parenting information on that website. I wish you the best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Anchorage on

Hi J. -

Have you talked with your son? If not, try asking him how hitting makes him feel. Ask him to describe what it feels like in his body, is there a color associated with those feelings - when he hits. The same thing goes for his fits when you put him to bed. Has he told you he is afraid that you won't come back when you leave? Fear of abandonment is a big one with little kids. Since you work full-time & go to school full-time, he may be worried. Instead of taking more things away (because in his eyes, you are taking yourself away), love and assure him that you will come back.


M. M. Ernsberger
Holistic Healthcare Practitioner



answers from Phoenix on

We have things so similiar. I am also studying to be a kindergarten teacher as well. I also have a 3 yr old son as well, and hes been hitting me, throwing toys and other stuff as me. There are some other issues he has, he has difficulty commuicating and hes having therapy for that at school.



answers from Tucson on

Hi J.-
The key here is consistency, which will be very difficult since you are working and attending school full-time. You need to talk to his caregiver(s) about these things, and see how they are handling it. Try to maintain consistency for a very long time- all of you do the same thing. Of course, no TV or computer time when he has been acting like that. He should be watching TV for a maximum of one and a half hours daily. You might try having him earn his TV time with good behavior. One hour of good behavior equals 10 minutes of TV or computer time. He does not get more than an hour and a half total of both. There will be a lot of tantrumming over this. Use something he can see, such as a chart with one silver star per hour. Have hime sit in a naughty chair (hold him in if you have to) for 3-5 minutes. Do not allow him to insult you as he gets out of it. Whatever you do, do it consistently. Also, ask some questions: Are other children hitting him at daycare? Is he watching violent cartoons and/or shows when he is away from you? Is he able to tell you what has happened during his day? You might try a wonderful bedtime ritual, to include a bath, with mommy attention, a story read by you, etc. Don't leave while he is still wide awake. The ritual should gradually calm him down and put him to sleep.

I will be thinking of you - S.



answers from Albany on

Hi J.,
I have known friends that have had the same problem with there son. And I can only tell you what they have done and they have sat one on one with there sons and told them why hitting is bad and then they would take a couple of days a week and spent one on one with them.. But, it sounds like you are really busy so, maybe you can sit down and have special nights with him and just read or talk about everything.. I hope this helps



answers from Tucson on

Hi J.!
There was a similar case on the show 'The Nanny' recently. They used a very consistant time out with him (even if they were out shopping, they did it then and there), but the great idea was that they played a game with him to remind him what soft touch felt like. He and his mom took turns touching the back of each other's neck with something soft- a feather, velvet, etc. Each was to guess what it was as their back was turned away from the one doing the touching. The mom also used her hand and touched him softly. He was pleased to guess that it was his mom. They also spent time lightly touching a tickling each others' forearms and talking about how a soft touch feels so much better than hitting, etc. It sure seemed like it worked for them. Good luck! E.



answers from Phoenix on

J., You sound very busy. Do you spend solid time with your son, giving him to undivided attention? The experts say 20-30 per day is a good amount for the adult to play with their child. I went through a similiar problem - when I went back to work and was really busy, my son started acting out. Once I gave him some attention, the behaviours stopped.



answers from Tucson on

I am a gramma,so my advice may seem outdated. Your little guy is telling you, he would like you to be his Mom, not the baby sitter or care takers. It sound like you are gone from him most of the time. It is very hard, if not impossible to be a part time mom when you are employed full time and go to school full time. Your little guy will have problems when he is in kindergarten if he doesn't have a full time mom before he gets there. When you do become a K teacher, you will have students who have problems like his,believe me. Easy for me to say, but please consider postponing one or the other, job or school. You can't postpone raising a child. You can tell a child a hundred times a day how much you love him, but when someone else meets his daily needs, it is not believable.



answers from Tucson on

In my experience, this sort of thing has happened because the child acting out (in whatever way they do) is because they no longer have the ability to deal with something or a situation. They react without thinking so perhaps your son has arrived at this point - there's something that he is unable to deal with. The hard part is to pin down what it is specifically. You do have a lot on you being a full time student and full time employee and a parent, it could be he really is afraid of losing you. My husband used to be in the military and whenever he was deployed, I either saw a lot more anger or fear or self-esteem things popping up. No matter what, don't give up, don't give in to your frustration, be patient and reassuring, be the loving mom you sound to be! I'll be praying for you,R

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