Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We Don't Hit — But He Does

Three simple words.

We. Don’t. Hit.

We. Don’t. Hit.

We. Don’t. Hit.

“We don’t hit!”

See the quotation marks I put around the last one? That’s because through the last two weeks “we don’t hit” has turned into a mantra at our home. As it turns out, the boy does hit — all too frequently.

Pictured: hitting machine in recharge mode. 
There’s no rhyme or reason to it. He could be in a perfectly fine mood and then he inexplicably decides it’s time to smack someone.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your perspective), “someone” is usually mom or dad. Though we’re hearing ominous reports of shoving from day care.

A typical hitting scenario sees one of us holding the boy and him raising both arms and bringing them down on top of mom or dad’s head.

Often he’ll wait until making eye contact with us, then he’ll raise his arms go for it. He's been known to strike our faces too. 

Techniques to dissuade this behavior have run the gamut.

Naturally, we started off with a good, old-fashioned, “No.” We still do this, but it was clear early on that more than communication would be required. 

The next step was setting him down, holding him by the arms, looking him in the eyes and telling him, “We don’t hit.”

First we said it once. But he hit again.

Then we said it a couple of times and he hit again.

Next we said it over and over and over and over and over and…. you get the point.

But, he didn’t — and that’s the most important point.

Because even after all of this, he still hit.

So we’re looking for healthy, reliable answers from established, qualified sources. Naturally, our search began on the Internet.

All the experts on there said, essentially the same thing: stay calm, talk to your child and acknowledge their feelings, praise good behavior, yadda, yadda, yadda.

If that sounds dismissive, it’s because it is.

Putting his hands (aka Thunder and Lightning) to other
nonviolent use. 
I know what I know and what I know isn’t much — about most things. What I do know is that when it comes to kids, the most applicable information comes from talking — really talking — to other parents. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here.

Parenting books can offer some valuable advice. But, for what it’s worth from this parent, your best judgment and your knowledge of your kid, combined with feedback from parents you think are doing a good job, is the best information.

Some kids will need a spell in time out. Others will need the aforementioned praise approach. Another approach might work for others.

As for us, well, last night we gave time out our first shot. We timed it at a couple of minutes and we weren’t waiting by his side for it to be over.

The early returns were promising but, like every other part of this behavior-modification process, we’re prepared for the possibility that this is a step, not a destination.

And, until we get there and he's not hitting, I'll be happy that he's not biting. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like most paths ahead - two steps forward one step back. Keep up the good work.