Why Is A Three-year-old Child Hitting And What To Do?

Posted by on the TCS List on Tue, 22 May 2001 at 08:03:23 -0700

Sue Cvach

A poster wrote:

Not knowing the child or the situation it is hard to know what is behind it. I don't think it is very unusual for three year olds to hit, particularly if they didn't hit much when they were two-year olds.

In any situation, a person cannot know for sure what is in another's mind, what their true motivation is. Even when a person tells you what they think, you can't be sure they aren't mistaken. A person can only go on their best guess of what might help.

Hitting, by any age person, could be in self-defense, or it could be a way of exerting power (might makes right theory), a way of getting what they want. Hitting might be an effective means of self-defense, or there might be better ways to defend oneself. There are better ways of getting what a person wants, and that is what children want to find out, I think, is the best way for them to get what they want. Parents – though often quite confused themselves about how to get what they want! – can be a child's best advisor and helper in figuring out good ways (for everyone involved) to get what each person wants.

First, I would assume that the child is doing what is normal in two and one year olds, i.e. they are aware of themselves as people but they haven't yet extrapolated the idea of conciousness onto the other children they are coming in contact with. I have even seen this in four year olds, if they haven't had much time with babies, for example, when they do get to spend time with one they may not realise that they can't just poke their fingers in the baby's eyes. The concept of the baby as a person like themselves has not necessarily entered their awareness.

I think that this can apply to people of any age. I think there is more to developing empathy than age. How the individual is treated by others, for example, especially by their parents, I conjecture.

The step from awareness of self to awareness of others as selves is not always completed by three.

or age 20, or age 70. ;-)

Sometimes a child that has spent a lot of time with grown ups (who are not interested in helping the child get what s/he wants) and not so much time with other little children will have the awareness about grown-ups. But they may not yet have extrapolated that awareness onto the funny little bodies running around that look kind of familiar and may be some kind of dog or animal so lets give it a whack and see what happens.

Oh, dear.... I don't think I am buying this theory.

If you find that responding to the child in the way you would respond to a two year old isn't the approach that is needed, then perhaps the anger theory is a good next step.

I would respond to any child of any age (as a parent to child, that is) by trying to figure out what they want, and doing everything I can to help them get it. If the child is angry, I'd keep helping them get what they want. Trying to figure out why the child is angry might be intrusive and make things worse, I think.... children often can't answer the questions of ‘why’ that parents/adults pepper them with, not having the words to explain what is in their minds or whatever. We make our best guesses and keep at it.

If the anger theory doesn't seem to make sense

Oh, I think it makes perfect sense!

then I would just do my best to make sure that other kids don't get hurt and wait for it to pass.

It is important to protect children from being hurt, physically, emotionally, mentally. And it is important to help children get what they want.

I have found that all the things that drive me crazy for a time end and then you forget they even happened. I always remind myself of this as the next frustrating aspect of my children arises.

Chalking up children's behavior to ‘a stage’ and waiting for it to pass, without helping them to accomplish their ends, is not helpful or right, imo.

It's as if we are conditioned to do this as parents.

I agree that we are conditioned by memes to act in certain ways, but they are not always moral or right ways. I think it is very important to recognize when one is acting-out a harmful meme, and put in the required thought and action to replace it with a better theory.

Whatever is causing the hitting it is probably arising from frustration and frustration is the basis of learning. Both for you and your child.

I disagree. While frustration might be a motivation to change things, it is not necessary for learning... in fact, it can derail learning. Frustration is a sign of coercion at work, imo. Conflicting theories fighting it out in one's head. Conjecture and refutation is how learning happens.









listen to child

if a child 'listens' (meaning 'obeys') only his father but not women, there could be a problem about authority in the home. [see the article titled 'authority' on this website for more thoughts on that.] in the story above, it is sadly obvious that punitive treatment does not bring good relationships between children and the adult caretakers in their lives.

the taking children seriously philosophy looks for ways to help children get what they want, in safe and moral ways.

people, like you loretta, are experiencing the difficulties that standing on authority with children can bring, which can be further complicated by the complex authoritative other relationships in a home and culture. recognizing the problems that hitting and coercion bring to our close personal relationships is a first step. figuring out what to do next, what little thing to have the courage to change first, is the next imo.

i hope you can find some inspiration in the articles on this site to help with that change, loretta.

hitting 3 year-old

hi i'm having this problem too, my almost 3 y-o son started hitting us. he started kindergarten and i think that a little girl there hit him. so he started "experimenting" with hitting. he doesn't do it in anger. but, specially if he hits his baby brother, i can't help it, i feel so angry (mother lion's reflex...). any comment and any help in dealing with this situation is veeeery welcome. thanks


thanks for writing this :)

deep concern, near despair, guilt, worry & embrassment about my two year old starting to hit others (mostly adults).

imagine a little boy singing and dancing in front of the little girl, same-aged buddies, in a totally different tone of voice than when he speaks to mom. so startling, as if it were the first time he'd ever spoken; charming & beautiful. i do think that children relate to other children differently than they to adults.

but now he's starting to hit (mostly adults), & he now has a new born sister. difficult time for the lad, as he just wants to run around & bang doors & jump & touch & scream no,no,no,no & resist to the last & be free & go on 'expoditions' & discover ..... & meet his baby sister.

parents should listen to him more. imo, frustration definitely does have something to do with it, as well as failures as a parent. children are so nice when they are happy.

child is hitting and they don't know why

A three year old starts hitting after being enrolled in a large daycare. Others in her class hit too. However, staff and parents can't understand why she is hitting as she is not angry when she does it. Most of the others retaliate by hitting when a toy is taken away or there is some other form of provokation. But this kiddo will slug another child on the sholder and then sit down to play with him. What is going on here?

hitting at school

imagine a high functioning autistic boy in preschool who hits. he hits for all three reasons 1.attn (we ignore) 2. wanting something (we negotiate the something) 3. escape (he wants to read in a corner instead of joining in activity (we made an activity schedule for him so he can know what to expect in schedule...) still hits, now hits real hard. placed him on chair in other room for 20 sec until he was calm and ready to come back (did not use any neg. punish words). now scared of other room, still hits(though, not as much) feedback? thanks

Hitting at School

If child hits because he wants something, you help him get the something. That's great.

now apply to the two other situations.

He hits for attention. What does that mean? He wants adult to look at him? Look at him then. He wants adult to play with him? Play with him then.

He hits to escape - help him escape. Why shouldn't he read in a corner when everyone else is fingerpainting, and fingerpaint when everyone else is playing in the sand tray?

Placing child in solitary confinement, however short, is enormously cruel. There are reasons why prisoners get put into solitary confinement, and it is nothing to do with supporting, nurturing, helping them to grow and communicate and learn. :-(


HELP! I'm a childcare provider, I have my own two children, ages 3 years and almost 2, plus a three other children in my care. One of the children, a 3 year old boy has this habit of hitting, pushing and kicking the other children. I don't know what to do, I have talk to his mom, put him in time out, taken things away. What do i do next?? I really like him, but I am getting to the point of wondering if I should stop the care of him.

I would say that 5 children

I would say that 5 children is too many to be caring for on your own. There is no way you are going to be able to help all of them interact in constructive ways.

Hitting and Child Abuse

I know what you're going through. I have recently been watching a friend's daughter who has a problem with hitting. She is 5 now and she has undergone severe physical and emotional abuse from her other parent for at least two years that we know of. I found this forum through an attempt to try to help my friend work through this with his daughter and teach her not to hit, but I have discontinued having her over without my friend because it put my own daughter at risk, who ultimately is my top priority.

parents that teach their children to hit back

A young mother tells this story:

help. Im not really sure how i should handle this situation as of course i want to handle it in the best way possible for my son. I have a four year old son. he likes to play with the other kids at the park. except their is this three year old boy who has the habit of playing mean and hitting just to hit it seems or to get what he wants. this has been brought to his mothers attention, but she denies her son starting anything and says its my little boy. I have been out to this park and watched to events unroll. I have seen this little boy attack my son. Im not sure if he really knows how mean these attacks of his are. when this is brought to his parents attention all she tells him is to hit back if he is being hit. this is causing major issues. i dont understand why she thinks her child does no wrong and refuses to punish him. i dont know how to handle the situation with my son when he is being hit by this boy. Is it ok to tell him to hit back? Or is it better to tell him stay away. I have also tried telling him to stay away. He then runs to the boys mother and tells her he hates her son when he gets hit. this in return gets her upset with me. this is the only park in the area for kids to play at. its right out our back door. I just dont know what to do when my son wants to go out and play and that little boy is out there. please give me some feedback. thank you so much

Hitting without emotion

Consider a 3-year old who has started hitting his classmates at daycare with a smile on his face and doesn't seem to be doing it maliciously. They've tried separating him from the rest of the class to play by himself (which he LOVES to do) and have now started sending him to the Director's office. It's very difficult for a parent to discipline a child in the evening for something he did in the morning. Any suggestions on discipline or whether or not this could be a social or emotional problem?


my 3 year old son kicked a boy at church today. what should i do immediately after it happens?

bobbi - where were you when

bobbi - where were you when the kicking happened? With 3 year olds, I think a parent needs to spend a LOT of time running interference, getting down at child's level, helping them learn how to interact constructively with other people. Mostly non-vebally, but just being present and helping in interactions when needed. Not punishing them afterwards because they don't yet understand about society not welcoming violence.


why does my 1 yr old hit my 1 month old all the time and i mean all the time what am i suppsed to do please SOMEONE help me

My three year old son hits too

I have the same problem. My three year old son hits and jumps on the other kids at daycare too. He doesn't do as he is told either. This is his second daycare. The first one asked for him to be removed. He doesn't do it with any malice, I think he does it to play. I don't have this problem at home with him at all. He is however very active. I am at my wits end. I don't know what to do. I spent a couple of hours with him at school, and while I was there, his teacher couldn't beleive how well he behaved. As soon as I left, he started acting up again. Help!!

4year old hitting and pushing other kids

>my grandson turned 4 in august and in the past three weeks

>he has begun to hit and push other kids where he goes to

>preschool. It is so bad that the teacher is thinking

>about dismissing him from school. IT is not as if he is

>mad at the kids but just loves to fight. he has been put

>in time out, the principles office, at home his toys have

>been taken from him time to time along with TV. We are at

>our wits end. He is such a loving child at home and the

>only child-grandchild in the family who gets all the

>attention from everyone. Please help us if you can

>determine why and what we as a family can do about this.

>He has been in daycare since he was very small and has

>just been moved from nursery age school to preschool

>program. Should this moving have anything to do with it?

>He just moved a few weeks ago.


Kicking and Hitting

A 3 yr old keeps hitting, kicking, and not listening. This is happening not only at home but at the daycare. He had started a new daycare on Aug 15/07, and this is mainly when it has started up again. What suggestions are there to help bring this situation under control.

My 3 years old doughter is very angry

Imagine a 3 yr old child who recently started going to kindergarden. since then she is very angry at home she wants to have everyting possible, she is crying if she doesnt get the things on the way she wonts. she is asking for impossible things like to drive the car togeher with me and than she cries for hours. In order to put her cloths on I have to chaice her all over the house. Every sentence of hers starts with NO. She is negative and I'm becoming negative too. I hate myself for it. Please advise.

three year old hitting "no" and mini-meltdowns

A grandmother/caregiver asks, consider a three year old and an eighteen month old, siblings, recently taken out of a full time daycare in which they were since three months of age each. The only time previously they had mutual playtime was on weekends. Now they are full time playmates.

Each is also enrolled in separate age appropriate activities during the course of the week to maintain and continue socialization skills and just to have fun with same age children.

A problem is that the three year old is challenging me (caregiver) as to directives....many "no" responses, some whining and voice raising along with the no and mini meltdowns...At times we can reason the problem together, at times she needs a "timeout" and then comes around. Maybe this is an adjustment period and will pass. It has been one month at home now... I want to give them my very best as a caregiver and help them to grow to be healthy, happy children and responsible adults

parents that teach their children to hit back

your child did the right thing by going to the boys mother and telling her the situation that her son is hitting him. unfortunatly, she did not respond correctly to the situation as you did. she of course is in denial and her son can not do any wrong in her eyes. tell your son that he did the right thing by asking for help and tell him to continue to do so. never teach your son to hit back, as it it wrong. hitting is not the solution...love is. tell your son that all he can do is forgive that little boy, continue to play as usual. if that mean boy attacks him for no reason, get down to his eye level and try talking to him and explain that hitting is not right, it hurts peoples feelings. have him tell you why he hits.then tell him to use his words. "did my son make you angry so you hit him? instead of hitting you can use your words and talk about why your upset". say the same to your son. "ask the boy why he hit you. if he refuses to reply tell him you forgive him but you won't let him hit you again". tell your son to walk away from the situation, play on the slide instead. if the boys mother jumps in defending her son and is now fighting with you, take your son home. explain that he did nothing wrong and it was not his fault that he had to leave the park. next time you go bring a friend who has children to the park with you to play with your son and their you have another parent to talk to. this way the two of you can stand together for the truth against the mean boys mom. you did a great job mom!


I was wondering if you ever received any feedback from your question? I have a 2 year old granddaughter who has just begun hitting, pulling hair out and kicking kids in her daycare. She is fine at home. I am baffled by this sudden change. Do you have any answers, anything would be appreciated???


children hitting in

children hitting in daycare?

Perhaps they need more adult help as they learn to interact with other children. Maybe daycare is the problem. Maybe they need a relative with them who will get down on their level, and run interference so that they learn how to interact in ways which other children like (and will therefore play with them) without being punished and without hurting other children in the learning process.

I don't think there's anything baffling about it. Being in a room with 4 children the same age per adult, or 6, or 8 (by 3 years old, the legal requirement is only 8:1 in some places), there's no way the adults are going to be able to help the children enough. In a mixed age setting, with 10 year olds and 15 year olds and 1 year olds, the older ones will be able to help the younger ones, but when they are all the same age it's awful for the children.

Apshawa: "directives"? What's that? Double-speak for ordering someone to do what you want them to? You could try finding out what the child wants and then find common preferences with them...

Hitting along with destructive behavior

My son is 2years and 5months. He has been hitting (everyone) with and without reason. He will hit when he is angry and he will just hit someone in passing for no reason at all. I have tried time out, spanked a few times (did not work at all) and even taking away favorite toys for a short time. He also will tear apart his books with his teeth. Here lately he has felt compelled to eat hand soap, it is even a struggle when washing his hands. I have to hold and wash his hands for him most of the time just to keep him from trying to eat the soap. He is showing this behavior consistently at home and preschool. I am even a preschool teacher at his school. I have tons of experience and education with children and still don't know what to do. I have tried everything...literally. Even the director, my boss, is running out of ideas. Please help, it is not only frustrating but embarrassing. I am supposed to know what to do here!

help please

My five year old has just recently started kindergarden but she has been in daycare since she was 3. Here within the last 2 months her attitude is totally different; when she get angry or frustrated instead of using her words she is hurting herself. She with hit herself in the forhead or pull out her hair. So she wont hurt herself, I have to hold her. When she calms down and I try talking to her about the behavior she says its because she is mad. I dont understand at all. Is there any advice?? thanks

kindergarten 5 year old

kindergarten 5 year old sounds really unhappy. Self harm is a serious cry for help. Are you sure she wants to be in this kindergarten? Did she really love her daycare? Can she return there? Maybe the kindergarten is too noisy, too overwhelming, too frightening - maybe she's just not ready to be there. Follow the lead of the child.

Book eating boy. Get lots of books for him to eat. Thrift shops, garage sales. Find books with different smells, different textures, different tastes. It's all just exploring the universe. Ditto with soap, as long as it isn't a kind which is toxic. Can you get toothpaste in bar form? Or maybe something with a baking soda base. Think how many parents are trying to think of ways to get toothcleaning soap into their children's mouths! What an opportunity.

As for hitting other people - you need to be there, running interference, making sure noone gets hurt, and showing your child better ways to interact. Children learn how to interact in mutually beneficial ways with the guidance and support of their parents. This may not be compatible with the parent being in charge of a whole room full of other people's children.

5 children has nothing to do with it

I dont think that taking care of 5 children has anything to do with it. I have 6 children of my own ranging from 10 mths to 9 yrs. and yes they do bicker at each other like all siblings do, but as far as all of them interacring, its great. We have a 20 min everyone time everyday and we all sit in the living room and express our feelings and/or play a quick game of favorites. Its great to see how all my kids learn about one another everyday even if its favorite snack of the day!

challenging 3 yr old

my three year old is demonstrating negative behavior at school. hitting others, being defiant to teachers. she has always been the youngest in her class, her gross motors are very advanced, was walking at 7 months, and she is very busy. and recently moved into the 3-4 yr old room when she was under 3 yrs old, most kids are about 6-8 mos older. the room is chaotic to say the least with 2 inexperienced teachers,and 1 college aid, and ten wild childs. everyday there is documentation on how she hit, how she couldnt sit, and how she didnt rest. there has so far been minimal positive feedback, but plenty of negative feedback, but no suggestions on partnering to help these behaviors. there is now a behavior thermometer in the room that the children can move their name up or down depending on the choices that thy make throughout the day, this should encourage them to want to make good choices. my child being the youngest does not seem to understand this concept. shes in the red zone everyday. now that the center director has sent a letter to all the parents, letting them know how challenging this class is, to me the thermometer is a visual aid for the parents to see where the children are ranking. i dont want to justify my daughters negative behaviors, but i feel like hitting, lack of attention span, and saying no are :1. developmental 2. signs of boredom 3. the result of always being the little kid in the room. i do not like the thermometer, and i feel like her journal is a list of teacher complaints, nothing constructive. help. ps there is a 2-3 yr waitlist for daycares in the town that i live in also, so i feel like theres no alternatve

daycare and development

time and time again i see, from these comments, that young children are expressing themselves in various non-verbal ways and adults are missing the communication. maybe they don't want to hear/understand what the children are communicating because it gets in the way of the adult agenda of how these kids have to live their lives.

there must be better ways to live life than at the mercy of all this misery and conflict. each person, parent, family has to *want* to figure that out for their own selves. if they are simply looking for the magic technique with which to 'regain' control over their child, they are dooming themselves to more of the same misery as their child grows.

i understand that people just want thier child to fit into the life that the parents have structured for thier family, in the belief that this is the way people live their lives. this is what they've learned, how to follow the rules and regulations, the plan for life that they've seen around them. the conflict and uncomfortable situations and relationships that result from this mainstream lifestyle and set of beliefs, that is just normal and must be borne.

taking children seriously is an evolving philosophy that questions this assumption. many children hit as they are growing up in their early years, even if they have never been hit themselves. why is this? we can tell ourselves many stories about the 'why' of it. does this help us figure out the 'what to do?' part?

if a parent cannot be there to run interference for their child, as in a daycare situation with few adult helpers per number of small children, is the parent shirking hir responsibility to hir child? from the advice and experience of commenters here, the preferred way of dealing with this hitting situation is to be physically and mentally present with the child. working parents can do this when they are not at work, spend as much time as possible filling up their child's need to be the center of parent's attention and parent the center of child's attention. this is when lots of important theory-sharing goes on, and it matters that the child and parent are both engaged together.

what difference does a thermometer on a wall make to a little kid? it certainly does seem important to the adults in the room, but if it doesn't make sense to the kid, what good is it? learning doesn't happen by force, but through interest.

living a life where there seems to be no alternatives sets the stage for coercion. what can be changed? is it worth it? children are small for such a short time. they need more than someone to keep them corraled within a population of other needy small children, changing their diaper and getting them drinks (which it seems that in most daycare/school situations, there is little one-on-one adult-child interaction and engagement because of the numbers)

we all have to start from where we are. consider what you really want for yourself and your child, consider the consequences, make your choices, and remember you can always change something and often when you do, other changes become more apparent and possible. you can work towards a better situation for yourself and your child.

12 yr.old refuses to use soap

Help! What to do? A 12 yr. old who decided it is not necessary and stupid to wash let alone use soap. I have tried everything possible and still fight with him to wash with soap. Please don't tell me it's a stage and he will out grow it. He has had kids on his bus complain of his odors and tell him to take a bath. If I don't stand over top of him and make him wash, he won't touch the soap and when I do stand over him he acts like the soap is poison. I feel like I am invading his privacy if I stay in the bathroom while he is bathing and I haven't in a long time, but how else do I get through to him he has to wash and use some sort of soap. I have bought every kind of soap from deodorant such as Coast, Zest, etc. to the newer gel ones like Tag to the frilly ones like girls like with the flower scents. Refused them all.

If anyone has any helpful hints. PLEASE LET ME KNOW.

I have seen these sort of

I have seen these sort of parenting styles played out and to be honest these children are the most disrespectful children, the don't have any respect for anybody. In the end, the children end up suffering because the have no social skills and are rejected by their peers. Kids do not know how to respect each other and if we, as parents try so hard to "respect" our little ones, we use these exterme styles and in turn we are actually not teaching our children anything about respect and empathy towards another person. I agree with listening to the child and trying to understand why it is happening and to help the child learn to express feelings in better ways. But please please help me to understand how a child learns that this is not OK.

three year old hitting

My 3 year old is hitting me all the time. Mostly in the mornings when it is time to get dressed for daycare- kicks me in the chest hits me in the face, but mostly in the chest. and it also happens in the evenings after bath time. Its like it gets worse everyday. Not hitting other children at daycare only me (mother) and sometimes father. But not very often. Please help me? I don't know what do do. I have taken toys away, tried time outs. Nothing works.

no soap

Go swimming often.

Lots of people prefer to use just water rather than soap. There's a good deodorant called "trust" which you put on once a week and it kills the bacteria which make the odours.

As for the parent with child hitting: find more fun things to do, like pillow fights, or races around the house. Get them dressed for daycare the night before (rather than pyjamas) to cut out that frustrating time - who wants to get up in the morning, take all their clothes off and put a whole new set of clothes on? It's crazy when you think about it. No point punishing. you just say calmly "ow, that hurt, I don't want to play that game" and move away to do something else. Some children go through a phase where the best time to get dressed is when they are deeply asleep. Maybe your child would appreciate that for a while.

child hitting

I have been through a terrible time with my child hitting his teachers and just being easily angered. It was so bad that we had to pull him out of school. He is three years old and finally we figured out that our child has food allergies. I would never have thought that food allergies would affect a childs behavior but it is unbelievable the difference in my child now that we have taken the foods he is allergic to out of his diet. He actually has self control!!

i am goin threw the same

hi the my 3 and a half year old is the same she hits me alot and now i have to walk awy cause i dont know waht to do anymore


I know that everyone means well, but I am a Behavior Analyst and some of the suggestions that I have read are concerning; If a child eats books, buy books at a thrift shop and let him chomp away? If she wants something just give it to her? If he eats soap, let him, as long as its not toxic? Let kids escape tasks and actvities at school? If he wants attention after hitting give it to him???? All of these recommendations would only further reinforce the inappropriate behaviors not help. If your child eats books take the book away and state "Books are for reading" return the book and monitor your child with the book. If he bites into it again repeat the process. If he eats soap, remove the soap from the bathroom, use a soap dispenser and help him wash his hands, praise when he washes correctly. do not allow eating of soap. There are many tools that can be used in a school to encourage children to remain on task. You can sequence activities by stating first___ then___ and allowing access to other activity after he completes the scheduled activity. Tokens or timers can be used to help a child determine when it will be time for a preferred activity, etc. If your child is in a public school setting and hitting request a functionl assessment and behavior plan for the classroom. This will help determine why the child is hitting and assist everyone in responding in a consisitent manner. In summary, if your child hit when no demand is made (looks like for no reason) he is doing so for attention. Increase your attnetion for positive behaviors throughout the day, when he hits use a quiet time (1 minute per year, e.i. 3 yrs old 3 min.)Do not say anything else. Do not ask why. Your child will not respond by saying "I wanted attention and I usually get it when I hit" rather you will feed into the behavior. If your child hits when he wants something work on waiting and sharing with another peer for a few minutes every day. If your child hits following a directive teach her to follow through after the 1st directive(hand over hand, if required)ignore protesting, then praise her complying. If none of this works, speak with a behavior analyst, address the challenging behavior before it gets worse. Have any of you seen the TV series Super Nanny? These stategies work and are in your child's best interest.

Trust me, in the long run, your children will be happier children if they know what is expected of them and that there are rules that need to be followed. We can still be empathatic, loving and so forth but without rules and consistency there is chaos. Even little ones sense this, and they desire a secure environment! Good luck to everyone!

my 3 year old daughter hits in a stabbing motion

I really dont know what to do my daughter has been hitting her little sister who is 1 in a stabbing motion. I have talked to her put her in a time out explained why its wrong to hit. She dose it out of anger. I am really worried about her. What should I do next. She tells me that she hates me her daddy and her sister. She also calls us nasty names and I really dont think this is a stage shes doing throught we have tried to talk to her you know get down on her level. nothing is working please help me to understand what is going on.

behavior analyst -read this!

Vanessa you mean well. but you don't think outside of the box. Check out this article by Alfie Kohn. Lissa THE NATION May 23, 2005 Atrocious Advice from "Supernanny" By Alfie Kohn

18 month old hitting

I have been a stay at home my since my daughter was born. Once she turned 18 months old she has started hitting. Her personality has never led me to believe that she would resort to this behavior. She is always smiling and giggling, even when she wakes up. There is no tv or hitting in the home so I am very confused at what actions to take. I do get on her level and explain to her that there is no hitting. I have even tried time out and she hits me when I go and get her out. Please help me I am at wits end at what to do. All the adivice I have read is for older children. She was only hitting me occassionaly but today she slapped a girl at church. Help!

18 month old hitting

At 18 months, your daughter has no idea that hitting is not ok. If you think about it, hitting is just at one end of a spectrum which has a very light brush of the fingertips at the other end, and your child is learning about that spectrum right now.

I'd say the best thing is to find lots of things with interesting textures for your child to experiment with, soft, hard, pointy, soft. Find things she can touch firmly and others which are fun to touch softly. And I would respond to her touching you too hard with a lovely big scoop up hug and a squeeze - showing by modelling what kinds of firm touching are appreciated.

At 18 months, you may need to be right there with her in social situations, helping her navigate and, if necessary, intervening to protect other children in the period before she gets it that hugs are usually ok and stroking another chld's arm might be ok, but that people don't like being hit.

Time out is a pretty horrible thing at any age IMO, but at 18 months, your child will only interpret it as you abandoning her. It will teach her a lesson, but not the one you want to teach her.

Vanessa and the "general" message

Reinforcing "inappropriate behaviours": Define "inappropriate behaviour". It is usually defined as "things outside my own experience or comfort zone". An alternative way of proceeding is to find ways for children to get every ounce of learning out of the things in which they are interested without upsetting anyone else or acting immorally. A child disciplined every time they try to taste soap will learn a much better lesson by, well, tasting the soap (eurgh) and if the parent is concerned about a child continuing to eat soap then it's a small step to finding soaps that won't give the child a stomach ache while the child exhausts that phase. They are hardly going to be regularly eating soap aged 35.

When you say "on task" you mean "docilely following someone else's agenda." Most families interested in TCS don't buy into that as a good way of learning.

Yes, I've seen Super Nanny. Absolutely terrifying.

To say "little ones desire a secure environment" - that's just an assertion. One might as easily say "little ones desire to have their autonomy respected; the parents' job is to help them navigate society and the world around them while not crushing their spirit by imposing arbitrary rules on them"

Without rules and consistency there is flexibility, evolution, admission of fallibility by both adults and children. That's how I'd rather live, thanks, rather than according to some arbitrary code of The Way People Should Interact.

Vanessa's SuperNanny, Montessori's 'horme', Freud's 'Camouflage'

I'd rather be in a relationship with a child that enables them to think and be creative, than purely to accept and follow, blindly, my arbitrary (but I expect I could convince you of them if I tried) rules. If your 'rule' is so great it will stand on it's own, it will convince the child without brainwashing being a necessity.

I know from using TCS philosophy (and I am far, far from perfect at it, and have parented the SuperNanny way in the past) that my children will very often come up with an idea or a moral standpoint that opens my eyes to the possible errors of the standpoint I was at, usually the one I've been conditioned to believe and never question. You imagine you know best, but creativity, empathy, morality ... none of these are exclusively the domain of adults ... to be taught to children, like they are some blank slate for you to replicate yourself on!

TCS doesn't mean leaving children floundering without direction ... that would not take their needs seriously. It doesn't mean leaving them acting in a way that is harming someone else, or themselves, without constructive intervention. It just means that you do not assume that they do not have the creativity, empathy and morality to work out the problem with help. It means you do not assume they need 'training', and you don't sit in a high place so sure that your doctrine is the right one. If it is so great, why do you have to constantly work to stop children from questioning it or challenging it?

The supernanny method uses the manipulation tactic of withdrawing love and approval and physical freedom to coerce a child into doing what someone else wants. Would you think that your husband treating you like that to get what he wants would be moral? Would it be moral to do that to him? Why is it moral to do that to a less powerful person?

Structure is great, boundaries are all very well ... but why can they not be structures and boundaries that the child has constructed? Structures that meet his needs and boundaries that he choses because he feels safe and happy within them. It is not usually his boundaries that he is crossing. He is usually crossing ones that cause inconvenience to you, but enable him to meet his needs or explore what he feels the need to explore.

Maria Montessori was very confident (having studied children's learning and development through 25 years in many cultures) that children are born with their path to achieving their own humanity so well embedded in them that all they need is facilitation, and no one interfering in a way that diverts them from their natural path. Supernannying messes very decidedly with this path and is likely to distort a child's development and prevent them from attaining their full humanity. It teaches you to obey blindly, not to discuss, to be fearful of questioning loved ones for the fear that you will be humbled, that their love is conditional on you obeying them.

Freud described a parental behaviour he called 'camouflage'. The parent has a desire/need they wish to fulfil, but the child and the child's needs are in conflict with them fulfilling this desire/need. What the parent does is theorise to prove that the action is in the child's best interests and thus should be performed against their will. It seems to me that a lot of the boundaries and rules that Supernanny is trying to establish are camouflages that enable parents to suit their own desires/needs. Here is a list of ones that come to mind ... there are plenty:

EARLY TO BED 'because sleep is healthy' ... and complaints about children waking too early; cots 'for children's safety' ... so they cannot escape and have to be repeatedly returned to a bed they are not ready to go to. If we could prove that kids still fall out of bed and injure themselves at 3 years old we could justify putting them in a cage to sleep too, and that would make bedtimes easier!

SAFETY FIRST: Stair gates so that they can be 'kept safe' from learning efficiently to climb stairs ... so the parent doesn't have to be present to watch a child ... where more accidents are recorded where stair gates are present; playpens ... with their appealing name and reins that enable a parent to ensure that they can walk in the straight line to get to where they want to go ... for 'the child's safety' ... very useful to ensure dogs walk where you want to go too.

YOU SHOULD LEARN TO EAT WHAT YOU ARE GIVEN ... aka I don't want to be bothered tailoring the food to your tastes although I would for another adult; you should eat what you are given (aka what I like to eat) 'because it is healthy' and 'how can you say you don't like it, it's delicious';

GET DRESSED ... PROPERLY: put a coat/jumper/hat/scarf/gloves on because I am cold and cannot believe that you know whether your body is hot or cold, and anyway ... I don't want to carry it and you'll want it when you get up the road where it's colder too; change into something smart/brush your hair/no you can't wear your favourite pyjamas out, they are not suitable for going out in ... aka... what will the neighbours say and what sort of parent will they think I am?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU ARE SCARED OF THE XXX!: aka I'd rather do something other than sit here until you fall asleep, or take you to the loo.

Don't get me wrong! These are all real inconveniences. However, we could be looking for ways to meet both our needs and the needs of our child rather than using our efforts to construct ways in which the things that meet our needs and are convenient for us are 'good for' our children.

My son is doing the same

My son is doing the same thing and if it doesn't stop, he will be kicked out as well. Did you ever find a solution?

what worked for me-hitting-learning respect-rules-love

My daughter was 21 months old when my son was born. My husband and I talked about the new baby well before he was born to help our daughter get used to the idea of a baby. We had lots of playdates with other kids and babies so my daughter got used to seeing them and interacting with them. We also put her in Daycare twice a week for social interaction. When she started hitting a little she was about 18 months-not often but when she was angry, or sometimes playing rough. . From the age of 6 months we started to teach her American sign language. And one of the first signs we used was "gentle". We taught her to be gentle to the cats, and she started using the signs about 9 months of age. By 2 she knew hundreds. And she was also speaking sentences at two. So we knew she understood the signs and words. Therfore we knew she understood what was acceptable and what was not. When she started to hit-we had a no hit rule. Yes a rule, and in my opinion in my home-my kids need them and do obey rules-like I obey rules. We would say "we don't hit". And started to put her in timeout the second time she hit. When she got to about 20 months-if she did it once-she was put in time out. . For the hitting stage, we asked "do mommy and daddy hit you"-her answer was "no"-so we then said "it's not nice to hit so don't". She stopped hitting very shortly after that. For her interaction with her brother-she never hit him. But the odd time she was rough with him. We had her help making him feel better. whether he was crying because he was getting a tooth, or because he had been hurt by her taking a toy or pushing him away. She was engaged in the "let's make the baby feel better-he's so sad. We worked on teaching her empathy. It took longer to make her brother feel better, than if she had left him with the toy. So she learned that it was to her best interest to be nice to him. We then had him-even at a few weeks old hug out daughter if she was sad-so she knew it was a two way street. These two siblings are so loving towards each other. They greet each other after school or daycare with a hug and a kiss. They hug each other at night before sleep and they share. They play together, or alone but don't bother eachother most of the time. They have their moments sometimes-but they are happy kids.

My daughter is sensitive and very empathetic, and treats everyone with respect. Yet she is still a loving playful kid-while teacher her all of this-we have never lost sight of her independence, her own needs and her wantin to make choices. We have found a balance that works. We focus on her good behaviour daily. We read a lot, play barbies, dolls, draw and go on journeys. We have a lot of fun. We listen to her and she listens to us. We let her watch movies but not tv all day. We have rules in our house like we have rules in this country. And if kids have no rules-there is little room for stability at home. If kids can do what they want, get all they desire, choose what they want-what kind of adult will that be?

My husband and I love eachother and our children see that affection daily. They get that affection from us too. We play and have fun. We talk to each other all day. And when we (parents are busy) our children learn to be patient, find something to do and know mom and dad are not aways available. But they don't feel abandoned. We have taught our children (two year old still learning) to respect adults and others. They are polite and have to be. We can bring them out in public, if they make a mess is a resteraunt-we clean it up. We want our children to know it's our responsibility to be nice, and clean up after ourselves. They do it at home, why not out in public. If they are loud or rude in a resteraunt-we go outside and do timeout. After we talk about what the other people might be feeling because we were so loud. Or why behave that way. If they are very roudy or loud and we are very near others eating, they appoligize to the other people. We treat our kids the same out as we do at home. Except we bring coloring books, small toys to entertain them too. Getting rewarded for good behaviour is not the idea, but getting to play with toys quitly is a reward to waiting patiently.

She would have seen it in daycare but because we had taught her not to-she would instead tell a teacher after she told the hitting child not to hit her. We taught her to use her words. Our daughter has never been spanked-because I think-if I hit her-i'm teacher her it's ok for me to do it-so then it's ok for her to do it. I notice my daughter will minic what I say and do. But it's also important that my children see what my husband and I want them to do based on what we do. We are normal parents who think carefully about our actions and how we raise our kids.

Good luck to all of you with your kids. It's not easy bringing them up-i know that. Yet I'l like 2 more. Kids are so rewarding and in my opinion-the greatest job in the world, and sometimes the hardest job in the world. I can't imagine being a sigle parent doing it. God bless any of you single parents, or parents with spouses who are not activily involved in the parenting of your child or children. My hearts go out to you. And keep strong.

on comment of what you said about 5 kids

I disagree on your comment about 5 children are to much if they choosed to have that many it was there choice if there finding ways to help them then who are you to say.I believe that if your doing what you can to help one or all five then thats great your being a parent your getting involed in whats going on with them you can still give all 5 the same as if you had 1 you have to work at it but it can be done.

Mother of 5 georgia

your 3yr you care for

try to sit him down and just talk ask why he does it and find out why he's mad or maybe something he's seeing at home.if that doesn't work explain to him your not suppose to hit your hands are not for hitting.with this over time of talking then maybe it will help when you see him act out.if not seek futher help else where.

oh lordy help me

wow my three year old just started getting progessivly worse with hitting, kicking, biteing, and not listening. i havent a clue on why he is like this his brothers and sister dont act like this and i need to know what to do can you please help my????


"Inappropriate Behavior" is defined as the bad behavior the mother is writing in about to get advice on how to correct it. Suggesting to the mother to buy soaps that wont upset the childs stomach, As far as I know if you read the package no where on the package does it state that this will or will not upset your childs stomach. If the mom allows the child to eat "Soap" weather its toxic or non-toxic will give the child diarrhea, in a short phase or a long phase. When "On task" was written I believe it stood for the childs activity in the classroom. Surely you don't mean to say that our education system is someone elses agenda. Children do need to have a secure environment and children really do need boundaries. A child who does not have any boundaries or a secure environment, feel as if they are free fallen and cant really plant their feet in the ground and flourish. Talk about crushing their spirit. When a child knows how far he/she can go, that is when they begin to master their skills, That is consistency, and once they master them if the boundaries need to be spread out farther as long as no one will be hurt the child will benefit from it and so will the childs Spirit. Now to me That is Flexibility, Evolution! :)

When baby animals turn to aggression

I say "baby animals" because I think there is some insight from the standpoint of behavioral ecology.

Siblicide and its analogues are common throughout the animal kingdom, for the simple reason that there are often more offspring than resources available to sustain them. In such cases, related animals attack each other out of survival instinct. Baby pigs will eat each other. Rats packed too densely in a cage will start killing each other. This is a very strong, evolved response that is not even limited to mammals. Simply telling your child "We don't hit" would be a weak rejoinder to a pattern of behavior that is older by far than the human race.

What are the environmental cues, then, that might signal to a child that there are insufficient resources, potentially triggering an aggressive response? The overabundance of peers relative to caretakers might be one signal. Another is the absence of one or both parents, either physically or emotionally.

For example, I know of one boy who had a friendly relationship with his sister until the parents divorced and the father abandoned them, at which point the boy, then 11 years old, became frankly homicidal towards his sister. The mother, mystified, assumed this was symptomatic of some sudden disease, but CAT scans and other expensive medical tests failed to attribute his behavior to any neurological abnormality. Eventually the boy left the house as a teenager to live on his own and took a job of his own, and the sibling relationship became friendly once again.

It is intriguing that much of the hitting behavior described in this thread developed after placing young children in daycare where parents are absent, the child is minded by a stranger, there are far fewer caretakers-per-child than the child is used to, and where the child is surrounded by many others of the same age. If you intended to induce an aggressive, siblicidal response in a baby animal, you could hardly do better.

It is likewise noteworthy that the (far fewer!) anecdotes of children who have curbed their hitting take place in homes with abundant physical and emotional resources, where both parents model affection and empathy to their children.

actually, the ratio is 12:1

actually, the ratio is 12:1 for a 3 yr old room.

PING Tammy

"When "On task" was written I believe it stood for the childs activity in the classroom. Surely you don't mean to say that our education system is someone elses agenda."

Gracious me, yes it is! Our education systems are anything but on the child's agenda. Google John Taylor Gatto, "Dumbing us down" for an intro; also it's worth reading John Holt for insight into how externally imposed curricula don't help children learn.

"Children do need to have a secure environment and children really do need boundaries."

I disagree. There are enough true constraints in the world (shops shut when we want to go to them, or it being night time outside though a little child wants the sun to shine right now) that we have to help our children learn to accept and navigate through without adding to the burden a bunch of arbitrary rulers which reflect the imaginative shortcomings anf fears of the parents!

Children have their own boundaries - child A can't walk yet; child B hasn't learned to talk, whatever. Our job as parents is to help them according to their preferences to overcome those sorts of boundaries and unfurl like butterflies. I'm not seeing how bedtimes or fixed meal times or adult-imposed arbitrary rules of any kind help in that process - but maybe we just mean completely different things by "boundaries" :-)

Toddlers hitting

I have a grandson diagnosed with cp. I have custody of while his mother is away at college since birth. He is very spoiled and completely loved by me, to the point where he knows it. He is starting to hit but only at Reach two (9am to 11:30am), a program at school for children with disabilities to prepare them for school at five. He only hits the teachers, bus drivers and therapist. Not the children! This makes me think that the adults are going thru the day "hands on" before they begin to explain what they are needing to do with the him. He is a person and he deserves to be treated as such. He also attends a daycare (12pm to 3pm) which he enjoys and NEVER hits anyone. Huh? is right.

I think professionals sometimes forget that children have rights too and need to respect them in that matter. I would never want someone to move me where they wanted me to go with out notice or informing me of this need before hand. Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Toddler on the Block states that: A toddlers ability to communicate hasn't caught up with his desire to communicate, hence his frustration and challenging behavior. He recommends utilizing an elaborate communication method he terms "toddlerese" in which you try to match their toddler words and intensity of expression. The goal is to make your toddler feel understood, because an understood child is a happy one.

I have a two year old

I have a two year old diagnose with cerbral palsy, that will be three in April and I have a twenty-one and twenty year old both away at college. I find that a differently able person is a challenge within itself, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually... In saying that, my son is loved and spoiled beyond measures because God choose me to be his parent, trusting me with this specially made individual, speaks volumes of who he made me to be and I intend to give my son enough of the FINEST/BEST to last a life time! This world is and can be cruel, it was for my older children and I exspect it to be no differnet for him. I feel only another individual with a differently able child can actually understand, relate and complain on the same level as me... In saying all that personal information, here is some facts I researched:

Dr. Harvey Karp author, The Happiest Toddler on the Block recommends utilizing an elaborate communication method he terms "toddlerese" in which you try to match their toddler words and intensity of expression. The goal is to make your toddler feel understood, because an understood child is a happy one. A two year old is egocentric thinking, their the center of the world, so it is difficult or rare that they can view another's persons perspective. Children ages 24-36 months have not developed the social and emotional skills to understand another point of view.

daycare and development

While I understand your comment I have to say that you shouldn't judge the parents so readily. I agree that some people out there put material wealth before the care of their children, but some people have no choice, especially with today's economy. My son only goes to day care six hours a week, because I am lucky enough to be able to stay at home. On the flip side, it's not good to keep your children at home all the time without being exposed to other children. You have to balance emotional, developmental, and social skills. You can keep your kids home with you all of the time, but that doesn't mean they will always be perfectly behaved. I know of children who's Mother doesn't work and then they have a difficult time because they are too attached to their Mother, and too dependent. All children have their issues. I am not saying that children should be in day care full time either, unless the parents cannot help it for financial reasons.

I just found out that a child choked my son by the neck at preschool, and I am pretty upset. I understand that children sometimes push, and grab from each other, but I strongly feel that choking is out of the question, if it happens again I will ask the school to expel the child. What would you all do?

Teach your child to defend himself if he is being hit

I teach my child to defend himself if he is being attacked only because the school is now powerless to defend him themselves. There is no fear of concequences for poor behaviour since smacking and corporal punishment has be abolished so a child can attack my son knowing that all he will get is 'go and sit on the naughty red cushion'. Not very intimidating is it!!! If my child defends himself effectively he is learning courage not cowardice. He is also lessening the chance that he will get attacked again in the future. He is also not allowing himself to be stigmatised as being a 'tell tale' or grasser. The teachers who want to stop fighting need to deal with the child that is starting the trouble. not the child who is defending themself.

Three-year old won't stop hitting and kicking

My son's energy overwhelms anyone who cares for him. He cannot control his impulses. At school, his teachers keep losing him (he bolts the playground), can't slow him down, and can't stop him from hitting and kicking other children. Yesterday, they asked me if "anything was going on at home," in reference to the hitting. No, I told them, nothing was going on at home. I think she was asking whether my wife and I were violent. We're not. My son has a play therapist and goes to an OT twice a week. He likes it very much, but he still has a terrible time controlling himself. I take him to the park every day (there are more than a dozen in my area) and we usually leave when he kicks another child. He listens to almost nothing I say. Help!

I would suggest to the mother

I would suggest to the mother lets sit here together and watch what happens and then you can see this happening. THen get cannot say no. I don't think two wrongs make a right but, its a form of bullying and very common. You must tell your son to raise his voice loud and say don't do that i don't like it. I tried this with my son, sometimes kids listen and brats don't. I have a 5 yr brat on my street who loves my son. But, he takes all his toys He is too aggressive. I been told it's ok he has to learn to deal with kids before school. THE MOTHER IS VERY STUBBORN SO SAY TOO HER LETS WATCH TOGETHER TODAY AND YOU WILL SEE. IF SHE SAYS NO, THEN SAY SO YOU KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING AND NOT DOING ANYTHING.YOU ARE AFFECTING MY SON AND I DON'T LIKE IT SO. HAVE YOUR HUSBAND TAKE HIM OUT AND TELL HIM TO SPEAK UP. YOUR SON MUST HAVE A VOICE FOR HIMSELF. CHOW


Perhaps you can take your son somewhere where he can let go without there being other children there. Go and climb a hill or do something where he doesn't have to worry about other children.

Could you teach him coping strategies. When my son gets angry, he will take himself off to his room for a sulk. We welcome him back a happy child. He has never been sent to his room, so there are no negative connaitations (sp) to him taking a break.

School is full of crowd management rules. Maybe this doesn't suit your son and he needs to try learning at home or something else? He seems to like the attention at the therapist, so maybe more personal attention would help.

If a child hits because they want something...

If a child hits because they want something and you 'help' them get what they want so they won't hit anymore then this will lead to only one outcome - more hitting to get what they want. By giving a child a 'reward' for hitting you are bringing up a thug.

The step everyone here is missing out is the 'discussion' with the child to find out what they want, then saying that you understand but this time they cannot have what they want because they hit out. Tell them that in the future if they want x, y, or z they must ask politely. My three year old still hits out - well what do you expect he is just three, but now instantly feels remorse and says sorry. Often he says "I'm sorry, I's angry.", he even takes himself off to a chair or his bed and tells us "I am calm down" - yes bad grammar, but he is only three. Importantly, he understands the behaviour is not acceptable.

Today he was a little monster, but today we were not able to go out or find an inside outlet for his energy, so it's no surprise. Try to keep a simple diary of when the child is more aggressive - I'll put a sizable bet on them being more aggressive when they have not properly tired themselves out physically.

My 4 year old hits and bullies the dogs

I have a 4 year old son. and 3 very easy going dogs. for some reason my son is constantly bothering the dogs, I am always finding him hitting, pulling hears, jumping on, and today punching the animals.... The dogs are so kind and would never hurt him... although i sometimes wish they would snap at him just to get him to stop... How can i change this behavior? yelling and spanking don't work, and now time out doesn't seem to work either... I find myself losing my patience pretty quickly lately.

Teaching kids to hit back

When I was a young child, a slightly older boy in the playground hit me somewhat regularly. I'm told that I came crying to my father, who told me to hit him back -- so I did. The boy then ran away from me! And, I was apparently so excited that I had to be calmed down. While I don't remember this incident, I do believe it was empowering to me. The experience of being unable to defend oneself is very upsetting and breeds a sense of helplessness and, ultimately, hopelessness.

And we wonder why our kids are disrespectful

I'm a mom of three girls and I have one who hits. I fully believe that rules and consistency are needed to control the situation. Why? Because we tried the "nice" approach. "Oh, honey, you shouldn't hit people because it hurts." And, "Do Mommy and Daddy hit you?" It didn't work. We've moved on to the so-called "detrimental" time-outs and have actually gotten results. There is a reason why kids today are so disrespectful. It's because they're not given discipline. You do NO FAVORS when you give your kids everything, despite their behavior. Reinforce the good as you can, but NOT the bad! I am a young mother (in my 20's) and was raised with spanks, time-outs, and chores as punishment. I'm not scarred for life as so many people believe their children will be! I don't doubt my parents' love for me! Sure, if someone asked me right after a punishment, I would say how resentful I was...mainly because I didn't get my way or get away with something that was WRONG, plain and simple. And that's another thing. When has the line between right and wrong become so blurry??? It's WRONG to slap. It's WRONG to call others dirty names. Simply telling your child that it's wrong and why doesn't work all the time. Sometimes, they need a little more incentive to listen. It's for THEIR safety and the safety of others as well as their social integration with others...not simply because I say so. My God, where has common sense gone?!

3yr old out of control

I went to pick my son up from childcare today and was pulled aside by the carer to tell me that my son had slapped another child across the face for no reason, He has been hitting for a little while now but nothing this serious before. He does have a really bad temper and i have noticed he is argueing back and hitting adults as well. When he hits we have tried time out, taken toys of him, straight to bed and also talking to him but nothing seems to be working. The parent of the child he slapped is taking the matter further and i now have a meating with the nursery on monday to find out what is going to happen to him. I have also been attending child disiplining classes as well but it's not helping either. How can i put a stop to this before it gets worse as i don't want my 2yr old duaghter going the same way. please help

Help with a hitting 3.5 year old

Hi. I have a foster son who is almost 4 and has been with us for 3 months. He is super sweet, polite, and loves to help. For the most part, he is a good listener (for a 3-year old). But, when he is not being actively monitored, he hits, pushes, and bites other children. He is very hyper and at home we give him a lot of activity which seems to help, but he he is acting out so badly at preschool. I have no idea what to do. His biological mother wants us to adopt him and we want to, but if he continues this behavior and keeps getting kicked out of preschool, we will have to say no. I am so heart-broken over this. I feel like a failure.


Thanks to Vanessa who until I read your post I thought parents had lost their ability to parent. A child is a child and an adult is an adult. I think the boundaries need to be made again in our society and just maybe our society might get back to some respect for authority and elders.

About time someone says a parents job

Why would anyone think letting your child run the show as what they want and giving them to them when they use behavior that is unacceptable- by unacceptable I mean offensive and rude to someone else. I do not care about hurting a childs feelings that are acting like a brat throwing a fit. You will not help them in the world be live in- which by the way is full of rules and boundaries. Why would you raise a child to think they are better than everyone else and do not need to abide by rules. No wonder we have the issues in the world we live with rude children.

Totally agree with .. and we

Totally agree with .. and we wonder why children are so disrespectful. Really moms are you really saying these things for your child to raise you on their rules. Then when they get in the real world they are a burden on society because they can not live in the real world that is full of rules and boundaries.



Super Nanny Terrifying??

I could say so much more, but I'm just baffled by how one could use the term "terrifying" when speaking of a show that teaches parents to enforce rules within their home without the use of violence. Sure, you may be of the mindset that "solitary confinement" (i.e. timeouts) are cruel. But seriously, let's all get a grip and realize that there are parenting techniques that are much more worthy of the title of "absolutely terrifying" than firm but loving discipline. Geez, what would you call the parenting philosophy that teaches that you should whip infants in order to train them to obey you at an early age? I'm just saying, let's save the drama for things that really are terrifying, because there are a lot out there in the parenting world.

help me

hi i have a4years boy {downsyndrom-mild} he doesnot defend himself when hes hitted by other kids he only hide his face and starts crying what can i do to help him plz help me thanks.

Re: help w a hitting 3.5 year old

You are not a failure. And even if he does get kicked out of that preschool its just preschool! There are a few preschools in your area. You are much more valuable to him and he is more valuable to you than that. I only say this because I think my own son might get kicked out of preschool, but I will still love him. We will have to keep trying and move on down the road to the next preschool. Will be wishing the best outcome for both of us:)

hitting and home and school

my 4 year old son is hitting other kids a preschool. he's also hitting and throwing toys at me. Is this a phase he's going through. He's always been a little roughty but a very sweet child. eight months ago he was hospitalized for a severe injury at a daycare and I removed him. I don't know if this incident set the stage for these angry outbursts. He's been at 2 daycares since then and was asked to leave the last one because of his angry outbursts and hitting. I am a single mother and his father spends a little time with him. I am losing my mind please help. I hope he will outgrow this behavior or do I need a child psychologist.

My 3 year old is about to get kicked out of school!

I need help. My son is out of control! I have been to the psychologist and after reading a few incident reports from the preschool she told me he has o.d.d.( oppositional defiant disorder). I have never even heard of that until now. So I looked it up and here's what the symptoms are: * Actively does not follow adults' requests * Angry and resentful of others * Argues with adults * Blames others for own mistakes * Has few or no friends or has lost friends * Is in constant trouble in school * Loses temper * Spiteful or seeks revenge * Touchy or easily annoyed This is so hard because every day i pick him up from school i get another report of hitting or saying bad words to the teachers and kids. He used to be so loving, just hyper, but now hes always angry and throws tantrums everyday! He always hurts his best friend at school, today he punched him in the face! I am writing because i can't handle it anymore, I have tried everything! talking doesn't work. spanking doesn't work. giving him incentives like if he's good he gets a toy or ice cream, doesn't work. I feel like I'm getting depressed over this constant struggle. Right now he's on a form of Ritalin for adhd which isn't working either. I am only 23 and about to give up it's affecting everything!

At that ago, 1 y/o, I don't

At that ago, 1 y/o, I don't think he is trying to hurt the baby, necessarily. IMO, you could ask the older child to help with anything he can with the baby to help him feel included! At this age it is hard to understand who/what this baby is, and all he can see is that the baby took his place! :) I am sure that he is only acting out his frustration on the baby since he doesn't know how else to express his feelings. One thing I did with my older was try to give him special things (toy or activities) to do when I had to spend 1 on 1 time with baby; feeding, bathing, etc. This made him feel special even when I was doing something with baby that he couldn't really help with (and only to be used during these times) and then any time I could come up with something, even very, very simple tasks, I would ask him to help me with the baby; bring me something for the baby, give the baby a toy, etc. Over time he has come to accept the baby as "his" and for the most part he is treating the baby very well! Hope this helps! :)

erm - well you can't say that

erm - well you can't say that to a single mum who has got 5+ more kids under her care. The are many excellent large single families out there.

want to help my inlaws. 3 year old anger, hits, yells,swears.

Hello, i am a parent of 2 daughters. My in Laws are the grandparents but they also have another grandson from there other son, and i would very much so like to help them, but i dont want to interfere im afraid they will think otherwise of me. Anyways my nephew is 3 years old and anytime hes mad or wants something he will automatically yell if he cant get something right, easily frustrated. hit his grandparents if hes frustrated and call them a name, and it is swearing in a very mean yelling voice. Hes pretty strong, and i want to step in but i dont want to do it in a mean way, so how should i tell the In laws i want to step in or what should i tell them to do. This has been going on for too long and its making it hard for them to do anything for him. Thats there first grandchild so hes the baby. But it doenst make it ok for him to hit them and get what he wants because of it. I love to come for visits but the child makes it difficult for the visits sometimes. Especially since i have 2 girls and ones 4 and the other 1 and i dont want them thinking its ok to do what he's doing ya know. Little hard to try discapline another when he's not your own. Help me to help them all.

3yr old daughter keeps hitting and tells her mom she hates her

i have a 3 yr old daughter who has been recently hitting, spitting, and telling her mother she hates her. Being her father i never see this side of her because the two of us are no longer together. She acts great at my house being very polite and helpful and not doing any of the things mentioned above. Around thanksgiving this year my daughter became a big sister for the first time. (Her mom had the baby). Her mother also says she acts bad only after being at my house for an extended period of time. Usually i only have her every other weekend and i wish it was more but i can't change that now. So im wondering why she is acting like that? Also what can i tell her mother to help her with this? Thank you in advance!

my 2 yr old son hits other children

My son is 2 yrs old now. whenever he sees any child he always tries to hit them( not in anger). I dont know what to do to make him stop hitting other children. Can u help me out ...

Hitting children

The child hitting other children: ask him why, maybe they're starting it. If you're telling your child that hurting people is bad and you coerce him then he might not pay much attention to you. If you are coercing him then you should stop and you should apologise and take steps to avoid doing it again.

The children hitting parents. The child has learned from somebody that hitting hurts and he wants to hurt his parents. Why? Because they're hurting him. I don't know specifically how they're hurting him. Perhaps they're physically hitting him - spanking is the common euphemism. Perhaps they're doing something he finds unpleasant emotionally: coldness, deliberately cruel mockery, refusing to buy things the child wants. (In the latter category bear in mind that if the parents say the child can't have Wii or whatever the latest console is and they go out and buy a plasma TV, well, the child is three years old, he's not retarded, he knows that his happiness is somewhat lower on his parents' scale of values than good picture quality. Likewise if they can't afford the Wii and they choose to have more children it can't be the case that their child's happiness is the highest item on their scale of values.)

I would suggest that in this relationship both the parent and the child need to get better at finding common preferences. The parents will have to lead the way in doing this because they're better able to understand the relevant ideas, and they have a responsibility to help the child learn good ways of dealing with problems. The child doesn't have that responsibility.

I am sorry not done reading

I am sorry not done reading yet...but you say that it is important to give a child what they want? So if the child is throwing a fit yelling/screaming/hitting, etc. then it is good to give them what they want. Disagree, having spent loads of time with my family both my aunts have daughters who just turned 3 with in months of eachtother just this saturday, the Aunt who always gives her daughter exactly what she wants was freaking out hitting my grandmother because she couldnt have what she wanted she also hit the dogs and one other child. My other Aunt who puts her child in time out for doing such things and does not always give her child what she wants was near perfect the whole time. If you give a child something they want all the time...because they are angry, throwing fits, etc. then dont they just learn that all they have to do is act bad to get what they want?

no se que hacer con mi hijo de 3 años

hola mi nombre es ana y eh encontrado esta pagina con el intento de obtener algun consejo para la dificil situacion que estoy pasando , soy mama soltera y mi hijo tiene 3 años hace mas o menos 6 meses me mude a vivir con mi prima y su familia y ellos tienen una hija seis meses mayor que mi hijo , bueno el caso es que mi hijo esta muy agresivo incluso, me pega y no quiere que le diga que lo quiero o que le de besos aveces me hago que estoy llorando para ver que reaccion tiene a eso y solo se queda mirandome y despues que paro de hacerlo el se rie y me empieza a cucar, cuando estoy hablando con las personas hace cosas para llamar la atencion hasta que deje de hacer lo que estoy haciendo y asi es cuando estoy en la computadora, cuando estoy en el telefono, y cuando me pongo a jugar con el no juega solo se la pasa cucandome para hacerme enojar, cuando lo abraso y le digo que tiene que ser un niño bueno el dice que no que el no quiere ser un niño bueno, y le doy besos y le digo que lo quiero y me rechasa, no se por que todas estas actitudes y la verdad me siento muy triste y frustrada

I try to discipline my 2yr

I try to discipline my 2yr old son, I have tried time out on numerous occasion and it seemed to work. I have taken toys away from him and even sent him to his room. Now nothing of that sort seems to be helping. He will put him self in time out after being told what not to do. I praise him for his good job and acknowledge him for his good deeds. I tried helping him with "clean up time" but he ends up crying and telling me no. He use to listen and do as he was told. Now it's like he does not care and seems as though he is willing to deal with the consequences. I don't want to spank him for every little thing. Not sure what else to do?

Hitting back is ok

That is absolute bollocks, trying to get a three year old to reson with a bully and ask if he made him angry or frustrated. let the poor kid hit back and tell the mum to keep her little brat away from your child if she cant control him. Your kid is definitely feeling like its his fault he cant go to the park anymore. Your child sounds like a good boy dont punish him for your unwillingness to stand up to the mum(in private if needed)


MAYBE YOU ARE YELLING TOO MUCH? Whatever you do he has become used to it and you will have to try something new. The spankings and yelling are no longer working. The mere threat of these things should have an effect. And its not. Brainstorm new ways to get his attention without yelling. Make sure he has happy times. Ease back into the behavioral correction stuff and try not to go "the distance" (spanking) too quickly.


Good luck. Its not easy. Young boys can be rambunctious, obnoxious and rebellious by nature.

to the 23 yo mum with odd son

I do feel for you. I am a teaching asst in secondary school anc my 5 yr old displays such anger and aggresdion. Just found out he hit his teacher today so am very worried. Keep telling yourself you are doing your gest. Tgats all any parent who tries can do chin up! X c x and seek proffessional help for yourself too its not easy but tgere ard ways you canhelp yourself x xx

You're teaching entitlement.

Interesting concept - help the angry child get what they want, without asking WHY they are angry. My brother's son wants MY son's toys. He's angry, and hitting. Help him get the toys? I don't think so. Explain that they are my son's favorite toys and my son will be very sad if they are gone? Yes, that worked. A few years later, same children - my brother's son doesn't want MY son to have an interesting toy. It makes him angry. He takes the toy and throws it off the jetty. Gone. His mother puts her arm around his shoulders and walks him away without a word!?!!! This child has no boundaries because he has always been helped to get what he wanted, without question. His sense of entitlement is so overwhelming that he can't keep friends. His parents say that every other child is rude and unfriendly, and they offer to pay for us to come and visit. Our son, like every other child this boy meets, can only spend a short time with him before his selfishness makes the contact unbearable. Parents help children most when they interpret the world factually, and when they help their children regulate their emotions. A child who is angry because they want something can be told that it's a mistake to be angry because you want something - the way to do it is to ask, in a pleasant way, or to point if they're pre-verbal. Tell them next time, if they want something, that's how to do it! If they learn this technique first, they probably won't try using anger. It might not work for all children, but when my son was a baby, I assumed he knew nothing, like an alien arrived on earth, and that he wanted to learn how to do things, and how to avoid mistakes. If he did something wrong I'd say "oops, not that way, we do it like this". Before he was two he learnt to say "no thanks" so people wouldn't force him to eat. It worked because no one would try to force someone who spoke politely and calmly, even though he was so little. I helped him understand his feelings, and I sympathized with his disappointment when he couldn't have what he wanted. I didn't sympathize with anger or misery, just spoke as if it was disappointment. I explained (and still do now he's 10) that lots of times people just can't have what they want, and disappointment is natural. I also reassure him that there will be plenty of what-ever-it-is he wants, in his future. Isn't parenting about teaching your child to get along in the world? Or about teaching your child to get what they want in the world? For an awful lot of people it seems to be the second option. I don't think satisfying frustration as quickly as possible without question is necessarily in the best interests of any child. I think children benefit from learning through calm guidance that they can survive frustration.

Giving a child what they want...

I, too, am interested in further discussion of what "giving a child what they want" means here.

My 5 year old son is so aggressive with my 2 year old son

My 5 year old son pushes.hits pinches.takes toys puts hot water on my 2 year old son...he screams at him he tells me and his father no and does what he wants when he wants w have tried spankings.timeouts and taking toys and tv time....nothing has worked plz help!!!

almost 4 year old

a few months ago, my daughter was being bullied by other children(at friends and family gatherings)...please keep in mind that my daughter has not been enrolled in daycare/preschool, etc. she has pretty much been raised by her grandmother while her dad and I work during the week. well, after seeing how she was being bullied, i told her she needed to defend herself..here were my instructions: if hit (tell them to stop and walk away from them) if hit again, hit back... i really havent seen her reaction to any of this since she is not regulary around children her age. her grandmother watches her and her 2 year old cousin. for the past 2 weeks, whenever i go pick her up from her grandmother's after work, we have received complaints that she has been talking back, fighting with cousin, and hitting her grandmother! overall, my child is a very happy child. she's always playing, singing, dancing, telling jokes and she is very smart for her age. im not sure what is happening here. ive put her in timeout, spanked her, and taken her toys and tv from her. one thing that i have noticed more is her wanting me to stay home with her and for me not to go to work.... could this be the problem...she wants mom home with her??? ill be quitting the job ive been at for 11 years now in 2 months...because i want to spend her last year home before preschool with her. id really appreciate any advice on this....!


I feel offended by the comment posted that maybe 5 children are too many to care for at one time. I am a licensed daycare provider in the state of Michigan. By law, we are allowed to watch a max of 6 childre per 1 adult. This is my job. The more children I watch, the more income I make. The comment made the childcare provider sound incompitent, where as the problem seem to lie with the child. Parents need to take responsibility for their childs actions and not leave all the discipline to the daycare providers. It sounds as if the reader has problems with one particular child, and not her own. I see her concern. Not only for the safety of the children in her care, including her own, but also for the bad habits her children will pick up from this unruly child that she will have to break all over again. I hope that the reader that made the comments about 5 children being too many does not have their children in daycare, because it sounds like this person does not have any respect for the profession, and probably does not treat their provider with the respect she deserves.