3 Tips on How To Stop Your Child From Hitting During The Testing Boundaries Stage
Toddlers are at a stage in life where they will test their boundaries – what they can and cannot do. If you see your toddler using hitting, biting, pushing or more to physically express him/herself, you need to deal with it now… not later! If you don’t deal with it right now, it’ll be harder for you to get the behavior under control. You might even wonder how to stop your toddler from hitting. Don’t worry – it can be done!
1 – Help Them To Learn Empathy
The time to teach a child about empathy is when they are a toddler. Empathy is an extremely important skill that stays with them all through life. Empathy must be taught in the younger years, as trying to teach it when they’re older is extremely difficult.
When a child is upset or happy, it’s best to point out the emotion to them. For instance, your son David is upset because he wants another cookie on top of the two he’s already have. Here’s what you can tell him, “I know you’re upset, and that’s fine; but, you can’t get any more cookies right now.
Many parents have a hard time setting boundaries for their children. They give in and often question why their child is throwing a tantrum when they’re not given what they want. The reason is that children are always testing their boundaries, while at the same time, pushing their parents’ buttons – just to see how far they can go if they extend their crying.
Saying no to your child can be difficult especially if he/she throws a huge fit afterward. However, if they’re not hurting or crying for a reason, let them cry it out. Don’t see yourself as the bad parent and there’s nothing to feel guilty about. Your child will learn that there are limits and you are teaching them self-control.
2 – Help Them To Learn The Difference Between Negative and Positive Attention
If your child is aggressive toward his/her sibling, you need to nip it in the bud now. If not, behavioral problems will occur outside the home too – school, church, etc.
Toddlers see any kind of attention as positive attention. Teach your child the difference between the two. If your children are constantly hitting each other, be sure you separate them and let them know what a gentle touch is. After they’ve calmed down, you can let them play again. When you do this, you’re teaching them that the behavior is bad and they won’t get any additional attention from you.
Be sure that you utilize words such as “gentle touches” or “nice touches” and anything similar so help them understand the action and meaning.
3 – Redirect Their Attention
If you want your toddler’s attention to turn around, give it some redirection. For instance, if your child refuses to share his/her toys, don’t give into their demands. Rather, redirect them and give them something else to place their attention on.
Parents are certainly challenged by the toddler years. After all, toddlers are consistently testing their boundaries and limits, trying to see just how much they can get away with. Remember, the three above tips are not miracle cures and changes won’t happen overnight. Stay firm, consistent and patient if you want to see positive results. Good luck!