Thursday, 3 September 2009

Hands are for hugging

Deaglan has been hitting. Mostly Shaune and Crash. We know it's an age appropriate phase but it's still worrisome.

I've read that it has mostly to do with the lack of skill in verbalizing his needs. Once he is able to tell us clearly what he wants or needs, the hitting should stop. That's a lot of hitting between now and then.

We've been responding in all the "right" ways. We say things like Deaglan, hands are for hugging, or Hitting hurts, please can I have a hug or a kiss instead? Smack! NNNNOOOOOO!!!!

We do things like give him positive attention in these situations. So if he starts to hit Shaune, then Shaune gets down on the floor with him and tries to get Deaglan involved in some activity like building blocks or race cars.

The other day just as I was entering the playground at the daycare, I see Deaglan raise his hand and smack his fellow toddler Caelynn. The educators see me coming so they wait for me to respond. I get down, level with Caelynn and gently grab her shoulder and say that must have really hurt Caelynn, you don't like it when Deaglan hits you, do you?

This gets the desired effect. Deaglan starts to cry and reaches out for me. I pull him to me and like a record say Deaglan hands are for hugging, hitting hurts and give him a hug.

It's a fine line you gotta walk - this parenting gig.


  1. Kim, you handled that situation perfectly. I like the idea of repeating "hands are for hugging". I'm sure Deaglan will move past this phase soon. My 6 year old (who has been nervous about school) actually has been hitting us every once in a while. I've been trying to use positive intervention too. Emotional maturity in children takes a long time to take hold. Even at his age, he reverted to hitting to get across his anger. I was surprised by this reaction. Parenting seems to go in cycles. I guess I still have a hitting phase to get through. You're doing a great job Kim. I think I'll take some pointers from you!!

  2. Just wondering ... do you believe in spanking?

  3. I agree with handled that situation well. You are a great mom!

  4. awww. You're such a wonderful mommy! That stage is hard; I remember it. I have very sweet kids and I vaguely remember both of them going through the hitting stage. I think it is a frustration in their inability to articulate...

  5. My grandson threw a block at a friend today and hit him in the face, he's normally such a good little boy. We were so shocked. He's just two, I don't think her realized how much it would hurt to have a block smack into your face. My daughter-in-law handled the situation well. The other little boy simply said, "Ouch, that hurt SO BAD!" I'm hoping that my grandson won't pull a stunt like that again. He seemed to feel very bad about it. They go through these phases. Just hope he doesn't start biting. My nephew was a biter and that's no fun at all.

  6. Well, I'm sending you a big virtual hug right now b/c I agree with you! And even better, I'm giving you an award. FOUR AWARDS actually! Follow this post to read about it and congrats, I think you rock!

  7. stopping over from MANDY'S LIFE AFTER 30 - love your blog! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE come see me, we'll see if we can work something out!

  8. First, that is some impressive train table. May we come over and play? We'll even risk a smack or two!

    T Rex is going through a similar phase but with throwing. He will throw whatever he is holding if he's frustrated or upset. The other day his train hit me on the brow and I looked a little battered for a couple days.

    We say very similar things to T Rex - "Spoons are for eating not throwing".

    It is tough. I actually just purchased the "Baby Whisperer's" toddler book. I can't wait to see what her recommendations are for taming a toddler!

    Another thing T Rex has been doing is he will throw himself down on the floor if he doesn't get his way. The funny thing is that he will check the area and gently "throw" himself down. I have to refrain from laughing.

  9. Stopping over from Mandy's. Congrats on the awards. Stop over for a visit!
    - CougarTales

  10. I loved how you handled this, perfect. He will get the idea, as you keep repeating this. It is tough when you can't use your words yet to get his feelings out. Your such a great mom! I know it can get frustrating at times, but it is such a good message you are giving him.

    I so wish motherhood came with an exact recipe book!

    Have a great day.

  11. What an awesome response Kim. This time IS worrisome, but short with the right support. Hang in there and keep paying attention to the moment. You rock!

  12. yes, it was the same at our place too...Take heart, it does get better...and I liked that line: Hands're for hugging!:)

  13. It is really hard when they enter that phase (and they ALL do, in some form or another.) Here's the thing: each of my kids did it and each one of them responded to something different to correct the behavior. One responded to empathy, one responded to distraction/re-direction of focus. But? 2 responded to a smacked hand when they hit along with time outs. Those two actually were through that phase the fastest.
    It depends on the child and the situation. There is no right or wrong way, really. Do it with love and keep your eye on the goal.

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