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Fatherly: Why Kids Hit Each Other - And How To Respond When They Do

By Christian Dashiell

When my kids were toddlers and hit another child, I would experience a flood of emotions: Frustration that they would hurt another person. Embarrassment if the kid they hit was from another family. Confusion as to how my children — who I don’t spank or let watch violent TV shows — could be so quick to use their hands. Guilt that I was a horrible parent. And fear that hitting was a sign my kids had serious behavioral issues that would lead to school suspensions and worse.

What felt like a crisis at the time is actually very common. Few kids are immune to hitting another child at one point or another. But just because hitting is common doesn’t mean parents should let it slide when it happens.

If your child only hits occasionally, keep calm when it happens so you don’t escalate the situation — and so your child can see firsthand what it looks like to stay cool in the midst of frustration.

When it comes to making a child apologize for hitting, Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City encourages parents to consider age before insisting on a compulsory “sorry.” For kids as young as 2, “forcing them to apologize doesn’t really teach them anything. It also may restart their tantrum cycle. With an older child who has the ability to understand others’ feelings, it is more appropriate to teach them to apologize.”

If you notice that your child’s hitting becomes more frequent or intense, it’s best to see a professional to evaluate underlying causes and possible steps forward. Your child’s teacher or daycare provider may be able to help provide clarity on how your kid interacts with peers in environments outside the home, and a pediatrician or therapist can provide specifics as to whether your child’s behavior is cause for concern.


Read the full article via Fatherly

Children's Mercy Parentish: Hitting and biting, what parents need to know