- 09 Mar 2023
- Dr. Anupama Verma
HOW TO STOP YOUR CHILD FROM HITTING OR BITING
If you are reading this, sure enough you have a child around, who has either hit you or another kid or someone you know. And of course, we start worrying!
“STOP” right there. This is what you are doing wrong. I hear many people say, “Our child is giving us a tough time”, but what we fail to understand is that the child is not giving you a tough time; the child is facing a tough time coping with his/her emotions.
The first thing we, as parents, need to realize is, WHY is my child hitting?
Children are overwhelmed young people learning things we want them to and coping & settling with the environment we expose them to. Most of the time, our kids wrestle with the pressure of the outside world on their tiny brain and with their own emotions and impulses. They communicate their feelings and needs in the way they know or they have learnt.
So, if your child is hitting someone or themselves, they have either learnt this behavior from a sibling or another child or you may be and is imitating the same or they are unable to channelize their emotions positively.
REMEMBER, your child is learning almost everything from you. So be cautious and act accordingly.
Now that we know why our kids hit, let’s figure out ways how to STOP them from picking up hitting as a habit. Read along:
NEVER LABEL A CHILD AS BAD
Just because a child is unable to behave in a desired manner should not make them BAD in your eye or mind. I have quite a simple reason for this. The way you see a child is the way you behave with them and the way you treat them is what they become. Kids notice the tiniest of emotions and most often, if a child is ill-treated, it stays with them for long and is obviously harmful for both child and the parent.
DO NOT TALK BAD OF YOUR CHILD IN FRONT OF OTHERS
This is the worst you would want to do to your child. I am saying this with my personal experience with my child patients. Most kids cling to what you would have said in a fizzy or just like that and develop the emotion of anger towards the parent.
One very important thing I would want to share here is, Anger is a cover-up emotion, which means, it is always used to cover-up an emotion like hurt.
So, most probably, if your child is angry and hits, he/she is hurt.
DO NOT IGNORE THE FIRST TIME YOU CHILD HITS
This is one mistake most parents do. I am used to hear things like, “I thought my kid is too small and will learn eventually, but I was wrong”. If your child is big enough to watch tv or play, he/she is big enough to be taught.
If a negative behavior is ignored the first time, the child gets a wrong message that hitting or biting is permissible.
CORRECT YOUR CHILD EACH TIME THEY HIT
Every time you see your child hitting you or someone, tell them gently and politely that this is a wrong way to react. At the same time, it is very important to teach your child the ‘GENTLE TOUCH’. Teach them the difference between hitting and gently touching someone and also tell them that gentle touches do not hurt however hitting does.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILD’S WELL BEING
Many children get irritated when they are not fed properly or when they lack sleep. Also, do not burden your little one with situations they cannot handle. They will end up feeling anxious and retaliate.
KEEP YOUR CHILD AWAY FROM VIOLENCE
A healthy childhood comes with a healthy environment around your child. Keep them away from violent TV programs and games. Also, as quoted earlier, the child learns from you, so most importantly, never quarrel in front of your child.
STAY CALM IF YOU WANT YOUR CHILD TO BE CALM
Treat your child with respect and gentleness. Set clear boundaries: You do not have to be loud and scary when you teaches your child, believe me this way the child will never understand.
When our little ones are overwhelmed by big emotions, it is our responsibility to calm them down, not join their chaos.
PRAISE YOUR CHILD
Every time you observe your child is learning to control their hitting behavior, appreciate them. Saying good words or giving a treat will motivate your child to pick up the new improved behavior fast.
Teach your child to be polite, respect others and to understand another child’s or person’s situation. Yet again, children are smarter than we think and will pick this up fast. Also, be a role model for them and quote examples from daily life. Involve them in compassionate activities like saying SORRY and THANK YOU whenever required.
TALK TO A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST
And if you have tried all this and more, and failed, it is time you consult a child psychologist to discuss your child’s behavior and sort solution for the same before late.
“Children are young however have the same feelings like adults, so treat them the way you would want to be treated”
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