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needing advice

my soon to be 3 son has really gotten bad at hitting me or kicking me whenever i try to punish him. I do not hit him. I dont believe in it. He does have two aunts that are teens and he has seen them hit and kick each other. But when i put him in time out or raise my voice to him he will either kick me or hit/swing at me. And i just dont know what to do. Its gotten so bad that i start to cry. Which makes him laugh.. any one have any advice on how to end this behavior? thanks so much!

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Asked by KrystynaGoodell at 10:11 PM on Feb. 2, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (10)
  • Put him in time out in a calm voice. Have a time out chair and use an actual baking timer that you set for 3 minutes and when it goes off he can get up. If he hits or kicks tell him calmly but firm that was not nice and he does not hit or kick and then take him to his room, sit him on his bed and tell him now time out in your room for 5 minutes. Make sure you have a baby gate. He will cry, but he will get the point of not to hit or kick. Make this the routine every single time it happens.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:16 PM on Feb. 2, 2009

  • I agree with anonymous! Also remember that you don't say much to him as you place him in time out. Just say, "This is time out for_____." Also, avoid giving him eye contact during this time. Make sure he understands that if he gets up from time out the timer starts over. If he screams while sitting that the time out starts when he is quiet and stays quiet. If he is in his room for time out, make sure that he is sitting and not playing. Most importantly, stay CONSISTENT! Good Luck!

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 5:23 AM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • I have 4 kids. When the kids would hit a sibling the sibling would hit back. That stopped it. They do not hit very often now and only when really mad. Not because they think that it is the thing to do. You might talk to the aunts about hitting in front of them. I had to talk to a cousin about his behavior in front of my kids because he did not even think about it. But think about it. Did you really know that a pan was hot and hurt until you touched it? You may need to strick back once for him to get it. I understand that you don't hit but I will tell you that I grew up fine and so have a lot of other people because our parents did not sit us in a corner when we were bad.

    Answer by tichelle at 6:22 AM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • I glad you are not spanking him. It will just teach him that if it is okay that mommy hits than it is okay for me to hit. Unfortunately he already learned that from his cousins. If time outs do not work, my 4 year old adopted therapist says to turn the child around so that there is no eye contact until he calms down then take him to time out.


    Answer by Anonymous at 7:57 AM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • Consider this also - is he getting enough physical time with you? If he's lashing out (and didn't used to), it may be his way of getting more touch from you. I've been able to recognize some of my son's different tantrums triggers and I know now that when he's at his dad's for the weekend, he needs more hugs from me when he gets home or else his tantrums become hitting forces me to physically stop him. So instead, I just turn him away from me, hugs his arms close to his body so he can't hit, and let him squirm until he's calm. When he was younger, I would just put him in his room kicking and screaming until he calmed down until I realized that not all his tantrums were they required a different approach. Look at a typical day and see how much positive, physical time you spend together - you may need to increase that time to help minimize his hitting...

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 10:14 AM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • cont. Also, either talk to his aunts about their behavior or talk to your son about how their behavior represents bad choices. Help him practice ways of showing his frustration and anger that lets him get his energy out, but not on you - show him he can hit Pillows (this works great with my son and he's 3 1/2 now...) or stomp his feet or scream in his room to get his angry energy out. Another one my son likes when he's mad at me is to just push me...not quickly and not surprising me...he'll just walk up, put his hands on my legs and push...growling and grunting...I don't move, but he gets to push all his angry energy out and then he settles down and it's all over. So try to find some ways of helping him get his angry energy out that doesn't hurt, and make sure he's getting enough positive physical time with you. Good luck!

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 10:17 AM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • OMG, you poor thing! I fear this out of my son, who hits me at 14 months.

    1) I wouldn't put a kid in time out in their room. While some may not like isolation, others will just play and it loses its effectiveness on the reason they are in there.

    2) Recognize the triggers. Since I've got one at a younger age who is hitting, I would say there is a primal thing he is trying to communicate.... that is, "YOu have done something to make me mad." And sometimes that's a "No, I'm sorry, but we cannot go outside at 6pm at night." I see him raise his hand and I say, "I would appreciate it if you don't hit me." and give him a look. He's doing it a lot less now. Investigate and find words to put in his mouth.

    3) when the cousins are hitting... talk to their mom about calling them out about this. Can you look at them with your son and say, "See Darling Boy, they are not behaving well, they are hurting each other. "


    Answer by lynnard at 5:59 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • I went through this with my older son, he started physically lashing out when when he was about 6. I tried time out, ignoring it, yelling, talking calmly, loss of privelages, etc. but nothing worked. I started holding him closely and firmly so he couldn't hit. He would resist and try to fight and pry himself away, but I just held on. Eventually, I would feel the fight kind of drain out of him and he would relax and "give up". It only took 3 or 4 times before he just quit trying to hit. The other stuff almost provoked more fight from him. This firmly but not aggressively established that I'm in charge. Good luck!

    Answer by skinnykat at 6:19 PM on Feb. 3, 2009

  • We have used the naughty spot with our son, and it works well especially when we tell him why he is there and then before he can leave he has to say why the behavior was naughty and then to hug and say sorry to whomever he hurt. We have some toys that he knows will go into 'holding' for a day if he has to go to the naughty spot for the same thing more than three times (his magic number not ours). His cousin would do the same but with much more drama and fire - and the best way to make her stop was to tell her that we couldn't be with her until she calmed down. Without an audience the little drama queen stopped her act and went back to what she was doing before her 'melt down'. I don't spank, it confused me as a child and I don't think that violence stops violence with children. Sounds like you got lots of great answers, so forgive me for adding one more :-)

    Answer by mystic-mom at 12:46 AM on Feb. 4, 2009

  • My kids become like that, and sometimes worse, when I am trying to hand out discipline. Then, I learned from a therapist, they are trying to get a rise out of me. So, if I act upset, then it's like a reward for them. Even though I am frustrated, I do my best acting job. I pretend they aren't bothering me, but I still hand out the discipline. It works. Also, with my kids, I have had to take away all toy guns, teenage mutant nimja turtles, power rangers, and they are only allowed to watch non-violent TV shows. Good luck, it's not easy. BTW, my oldest does not act like his brothers, so it tells me not all kids should be parented alike. I just hope you find the right answer for your family.


    Answer by McGregor at 10:59 AM on Feb. 4, 2009

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