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How do I get my three-year-old to stop hitting and throwing things?

Hi all! Our three-year-old son likes to hit and throw things. I have tried EVERYTHING to thwart this behavior. A lot of times, he thinks it's funny to hit his sister (who's eight years old). He'll hit (granted, he doesn't hit hard), and then giggles as she yells, "MOM, he hit me again!!!" He was even swatting at my grandmother when she was over. I put him in timeout continuously, but it just doesn't seem to phase him. He also likes to throw things. I've had several people tell me that "he's a boy" and "that's what they do," but I don't want people to think I condone this, nor do I want a "monster child." :o Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! :)

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Asked by Lovinmykids at 8:44 AM on Jun. 4, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (4)
  • It really stinks. While he is a boy and it's considered a boy thing, I don't condone it either. When my son is not behaving properly I tell him that he may not join us. He is soon to be 5 so his behaviour issues are dofferent from when he was 3. But I still did the same thing. If he was hitting I'd tell him to go play by himself in his room. He espically hated this when we had company beause who wants to be left out right? I'd simply tell him that hitting or throwing his toys or having fits was not fun for everyone else so he may leave the room and go do it on his own. For the first while he would go to his room and carry on throwing things. We've since told the kids that if they are going to throw their toys they might as well put them in the garbage. Treat things like trash and that's where they go. This works best with my dd(3) if she's acting up I make her own up to it. I'll tell her to say, "I'm naughty and

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 9:10 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • want to upset/hurt you." They hate having to say what their actions mean.
    Try having your son own up to his actions. When he hit's his sister tell him that it's mean and hurts. Then have him tell her, "I'm hitting you because I want to hurt you." If this bother's him tell him that that's what his actions mean. That you don't hit unless you want to hurt.

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 9:12 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • My son loved to throw things, as hard and as fast as he could, with the intention of hurting someone, so we started taking toys away. The toy he threw went straight into the trash outside, where he couldn't get it back. 2 days of this (because throwing his toys away pissed him off and he threw more toys) he had lost about half his toys and quit. He never got his toys back, though my husband went out after Little Man went to bed and got all the toys back out (they were in a separate trash bag in the can) and we donated them to a local children's shelter. He's 7 1/2 now and doesn't throw things anymore.
    Good luck!

    Answer by debra_benge at 11:10 AM on Jun. 4, 2009

  • I have two that used to hit a lot. Here is what I did. First, you have to see if you are physical yourself and change that to be a good example. Next, we established household rules one of them being....."We do not physically hurt each other" That way the offender understood they were breaking a household rule. Next, teach the older child not to react. This will diffuse the pleasure he gets out of her reaction. Be consistent when interacting with other children not in your household. My son was occasionally physical with other children during playgroup. I used it as a teaching moment and gave him a time-out immediately. Reiterating after the timeout that we don't hurt people and then made him apologize and show gentleness to the person he just hit. If he refused we tried another time-out or left if he wouldn't comply. It is tough, but he will get it if you insist firmly on the behavior

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:49 PM on Jun. 4, 2009

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