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What is the most effective way to discipline my three year old boy who likes to hit?

My three year old boy has recently begun hitting as a way to express his anger. He lashed out on me and my husband and can get very angry. He is extremely stubborn and turns almost anything into a battle. We have been using time-outs very consistently, but recently they seem to have lost effect. The worst is yesterday he fought with a classmate at school and gave him a bloody nose.

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Asked by srdiaz at 4:26 PM on Nov. 4, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 2 (12 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • Why is he so angry? Is he frustrated over not being able to communicate something. Or just mad he isn't getting his way? I would say if you are already using time outs, try something else. maybe a behavior chart to earn something each week. Taking things away?? That is a tough one. Send him to his room rather than time out?

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 4:36 PM on Nov. 4, 2010

  • direct all your attention to the child he has hit and comfort that child , cuddle the object of his aggression .Then when that child is ok take your child aside and talk to him calmly yet sternly about why it is wrong to hit and hurt someone else, put him in time out,naughty spot wherever for 3 minutes . No eye contact, no talking he must sit still. Then when you are ready talk to him before letting him out of time out and have him repeat back why he is not hit him to punish him for hitting someone else,it will confuse him

    Answer by koolchick325 at 4:37 PM on Nov. 4, 2010

  • Immediatley remove him from the situation. And yes, eye rolls coming, time out. It's not always going to make them stop, but it shows you have limits and that you don't condone his behavior. Show him what nice touching, and make sure you praise him highly when he is being nice, playing well, being helpful etc. I notice validating that they are upset helps too. I say things to my 3yo like
    You were upset weren't you? or Why are you so upset? How do you feel? What makes you want to hit?

    Answer by Musicmom80 at 4:41 PM on Nov. 4, 2010

  • Spanking is a form of punishment that may work for some kids, but only if it is done in a responsible way. Hitting a child out of anger or reaction because he/she hit you is NOT responsible. All that does is mirror his own actions and lets him know that hitting someone because you're mad is ok. Spanking should be reserved as a severe punishment (not for every little thing). The child needs to understand why they are getting the punishment. The parent needs to explain that "Because you did this, you are getting a spanking." Then give them a hug, tell them you love them, and give them time to reflect on why what they did was wrong. Perhaps have them sit in time out or in their bedrooms for a few minutes after their punishment .

    Answer by angelsentous at 4:42 PM on Nov. 4, 2010

  • Why would you spank a child for hitting? Wouldn't that be confusing? You don't want me to hit but you hit me....not to mention, kids that are hitting are frustrated and aren't always able to voice their feelings proper, spanking just makes them more frustrated.

    Answer by Musicmom80 at 4:50 PM on Nov. 4, 2010

  • Is he getting enough one on one time with you and DH? Sometimes kids go for the negative attention when they do not get enough positive attention and reinforcement. Plus praise him when he does things right. I hope the behavior is short lived. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 5:33 PM on Nov. 4, 2010

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