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Does Your Child Hit Other Children?

7 min read

Why does a child hit
There’s a saying that “More often or once a child abstained from love will demand it in most unpleasant way”. This saying goes with children who hit other children. Hitting someone is not a spontaneous reaction, though it looks like one. Children who hit others are going through a process similar to volcanic eruption, to erupt or to hit others is not sudden action rather it is caused by a series of events. A lot of toddlers and pre-schoolers take way to hitting others physically when they do not have the words or skills to handle a difficult or a frustrating situation. There are many reasons that can cause such aggressive behavior. Sense of fear, isolation, tension, frustration, sadness, anger and anxiety, can all be the reasons for a child to hit other child.

  • Why Does My Child Hit Other Children?
  • What Causes Aggression in Young Children
  • 10 Steps To Stop Your Child From Hitting Other Children
  • Coping With A Child Who Hits Other Children

Why Does My Child Hit Other Children?

A toddler between the ages of 18 months to about two years find it very hard to communicate his needs to his parents and friends. Since the vocabulary of the child is limited, and he is constantly exploring new things and feelings, he finds himself in a position of turmoil for lack of expression. This causes aggression in kids and they resort to hitting and even biting. Aggression is way of expression, and younger kids do engage in this kind of behavior given certain situations. The problem arises when kids start to consistently behave in an aggressive way, which makes it imperative for parents to step in and help them find non-aggressive ways to communicate and express.
When a child grows up, hitting other children is merely due to the lack of attention given to him when he started with inappropriate behavior. Since the child never learnt how to behave appropriately and because non-aggressive means of communication haven’t been taught to him, he is very likely to resort to physical aggression.

What Causes Aggression in Young Children

Aggressive behavior in children is a matter of extreme concern for parents, teachers and other children in company of your child. Children are raised with love and care; but sometimes even under cautious observation of parents some aspects of their personality to go unnoticed. The aggressive nature of a child can be one of them. If such a nature of accident or a complaint comes to your notice, you must understand that there must be something that triggered this situation. Learn what were the circumstances, what caused it, and find out what triggered this act of hitting other child. The first step is to identify the cause of the aggressive behavior. Is it because:

  • Was he in a act of self defense?
  • Has he been out and in of a routine lately?
  • Has he been overly exhausted and feels tired all the time?
  • Did he have to deal with a stressful situation where he did not know how to control his negative emotions? A divorce or a death or loss of a pet, or a close relative?
  • Can he not express himself adequately due to speech development problems?
  • Has he been hit or bullied off late?
  • Is he being raised without adult supervision?
  • Has he been overly stimulated?
  • Does he have the company of other children who constantly hit each other?

Physical aggression in children
You will have a better control of the situation and will also be able to read his mind once you are able to answer these questions. Careful observation of your child will make way for a better understanding as to what triggers his hitting behavior. Does he hit only one child, or does he hit only when a particular toy is taken by another child? Is his aggression triggered by frustration, anger or stimulation? How does he express his agitation and aggression? Does he become verbally abusive? Or he strikes physically? Once you do figure answers to questions like this, it is very likely that you will be able to draw a pattern in the situations that cause such behavior. With your help, your child can learn to calm himself and be aware of his aggressive behavior. You will need to help him find alternative solutions to his problems, and make him learn that aggressive behavior can and does have unpleasant consequences.

10 Steps To Stop Your Child From Hitting Other Children

Once you have understood the underlying cause of your child’s aggression and have zeroed out on the reasons, you will need to step in without giving in to the urge to punish or banish. Lets see how:

  1. Breathe in and out: When your child has hit someone, instead of blurting your frustrations and succumbing to feelings of embarrassment and bad parenting, just breathe in and breathe out. Try blowing your tension and try to be compassionate towards your child. Control your own negativity
  2. Step and Remove: At the hint of an aggressive breakdown, step in the situation and remove your child. If he has hot someone, make sure the other child is taken care of first. Ignore the aggressor. Apologize to the child and his kin, and refrain from reacting to the situation with long lectures and giving too much attention to your child
  3. Repair: Attending to the child who just got hot is always a priority. If the child is accompanied by someone, do apologize to both of them. The best way to do this would be to hold your child, wrap an arm around him and tell the child who is hurt that we are sorry
  4. Be calm and composed: Refrain from yelling, shouting and punishing – no matter how hard it is, you have to stay calm and at peace. Speak to your child in low tones and calm voice, making it easier for him to confide in you. Aggression cannot be dealt by being aggressive – as a parent you have to demonstrate self control and speak in low, soft tones and kind words. Remember, your child looks upto you for correct behavior – your impulsive behavior will only foster more impulsive behavior
  5. Control your urge to lecture: Yes, you want to give your child a mouthful of advice as to why hitting is bad and not acceptable. But as of now, just some calming words would be enough. Let the situation pass, cool yourself off and let the child get cooled as well. Then have a gentle talk, no harsh words; but first, you need to address his feelings and help him process the same
  6. Never hit your child: Do not even think about hitting your child, though that could be your first reaction when your tot is displaying physical aggression towards anyone. If testing situations make you hit your child, you are setting an example that hitting is okay when it comes to frustrations
  7. Avoid playing the blame game: Making your child feel bad in comparison with the other child will only wash away any empathy. Do not make him look down or feel bad about himself rendering him even more aggressive
  8. Teach your child: Many times, when parents are informed about their child being aggressive to other children from school or play school. they totally refuse to believe what is told to them. As a parent it’s your duty to tell your child that his actions were wrong and won’t be entertained
  9. Appreciate the good behavior: Whenever the child exhibits good behavior and reacts favorably in a situation, make sure to appreciate the efforts and praise him. Appreciation motivates everyone to do better
  10. Identify what triggers the aggression: Know what really causes the child to frustrate and resort to hitting or biting. Is it a toy? Is it always with a particular child? Is it a situation? Change of routine? Identifying the triggers will help you removing or avoiding those situations that cause these outbursts.

Coping With A Child Who Hits Other Children

The solution to such aggressive behavior starts from you. If you have been aggressive to anyone in front of your child hen immediately stop doing that. Never hit your partner, both the parents are very important to a child. Hence, it is very important to love your partner. It creates a sense of security in your child, and besides that, domestic violence itself has a major negative impacts on a child.
Child hits other children

  • Make your child feel safe with you, do not get too harsh with him/ her or else they will never open up to you
  • Ask the child reason for his action and listen to his answers, do not interrupt even if you think it’s a lie. Listen to them and then rationalize their reason
  • Discuss with the child if his actions were right or wrong. Bond with the child as much as you can most of the time forming a warm connection is all required to solve such issues
  • If your child melts down and starts crying, comfort him but do not ask him to suppress his tears. The more the meltdown, the more the release of emotions.
  • Never judge your child either yourself or by others
  • Address the needs of the child – feed him if he’s hungry, let him rest if he is tired; give him a break with his favorite cartoons on TV
  • Make him explore other ways of expressing his displeasure by stomping feet, walking away, or using words. Ask him to call for you when in need

You must understand that children resort to hitting because they do not have the skills to express the discomfort that they might be feeling in any other way. Till the time a child develops speech skills, he is most likely to vent his frustration by crying, hitting, or showing other ways of aggression. Sometimes, they take the cues from parents who hit their child when something doesn’t happen in tune with their likes. Hitting is not the response to hitting – it is the cause to even more hitting.

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