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Old 04-09-2008, 04:19 PM   #1
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positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

ok, so my 3.5 yr old ds has started hitting and punching both his siblings and the kids in my dayhome. we really believe in positive reinforcement but wonder how we can make this a positive experience when he is allowing his anger to manifest itself this way? he is usually a super sweet kid, loves his baby sister, the whole deal. we started with taking away his toys and allowing him opportunities to earn them back with good behaviour and he was awesome for 2 days but just today he punched a kid in the chest and threw a basketball at a baby's head. after he has a time out, we talk with him about why we don't allow this, how it hurts other people, how he would feel if we allowed it to happen to him, how he would feel if somebody threw a ball at his baby sister, what words he can say next time he gets angry, etc...he has empathy to a degree but i just feel it's not really getting through (obviously). so i'm wondering what kinds of positive discipline plans or ideas has anyone used that seem to stop this sort of behaviour? i'd appreciate any help at this point...thank you!

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Old 04-09-2008, 05:54 PM   #2
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

any help mamas?
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i bfa2r'ed (breastfed after 2 reductions) for over a year and a half! i also apologize for my uppercase allergy and my aversion to smilies.
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:14 PM   #3
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

Can you give him a designated "anger" item that is safe for him to hit? Like a pillow or his mattress? Maybe tell him that hitting or hurting people is not acceptable but that anger is ok. If he gets angry or frustrated he has to take it out on the "anger" item.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:32 PM   #4
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

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Can you give him a designated "anger" item that is safe for him to hit? Like a pillow or his mattress? Maybe tell him that hitting or hurting people is not acceptable but that anger is ok. If he gets angry or frustrated he has to take it out on the "anger" item.
That is a very good suggestion I am going to have to remember that!

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Old 04-09-2008, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

My 3.5 yr old is the same way at times. It's getting better now, but around 3 was very difficult. I really focus on the talking about how he would feel if someone did that to him, but it is so hard to deal with sometimes. A couple times we left play areas/friend's houses and he had to deal with the consequences of his behaviour.
I really try to redirect when I see a problem causing situation (or keep up with the constant "use your words" reminders). And we always talk about nice actions, and now we are working on teaching his little brother how to use nice actions so he is the "teacher". Sometimes you can just see the frustration take over and his first instinct is to get physical. I had a really hard time dealing with this for a while because that is so opposite to everything we do in this house.
Just keep doing what you are doing and it does start to click at some point (I'm finally starting to see it!)
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:13 PM   #6
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

hmmm, thanks for the ideas ladies...i'll try some new things tomorrow and see how it goes...i just hope we can nip this in the bud before he's 16 and can pound anyone to a pulp...lol...just joking; i'd like this to be dealt with well before then, of course!
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i bfa2r'ed (breastfed after 2 reductions) for over a year and a half! i also apologize for my uppercase allergy and my aversion to smilies.
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:39 PM   #7
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

Sorry you have to deal with this (I am not looking forward to it). My sister always tells her son to use his words (nice words at that). I have also heard of people not giving the negative behavior attention but instead giving all of the attention to the kid who gets hit. Maybe immediately focus on the hit-ee and then explain that you need to apologize and use your words when you get mad. GL mama
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:41 PM   #8
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

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Originally Posted by shelbell View Post
Can you give him a designated "anger" item that is safe for him to hit? Like a pillow or his mattress? Maybe tell him that hitting or hurting people is not acceptable but that anger is ok. If he gets angry or frustrated he has to take it out on the "anger" item.
thats what I was going to say (and im an ECE ) I wouldnt use this method for a child under the age of 3 probably, because it wouldnt transfer that "this os ok to hit, but this isn't".

The language I would use, would be something along the lines of:

"wow! you look angry!" (Define that you acknowledge the feeling, and that its valid)

" When such n such happens, that makes [would make] me angry too!" (It even helps me when someone identifies with my feelings )

"but its not ok to hit people. It hurts!"

" if you feel like you need to hit something, you can hit this" (or think of another creative way to release the energy. It doesnt have to be hitting. Sometimes I use screaming, which usually turns into silly laughter...might not be the best solution in public, but things will come to you.

before I did any of this though, I would work on getting him to use words. Maybe its easier for him to hit, because he doesn't know what to say in situations that make him angry. You can use that basic flow of dialog, just change it to " if someone was being mean (or whatever)to me, I would tell him to STOP!" Then make it personal, and say " you can tell him to stop" or whathave you...

good luck!
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:01 AM   #9
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

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I have also heard of people not giving the negative behavior attention but instead giving all of the attention to the kid who gets hit. Maybe immediately focus on the hit-ee.
this is a very interesting idea....i'm gonna definitely have to try this one.

and i wanted to add that he definitely knows how to express himself...when we talk afterwards, he knows exactly what he should have said, like "please stop, i don't like that" or "oh well, i still like you" or "excuse me please". he absolutely KNOWS this and that's partly what's making it so frustrating for us! he's really a great kid and very articulate for his age so i'm sure that's not the problem really....

oh, and i wanted to ask what ece means?

thanks for all your help, guys!
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kari-lynn, married to richard w/ hailey (04/98), aubryn (08/99), israel (07/04), maigan (07/06) amerie (05/09) and erivon (12/12/12) we're all proudly , eh?
i bfa2r'ed (breastfed after 2 reductions) for over a year and a half! i also apologize for my uppercase allergy and my aversion to smilies.

Last edited by bezbabe; 04-10-2008 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 04-10-2008, 12:58 AM   #10
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Re: positive disciplining w/ hitting-is it possible?

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Originally Posted by bezbabe View Post
this is a very interesting idea....i'm gonna definitely have to try this one.

and i wanted to add that he definitely knows how to express himself...when we talk afterwards, he knows exactly what he should have said, like "please stop, i don't like that" or "oh well, i still like you" or "excuse me please". he absolutely KNOWS this and that's partly what's making it so frustrating for us! he's really a great kid and very articulate for his age so i'm sure that's not the problem really....

oh, and i wanted to ask what ece means?

thanks for all your help, guys!
It's so hard at this age because often the kiddo does know how to express themselves, but lack the control to do it in the heat of the moment. Patrick has a squishy ball (its like a 8" koosh ball that he can squeeze and manipulate - if anybody knows what these are really called post!).

LOVE the coment about focusing on the kiddo that was hurt/wronged - this may be the key!

Hang in there mama, this too shall pass! My little dear threw another child on the ground today at preschool . Just NO impulse control.

ECE= early childhood educator I belive
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