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Hitting when happy...HELP

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  • Hitting when happy...HELP

    Hi, I just found this site and thought it would be a good place to get some advice on gently parenting an issue we are having with one of our twins. They will be 3 on October 31st this year.

    Avery has started hitting and tackling when she is excited and happy. She has bitten in the past (when excited) and we have managed to get her to stop doing that by explaining it is not nice to bite and it hurts people. Ok, maybe we haven't put a stop to it as Emerson (her twin sister) had a bite mark on her arm after naps today. UHG! About 3 or 4 times this afternoon she was hitting or tackling her sister or her cousin when she was excited. Each time we pulled her away from the situation and explained that hitting was not nice it hurt and reminded her of a time she was hit by a little boy and how it hurt her feelings. The worst was this evening before bed she pinned her sister and was beating her while laughing and her sister was screaming for help.

    Any advice on this? If it were anger I think I would be able to help her better, but her being happy and laughing while hitting her sister...makes me think I could have a psychopath on my hands (just kidding)

  • #2
    This is an ongoing issue we have with my youngest. I will try not to write an essay, but he hits, kicks, wrestles, head-butts, jumps on people etc etc ALL the time. And as you said, it is not out of anger, it is almost affectionate... He will be 5 in December.

    We have come to the conclusion that he has very high sensory needs, that this kind of physical contact just feels good to him and that he genuninely doesn't understand that it hurts other people. He is now at an age where I think he does "know" that it is wrong to hit people and now does it consciously to get attention or because he is annoyed, which is another matter...!

    It is very difficult to manage. The only thing I can suggest really is to try and make sure that the need for physical stimulation is met in other more positive ways. I sometimes get him to do jumping jacks if he is playing up when we are out - he loves rough play with me or my husband (wrestling, hanging upside down etc). In the moment, the most effective thing is normally to pick him up straight away, hold him and ask him to use his words to explain what he wants. Often it is just a cuddle that he needs. "oh, have you run out of cuddles again - let me give you some more..." followed by lots of hugs and kisses... normally works quite well!

    The good news is that for us at least he seems able to keep this very much at home. He has only ever hit or bitten family members, and at school he is apparently good as gold (I was really concerned that he would get in a lot of trouble for hitting other kids, but it never happened). I think it helps that they get a lot of outside play time and free play opportuinites at his nursery. I am wondering if it will be more of a issue next year as he goes into reception and will need to spend more time sitting down and being quiet...

    OK - that did turn into a bit of an essay, sorry. I hope some of it was useful! Oh, one more thing I have tried with my boys that might help her sister. In our house "fighting" is OK as long as both people are having fun. They have a code word, which means "stop now its not fun anymore". They chose the word together - theirs is "dinosaur". This might be a way of explaining that sometimes its not fun for the other person, and giving her sister some control which you can help her enforce? Of course if her sister never wants to join in this may not work - but it could help to provide a boundary or to draw a line when it starts hurting rather than being annoying?


    • #3
      My daughter isn't quite 2 and we are working on this issue, she gets so excited and loves to lick and when she gets really excited it quickly turns into pinching and biting. I can vividly remember being the same way when I was young, I would scratch my sister with my nails (it was never stopped and I thought it was the funniest game in the world, I would be proud if I left scars on my sisters arms). With this personal memory it has helped me formulate a plan before my daughter really started this behavior. Here is what we do, and what I try, I know that when she gets excited she can't control her impulses, so I try and intervene before she gets that excited. If I notice that she is getting hyper I take her off to a quite place usually the couch or the stairs landing and we talk about how excited she is, she has so much energy and then we start the "energy game" I ask what we can do with all this energy and we jump, or spin, or do something really big motor movement. Then when she seems to be calming a little bit I pull her into my lap and we talk about how fun it is to get excited, but how sometimes we can get to excited and we need help calming down. We snuggle and pick a quiet activity we can then move onto. It's hard to be that on top of the excitement, especially because when they are happy you don't want to stop it, but this seems to have moved onto a fun game for her, and there is no audience so it doesn't seem to escalate her.