Thought for the day – Stopping violence

It is OK to stop a young child from hitting you.
This might be a tough one to hear as we all do our best in a bad situation, but I feel the need to speak up about an issue that I have run into time and time again. This is how it usually works…a parent comes to me about their child’s violence and when I ask about what they do, the parent tells me that it doesn’t hurt that much so they just wait until they are done. So, the small child (under 5) gets overwhelmed and hits the parent in their frustration and the parent allows it because it doesn’t really hurt. They want to know how to stop this behaviour as they are concerned. First step? Do not allow your child to hit you.
There are different ways of not allowing a child to hit you, one is to put your arms out in front of you and physically stop the child. You can do this in a safe way, without harming them. Your arms out means that your small child cannot get in close enough to land a hit or a kick. Another thing is to not be on your child’s level.
If you are crouched on the floor or sitting in a chair you are not mobile. Being at your child’s level means they can also have access to hitting your face and upper body. By standing you place yourself in a position to step away and you also take your most sensitive areas out of range of harm. This brings us to being mobile, you are allowed to move away from the harm.
Walking into a different room, stepping away from the child who is trying to harm you can be a tool to keep you from harm, and can also be used as a tool to re-direct what is happening. Sometimes all it takes is going from inside of a house to outside to de-escalate a situation. Most important thing? Do not ever give in to it.
What does this mean? If they are hitting you to get the toy or the food they want then you do not give it to them. This feeds the behaviour. If every time they hit you they get what they want, then why would they ever stop?
There is so much about this subject that can help, and I know it is a difficult thing to talk about. The reason this needs to stop at such a young age and it matters (even if it doesn’t hurt) is because eventually this young child will grow up and get bigger. Violence does not magically stop. It will eventually hurt as their little arms and fists get bigger.
One other note, this isn’t just about stopping you from eventual pain, this is also about helping your child learn how to regulate their emotions and to feel safe. This week we have touched base on not allowing a young child to hit you, next week we will talk a bit more about why and what else you can do. We want to give you tools to help you successfully stop the hitting and kicking.
If you do need more help with this subject we are here for you at Treehouse. Look for our videos on YouTube or even give us a call.

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