Before I became a parent, I believed that my children would always solve their problems with words rather than fists—then I became a parent. And my kids hit me! And they hit each other!
Take heart. Practically all young children experiment with being aggressive, even when they are being raised in loving, nonviolent homes. Our job as parents is to help them learn more peaceful ways of managing conflict. Listed below are a few tips:
- Apply the “Uh Oh Song”
When your toddler hits, sing “Uh Oh,” and carry them to their room, a safe highchair, a playpen, or stroller. If you are unfamiliar with this technique, you can learn about it our book, Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood.
- Pretend to be calm
The “Uh Oh Song” provides a practical strategy for replacing anger, lectures, threats, or spanking. Remember: The calmer you can look, the less likely your child will get hooked on seeing your face turn red.
- Teach kids how to solve their own problems
When your child is calm, role-play more appropriate strategies for dealing with frustration, anger, or conflict. Give them some possible options: “Some kids decide to say, ‘I’m mad!’ rather than hitting. Some kids decide to color with crayons when they get mad. Some kids decide to go in their room and yell at the mirror.” This type of teaching doesn’t work quickly, but as they grow older, they will begin to learn that doing such things can help them stay out of trouble.
- Do your best to keep them fed and rested
Hungry toddlers misbehave. So do tired ones. Too frequently, small children suffer because their parents, or daycare providers, expect them to cope with unrealistically busy schedules.
- Let them see you getting upset AND see you handling it well
There is nothing more powerful than backing our words with actions. What makes this attainable is remembering to take good care of ourselves so that we’re not so likely to “lose it” in front of the kids.
For more tips on dealing with the unexpected from your kids, listen to our MP3 audio, Love and Logic Magic When Little Ones Leave You Speechless.
Don’t miss our special FREE LIVE Webinar, The Single Greatest Gift Parents Can Give: A Love and Logic Back to School Event, which will take place tomorrow, August 24 at 4:00 pm Pacific.
Educators, join us one hour before on Instagram (@doc_amen) where we will share some tips to help ease the stress of this new year for you and your students.
Thanks for reading! If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend. Our goal is to help as many families as possible.
Dr. Charles Fay – Love and Logic