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Thread: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

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    Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Hi this is a bit of an unusual question but I'm finding it difficult to teach my preschool son not to hit. I never had an issue with my daughter, but my little boy is quite aggressive when he wants to be and hurts children 3yrs older than him he understands what he's doing as he looks to make sure Im not watching first. I know it's not a martial arts question, I would take him to 'Little dragons' but he's not old enough yet. I guess Im just wondering how you guys educate kids in martial arts not to be bullies?

    Thanks

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Get to the source of why He wants to hit people.
    Often, its to feel the sense of dominance which comes with it, which can come from feeling inadequate or pressured. I dont know nearly enough to guess at why He might feel He needs to posture over others, but it isnt uncommon. Remember that the reason is more than likely VERY simple. If You give Him a different outlet for it, problem solved. What that is, could be anything from Creative Arts to a Punching Bag.
    Have A Nice Day

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Thanks. All round he's a good kid. He gets on well with others and is a happy boy, then suddenly he's hitting! I got him a punch bag and that did help for a while as he learnt only to hit that and nothing else. Im gonna start taking him to parent and child street dancing this week as he's always singing and dancing anyway. Guess it might just take a while. Good job training has made me patient! Lol

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Well, I can softball some ideas, but the emphasis is on softball.

    A Punching Bag worked for a while, so a violent outlet is functional. But it may also be wise to balance it. What will take a while is finding something He can put Himself into, until Hes old enough to learn some more restraint. One thing to keep in mind is that every kid ever knows how to hit other kids, even if theyve never either seen or done it before. Its quite natural, but its also reasonably not acceptable in modern society, which is why I believe offering an alternative until theyre a bit older instead of punishing them and making them want to do it even more.
    Most bullies are born of feeling weak. Its the why that can be tricky, because sometimes its for no reason at all. But in this case, it just sounds like a self-assertion thing. Of course Im not a professional, but hey. Good luck
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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Maybe he doesn't realize that what hes doing is hurting others. Or more accurately, what it feels like to be hit and exactly how much it hurts. One of my kids was a biter. She would bite other kids to the point of bruising and no amount of yelling at her or talking to her would make her stop. She knew what she was doing was wrong as she she too would wait till no one was looking and then bite, but I don't think she really knew how much it really hurt. This may be a little mean and may get me a visit from Children's Services, but I bit her back one time. She never bit another kid again. I think she just didn't realize what that kind of pain really felt like. She's a teenager now and couldn't be a better, more kind, kid.
    Jim
    Ouch. I think I broke my foot.

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Hello Malteaser14,

    I have three kids myself =D. If I remember the preschool days correctly, it could simply still just be that stage where a child is in transition from parallel play, to learning to play well with others - learning to share can be tuff. Setting up consequences like 'time outs' helped to reinforce that a bad choice was made, and of course asking the big question ... "would you want somebody to treat you that way?" helped to get the wheels turning.

    Games that required more than one person to play helped start teaching that sharing can be fun, and it's ok to take turns; because, you'll get one too. Since my three kids are very close in age, I would be able to do little things like "here is a plate of cookies, take three, and give three each to your brother and sister too." The brother and sister on the receiving end would be grateful that their little brother was so thoughtful to share cookies with them, and it would act as a positive reinforcement for him. Coin flips, picking names out of a hat for order of who goes first, and setting a timer for length of time of turns (with video games for example), have helped to save some sanity to what would have otherwise been big fights between the kids.

    I hope I haven't been to long-winded here, but hang in there - it could be just a phase. I'm sure other parents in the class have been there too, and hopefully understand this stage enough to lend a shoulder. I remember one way my kid's preschool teacher helped to get the kids into sharing, was to have the kids take turns bringing in a treat for the class. I know that you didn't state that it was a 'sharing issue'; but hitting could be an expression of wanting to control. And IMO, sharing can be a way of letting go of control for the benefit of others - I hope this helps & good luck

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Quote Originally Posted by jda View Post
    Maybe he doesn't realize that what hes doing is hurting others. Or more accurately, what it feels like to be hit and exactly how much it hurts. One of my kids was a biter. She would bite other kids to the point of bruising and no amount of yelling at her or talking to her would make her stop. She knew what she was doing was wrong as she she too would wait till no one was looking and then bite, but I don't think she really knew how much it really hurt. This may be a little mean and may get me a visit from Children's Services, but I bit her back one time. She never bit another kid again. I think she just didn't realize what that kind of pain really felt like. She's a teenager now and couldn't be a better, more kind, kid.
    Jim
    He knows - And if He were made to experience it Himself, it would just make Him feel the need to put others through it instead of asserting Himself. Biting is another basic natural thing people know how to do. People arent gentle little flowers - Its just that there has to be a balance between Discipline and Education. Too much Education can make someone feel patronised, too much Discipline can make them feel belittled.

    Im not entirely convinced by timeouts, since from My distant memories of Myself it just caused bitterness. But Ive also seen it work - Point is, when You pick consequences, analyse the effects They have.
    But the rest of grumpywolfmans reply is the one main downside to Me giving advice: I forget the simple solutions
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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Keys to changing a behavior are:

    #1 understand the behavior (why and when it happens)
    #2 have some alternative ways to express the emotion (words are best, but aggression must have a safe outlet) and MODEL THEM
    #3 try to catch the behavior and insert the more desirable alternative via modelling and advice
    #4 reward & praise the more desirable behavior
    #5 expect regressive episodes and calmly steer back to the correct action

    So - he needs some self-soothing tools. You need to model some for him, even if you have to put on a bit of an act. Let him see you frustrated and self-soothe in a productive way. He is not too young to understand what's going on. Give him a transitional object and words to express his feelings. Point out when siblings are dealing with difficult emotions and how they are successfully dealing with them without harming others; do the same with your parental partner.
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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Disclaimer, I have no kids of my own and the days of my being a kid are mostly long gone decades ago although I do sometimes enjoy the childlike wonder of our world.


    Every child is unique but generally boys are different than girls and sometimes figuring out our place in the totem pole can be difficult. Guys start young and will respond to perceived threats to our station, often with aggression, some out grow this, others learn better less violent ways as maturity comes. Doing door work allows a person to see this interaction between ‘men’ played out all the time. It isn’t always about hurting in my opinion. You are there of course and can see the interaction from both the hitter and the person being hit, and if you are concerned, then you have every right to be concerned. I applaud you caring enough to seek out opinions.


    I cannot suggest ways to keep young boys from hitting other than if they train letting them know that the only time they can do those things is when they are wearing their special uniform.


    What I can do perhaps is offer a perspective that might bring some comfort while you try to healthily modify the behavior. Your youngster is establishing his dominance amongst other youngsters that are “three years older” than him. At that age the age difference stated is huge! This young boy will likely be his sisters protector and champion. Self esteem will not be problem for this young fighter as he will be willing to fight for what he wants. The trick is to teach him when and how to fight. While not easy it is easier than trying to give someone the will not to become a victim or welcome mat. He is already starting to understand risk vs rewards as he looks around and calculates the risk verse whatever reward he is achieving from the hitting.


    Not comparing your child to a horse or working dog, but the trick is to harness and grow the positive aspects and while reducing the negative aspects, strengthening without breaking the spirit. He has strong spirit for a reason, in my opinion, God given. The trick then is to guide him to understand that part of himself and to learn how to harness and use it for a good purpose. It can be a life long lesson and I do not think it is ever too early or too late to start learning those lessons.


    Good luck
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    Brian King
    Our knowledge grows when we share it.

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Thanks for the replies. Sharing isn't an issue as we dealt with this very early on. I have no issues with his development but you have made me realise what could be the portential cause. He doesn't actually talk much, but is very independent. His sister does ALL the talking! When he does hit its usually unprovoked, but it could just be frustration that he can't vocalise what he wants and lashes out. Luckily I have a new job that will mean I'm home alone with him while my daughter's in school so he can have the quality alone time to encourage development. Positive reinforcement is definately applied. To be honest I couldn't ask for better kids... Other than the hitting!


    Quote Originally Posted by Brian King View Post
    This young boy will likely be his sisters protector and champion. Self esteem will not be problem for this young fighter as he will be willing to fight for what he wants. The trick is to teach him when and how to fight.
    Your right! He has already rugby tackled and pushed over 2boys that made his younger cousin cry... Just need to teach him that there's a time and a place!

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    This will likely be a long-term endeavor. Best wishes to you!

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    well, it seems the smart people had some ideas.

    I think hat a lot of the 'bad' stuff in the early years happens because the wee ones can't make us understand what it is they are after. Like the terrible 2s.

    S for the specific problem, 3 is a little young...I mean, do they let the little tigers spar?
    I have been known for letting the older (we are talking maybe 8...) heavy hitters go a round against other heavy hitters without jumping in right off the bat, letting them get a dose of their own medicine (usually those were the first to cry, too)

    But at three....telling him that there might be somebody who pays him back in spades will probably not work....

    But I like the 'special clothes' approach in the mean time. Letting the aggression out is one thing, but I am guessing until the punch returns in like form (AKA sparring) the connection won't be made. But hopefully by then he will have outgrown it!
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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    The 'special clothes' idea worked with my daughter to help her understand that I wasn't being 'naughty' going kickboxing and that I wasnt hurting anyone. She did get angry and aggressive once and I put her in my sparring stuff and let her constructively deal with her anger, then we talked about it. Now when she's angry she walks away and comes back when she is calmer and we solve any issues, just never thought about doing this with my boy.

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    For what it's worth, I agree that the problem is probably that he uses hitting as a form of communicating and interacting with others because speaking doesn't work out for him. I've seen lots of younger boys with this problem.

    It reminds me though, of how I was working on a speech where I say humans need to be taught to use their bodies to defend themselves, whereas other animals learn to do so by playing rough as kids.

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    Re: Help teaching a child not to hurt others.

    Children learn both from what they see and what they experience. When power rangers first came out the original my young son would go out to the play yard infact many of the kids did and they would just walk up and boom hit each other well when he got hit back he learned that there was cause and effect involved hurting others and being hurt back. Now if he continues to operate on the basis hey I can do this if I just pick on kids too little to defend them selves then you need to do something. Child development has many stages in the early years and environment both visual and physical go in stages get some literature from public health and behavior health offices also a nurologist for good forms of bench marks for normal and abnormal development signs.


    good luck

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