Yes, Kids Hitting Is NormalYes,

Jul 02, 2022
Yes, Kids Hitting Is Normal

That is, it’s developmentally normal. 

It’s really really hard for the parents when their child hits, and my heart goes out to you as you try to help your child and nothing seems to work! 

I hope the following helps ?

The front part of the brain (frontal cortex) is the LAST part to develop completely. 

Guess what is that part responsible for? Logic, reasoning, impulse-control, critical thinking, and other highly evolved functions. ALL of them needed to NOT act on our basic animal impulses. 

Do you know what age the prefrontal cortex finishes developing completely? 

26-28 years. 

In other words, even a child of 10 years has ways to go before he will completely overcome his impulse to hit as a reaction. 

Believe it or not- most siblings keep hitting each other well into their teens ??‍♀️

Is it a good thing? No. It’s not ideal. But it’s still normal/expected. 

Should it be punished? 

What does punishment and time-outs accomplish? According to tons of science, studies and research, nothing positive and lots of negatives. Including damaging your relationship with your child. 

Our job as parents is to help our children succeed. It’s not to make them feel like crap in hopes that they will make better choices. Do you make better choices when you’re made to feel ashamed of yourself?

When a child hits, an adult should act immediately to help the child stop. Block the hits. Neutralize the situation, “uh-oh... looks like a break is needed here!” (No one is being blamed or shamed)

When emotions are running high- the logical brain shuts down so don’t start lecturing just yet. Wait for him to calm down. Help him calm down by acknowledging the feelings behind the action. 

“Wow you looked really mad there...”

He will most likely happily tell you everything that made him mad enough to want to hit someone. That’s your win number one. You got a child to admit what triggered them. 

Now you can help them. 

You’d be surprised at how many times, the source of their anger is legitimate, even if their reaction seems like an overreaction to us. 

By this time, he’ll have calmed down some because he can see that you’re trying to understand him. Now you can introduce problem-solving. 

“I know that it wasn’t fair that she snatched your crayons from you while you were drawing... I wonder how else you can let her know next time that something is not ok to do without resorting to hitting....”

Dr. Ross Greene (famous psychologist) calls this collaborative problem solving (CPS). 

This is one of many ways we can help our kids with their difficult behaviors. 

To summarize... we can help a child who hits 1- By recognizing that difficult behavior is a cry for help.  2- By not projecting our adult views on kids and understanding basic child development (a kid who hits is not the same as an adult who hits) 3- By validating and accepting the feelings behind the actions  4- When our kids feel understood, they’re much more likely to feel connected to us.  5- Connected kids make better choices in life. (Conversely, punishing kids pushes them away and aggravates the challenging behaviors).  6- By waiting to problem-solve after the child’s logical brain is back in action (he’s calm and open to us)

Finally, it helps to remember that children are people too and have ongoing struggles. We can’t press the OFF button on behaviors we don’t like in them. Can we turn the OFF button on some of our own bad habits? But it helps to have someone who’s willing to understand us and help us. 

One day they WILL leave that behavior behind in shaa’Allah. They just need a bit of understanding and support. ?

We can do this!