HITTING and hurting can occur at any time during your child's development. Children can lash out in frustration, pull hair, bite and nip skin. Sometimes babies and children do this just to get a reaction.

This type of behaviour is something that we should not tolerate and when this occurs we need to act immediately, fairly and consistently.

When babies bite it can be for a number of reasons. This behaviour could be attention-seeking, or merely the case that they are trying out their new teeth and want to see what happens when they bite someone.

In this particular case I have heard it said that the adult should bite the baby or child back - this is not the way to react to this behaviour. My recommendation for when this behaviour occurs is to say 'no' to your baby or child, place them somewhere safe and withdraw your attention. If you react with big emotions and a lot of fuss your child will think it's a game and most likely do it again.

If children lash out at you, the dog or any other child or adult, approach them and get down to their level. Using their name explain in a calm manner that this behaviour is unacceptable. Take them to time out to let them reflect on their behaviour. When the time is up (a couple of minutes should suffice) encourage them to apologise to the person or animal they hurt, and move on to do something positive with them.

Hitting and hurting others is quite a common phase that children go through. If handled correctly this type of behaviour should be short lived.

See: www.parentandbabycoach.co.uk

Next week: loving your children for who they are