HURTING others is a type of behaviour we may see from our children around the time they become toddlers. They sometimes hurt others to get a reaction biting, scratching, pulling hair, pushing or nipping is not uncommon. If this behaviour gets a reaction from those around them, it can act as an accidental reward. Frustration or anger can also trigger a toddler to react in this way and if it gets results i.e. another child gives up a toy be sure it will happen again.

Some tips on how to prevent your child hurting others:

• Where the hitting and hurting has occurred previously try to anticipate these high risk times and be prepared to act quickly.

• Encourage desirable behaviour when your children are playing well give them lots of attention and praise them for what they are doing “I love the way you are being gentle with your friend/the cat/your toys”.

• Help them to handle frustration when toddlers feel this it can often lead to hitting out.

If your child hurts others:

• Move within arms-length, get down to your child’s level and use their name. Tell them what they should stop doing “Tom stop hurting Daniel” tell what they should do “ask him nicely if you can have the toy”

• Show your child how to be gentle, such as stroking the dog instead of pulling its tail. Encourage your child to practise this, take their hand and show them how to be gentle. Praise them for doing the right thing.

Remember this is usually a phase that with your guidance your child should move on from.


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