September 25th, 2006

Don’t be surprised if your otherwise friendly child has suddenly started hitting people. Many children this age start communicating their feelings physically, partly as a way to get your attention and partly because their language skills are still limited. To curb this behaviour, make a point of noticing when he communicates without hitting. Positive rewards for acceptable behaviour teach better than negative consequences for bad behaviour. What should you do? Don’t put him into social situations when you know he’s ready for a nap or too hungry to be calm. And try to spend some time alone with him each day so you can give him your full attention when you play together. Never smack him. Otherwise he learns from you that hitting is ok – they do it to me, why not smack other kids. Hang in there. Soon he’ll develop language that he’ll find helps him communicate much more effectively.

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