Hurting Friends When She Knows Better; What to do?!

Amanda - posted on 08/17/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )




My two year old daughter will randomly hit or push another child sometimes for no reason at all. When she does it and I catch her I will say, "McKenzee, hitting is not what we do to our friends. It is not nice and it hurts", she will then curve her eyes at me and gives me a look like, "I can do whatever I want". Any reason as to why she is doing it?

I have only caught her doing it to a few girl friends, not all smaller than her, and when they are being nice to her!

She has two boy playmates that we see often that are out of control with hitting and yelling, could she be learning from them? I didn't assume this because when she is with them, she sort of avoids playing with them just plays with the same toys as them and she usually doesn't try speaking to them because they don't talk. And I know she knows better.. so I didn't think she would act out like another person she looks upon as crazy for running around hitting and yelling!

Please, please. I need some advice. I don't want her to be a social outcast, it's hard enough getting her to play with children her age.

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Lezley - posted on 09/01/2009




Is it possible that maybe while she views the behavior of the boys as odd or "Crazy" that she may think that's how she is Supposed to act? Kind of a "When in Rome.." or rather a "When playing with kids.."?? Just a thought.

Julie - posted on 08/17/2009




Hi Amanda,

My daughter is 3 1/2 and has had several periods of behaving like this since age 2, and from what I hear it continues until they are 18... A lot of the reasoning behind it may simply be willful independence, testing authority, etc. Our little stinker has moved past simple hitting and pushing to waiting until I look away for a minute and doing something then. That creates a he said / she said situation which is more difficult to solve.

We use a couple of strategies. First, we always make a point of making sure the other child is okay. we make a big deal out of it. Oh, that must have hurt! Are you okay? etc making sure out attention goes to the hurt child. We also let our daughter know there are expected ways to behave around other people and if she insists on behaving otherwise she will not be allowed to play. The response is said matter-of-fact like: "Oh, that's too bad. Guess we can't play anymore. If you can't stop yourself from hitting, we'll have to go home." Then, you must follow through. We always make sure to give a warning and make the expectations clear first, though. I think this philosophy is in something called "love and logic" if you can find it. It works great - there's no ramped up emotion, no yelling, and no saying "no" all the time.

Your daughter won't be a social outcast!! When our kids turned about 2 to 2 1/2, our entire playgroup - upwards of 20-30 kids - erupted in this same type of behavior. It was actually comforting because we were all going through it together. There is a series of books - Your One Year Old... Your Two Year Old... by Ames which is helpful is "looking forward" to these phases.

Hope this helps :-) Good luck!

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