When I had lovely new babies, I would gaze at their squishy faces and think about what adorable sweethearts they were. I thought the wee darlings would always be so delightful and couldn’t imagine them being naughty in any way. Almost three years later, I’ve learned a few things and my two littlies have been naughty countless times, but nothing has prepared me for the latest ‘phase’ where they are both HITTING me!
Henry started it and Annie is following like a little sheep. I feel like I’m locked in an episode of Supernanny and there’s an audience looking in and laughing. Jo Frost is saying “this behaviour is not asseptible” and those judgmental bastards in the audience are shaking their heads and making assumptions about my parenting. Like that I suck at it.
We’ve had a great run with Henry’s behaviour since he got over his terrible twos. Now he’s unleashed some aggressive behaviour that’s come as quite a shock. I’ve been busy making excuses for him. He is picking up bad habits from kindy, he’s so tired from not napping during the day, he has been sick. Well, there’s only so many times you can get kicked in the shins by a rough-as-guts gumbooted boy and keep making excuses.
What’s worse is that his little sister, a stroppy so’n’so, watches him with adoration and copies everything he does. Cute when she’s trying to do a puzzle, far from cute when she’s waddling over to me with her hand in the air, ready to strike. The other day she landed one on my leg and then looked at Henry as if to say: “Did I do it right?”
As for Henry’s hitting, it was my husband who ‘hit’ the nail on the head. I was getting so frustrated trying to figure out where this wacky behaviour had come from, when Tim explained it simply. He said that when Henry wants something, he can’t think of an alternative. He can’t handle the frustration of being told ‘no’.
This made me realise that my own frustration wasn’t helping the situation, so my first step towards tackling the hitting and kicking is to remain calm. I’ve gotta admit that this doesn’t come easy to me, particularly when I’m running low on sleep. So I try to keep calm and then I tell him that he needs to calm down before I count to three.
Once I feel like he’s listening, I tell him why he shouldn’t hit and how it makes people feel and I think of alternatives like: “You can’t have another muesli bar but you can have an apple, a banana or grapes”.
If he calms down he gets a lot of praise, a big high five and a hug, which turns into a group hug when Annie decides to join in. Gosh she’s the sweetest little angel when she’s not smacking me in the face…
So it sounds like I’ve really nailed this one ay? Well not quite. It only works about 50% of the time, which means I’m still facing a hitting, kicking and pushing NIGHTMARE of a child more than I care to mention. As long as getting aggressive is Henry’s first instinct whenever he feels frustrated, I’ve got a problem on my hands.
Do you have any tips on how to deal with this kind of behaviour? If you’ve navigated this one with your own children and you found a magic solution, let me know and I’ll be your best friend forever.