How this stay-at-home mum stays sane and has fun one day at a time.

Hitting, kicking and other fun things my son is doing

Do you think Prince George will ever whack his mum in the face?

Do you think Prince George will ever whack his mum in the face?

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?”

Yee gads.

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.


7 Responses to “Hitting, kicking and other fun things my son is doing”

  1. Adele Bryson

    Oh your kids are sooo freaking normal and cute even when they are being wee tyrants, but I am constantly dealing with Finn kicking me and thinking it is funny (not so funny to the pregnant mum he has kicked in the tummy…) and, like you, have to take deep breaths. Even harder when he doesn’t do it to Dad! And my Mum deals with 3 grandkids kids under the age of 4 several days a week who all hit, elbow, bite and nudge and and even after raising three stroppy daughters herself still has no magic answers for it either… hang in there and she tells me this phase too shall pass…. xxxxx

    • kellyburnie

      So bad when you’re pregnant, I remember fighting Henry when I was argh. Your mother is a legend and yip, I tell myself it will pass, very comforting 😉

  2. Anna Donald

    How absolutely infuriating! I feel so annoyed when my kids hurt me even by mistake, and it seems to happen a lot! I think you’re right to recognise that it’s his way of dealing with his frustration. However I think you should take a ‘no tolerance’ stance and come down on it like a tonne of bricks, especially when his sister is copying him. So perhaps try separating the two out. Acknowledge his frustration (I just got an email about this from the Parenting Place – say something like ‘I know it’s hard for you to hear me say ‘no’. It feels yucky.’) and try to help him find healthier ways to cope with it, like jumping up and down or hitting a pillow. But if he goes straight to kicking, I’d say that needs some kind of quick, consistent response like removing him from the room and telling him he’s not welcome back until he can treat you nicely. Then after a few minutes (and a few deep breaths of your own!), welcome him back into the room by saying, ‘In our family we are kind to each other. We do not hit. You are welcome to play if you keep your hands to yourself.’ or something. Don’t make a meal of it cos he might start feeding on the attention he gets. Of course, it’s all easier said than done and you might need a reward system for yourself (read: large glass of wine at end of day) for a little while until the behaviour stops! Good luck!

    • kellyburnie

      You’re so right about the no tolerance stance. I think I started way too relaxed about it, mainly because he started it during a period of sleep deprivation and I was too lazy. But I’ve been working a lot harder and he seems to be getting it except for when he’s really tired (so some work to do with making sure he goes back to a day sleep too, he seriously needs it) Time for some tough but loving love 😉

  3. Anna Donald

    Ooh one more thing – it might be a good idea to introduce some kind of reward system to complement the praise that you’re giving him for being able to calm down (which I think is awesome). Something like a sticker on a chart, and 10 stickers equals a visit to a new playground, or whatever takes his fancy. 🙂

    • kellyburnie

      That’s a good way to bring in a reward chart. We have successes with charts which make him do a specific thing such as ‘eat your dinner’ but I couldn’t think of how to use it to discourage negative behaviour, but yes of course – it’s always about the praise isn’t it! Thanks.

      • Anna Donald

        Yeah I’ve always found sticker charts that focus on specific desired behaviour work wonders – but only with one of my kids! Seems like some kids respond to positive reinforcement a lot more than others. So anyway for this chart, I guess what you’d be ‘looking for’ is being able to cope with frustration, so he gets a sticker when you see him calm down, or direct his energy elsewhere, or even when he’s able to say to you, ‘I feel mad!’ Really helps if he can choose his reward, too – with some boundaries of course!

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