Home Recovery Parent Info Adult Info Special Interests Your Contributions E-Mail

Hitting and Throwing without Anger

My son throws things and hits his brother, but sometimes it does not appear he is angry.

My Opinion:
One thing I noticed in what you wrote, is that you ask your son to give something to his brother, and he hits his brother on the head, but not in anger or anything. It might be that he was trying to get his brother's attention so he could give him the toy, and the only way he can figure out to do that is by hitting him. Can you show him how to get attention from his brother without hitting, such as "use your words" [a common admonition by parents LOL] and say "here is a toy", or maybe a shoulder tap. It might just be a social context that he cannot figure out what would be an appropriate response, especially because 8mo babies are basically not verbal, so he does not think a verbal response would be effective.

Throwing toys might be for a similar reason, or he does not want to go all the way over to where his brother is to give him the toy. Or it might be something to release frustration or anger, you can provide him with another outlet, such as a punching bag or something.

If time-outs, removing toys, and ignoring the behavior are not working, you can try the suggestions of others here, picture cards or giving him a task to do as "punishment", such as folding laundry or sorting socks, to see if those would work with your son. For my son, I have discovered two things which have worked for him, so perhaps you can try them for your son if you think they might work for him.

First, for hitting, I would say "no hitting" and hold his hands, or make him sit in the "time out" chair, and it was not helping him learn not to hit. So one time when he hit one of his brothers and it was something which could have caused injury, I immediately gave him a good swat right back, and said "NO hitting". It was hard enough to make him take considerable notice, but not so hard to really hurt him. It surprised him so much that he has never hit his brothers again, and now if he pushes or something else not appropriate, I can just say "no pushing" or sometimes even just say his name, and he will stop immediately. I think too much return hitting would only show your child that hitting back was an acceptable response, but this one time with my son served the purpose because he has never hit again. Your son sounds more verbal than mine was at the time, so you can also follow it with "See? Hitting hurts. That is why we don't hit."

Also, I have found that taking toys away does not work for my son, but allowing special toys or privileges for good behavior does work. For example, find a new toy or a privilege like tv or computer time or something, that would motivate your son. Then tell him "if you don't hit/throw between now and lunchtime, you can have the toy/tv/computer for 20 minutes after lunchtime." This can also work for the time after lunch and before dinner. You also have to teach him what is an appropriate alternative behavior if he feels the need to hit/throw. Then if he goes the entire time without hitting/throwing, he can do whatever for the stated period of time.

Home Recovery Parent Info Adult Info Special Interests Your Contributions E-Mail