Teach Your Child How They Should React If Another Child Hits Them
No other situation can make a mother feel more sad and powerless than when a child often comes home from school complaining that another child hits them. You probably feel worried and angry that your child has fallen prey to bullying and you are wondering how you should teach them to react to these attacks.
For some children, a pinch, kick, bite, slap, or some other aggressive behavior slips out, either accidentally or out of habit, in various areas of their life such as at their school, the park, on vacation, etc.
However, making sure that a child knows how to react when another child hits them is the responsibility of their parents, who should know the most effective ways to stop these violent behaviors against their children and effectively control these situations which are unfortunately so common.
Tips For Parents On How To Avoid Raising A Violent Child
There are a few tips that any parent can apply with their child at an early age in order to prevent aggressive behavior, as well as to prepare their child for responding to certain situations, for example, when another child hits them.
- As always, parents should lead by example given that children absorb what they see at home. This is why parents should avoid all forms of violence, so that they won’t learn to use aggression or physical punishment as survival resources.
- Another tip for parents to avoid instilling aggressive behaviors in their children is to make their children aware of the harm that these cause to the people involved. You could use your face to communicate pain or anger at being hit, but you should always explain and shed light on the feelings of the person being harassed.
- If another child hits your child in front of you, do not give in to them, meaning that if what the small aggressor was looking for was a toy or the swing that your child was using, you should not let them have this, since this would send a positive message to both children about violence: By hitting you get what you want.
- Never advise your child that they should respond to violence with more violence. Do not buy into an eye for an eye, or survival of the fittest.
- The ‘time out’ technique, in which you punish the misbehaving child by putting them in a corner for several minutes, can be effective if your child makes the mistake of behaving like this.
- When your child is the one who hits their playmate, accidentally or intentionally, you need to teach them that they are in the wrong and need to apologize. It is very important that they learn this from an early age. Meanwhile, the person who was hit must be cared for, but without reinforcing their vulnerability which could put them into the role of the victim.
How should your child respond if another child hits them?
- Listen. Before you get angry, listen carefully to your child in order to fully understand where and when they were hit and who participated in these acts. Find out if it is a personal situation between a group of children, or a hostile environment in which the bully and everyone else are harassing a single victim.
- Ask questions. Do not look to place blame on anyone or interrogate, just try to better understand your child’s experience and the environment in which other children are hitting him.
- Use your presence to set boundaries. Help your child to communicate so that they can mediate and resolve the conflict. But always look for fair solutions and siding with who is right. But do not blame or humiliate the other person.
- Offer them words with which to express themselves. It is essential to teach your child various terms for identifying and putting their own feelings into words in order for them to be able to process these situations. Being able to articulate what they are feeling on the inside is the first step in them asserting themselves.
- Suggest possible solutions to your child. “What do you think you should do to resolve this situation?” can be a good way for you both to reflect on the problem and try to resolve the conflict. This is much better even than urging him to “smash their head in” if another child hits them. You will likely be surprised by your little one’s response.
- Show them the different options they have. Give them space to think and practice solutions so that this situation does not get out of control. Give him different ways to emerge from the conflict with his friends and you can even apply the technique of role-play.
- Encourage verbal communication. Language is more than enough to resolve whatever the issue is. Help your child set boundaries and gain respect through talking, even when he is frustrated.
- Before it comes to a fight, separate the children immediately. Put a stop to the situation with firmness and determination, but without roughness. Avoid shouts and insults.
- Trust your child. If another child hits them and they come to you with their frustrations after what happened, give them your vote of confidence by making them feel strong. Let them know that they will always have your unconditional support, but that they can decide how to solve his problem, be it with words, help from their friends or with the help of an authority figure. If they are trying to overcome these difficulties on their own, you will strengthen their self-esteem and their ability to face challenges.
- Encourage assertiveness as a way of responding to aggression. This alternative implies standing up for one’s rights in a clear, firm and confident way without attacking the other person.