All the Single Dads... Part 2

As you know, we are celebrating that special man in our life whom we call Dad (or Daddy or Papa or Pops...) Our last blog post was about parenting tips for single fathers who may be struggling with parenting (for all you new moms too!)

Here's a second installment, this time it's all about how to deal with a biting, hitting child. Great advice from BreezyMama.

Do's and Don'ts to End Hitting and Biting for Good

For kids UNDER the age of three, hitting and biting is more of a training issue than a “misbehavior.” To a frustrated toddler with limited vocabulary and few social skills, taking a bite out of mom or dad’s arm or hitting a playmate who refuses to give up Thomas the Train seems perfectly logical. Our job is to train the child for better behavior in the future without creating a payoff that may cause the hitting and biting to continue and possibly escalate.

Here are a few Do’s and Don'ts to end hitting and biting:

DON’T spank or slap a child for hitting or biting. It reinforces that hitting is okay and models exactly the behavior you’re trying to stop.

DO supervise closely. You can probably tell when your toddler is getting frustrated or tired. When that’s the case, end the play date or swiftly remove him from the situation before it escalates to hitting or biting.

DO remain calm. It’s understandable to be upset when you see your toddler hurt another child, but you’ll get better results by remaining calm. When you get upset and raise your voice, your child gets a big dose of attention for a negative behavior. Even negative attention is very reinforcing and almost guarantees the behavior will continue. If your toddler hits or bites someone else, calmly remove him from the situation and use simple words – “No Hitting” or “Biting Hurts.”

Decide what YOU will do. Try as you might, you can’t “force” your child to NOT hit or bite. All you can do is decide what YOU will do when that happens. When your toddler hits or bites you, calmly put him down without eye contact and walk out of the room. This isn’t letting the child “get away” with the behavior; it’s creating a consequence that a young child can understand. The consequence is “when I hit or bite, mom goes away.” It also ensures that you’re not providing attention that reinforces the negative behavior. Take comfort that you’re not abandoning your child. As soon your toddler can speak calmly and kindly and use gentle touch with you, you are happy to interact with him again.

DO practice alternative strategies. Have pretend play dates with stuffed animals and practice what she can do when she gets frustrated. She can walk away, ask for help or use her words to say how she feels. Being able to use these conflict resolution strategies in the heat of the moment won’t happen over night, but practicing them early and often is the key.

DON’T force the child to apologize. A toddler’s “I’m sorry’s” are rarely heartfelt. When he is calm, talk about what he can do to “make it right” or “make the injured party feel better.” Coloring a picture or demonstrating an act of kindness teaches your child to take responsibility for his actions and shows empathy for the other person.

For tips for kids over the age of 3, head on over to BreezyMama's site here!