How to deal with children who hit?

How can you best deal with children who hit or children who do not listen ? There is not just one answer to this. That’s because there can be many reasons why children do what they do.

Children may, for example, have anger problems or a difficult temperament, but it may also be a lack of boundary setting that is the cause. Because there are so many reasons, there are also many cases of children hitting. Many people therefore wonder how to deal with “difficult” children .

Here we give you the answers. We also explain how complex the problem can be and go into possible causes. Read on to find out more.

Why does the child hit?

There can be many reasons why your child or children hit. It could be, for example, that they have anger problems. Or have a difficult temperament. This can lead to acting out behavior, resulting in them hitting.

Where this again originates, for example, could be ADHD or Asperger’s syndrome. Children with brain disorders more easily resort to violence. It is because they often do not understand the situations they are facing . Or that they do not feel that they can decide on the situation, and thus are unable to handle it.

Children with special needs may at the same time have various triggers that provoke such behaviour. An example is if the child sits and plays computer games. Expecting the child to stop playing as soon as you come and speak up without preparing the child first can then be a trigger.

Then it is extra important to consider that the child needs a high degree of predictability, routines and clarity, so that you arrange accordingly.

In other cases, it may simply be that the child does not get his way . They then try to challenge the parents to make them change their minds. Or it’s just that it has become a bad habit . It may also happen that one of the parents or other adults in the child’s life have problems controlling their temper. Then you must remember that children learn from everything you do. It is therefore important that you yourself also live by the rule that violence is never okay.

Sometimes it can feel like you as parents are trying everything you can to get your kids to stop, to no avail. So how can you actually deal with children who hit ? Or children who don’t listen? Here we give you the answers.

How to deal with children who hit?

There are several ways to deal with children who throw tantrums. As mentioned earlier in the text, the way you handle it should depend on the reason why the child is hitting and the given situation you are in at the time. Here are various methods of how you can deal with children who hit, which can help you in the long run in everyday life.

  1. Control your own emotions
    If you catch a child hitting their siblings, other children or adults, it is important that you do not react strongly with anger. In the worst case, this can lead to the situation becoming even worse. Although you may be boiling inside, it is important that you remain calm in order to think clearly. This way you will be able to handle the situation as best as possible.
  2. Focus on the positive aspects of the child
    A child with anger problems or a difficult temperament can often experience getting a lot of attention because of this. Too much focus on anything negative can actually do harm, even if you’re just trying to help. If you shift the focus to the positive things the child is doingand encourage him or her in these areas, this can have a preventive effect on the negative behaviour.
  3. Be consistent with boundary setting
    Clear and distinct boundaries for what behavior is not tolerated are very important. This means that you must be very clear and specific about which boundaries apply in relation to physically acting out behaviour. This does not mean that the child is not allowed to express strong feelings and to vent them. On the other hand, help the child to express his feelings in another way.

Boundary setting helps prevent aggressive physical behavior.


How to handle the situation then and there?

More concretely, it may be wise to also be aware of how you should handle the individual situation that arises. Here we give you some examples of various incidents and how you can best deal with them.

  • The child does not stop beating
    Talk to the child calmly while asking simple and short questions. Try to find out what they really feel. If the child calms down after this, you can explain why you or others who made the child angry acted the way they did.
  • The child is unable to control his mind and body
    . If the physical violence from the child can affect others, the child must be removed from the scene. Take it in hand and go. Don’t make anything more out of the situation than letting the child vent his anger somewhere else. It is important that you do not hold it firmly or go all the way up to the child’s face. Just let the feelings come out.
  • The child makes a scene out among people
    When the child suddenly decides to make a mistake in a public place, it is wise to first give a warning. This could be, for example: “If you don’t give up now, we’ll go home.” If the child does not give in, follow up on what you just said.

Communication through body language

Hitting and other physically aggressive behavior towards others should absolutely not be tolerated. But with the very youngest, it can only be a way of communicating . This is because they have not yet learned to speak or how to control their emotions and desires.

It could be, for example, that the child sees another child sitting on his own mother’s lap. The child may then feel jealousy, but is unable to express this in other ways than the most primitive method of communication, namely hitting and physical attacks.

But it is also possible that this type of behavior emerges in older children because of a situation like this. This can then be a sign that they feel neglected , do not receive enough attention, that they have been exposed to something unpleasant or that they do not feel understood.

Get help dealing with children who hit

A child who never experiences consequences for unacceptable behavior will never learn what is not acceptable. It will also never understand why it is not acceptable. Children who hit and kick can risk social exclusion or other serious sanctions at school or other venues.

In addition, the problem can become even greater as the children grow . Then they become bigger and stronger, and are thus able to do even more damage. If the violence persists, and you are unable to control it, it is important to seek help.

When the toddler period is over, the child should no longer need to communicate in this way. If the child is still physically acting out beyond toddlerhood, it is high time to address the problem . Then you should seek out a therapist or psychologist who has both knowledge and experience with children who act out physically.

We can help you with children who hit and use violence. Get in touch today for therapy online or through a home visit. With us, the whole family can also take part in the therapy if the problems extend beyond acting out behavior in the child.