Hitting, Biting and Kicking: How to Stop Aggressive Behavior in Young Children

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“I’m not allowed to bring Ben to play group anymore,” said Sarah, whose son is now five years old. “The last time we went, he bit another boy who was playing with a truck Ben wanted. And the time before that, he hit a little girl across the face.

I try to tell him ‘no’ but he just doesn’t listen, so I just end up apologizing for him. I’m starting to feel like the world’s worst parent because I can’t control him when he acts out.”

As parents, few situations are more difficult to deal with than having a child who is aggressive toward other children. It can be embarrassing as well as frightening when your child bites, hits, scratches or kicks to get his or her way.

It’s not uncommon for younger children to engage in this type of behavior at various points in their development and in a variety of settings. However, when it becomes very frequent or seems to be their consistent way of reacting to something they don’t like, it’s time to step in and help them change their behavior.

The first step is understanding the underlying reasons why your child is choosing to act out this way. The more you understand what’s happening, the better you’ll be able to help them find other, non-aggressive ways to solve their problems.

Initially, between the ages of 18 months to 2 years, children find it extremely hard to communicate their needs to their parents, caregivers, and other children. Negative behaviors are one way they may choose to get their point across.

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For older children between the ages of three and six, such behaviors may be the result of never having learned appropriate, non-aggressive ways of communicating when they were faced with a difficult situation.

The cause of aggressive behaviors may be due to any or all of the following:

  • Self-defense
  • Being placed in a stressful situation
  • Lack of routine
  • Extreme frustration or anger
  • Inadequate speech development
  • Over-stimulation
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of adult supervision
  • Mirroring the aggressive behaviors of other children around them

One place to begin is to watch your child for cues to see if any of the situations described above brings about aggressive behavior. Learning as much as you can about the factors that trigger bad behavior is the best way to combat it when it occurs next time. Some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Who does my child hit, bite or kick? Does he do it to one friend in particular? Does he only do it to me? Or does he tend to be aggressive with whomever he is with? If it’s one person in particular, try to find out if there’s a reason why he’s attacking that child such as engaging in overly aggressive play, a poor match of temperaments or a lack of clear cut rules before play begins.
  • Also, what seems to cause your child to act out in an aggressive fashion? Is it triggered by frustration, anger, or excitement? Notice if there are patterns. Does he act this way when toys are involved, and he’s frustrated about sharing? Or does he become aggressive when there is too much going on and he’s over-stimulated? If you observe the situations carefully, you will likely notice patterns.
  • Finally, how is his aggressiveness expressed? Is it through angry words or through angry behaviors? Does he become verbally aggressive first and then physically aggressive, or is his first response to strike out and hit?
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By answering these questions, you are on your way to successfully limiting your child’s aggressive behavior in the future.

In this article, I’ll outline some ways that you can help your child become more aware of his aggressive feelings and teach him to calm himself down, or find alternative ways to solve his problems.

We’ll also talk about giving consequences to kids when they do lash out and hurt someone. In my experience, consequences are imperative to ending aggressive behavior in young children. They teach your child that all behaviors have a consequence, whether good or bad, and will help him make better choices in the future when he is with his friends.

Once you’ve narrowed down the reasons why your child is behaving aggressively, it’s time to intervene.

Step in and Stop it Immediately

At the first sign that your child is about to become aggressive, immediately step in and remove him from the situation.

Be careful not to give too much attention to your child so that you do not give any negative reinforcement for the bad behavior.

Too much attention can include trying to “talk through” the problem. Young children are not able to hear long explanations of why their behavior was offensive. A simple yet firm statement such as, “We don’t bite” should suffice while you turn your attention to the victim.

Other examples of too much attention include yelling at your child while attending to the victim, forcing your child to apologize immediately or continuing to talk to the other parents around you about how embarrassed or angry you are.

Make a point of consoling the victim and ignoring the aggressor. If your child cannot calm down, remove him or her from the situation without getting angry yourself. When they are calm and ready to talk, you can discuss what happened.

If it’s physically impossible to remove your child, you will have to remove yourself and the victim from the situation. By walking an age-appropriate distance away from your child after he has acted out, you are sending the message that you will attend to him when he can calm down. In doing so, you are teaching your child that it is his responsibility to learn to calm himself and act appropriately.

Lower Your Voice—Don’t Raise It

As parents, we need to show self-control and use gentle words if we want our kids to do the same. It’s easy to respond with yelling or anger, but remember, your child is looking to you for cues on how to control his impulses and have good behavior.

While it can be terribly embarrassing to have a child that continues to act out towards their friends, keep in mind that their negative behavior is most likely happening because they are still navigating their way through their social circles. This can be very difficult for some kids, so try not to over-react or personalize it.

One technique that works very well for some children is to change the tone and volume of your voice. You can help your child stay calm by immediately lowering your voice when attending to the victim as well as to your child.

If he is unable to calm down, before helping the victim, turn to him and say quietly:

“I need you to calm down now. I am going to help Josh and when I am done I want you to be done screaming.”

For some kids this will work, and when your child returns to you, calm and collected, feel free to quietly praise him, saying:

“Thank you for calming yourself down. We don’t bite. It hurt Josh and he is sad.”

Repeat the phrase “We don’t bite” and inform your child that if it happens again, the consequence is that you will leave.

If this does not work for your child and he simply cannot calm down, leave him where he is (again, at an age-appropriate distance) and ignore the tantrum. Most young children will not continue to act out if they no longer have an audience.

Practice Ways to De-fuse your Child’s Anger

For younger kids, help them recognize their anger by stating:

“I know you’re mad, but we don’t hit. No hitting!”

For children aged 3-7, talk about anger as an important feeling. You can practice ways to de-fuse your child’s anger during calmer moments. You can say:

“Sometimes I get angry too. When that happens, I say ‘I’m angry’ and I leave the room.”

You can also teach your child how to count to ten until he is less angry, how to do deep breathing in order to calm down, or how to use his words by making statements such as “I am really, really angry right now!”

All of these methods help take the immediate focus off of your child’s anger and teach them to recognize this important emotion.

Before you enter into a potentially difficult social situation, review the consequences with your child about what will happen if he cannot control his anger. Tell your child:

“I feel you can handle your anger, but if you can’t, we will have to leave the park and not come back until next week. Do you understand?”

Make certain that you follow through with whatever consequences you pose to your child.

Teach Kids that Aggression is Wrong

It’s also important to talk to your children about aggression during a calm moment. In a steady voice, explain to your child that hitting, biting, kicking, and other aggressive behaviors are wrong.

For younger children, those between 18 months and 2 years, keep it simple. Hold them and explain, “No hitting. It is wrong.”

Remember that you may have to repeat this rule numerous times, using the same words, until your child gets it. Be firm and consistent each time your child becomes aggressive.

Have a plan in place for consequences if aggressive behavior starts. At home, this can include a time-out chair away from the rest of the family where your child can stay until he can calm down. If you are away from home, pick a safe place, such as a time-out in a car seat or another place where your child is removed from the fun. This reinforces that you are not tolerating aggression in any form.

For older children, those between 3 and 7, remember that they may be experimenting with cause and effect. In other words, they want to see what you will do when they act out. It’s your job to provide the consequences for the “effect” to work.

Since older children are more verbal, you can use a variety of phrases when they misbehave. Examples include, “Biting is not OK,” or “Hitting hurts others. You need to stop.” It is okay to tell your little biter/hitter/kicker that once he misbehaves, he’s lost a privilege for the day. Consequences can include leaving a play date immediately or losing video time.

Tell Your Child to “Use Your Words”

Many times kids who display aggressive behaviors simply lack the communication skills necessary to help them through a stressful situation. For a young child, biting or hitting someone is a whole lot easier!

Plus, aggressive behaviors often give children a false sense of power over their peers. It’s up to you to work diligently with your child so that he or she can practice the art of diplomacy in a tough situation.

Help your child find their voice when they feel like acting out. By explaining and then practicing using their words, you are helping them to trade off aggressive behavior in favor of more socially acceptable behavior. Some examples are:

  • Teach your child to say “No!” to their peers instead of acting aggressively. Too often a child reacts negatively to a friend or sibling instead of asserting themselves. By using the simple word “no,” you are helping your child to get his point across verbally, not aggressively.
  • Give your child a series of phrases to use with their friends when they are feeling angry or frustrated. Some examples are, “No, that’s mine,” “I don’t like that!” or “Stop! That hurts.” This helps your child substitute words for striking out.

Before you enter a situation that you know may cause your child to act aggressively (i.e., a play date or daycare) remind your child to “Use your words.” Repeat this to your child throughout the course of the week when you feel they are getting frustrated.

Recognize Your Child’s Limitations

This means knowing when to leave a potentially volatile situation or choosing to engage your child in a different activity to avoid aggressive confrontations.

If you know that your child targets a particular child at play group, you may have to hold off going to play group for a few weeks until he learns to control himself.

Or, if certain videos, games, or activities frustrate your child, remove them from your daily routine to see if this has a placating effect on your child’s behavior.

Finally, if your child is exhausted, hungry, or over-stimulated, respect that and engage in low-key, slow-paced activities that will make aggression less likely. With your older, more verbal child, talk openly about situations that make him angry and work together to come up with solutions to help him through the problem next time.

Be Appreciative of their Efforts

When you catch your child being good, be sure to praise their hard work and efforts. For instance, if you observe your children in a power struggle over a toy that ends in them working it out peacefully with their friend, tell them how proud you are that they chose to use their words instead of resorting to aggression to get their way. Look for and continue to praise good behavior as a way to motivate your children to do better next time.

What Not to Do

  • Never bite or hit back. It can be tempting to want to teach your child a lesson in how it feels to be the victim of aggression, but when you succumb to a childlike form of communication, you are teaching your child that aggression is the answer to resolving a conflict. Even though it’s difficult, try your best to maintain your composure.
  • Do not expose your child to violent television or video games. Too often TV and videos portray the most violent character as the hero, which sends the message that violence is a means to an end for problem-solving. This message can easily be avoided if you are on top of their viewing habits. While TV or video violence may not affect some kids, it may greatly influence others who have a tendency to act out aggressively with their friends. By knowing your child’s temperament and what he or she can withstand, you are helping them on their way towards their best behavior possible.
  • Do not personalize your child’s bad behavior. All too often parents get frustrated and angry at their child when they are aggressive, because many times we feel that our child’s poor behavior is a reflection of our parenting skills. If you have an aggressive child, switch your focus towards helping them express themselves in a more appropriate way and follow through when an incident occurs.

When Aggression is Extreme

While aggression can be normal in many children, you should be aware of when your child’s behavior has gone beyond the scope of what is considered within the normal boundaries for their developmental level. Look for the following signs in your child:

  • A pattern of defiant, disobedient, or hostile behavior towards you or other authority figures such as teachers or day care providers. A pattern means behavior that is not fleeting, but is chronic and does not respond to the above interventions.
  • Loses their temper easily
  • Constantly argues with adults
  • Deliberately engages in activities that knowingly annoy others
  • Blames others
  • Acts annoyed or is chronically touchy
  • Exhibits ongoing anger
  • Acts spiteful or vindictive

It is important to recognize that all young children may exhibit any or all of the above problems at some point during their development. However, if your child persistently displays these behaviors and it affects their daily functioning, such as their ability to behave at school or maintain friendships, contact your pediatrician, as it may indicate that they have other psychological problems that need attention. In this case, you will need to have your child evaluated by a mental health professional.

Parenting an aggressive child can be one of the greatest challenges you will face as you weave your way through the maze of his or her development. Even though it may seem like it at times, it’s not impossible to teach your child new and appropriate ways to interact with other children and the adults around them. The key is developing a clear, uncomplicated, consistent plan and following it in a composed manner. Remember: the best example of appropriate behavior is you, and your young child is watching.

Related content: How to Discipline Young Kids Effectively: 4 Steps Every Parent Can Take

About

Dr. Joan Simeo Munson earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver. She has worked with incarcerated individuals, families, adolescents, and college students in a variety of settings, including county and city jails, community mental health centers, university counseling centers, and hospitals. She also has a background in individual, group, and couples counseling. Dr. Munson lives in Colorado with her husband and three energetic children. She currently has a private practice in Boulder where she sees adults, couples and adolescents.

Comments (74)
  • Hi My 6.5 year old son facing below mentioned problems-

    1) Very aggressive behaviour

    2) Getting angry very soon

    3) Hitting other kids frequently

    4) Not sharing things with others

    5) Never listen to anyone, Always do what he wants to do

    6) Very competitive nature. Always wants to come at first position in every situation. Like walking on road, climbing stairs, eating food or any other thing. Sometimes to come first he hits other person also.

    7) Always found naughty things, Never settle with any thing.

  • Caithlyn S
    My 3-year-old daughter has always had and still has tantrum episodes every single day. It’s humiliating. Bedtime is so stressful EVERY DAY! And this is not the only time she is out of control. I have tried it all; routine, stories, positive reinforcement, games, etc., still, nothing works. We can'tMore figure it out...we would appreciate your input... I'm all ears!!! Thanks!!!
    • Denise Rowden, Parent CoachEP Coach

      Thank you for reaching out to EmpoweringParents.com. Our main focus is children over the age of 5 because they usually have developed enough that our concepts will work with them. We have a few articles about younger children you may find helpful,

      https://www.empoweringparents.com/article-categories/ages-and-stages/younger-children/

  • Jay N.
    My boyfriend and I have been together for a little over two years.We both came into the relationship with children from a previous relationships. He has a 4 and almost 3 year old and I have a 4 year old, all of them boys. His sons are constantly getting sentMore home from school for hitting and biting the other kids at the daycare facility. His older son even had to get switched to another classroom for hitting his teacher. Over the past weekend his three year old bit my son multiple times all over his upper torso and scratched him in the face to wake him up. My four year old did not make a noise because he stated he did not want to wake anyone up. He looks like he joined the fight club and my heart was so sad. I sent my son to stay with his father for a few days until we figure out what is best. Every time I try to talk to my boyfriend about it he says I am overreacting and boys will be boys. The bite marks and scratches are so bad my son's daycare was going to call child services until he explained another child did it. Our relationship has been good so it feels wrong to break up, but at the same time my son's safety and happiness needs to come first. How do I get him to see his children need discipline, but not come across like i'm crossing a line. I know I am not being dramatic when the my son's daycare also seemed like the marks were way past extreme.
  • Tammy

    My husband and I have a 6 year old son (adopted). He is in 1st grade. Intellectually above average compared to the majority of his classmates. The issue is his behavior. He hits, kicks and pushes other children in his class, at church, at birthday parties, etc..

    we have done everything that we know to prevent this behavior. It seems to come in cycles. He will be very good for a few weeks and then the hitting starts. We do not spank him at all, if we are with him like at a birthday party the. We remove him from the situation and just try to calmly talk to him.. we of course aren’t with him at school or his church class. For punishment we take away all his electronics for the day. He does have a pediatric psychiatrist and is on guafacine for impulsivity. He also sees a school counselor.

    We don’t know what else to do..

  • Sophie
    Hello i enjoyed reading your tips for biteing. I have custody of my sisters 3 children aged 4,5 and 6. They have had such a sad few years which i feel is affecting their behaviour now and I am tryn to manage / cope / find new ways andMore change their lives for the better. 2014 ther grandfather gets cancer which eventually spreads to brain then he passes away Dec 2014. My sista moves in with our mum then starts misbehaving not coming home, arguing with mum, Feb 2015 she walks out and hands over custody to mum. Mum struggles i help out in holidays as im in auckland May 2015 mum passes away suddenly and unexpectdly in her sleep while she is in bed with Mr 5. Me and my partner come down sameday mum passes and we never go back to auckland, take over house, kids everything. Their father is in Jail awaiting trial hes written 3x whole time iv had them. Otha sista from australia moves back home Feb 18 with 1 of my nephews into our home, boys start playing up throwing major tantrums over nothing mostly night time. The otha nephew arrives from ozzy April 11th, kids fight for their cousins attention, their behaviour has changed 98% i am guessing because they are uncertain, unsure, more changes, Mr 5 bite his cousin today even though we were just talkn about biteing night before. Kids display few systems iv read on net regarding abandonment. Cryn in sleep at night, anger, saddness, i think they feel left out, i tell them i love thm, hug them hav them with me 99% of time. I am struggling as i search for them to be at peace, and no they are loved. Their mother has started seeing them 1 day for day only once a week. boys one week and girl next week for girl time.
  • Christine
    Hi, I have a 4 yr old turning 5 next week son. We recently had a lot of change in our life, his grandad which he was very close to passed away 5 months ago and we have now moved in with my mum to help her cope with life.More He has become aggressive towards other children in pre school and at home, he can be very kind and a good sharer but if he gets annoyed he just hits or punches. I have tried everything, time outs, telling him it's not right to hit his friends, taking him home as soon as he hits. I'm finding it hard to figure out if this is a reaction to all the changes in our life or if he is just being bold and hitting. He can also be very bossy and he is quite advanced with his speech and gets annoyed with other children his age if they get something wrong, which in turn he now hits them if they argue back.
  • Julie
    I'm looking for some guidance with my son who is 23 months. I had a baby girl two months ago, but his aggressive behavior had already been going on since about 16 months. When we were in playgroups he would go out of his way to push other kids. WhenMore we are at a friend's house he is constantly slapping my friend's son. Now that he has a little sister I am constantly keeping them apart. He will get excited and run over to see her and pet her hair and then it's like he can't hold it anymore and he whacks her. He started at a part time daycare 8 hours a week so I could have some time for myself and my daughter. Every day I've picked him up the teacher has reported some kind of incident to me. The last time I picked him up I needed to sign an indecent report and she suggested he skip a week and he tries a different day with older kids. Based on prior experience I don't see this helping at all. I thought this daycare would be such a lifesaver and now I'm wondering if he'll even be able to stay in it. It seems like they are willing to keep working with him but should I just take him out and keep him home? I don't know how he'll ever get past this. Everyone says it's a phase, but it just doesn't seem that way to me. It's been going on for so long now.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear you. It can be so challenging when you have a child who acts out aggressively toward other children. As outlined in the article above, it’s quite common for kids your son’s age to hit others because they tend to have poor impulse control and self-regulation, andMore lack effective communication and social skills. It’s also normal for young kids to not only become aggressive when they are angry or frustrated, but also when they are excited or as a way to gain attention from someone. This does not mean that you cannot set limits around this behavior with your son. While the choice to keep him in daycare or not is ultimately yours, if you do decide to keep him in daycare, I encourage you to work with his teachers to develop a consistent strategy to respond to his aggression. You can also work with him at home to develop more appropriate skills. In addition, if you are concerned that there might be something else going on for your son which might be contributing to his aggression, I encourage you to talk with his doctor. Because his doctor has the ability to directly observe and interact with your son, s/he can rule out any underlying issues and provide any necessary referrals for follow up. I recognize what a tough issue this is, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Leanne

    My 5 year old nephew has always been aggressive but it has now become extreme in particular when he asked to stop doing a certain activity , he has been excluded from school 3 times now for hitting , biting throwing chairs at teachers and trashing the whole class room.

    He is on his last warning then he will be completly expelled so probally by the time you read this that would of happend

    We went to the doctors to try get him referred to a paediatrician but the doctor said their wasnt enough evidence to warrant it , We feel completly lost the behaviour specialst at school says we need to respond softly and not to punish him to much (has hes pretty much had everything removed for bad behaviour) but hes only getting worse.

    Obviously we are going to go to the doctors for a third time in the hope they will refere him , he needs help and we dont understand how to help him , my sister other 2 childen are both happy little girls doing really well we dont understand whats happend.

  • keribear

    I have three year old twins, a boy and girl. J, my son, has always been very aggressive to both myself and his sister. He doesn't behave this way toward his daycare "teachers" or any other children, and very rarely acts this way with his father or grandfather. But he is constantly hurting his sister, and when he doesn't get his way with me, he immediately screams and hits. Putting him in time out (or attempting "time in" with mommy) always escalates the situation to a full-blown screaming fit.

    I can't revoke privileges the way I would like because as a single mom, if he stays home we all stay home. My daughter is constantly getting less attention, her experiences become secondary to his fits, and she can't even get a peaceful bedtime. I feel terrible for her situation and I am always exhausted from dealing with J.

    Social workers and one psychologist who has evaluated him just keep telling me he's not on the autism spectrum and that he's just a willful child. But I feel totally at a loss how to help him deal with his emotions and normalize our lives.

  • Mariana
    I have a 3 and a 5 yo. The other day, when they were having breakfast my 3 yo dropped the juice on my 5 yo and in response my 5 yo did a deep scratch on his face. He was punished and the scratch was healing but now heMore did it again at school (they are in the same classroom but not in the same class). I want to impose an effective punishment so that he understands the seriousness of what he’s done but I am stuck. I have punished the use of his iPad and videogames. I feel sad because I don't think the scratch scar will take off. He's not aggressive at school, just with his little brother.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I hear your concern about the aggressive way your 5 year old treats his younger brother, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. While it’s appropriate to hold your son accountable for scratching his brother, giving him harsher consequences isn’t necessarily going to be more effectiveMore in ending this behavior. This is because simply taking more things away from him isn’t going to teach him how to behave more appropriately the next time his brother annoys or irritates him. As Dr. Joan discusses in the article above, it’s going to be more useful to teach your son other nonaggressive ways of handling these situations. You can find more information on how to do this in The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Eadams5
    My 3 1/2 yr old hits kids at daycare/sitters and has an issue with sharing toys. She is a only child and within the previous years has had little association with kids. All my friends have no kids and we have no relatives that live near us so she isMore just now regularly playing with kids. I worry as to how to curb this behavior because sitters are not constant at stopping this action while she deals with kids they watch. My husband and I tell her constantly even on off days from the sitters that it makes friends upset for her to hurt them friends and that she needs to play nice and not hit but every time I get a sitter they tell me she has hit kids. She is limited on what she can watch and play with as her form of punishment however I am unsure if this will help the problem. My husband works nights and tries to sleep during the day while monitoring her so that she doesnt get into anything and hurt herself and she plays alone at home with her toys without a problem. When I get off from work and back from school we spend some hours together eating dinner and maybe watching a little TV and then we get ready for bed. I discussed with my husband us working on playing with her and her toys to get her used to sharing but again, we are not kids and she needs to socialize with kids to learn the behavior while playing with them. I need some advice as to what I needs, should and can be doing to curb this behavior.
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      Aggressive behavior with young children can be so challenging, and I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support. I see that you are currently working with your daughter’s daycare to address this behavior, and I encourage you to continue to do so. Another part of addressingMore this behavior will be giving your daughter opportunities to practice sharing more appropriately. As you noted, you and your husband can practice with her at home, and sharing her toys. You might also look for opportunities where your daughter might be able to practice these skills with kids her age. For example, you might go to the library, park or playground, or seek out a local playgroup you can attend. You might find additional tips in another article by Dr. Joan, Young Kids Acting Out in School: The Top 3 Issues Parents Worry About Most. Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • OsamaYasser

    My 2 years daughter like to hit her 9 months brother in face and head and also her cousin when they play together, When she goes to her Grandpa and Grandma she starts to reach anything on tables and broke them ! this makes them frustrated on the other hand she goes to the playschool with her peers she doesnt hurt or hit anybody there !!! my wife noticed that her aggressive behavior most of the time with the family that she is familiar with them

    she doesnt repsond to " Don't hit ur cousin" or " Don't do that"

    need ur help

    thanx

  • Shannon123456789
    My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter likes to hit my 2 month old son on the head and face, partially to see other his reaction or our reaction or otherwise because she is frustrated. I also know that she is very handsy in school as well. She doesn't respond to "we don't hit"More and often she gets defiant, doing her best to ignore what I say. If I try to take away an activity or Leave the Room, she inevitably does it again. I don't know what else to do. Any suggestions?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Shannon123456789 I understand how frustrating it can be when you have a young child who is acting out aggressively, and I’m glad that you’re reaching out for support.  As outlined in the article above, it’s not uncommon for young children to hit because they tend to have a low toleranceMore for frustration, poor impulse control, and lack appropriate coping skills.  I encourage you to practice the techniques outlined in the article above, such as giving your daughter alternate strategies to practice when she gets frustrated at home and at school, and to do your best to avoid reinforcing your daughter’s aggression through your reaction.  You can find more on this in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-discipline-young-kids-effectively-4-steps-every-parent-can-take/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • KrystalGrogan
    My son is 4 years old going on 5.  He has been really aggresive at school, hitting & biting, and he just recently started spitting.  He throws things sometimes at school.  We are going to a counselor once a week.  His pre k teachers and principal are doing what theyMore can to help.  We have tried different things.  I am open to more options away from medicine.  We just want him to be able to communicate with people when he gets upset instead of getting upset and lashing out.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      KrystalGrogan It can be quite upsetting when a young child is acting out aggressively at school, and you’re not alone in facing this type of behavior with your son.  I’m glad to see that you have been working with local resources, such as school staff and a counselor, to helpMore you address this behavior.  As Dr. Joan points out in the article above, giving your son more appropriate behaviors which are simple to remember can be a great option to help your son at home.  She outlines more tips you might find helpful in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/young-kids-acting-out-in-school-the-top-3-issues-parents-worry-about-most/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • NNSteckert2014
    Hi, My daughter just turned 2. Ahh The terrible twos yes. She is in daycare with two other kids one older and one younger, she is an only child so she is a little rough, however today her daycare let me know that we will have to find new daycareMore due to her just being extremely rude and out of hand; hitting, kicking, scratching, and hair pulling, etc. typical 2 yr old behavior. What is the most effective way that I can start correcting this so problems like this don't continue on??? Need help soon I work full time and can't really afford to lose pay or sitter.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      NNSteckert2014 I hear you.  It can be very challenging when a young child is acting out aggressively, and even more so when this behavior is creating consequences which impact you and your options for childcare.  As you noted, it’s not uncommon for young children to behave aggressively toward others, asMore they tend to have poor impulse control and few appropriate coping skills.  This doesn’t mean that you are powerless to address her aggression, however.  You can set clear limits that hitting, kicking, hair pulling, and other aggressive actions are not OK, and immediately give her consequences if you witness her engaging in this type of behavior, as outlined in the article.  As you interview other daycare providers, you might also ask how they typically handle aggressive behavior in young children, as they surely have had other young children who have engaged in these types of behavior.  Another possible resource for you might be your daughter’s doctor.  Because s/he has the benefit of being able to interact with and directly observe your daughter, her doctor will be able to rule out any underlying factors which could be contributing to her aggression, as well as offer you tips on how you can work with your daughter to address this.  I understand what a challenging behavior this can be to address, and I wish you and your daughter all the best moving forward.   Take care.
  • Ashleevee
    My son is 5 years old. I have been recently getting phone calls that he has been extremely aggressive toward his classmates and teacher. She has told me that if they are going to do an activity that he does not want to be a part of he will throwMore a tantrum and start hitting and kicking his classmates. The other day he began doing so and the teacher asked him if he'd like to take a walk to calm down. In the process he bit her. That same day I came to pick him up from school and he was acting irrational. I've never seen my son act this way before. Hitting, kicking, screaming. It didn't seem like him at all. I'm completely in the dark right now and have no idea what to do about this behavior.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Ashleevee It’s not uncommon for kids to act one way in one environment, and act completely different in another.  You’re not alone in experiencing this situation.  As Dr. Joan points out in the article above, it’s also not uncommon for young children to act out aggressively because they tend toMore lack more appropriate coping skills.  The good news is that you are in a great position at home to help your son develop more effective strategies for handling his behavior at school.  You might find some helpful tips in another article by Dr. Joan, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/young-kids-acting-out-in-school-the-top-3-issues-parents-worry-about-most/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your son.  Take care.
  • BD1357

    Hi , My 4 years old son gets angry and frustrated when something simple like his toys not working. Like he wants to tow a car with a truck then it doesn't work for some reason, then he throw them away and start screaming. He is pretty normal outside or at school but lose his tolerance really fast if something goes wrong (like when he can not wear his shoes or change his pants). What is the best approach? sometimes we take the toys and give toys "timeout" and saying oh so you don't need them if you throw them away, we try to calm down but we are human too!

    Any advise?

    Thanks.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      BD1357 I hear you.  It can be so frustrating when your young child starts having a meltdown over a small inconvenience.  Kids this age often have tantrums because they tend to have a low tolerance for frustration, poor impulse control and few appropriate coping skills.  This doesn’t mean that youMore are powerless, however.  Staying calm and giving the toys a “timeout” are two effective techniques I encourage you to continue practicing with your son.  It can also be useful to direct your son to a specific activity he can do to help himself calm down, as noted in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-handle-temper-tantrums-coaching-kids-to-calm-down/.  You might find more helpful techniques in another article by Dr. Joan, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/4-things-not-to-do-when-your-young-child-has-a-tantrum/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for your family.  Take care.
  • hemalhathi

    Hello doctor,

    My younger son going to complete two year within two months... He always throwing kitchen utensils, remote control and mobile phones. But the main problem is, he hitting my older son age 7 years. Even he hits me, his mother and even my parents sometimes. He hits anything he have in his hand. He looks very normal when he hit anybody. Generally his growth is Very normal and other way he is quite normal.

    Kindly guide me to handle the situation,

    Thanks

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      hemalhathi Thank you for your question.  As outlined in the article above, it’s not uncommon for kids your son’s age to engage in behaviors such as throwing things and hitting due to factors such as poor self-control and low frustration tolerance.  It can be helpful to set a clear limit,More such as “We don’t hit” or “We don’t throw phones”, as well as stepping in and stopping him if you see him about to hit someone.  Given his age, you might also check in with his doctor, who can give you more age-appropriate strategies to use to address your son’s behavior.  Take care.
  • JaneySilva

    I have a 5 1/2 year old boy who has had many issues with behavior since he was little.  I was travelling a lot when he was small and feel like he has aggression because of that as well as feels slightly unsafe in the world.  I have been home for 1 1/2 years and we are in a program to help with his brain development (Brain Highways) that is helping tremendously.  His behavior at school has improved and we can have 2-3 days with good behavior.  However, on those bad days, it's always a problem with hitting.  And, there seems to be one particular girl that he hits the most (but not only her).  I've met the girl and she is the most loving child you could imagine.  I've seen them interact and he really likes her and she likes him.  Today, there was a different teacher in the class who said that my son just walked over to the little girl and whaled on her in the back.  The school is saying that he might not be able to come back, so of course I'm panicked.

    We have talked to him about ways to solve this problem.  Deep breathing, talking to a teacher when he's upset, proprioceptive movements that help calm down the body, going with the flow - just letting things go.  Sometimes, he uses these techniques and averts his own issues, but other times, it's like he hasn't learned it.   We also take away TV time, favorite toys, etc.  Last week he was sent home from school and I made him work on a computer school program all afternoon.  No playing, just work until school time was up.  I try to stay calm with him.  I try to remind him that he is making poor choices but he is not bad (he has some negative self-talk).  I always affirm that I love him, but that his behavior is not acceptable in any circumstance.  We also do role-playing to try to think of new ways to handle the problem.

    I don't know how to break him out of this behavior.  I feel so lost and scared right now.  I would love to hear if there is an approach I'm missing.

    • AngelMetzger
      Did you get a response? I'm having similar issues.
      • JaneySilva
        AngelMetzger I did not get a reply.
  • toottoot024
    I have a 9 yr old step son who is constantly telling me and his dad no and shut up! He also has 3 step brothers who he is constantly lying on or hitting them! His step brothers tell him they love him and he tells them that he don'tMore care! He has even drawer back to hit me! I have grounded him, whipped him, set him in a corner and nothing seems to help him at all! Any suggestions?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      toottoot024 I hear you.  It can be so difficult when you have a child who is being disrespectful, and constantly talking back.  Many parents and stepparents struggle with how to address this type of behavior, so you are not alone.  In general, it tends to be most effective if theMore https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/blended-family-the-5-secrets-of-effective-stepparenting/, and the stepparent takes on more of a supportive role whenever possible.  Furthermore, we do not recommend using techniques such as grounding a child, or using physical punishments, because they do not tend to be effective in teaching a child what to do differently in the future.  Instead, it could be more helpful to focus on teaching him more effective skills to use for next time.  You might find some useful techniques in our article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/why-consequences-arent-enough-part-1-how-to-coach-your-child-to-better-behavior/.  Please be sure to write back, and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • Aweir
    My 7yo normally sweet and loving and everyone comments how well behaved and good mannered he is has suddenly become quite aggressive. He has been swearing at people, been disruptive in class, disrespectful and even hitting/hurting his sisters and poking a classmate with a pencil hurting him. When he doesMore these things he gets this look of pure anger and I really need to lash out to feel better look on his face. I'm scared something has happened to him. I'm very over vigilant with this type of thing because of my own experiences... Is this normal for his age? What should I do??? PLEASE HELP...
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      Aweir I hear how concerned you are about your son’s https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/sudden-behavior-changes-in-kids-part-i-what-do-they-mean/.  If you are concerned that there might be an underlying reason for this abrupt switch to aggression, I encourage you to share your observations with his doctor.  Because his doctor has the benefit of directly observing and interacting withMore your son, s/he will be in a better position to assess what might be going on, as well as providing any necessary referrals.  In the meantime, I recommend setting clear limits around aggression, and helping him to use more appropriate behavior.  You might find some useful tips in our article series on aggressive child behavior; here is the first in the series https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/aggressive-child-behavior-part-i-fighting-in-school-and-at-home/.  Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.  Take care.
  • nurtasha

    I have a 4 year old that has become increasingly more aggressive. She has started kicking other kids which she never did before. She understands that the behavior is wrong, but still chooses to do it anyway. She has violent tantrums and it takes anywhere from 5-45 min for her to calm down. She mostly has these behaviors at daycare. I dont see as much agression or behavior at home. But they are calling everyday for me to pick her up. I took her to a child psychiatrist who really didnt help much. He said to be consistent and the school will have to figure out how t o set limits for her. I really feel they have and are doing this, but it is no help.

    Do yall have any suggestions?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      nurtasha I hear how concerned you are about your daughter’s behavior at school, and I’m glad you’re reaching out for support.  I also encourage you to continue to work with the school to be consistent in their responses to her aggression, and the limits they are setting.  If you areMore not seeing these behaviors as much, you might share what has been working for you at home.  While her teachers might not be able to do exactly what you can at home, they might be able to modify what they are doing to be more effective.  In addition, as mentioned in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/young-kids-acting-out-in-school-the-top-3-issues-parents-worry-about-most/, it’s also helpful to recognize and praise your daughter when she is behaving appropriately.  For example, you might set up a https://www.empoweringparents.com/free-downloadable-charts/with her where she can earn a small reward when she stays the whole day at daycare, and you do not have to pick her up early.  I understand how challenging this behavior can be, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your daughter.  Take care.
  • AndreaDStewart

    I have a 5 year old, he’s an only child and he just started

    kindergarten this year. He has a speech delay, for which, he goes to speech

    therapy.

    Our first issue with his transition to kindergarten was

    getting him to eat lunch since he’s a picky eater. He’s eating most his food

    now although they still are not the “right” foods so we are still working on

    that. Our second issue was the reports we’d get from his teacher saying things

    like he was in the corner crying and seems overwhelmed… and now that he’s

    eating more, he’s hyper a lot and unfocused. He’s a high academic achiever so I

    figure it must be more social. He doesn’t have many friends outside of school, but

    we do go the park a lot and he plays fine. 

    Our new issue which started during the past two weeks is

    that he’s started hitting other children in class excessively.We talk about it each time it occurs and I

    stress the importance of not hitting others and to tell the teacher when

    something is wrong. Other than that I don’t know what to do.

    • samanthacarr37
      AndreaDStewart If your son gets speech therapy through the public school, such as an IEP program, he is eligible for early intervention therapy. Look into the public school for your county and call them. Tell them you want an evaluation of your child done and express your concerns. All ofMore this is free and funded by the state. I have the same issues with my son. We are working with the IEP to get him into an early intervention daycare for speech delay, autism, ADHD, and aggressive defiant behavior.
  • cynthia_marie1989
    i have a 7 year old in the same boat at first i excused his behavior because of his speech(he had major speech delay) and he still  struggles with words but you can under stand him better now than a year ago but now i just think its his behaviorMore he chocked his sister out the other night and he was punished for that and then yesterday we were at Walmart picking up a few things and i caught him steeling !!! so he was grounded and all his stuff was taken away for two weeks and today he got into a fight with a child at school in gym. i am  trying to work with the schools but they are not being very co-operative. i have already took everything "fun" away and he has to clean and homework and besides that sit in a room with just the bed in it! i am just not sure what else i can do??????
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      cynthia_marie1989 I hear how troubling your son’s behavior has been for you, and how much you want to address these issues.  I’m glad that you are here reaching out for support.  I see that you have attempted to hold him accountable by taking everything away.  While consequences are part ofMore changing a child’s behavior, taking everything away tends to be ineffective because it does not teach your son more appropriate skills to use in the future.  At this point, it could be useful to have a https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ with him about what he can do instead of becoming aggressive, or taking items which do not belong to him, the next time he finds himself in a similar situation.  You might also find our article series on aggression in children helpful as you move forward; the first article is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/aggressive-child-behavior-part-i-fighting-in-school-and-at-home/.  Please let us know if you have additional questions; take care.
  • Nat_ward11
    I have a 4 year old son who has displayed aggressive behaviour from age 1 up until now. He is at school and the teachers have never witnessed this behaviour and tell me how perfect he is which is lovely but It just appears to be for me that hMore acts out. Even when he is excited he will hug other children far to hard, or squeeze them and touch their faces; countless times I tell him not to do this but he doesn't listen. I am a nervous wreck when I take him out and have distanced myself from friends. If I take him toto me out he will call me 'stupid' and 'idiot' and try to bite my hand, scratch me and kick me, I actually feel quite victimised. I'm so desperate now for help, I can't go on any longer like this and would love to know how I can make him see how wrong his aggressive behaviour is.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Nat_ward11 

      It can be quite upsetting for many parents when a child is

      aggressive, so you are not alone.As Dr.

      Joan points out in the article above, it is common for young children to do

      things like biting, hitting, and scratching, as well as have a difficult time

      picking up on social cues from others.With this stage in development, young children tend to have a low

      tolerance for frustration, few appropriate coping skills, poor self-control as

      well as an under-developed sense of empathy.This does not mean that you are powerless, however.I encourage you to practice the steps

      outlined in the article above, such as being calm and in control when your son

      starts to become aggressive toward you.You might also consider https://www.empoweringparents.com/free-downloadable-charts/ to reward and recognize times when your son is behaving

      appropriately.I understand how challenging

      this behavior can be, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how

      things are going for you and your son.Take care.

  • Simone 52
    Thank you for you response RebeccaW.
  • cabreu
    I have a nine year old boy who is acting very aggresive in school when his peers tease him or simple things like remind him a task. He insist that it frustrates him when others do that, and I've been teaching him different strategies he can use, but its notMore working. He can go on a whole week of excellent behavior, and his aggressive behavior is not everyday, but teachers and prinicipal insist that he can't calm down, and tend to not give him a period to cool down, or explain, and this makes him kick and become more aggresive, but fortunately when I arrive when called in he is just fine, shows remorse and realizes what went wrong.
  • Simone 52

    My 5 year ols son has been aggressive in school since first day of school and a year later there is no change. He is hitting, kicking, spitting, pulling hair.etc. He doesn't display this behaviour at home or when with me or most family members. I have worked closely with the school, we have regular meetings to devise strategies, I use social stories, role play, consequences for bad behaviour positives for good, reward charts. Made a real effort to avoid power struggles. When I ask him why he is hurting people he says it's because he wants to go home. EP requested and she suggested exact same things we are already doing and indicated that she didn't feel there was a psychological problem or that his behaviour met with that of a child with ADHD, AUTISM, aspergers, ODD. When he is violent at school I get a call to take him home which reinforces the bad behaviour as ultimately he gets what he wants. He gets lots of attention for bad and attention for good and due to health and safety etc the school state that they are unable to challenge some behaviours.He is bright, confident, loves social events, but wants autonomy over everything and makes he own mind up about a sitution or idea until it can be disproved. He is stubborn, very energetic, and likes his environment to be constantly changing. I write all this in desperation we need help!

    Many thanks.

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Simone 52 

      I hear how much effort you have put into addressing your son’s aggressive

      behavior at school, and I’m glad that you are reaching out.I encourage you to continue to work with the

      school on strategies to address your son’s behavior there.You also make a good point that if your son

      is acting out to get sent home, then this behavior is getting reinforced every

      time that you are called to pick him up.It might be useful to try to find a solution which both keeps your son

      at school while also maintaining everyone’s safety.You might find additional tips in our

      article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/acting-out-in-school-when-your-child-is-the-class-troublemaker/.Please be sure to write back and let us know

      how things are going for you and your family.Take care.

  • terika32
    My son is 5 has shown aggressive at school. Hitting kids and yelling at his teachers. It started last year in May. Before that he was so well behaved in school. Never had an issue. Then I started getting phone calls of him being disruptive in class and hitting otherMore kids. As soon as school was over and he was back in daycare for the summer the behavior stopped. Then again two weeks ago when school started the aggressive behavior started back up. I really don't know what to do anymore. He is such a smart boy and very caring. But his aggressive behavior at school is just getting worse.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      terika32 

      It can be confusing

      when your child is acting out aggressively at school, yet doesn’t demonstrate

      this behavior anywhere else.  As Dr. Joan points out in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/young-kids-acting-out-in-school-the-top-3-issues-parents-worry-about-most/, it

      can be useful to work closely with your son’s teacher and the school to address

      this behavior.  His teacher might be able to share information with you

      about what s/he is observing in the classroom, which you can then use at home

      to help your son come up with more appropriate responses for the future. 

      Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and

      your son.  Take care.

  • Aaleyah
    My 6 year old son is having aggression at school only he seems to sometimes mirror his peers aggressive behaviour other time he is deliberate in being either combative or troublesome towards others. How can o stop this behaviour. He has seen a counsellor and has been for tests allMore came back normal. At home his the sweetest boy and very considerate of everyones feelings. How can I teach him positive behaviour at school with his peers
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Aaleyah  

      It can be so

      frustrating and embarrassing when your child is acting out at school; you are

      not alone in experiencing these issues.  Actually, it’s quite common for

      kids your son’s age to act out aggressively with peers, as they tend to have a

      low tolerance for frustration, poor impulse control and few appropriate coping

      skills to use when upset.  This doesn’t mean that you cannot address this

      behavior, however.  For example, you can https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ at home about other, more appropriate ways that he can

      handle issues that arise at school. In addition, Dr. Joan addresses aggression

      at school in another article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/young-kids-acting-out-in-school-the-top-3-issues-parents-worry-about-most/. 

      Please be sure to write back and let us know how things are going for you and

      your son.  Take care.

  • Hira
    Hi my son willbe 5 in two months, but his communication skills are very low he started speaking at the age of 4 and still learning but one thing he learned very early is his aggresive behaviour he dont want to share easily he hits other kids while playing dueMore to excitment and some times when he is angery but mostly while he is playing and very excited its really hard to make him understand the rules of play if we say no to anything he sreams and cry loud people dont understand and look at us as we are not good parents. He dose this mostly when people are around while at home he is mostly calm. Its really embaraccing need help
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Hira 

      Learning how to

      share and interact appropriately with others are difficult skills for many

      young children; you are not alone.  Part of helping your son to develop

      more appropriate skills is identifying potential triggers for him, as noted in

      the article above.  It sounds like your son tends to be more aggressive

      when playing with large groups of kids, so you might avoid that for now as much

      as possible. Something you might try instead is role-playing with him at home

      about how he might handle these situations, or having playdates with only one

      other child so you can observe his interactions and intervene as needed. 

      Dr. Joan offers more suggestions in her article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-discipline-young-kids-effectively-4-steps-every-parent-can-take/. 

      I understand how challenging this behavior can be, and I hope you will write

      back and let us know how things are going for you and your son.  Take

      care.

  • RichardKelch
    This article will be so outdated, really soon, when we go closer to nature than ever before.
  • angela bruhnsen
    my daughter is almost 2 been trying to get help but we r right she hits kicks bites scratches never likes to go to bed screams has five minute tantrums n we do everything right n we know something is wrong we need help we know she needs two getMore checked but ask for help but told she is fine but we know she is not
  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    @Carolann 

    It can be very scary and upsetting when your child starts to

    become physical with you and others in the house.  I imagine that it must

    be even more frightening due to your son’s size and your pregnancy.  You

    mentioned that you believe that your son has an attachment disorder due to

    events which occurred with his dad when he was younger.  Because this is a

    serious disorder which requires an individualized treatment plan focused on

    understanding and strengthening the relationship between you and your son, I

    encourage you to consult with your son’s doctor about your concerns.  As

    your son’s doctor has the benefit of directly observing and interacting with

    your son, s/he will be in a much better position to assess any underlying

    issues which might be contributing to his behavior, as well as providing

    referrals to local treatment professionals.  I wish you and your family

    all the best as you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • AliceU
    My 4.5 yr old boy hits me and other children. His father shouts and blames and I'm pretty sure this is the source of his behavior. There is no chance of my husband changing this behaviour, which he sees as normal. Any ideas on what I can do, on myMore own, to help?
    • AliceU
      Thank you Darlene. You've given me hope.
    • Darlene EP

      AliceU 

      When young children become angry

      or frustrated, they sometimes resort to aggressive behaviors, like hitting and

      kicking, as a way to solve their problem. This is because young children

      generally have a low tolerance for frustration and lack the skills to manage

      their emotions appropriately. The good news is, this is something that they can

      learn. Like the above article talks about, helping your son to recognize his

      anger and practice ways to calm down appropriately when he is angry, like

      counting to 10 or taking deep breaths, will help him to start to solve his

      problem differently.  Another article that you may find helpful is https://us-mg5.mail.yahoo.com/neo/launch?.rand=ats1ecbhu5tc5. I hope

      this helps to answer your question. Thank you for writing in. Take care.

  • Toota

    Hi,

    I have a 6.7 years boy who is continuously arguing with adults and started recently hitting his teachers and screaming.

    His behavior is getting very aggressive.

    He has 2 sisters 4 1/2 and 2 1/2 years old .

    He is a very kind and helpful person but can't handle stress and loses his temper easily.

    Please advise .

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Toota 

      This type of behavior is quite common for kids your son’s

      age, so you are not alone in this situation.  This is because kids your

      son’s age tend to have a low tolerance for frustration and stress, and few

      appropriate coping skills to use when upset.  In addition to using the

      tools described in the article above, you might also try having conversations

      with him during a calm time about https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/ the next time he loses his temper.  I understand

      how challenging this can be; please be sure to write back and let us know how

      things are going.

  • J
    Today at the gym child minding my 4 year old daughter yelled at a baby to stop looking at her. The staff said she then walked over to the baby and hit them. I'm at a loss of what to do. The baby sitting across the room obviously did nothingMore wrong. :(
  • Crystal
    I have a 6 year old boy who acts out in anger. He started to hit kids in school. Then he started hitting teachers and his principal. It has just recently escalated to hitting me in the face. We have tried sitting him down and talking with him, remaining calmMore at all times, grounding, taking him out of stressful situations, ect. It has felt like there is nothing left to do. I did make him an appointment with his doctor to see if he had ADHD. I have just recently learned that there is two sides to ADHD, Being hyper and behavior. He is very smart and learns well in school. It's just his behavior that is getting in the way. Hoping we get answers and can help him in every way we can. The most difficult thing is to witness you're child struggle and to not know what's going on. Thank you for the advice in this article.
    • joanna14
      We're both in the same boat. Receieve a call from school about my child hitting his pears and teachers! Even say "I don't like you" to them and I don't even know where he get those words. :(
    • Scyriacks
      I started to cry when I read your comment. We are going through something similar, and nothing is working. I'm just so tired, and i don't know what to do anymore.
  • Pixel
    I have a six almost seven year old who is starting to hit other kids when he gets frustrated. He can't handle losing, at all. He can't handle other kids being unfair. One instance of it and he is flipping his lid and punching kids. He's sorry, seconds later, cryingMore and apologizing to them. I just don't know what to do or why this is happening. It's always due to frustration and normally over playing games.
    • Scyriacks
      We are in the same boat. I'm at the end of my rope and just don't know what to do anymore ?
  • wsmomma
    We have a 6-year-old boy and our 21-year-old daughter and her 15-month-old have always lived with us. Our 6-year-old is loved by his teachers, classmates, mom helper's in the class & we've been told by them what a sweet, kind, obedient boy he is. However, he is so mean toMore my 15-month-old grandson & I think it's because he is getting back at his sister for "abandoning" him when her son was born. I watch my grandson 3 days a week & my son doesn't act like this when my daughter is not around.  What I mean by he is mean is that he yells the baby's name in a mean way, won't share ANYTHING with him, takes things aggressively away from the baby if it is something of his, gives him mean looks, won't let him even set 1 foot in his room without yelling at him, says "bad baby, bad baby" over and over, has a screaming, crying fit if he is lying on the couch and the baby climbs up by him or worse he pushes the baby off.  He just completely loses it so many times a day that we feel like we are being held in bondage by our 6-year-old.  We've tried taking away video game time, using a time-out chair, spanking, talking to him and nothing seems to work.  None of us can take this behavior anymore and regardless of why he is doing it, it needs to stop.  As a side note, my daughter and grandson are moving to another state in a month or two.  Thank you for any advice you can give.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @wsmomma

      I hear you and you’re absolutely right. Regardless of the

      reason behind the behavior, it’s not OK. I’m sure your son’s acting out behavior

      will decrease once his sister and nephew have moved away. In the meantime, try

      to follow the tips outlined in the above article. Step in as soon as you see

      your son starting to behave aggressively towards his nephew, remove him from

      the situation but try not to give his behavior undue attention. Use simple,

      direct statements like “We don’t hit” and then turn your attention to your

      grandson. After things have calmed down you can talk to your son about the

      choices he made and problem solve with him what he could do differently in the

      future, as Sara Bean explains in the article  https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior-i-cant-solve-problems/. You

      could also use a task oriented consequence to hold him accountable. An example

      of a task oriented consequence for this situation might be loss of TV or game

      time until your son goes for 1 hour without being aggressive towards his nephew.

      I hope this information is useful for your situation. Best of luck moving

      forward.

  • EliSion
    My 3 yr old screams and fights throws things at pre school is thzt bad should I call his doctor
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      EliSion

      It’s actually not uncommon for a 3 year old to act

      aggressively when he gets upset or frustrated. Most 3 year olds lack the skills

      to deal with tough situations. With that said, touching base with your child’s

      doctor when you have worries or concerns is a good idea. Your son’s doctor

      knows him and would be able to determine if your son’s behavior is within the

      normal range for his age. We appreciate you writing in. Take care.

  • Late Model Mom
    I have a 4 year old daughter who has been attending this pre-school since August 2015.  She was doing well the whole time.  But the school was closed for three weeks during the Christmas holidays and since their return, her dad and I have been getting phone calls to come and pickMore her up because she has hit or kick the teacher or a classmate or both.  This has been going on at least twice a week for the last month and I am at my wit's end.  Today, her dad received a phone call to pick her up because she hit the teacher and a student again.  The teacher said that the kids were at a table drawing and one child looked over at my daughter's drawing and said something negative.  My daughter then crumpled up her paper and walked over to child that made the negative comment, and hit them.  We've talked to her, punished her (time outs, no TV, no toys), and spanked her. She would go back to school the next day and be fine, but then she's back at it again the day after.  We've had her tested and the results were that she's gifted & talented and that it she's going to participate in any activity, she should begin on time.  I just realized yesterday that she needs more structure at home (timed activities so that she can learn how to transition from one activity to the next) I am so frustrated though.  Any advice?
    • rawrrreagan
      Late Model Mom im not saying this for sure but my cousin got bad but then later his stressful sitition was that kids would pick on him. they always said mean things to him at one point one walked on the back of his shoes til he was in tearsMore and two other lil ones laugh he was 6 at the time but it could be little the same. shes getting mad becaue she feels teased and its hard to not get upset when there. no she should not hit but make sure she isnt getting picked on.
  • Juniper
    Thank you Dr. Munson. I found this very insightful.
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