My son Tyler has started hitting and I think there are different ways to address the problem which is why I am writing this blog post. Some say spank, some say to tell him no, some may hit back and some say to give him a hug. My way of addressing it is to not react to it and then if the behavior continues to address it by stating “no hitting please, use your words” (God bless Nanny 911). My concern is if you constantly react to him hitting he will learn hitting gets your attention which is negative reinforcement. He is hitting because something isn’t going his way, he can’t express how he feels so he gets frustrated and hits, or he isn’t getting the attention he wants.
When people say “don’t hit daddy, hug daddy” that doesn’t accomplish much in my opinion because he didn’t want to hug in the first place, he wanted something else. By saying no hitting every time he hits, I would be negatively reinforcing the action which doesn’t help him address what he wanted in the first place. My method is to acknowledge the fact that he is frustrated, acknowledge I want to help, and finally tell him his reaction wasn’t appropriate but I still love him (which is where the hug could come in). I don’t believe in spanking so don’t even recommend that. What do you think is the best way to handle hitting?