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Hit The Spot - Or Not

A friend of mine was telling me the other day that her 3 year old daughter has started hitting. Oh I remember those days!! My daughter Alyssa (now 5) went through that phase, and it seemed like nothing I did worked. I had thought that I'd tried everything (short of hitting her back, of course), when I talked to another friend (whose kids are older than mine) who offered me another solution.

She asked me if I'd shown Alyssa another way to express her feelings. (Seriously?? That can work on a 3 year old?) I was skeptical, but was willing to try anything at this point.

It worked like magic, and this is how it went.

First I asked her why she hit (because you're happy? because you're scared? feeling silly? trying to be funny? are you mad?). Ah HA! You're mad.

That's fine. It's ok to be mad, it happens to everyone. It's ok to be mad, but it's not ok to hit Mommy.

It's ok to hit the wall, or a pillow, or your knee, or the floor, or a teddy bear, but it's not ok to hit Mommy. Hey, why don't you just stomp your feet, instead?

And that's what she did - from that day forward (still does, 2 years later). How's that for hitting the ball right out of the park!!

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