Why Is My Child Hitting? #Tips


Princess Kaylie2



When your little one resorts to hitting

Our little one is five years old and she is a real little doll, most of the time.  She laughs, dances and says such cute things.  A little too honest at times, but you know the saying:  honesty is the best policy, unless it’s something that should just not be said.   Being the baby and only girl, K is often the centre of everyone’s attention.  K is so friendly and  loves everyone, she enjoys chatting it up with an older woman at the hair salon as much as she does with one of her classmates.  Often a real charmer, handing out her compliments and flattering everyone that pays a minutes attention to her.  So when I received a note home from K’s teacher I was quite shocked!  She had used hands-on and forgotten to use her words!  What happened?  There are many reasons why your little one is hitting others.  The best thing is to find out why and try to stop it before it gets out of hand.


Use your words


Use your words, not your hands

 We have always encouraged K to use her words and not her hands.  Hands-on is an unacceptable way of handling a situation for anyone, including little ones.  In most schools the use of using their words is encouraged as a way to deal with conflict among the kids.  In this particular case, K had been playing with another little guy in her class and he had decided it was a great idea to pull her around by her pony tail.  K didn’t think his idea was a very good one, so she tried to get a teachers attention but for some reason, maybe the noise level in the classroom, nobody paid any attention to her cries for help.  She then took matters into her own hands and hit the little boy!  Although, the teacher was quick to say that K had tried several times to stop the little boy, it is still wrong to hit back. 


Being little isn’t so fun

 We tend to think being little is cute, but for the child it can be very frustrating.  Trying to get people to listen and understand what they are trying to convey is quite a chore at times, for them.  Imagine wanting something on the counter but you are just too short to reach it.  Or you feel like nobody is listening when you cry out for help.  Often little ones will resort to aggressive behaviour out of frustration and to be heard. 


No Hitting!


Is your child being hit?

Do not allow  hitting from  other children or adults.   I know this is such a controversy with parents.  Some parents feel that the old fashioned way works best and I am not saying I know it all, but I do know that if a child is hit or slapped at home, they tend to act the same way with other children.  If you are slapping or hitting out of anger, your little one learns to use this as their defense when they do not like something.  Use of positive discipline is more effective than physical discipline.


Are you listening?

Grown ups need to LISTEN when their little one is crying out for help, whether it’s a conflict with another child or they are frustrated.  When the parents or teachers do not  respond to the child in need, they will get frustrated and act out.  A lot of times the child will resort to hitting or slapping if nobody listens and comes to their aid.  This isn’t always easy to do as parents and teachers are not always on the scene and things do happen.  This is what happened in my little ones situation and we still had to explain to her that she can not use her hands on other children.


No teasing!

Stop the teasing!  I don’t know how many times I have seen a bigger child or adult teasing a little one.   The little one feels totally helpless and resorts to hitting or biting.   The little one is then disciplined.  Although, you cannot condone what the child did, you have to look at the circumstances and teach the child to yell loudly for help instead of hitting.  Be firm with the older child or adult when telling them that teasing is unacceptable and they are causing the little one to become aggressive.


These are just a few things to look at if your child has started hitting others.   We have explained to K that it  just isn’t acceptable to use her hands to deal with any situation and she needs to use her words.  Keep practicing the “hands off” and “use your words” rule and make sure you praise, praise and praise some more when the child gets it right! 

I thought I would share a wonderful resource for parents to use when teaching their children to use their words. 

Use Your Words

The story focuses on Roo, whom Kanga teaches to use his words to express how he feels about things if he’s upset or frustrated. When he arrives one day with Piglet for a playdate at Pooh‘s house, the two find that Pooh is busy searching for a missing honey pot. Pooh and Piglet get so caught up in looking for the honey pot that they forget Roo is there and don’t hear his offer to help. Roo leaves, very upset and nothing will cheer him up until he gets home and Kanga tells him that he should use his words to express to Pooh and Piglet how he feels.


Do you have any tips to help parents who are trying to break the hitting habit?









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  1. says

    Great tips! We have dealt with hitting on more than one occasion, and it’s not fun. We tried the book “hands are not for hitting” but it didn’t seem to have any effect on either of them. Time outs have never worked for us, thankfully the hitting/biting seemed to be phases that passed and were not long term

    • says

      It’s so hard because the little ones can’t convey what the want with words often. They end up hitting to express themselves out of frustrating. Good luck and thank you :)

  2. yeewittlethings says

    These are great tips!! I’m sooooo thankful my children were never hitters, but I know so many kids who are, and the parents feel so helpless at times. I’ll be sure to share these tips with them :)

    • says

      My LO was never a hitter. Thank goodness but this really surprised me when she did. I can’t say I blame her but being a parent I can’t condone it either. I wouldn’t want to be dragged by my ponytailed either. Yikes :) Thanks!

  3. says

    I understand where you are coming from with no hitting but I am not sure what she was supposed to do when she was being assaulted and no one was there to help her and hear her crying out for help. From what I read she used all other options that you taught her first before she resorted to a hands on approach. I’m not sure if you have every been yanked around by your hair before but it hurts a lot and if you are trying to say please stop and someone keeps doing it that is extremely scary I could only imagine how long that would have gone on had she not got him to back off of here and leave her alone. You sound like an excellent mother and K sounds like an excellent little girl with a beautiful home life with superb teaching who never resort to hitting. In my opinion the teacher needs to talk to the little boys parents about respecting others personal space and not hurting others. The teacher also needs to apologize to K that she was not paying attention and did not hear her crying out for help :(.

    • says

      Thank you Theresa! I had the exact same answer as you do. Most little ones do not go around hitting for no reason. K is in a large class and I think she tried her best to alert the teacher. She doesn’t usually hit but it was her only way to get the little to let go. I think I personally would have did the same thing at that point. I talked to her but I couldn’t punish her because it just didn’t feel right after the circumstances.

  4. says

    Great post and very timely for me Dawn! My daughter is 6 and was never a hitter. My son however, well he is now 2.5 and IS a hitter. It is hard, I think for him a lot of the time it is that he doesn’t fully know how to communicate his frustrations etc But we are also trying hard to get him to use his words and explain that it hurts when he hits etc.

    • says

      Thanks Crystal, it is really difficult for little ones for sure. They can’t always express themselves verbally so they do tend to use physical alternatives and to try to teach them that they are hurting someone is hard also because they really aren’t able to understand what someone else feels yet. That doesn’t even start until about 7 years old in children. We just keep trying :)

  5. says

    Great tips. You handled the situation well. Another parent might have yelled at her daughter and given a punishment which would not have taught her another solution. I pinned it to my Parenting Advice board!

  6. says

    Although, it is wrong 2 hit; at the same time we we don’t want her to be taken advantage of or disrespected just like u don’t want her making others feel bad bad either…
    Yet…I do think that u can & will definitely be fine with how u handled it.4 a lot lot of people fuss just because a teacher did…which means that they have not talked to the child. To To understand the situation.

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