Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Help me, I have a hitter!

Dear Mamas of the world,
I write to you because my dear sweet adorable child, M, as she is known on the blog, has developed a nasty habit over the last month. The child that loves to give me hugs and kisses has come to love slapping (or clawing at) my face. It has happened to my mother, and my husband as well, but I seem to be the favorite amongst her targets. Well, me, and the pooch.

Sometimes it is out of frustration when I won't let her do something and sometimes it comes out of thin air when we are having a great time together. Bam! Smacked in the face by her sweet little hands.

The poor dog (who is almost 6 and only bothers you if you have food) gets a drive-by at least twice a day. She will just be moseying along (the dog not the daughter) and M will smack her on the snout. Thankfully the pooch isn't bothered by it and just saunters back to her doggy bed.

What is my reaction when this happens? Well, it is the same every time. Let me put it in screenplay form so you better understand:

Interior, playroom.
M smacks Mama on the face.
Mama immediately grabs M's hand and holds it down. Mama's face turns red from anger, but she takes a deep breath to try and compose herself.
Mama (speaks sternly and loudly to M, about an inch from her face): DO NOT HIT YOUR MOTHER. It is not nice to hit anyone. 
M: I know Mama, I know. 
Mama: I don't think you know or you wouldn't hit me all the time. NEVER HIT YOUR MOTHER.
M: I'm sorry Mama, I'm sorry. 

And what is her reaction to all this? She gives me a "huggy" and goes about her business. And then it happens an hour later and we repeat the scene above. I have tried to give her a "time out" but she doesn't understand it, and won't sit still anywhere I put her.

Thankfully she hasn't hit any of her friends, as I would be mortified. Who am I kidding, I am mortified! My kid hits! Where did she learn this? I am sure someone gets slapped in one of the movies she loves. I certainly didn't teach her this!

My question to all you Mamas of the world - HOW THE HELL DO I DEAL WITH THIS? Does anyone else have a kid that hits? I need to nip this in the bud ASAP.

Beaten in Boston,
Mama J


  1. Hi, my name is Heather! Please email me when you can, I have a question about your blog!


  2. Mama J, this is always tough. There is a great chapter on this in the book "Becoming the Parent you want to be." But essentially you should view the hitting (or as in the case of Honey, biting), as a signal for frustrated communication. Next time she hits at you, try verbalizing her frustration - i.e. "I know you are mad that you can't have snack now" - and then say "But we don't hit." Also, I think she may be old enough for a short time out - one that happens immediately after the hitting incident and lasts about a minute. Good luck!

  3. The one thing that I always think is helpful in times like these is the advice to be consistent - and patient. I feel like trying phases like these always seem like they're lasting forever but if you react consistently (even if it seems like you're doing the above script on repeat!) eventually it will sink in.
    If she's not quite ready for a timeout maybe try removing yourself - be very clear that hitting is not ok and that you'll come back when she is ready to play nice and just remove yourself and ignore her for the time that she would be in a timeout - probably 2 minutes at her age.
    Hope this helps!

  4. Just thought of an example - H went through a phase around 2 where literally everything she said was a whine. Everything. All the time. It was so horribly grating and annoying and made me want to throw her out a window - or jump out myself.
    For what seemed like months (but was probably actually weeks) I was constantly saying "I can't understand what you're saying. Please say it again in your normal voice" until finally FINALLY she would pause and repeat the sentence in her normal voice.

  5. Thanks for the advice Mamas. So as I was just bringing her up for her nap, she was perfectly calm but she hit me as I carried her up the stairs. I grabbed her arm and before I could say anything she looked at me and said "Don't hit your mother!" HA! I couldn't help but laugh hysterically. I think now she thinks it is a game.

    I have been slapped about 10 times today. I have gotten to the point where I ignore it so she doesn't think it is getting a reaction from me.

    I am going to keep repeating what I was saying, and try the removing myself from the situation next time.