Thursday, December 15, 2011

Get my two year old to stop hitting, pushing.

Ignorance is a dangerous thing. To be uneducated in one area or more in ones life is quite normal. Nobody knows everything in every area. This is why we have mechanics and air plane engineers. When you don't know enough about a subject, it is best to learn about it and educate yourself or you hire someone who know more than you do. I may not not know much about mechanics or how to network multi-computer system, but I do know about children. I am very well educated when it comes to working with children who may have special needs or behaviour difficulties. I know more than the average person when it comes to speech delays or children with oppositional disorders or children with ADHD or autism tendencies, because my oldest has all three of these disorders and has had them since he was a toddler.

For those out there who don't know. I was a special education assistant for over 11 years in the Langley School District. I have worked in early childhood education and at the high school level for 20 years. For over half my life I have been facilitating programs for children. I was a Mad Science Instructor, Rec n Reading Corordinator, YMCA leader, Boy and Girl Club Rec Leader, Timms Community Child Minder, A tutor specializing in reading and writing, and I have done child minding. As a Special Education Assistant, I have facilitated Austism Social Skill Programs and worked with children with ADHD and many other behaviour and learning disabilities such as children with Downes, FAS, Oppositional Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive, Speech, Sight and Hearing Delays, Anxiety Disorders, children without communication and more.

Before all this I was given a child who was born with over 12 learning disabilities, Opposition Disorder, Anxiety Disorder and ADHD. I spent the last 20 years studying, going to workshops and writing and learning about children with ADHD. You could say I am an expert in this area. It's important to know this, because here I am with my two year old. Who is perfectly normal development and I am freaking out because he is pushing other kids and hits when tired or frustrated.

Every logical, educated bone in my body tells me it is all fine, but my emotional mind doesn't listen and I hear myself say, Why why why? I know why. I know I have a new baby at home. I know he is only two and can't understand, and in fact doesn't even have the brain development necessary at this age to understand what he is doing is wrong. He is struggling with this new thing called, "Emotions." I know I need to be teaching and using these moments to show empathy and understanding. And yet I hear myself say what should I do?

Today, I decided to hold myself accountable by blogging. I am going to stop asking Why? and what should I do? I am going to tell myself and others right now what I will be doing.

Here is one of many excellent links that you may read to discover more about positive discipline for young children. If you also want to read some Piaget, that wouldn't hurt either. Dr. Jane Nelson has a blog called positive disipline. She is an author/mother and a therapist. Her criteria for positive discipline is below:

  1. Helps children feel a sense of connection. (Belonging and significance)
  2. Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.)
  3. Is effective long - term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
  4. Teaches important social and life skills . (Respect, concern for others, problem solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
  5. Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.)

There is also a great FB site called positive discipline that has many resources, vidoes and information for your viewing as well.

Here are the links:

Facebook Site:

Jane's Blog:

An awesome video to help young children understand you still love them even when new babies come into the picture.

Hope this helps out there. Please check out the links, you will learn a lot about your very normal two year old!

I am going to start by empathizing with my two year old. When he pushes or hit, I am going to hug him and ask him what's wrong? He will most likely not know, but may in fact tell me what's wrong. Which would be wonderful so I can actually help with his emotions and not just be addressing behaviour.

It is important to address the child's feelings behind the behaviour.

Here are some of Jane Nelson's suggestions....


  1. (4yrs and up) Take the child by the hand and say, "It is not okay to hit people. I'm sorry you are feeling hurt and upset
  2. Help the child deal with the anger. 
  3. Ask, "Would it help you to go to your time-out spot now?" Time out is not helpful unless the child has helped create a positive time out spot in advance.  Also, time out is not helpful if the child does not see the benefit and chooses it. If you "make" your child go to time out, your child is likely to see it as punishment and may rebel.
  4. (4yrs and up) After the child has calmed down, ask what and how questions. "What is upsetting you? How are you feeling?" See if you can get to the bottom of what is really bothering your child and then help the child discover what other things he or she could do besides hitting to deal with the problem. (Children under 4 years of age do not understand abstract reasoning. This is one reason why lectures are not effective at this age. There are other reasons why lectures are ineffective at any age.)
  5. With children under 4, try giving them a hug before removing them from the situation. This models a loving method while showing them that hitting is not okay. Hugging does not reinforce the misbehavior. 
  6. Even though toddlers don't fully comprehend language, you can still use words (while removing them) such as, "Hitting hurts people. Let's find something else you can enjoy doing."
  7. When babies hit you, put them down and leave the room immediately for a minute or two without saying a word. At this age, they will understand actions better than words.
  8. When your preschooler hits you, decide what you will do instead of trying to control your child. Let her know that every time she hits you, you will leave the room until she is ready to treat you respectfully. After you have told her this once, follow through without any words. Leave immediately.
  9. Later you might tell your child, "That really hurts" or "That hurts my feelings. When you are ready, an apology would help me feel better." Do not demand or force an apology. The main purpose of this suggestion is to give a model of sharing what you feel and asking for what you would like. People don't always give us what we would like, but we show respect for ourselves by sharing our feelings and wishes in non-demanding ways.
Wish me luck this week.

Another great idea I read was having your child help you 'make the time out spot.'
Cut a large cardboard box up, so there is just a floor and two walls and have them 'paint and decorate' the inside. It could be a space station, a spring and butterfly set, a car race, or random designs. Then teach that this is their 'safe cool down' spot. They may ask to go to their 'garden, spaceship, race car or quiet spot' when they feel angry, upset or frustrated. What a cute idea.

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