My Child Hit Me: What Should I Do?

My Child Hit Me!

Your child is precious in your eyes, so the first time your child hits you, it often comes as a huge surprise. Child hitting is common, so don’t be alarmed, but be aware that how you respond to your child hitting someone helps them to figure out the world around them.

Children have emotions, just like we do and their young experiences teach them how to regulate their emotions. It helps to recognize that a particular emotion, such as fear, can drive a child’s response to hit

However, making the connection between fear and hitting won’t take the sting out of being hit. Hand in Hand parenting group suggests that you shake it off and take a thoughtful approach before you respond.

Take a Breath

The notion of putting on your own oxygen mask is getting to be an over-used analogy, but in this instance, it’s something that works. Take a deep breath and don’t react right away. Accept your child’s feelings, but not the behavior. Acknowledge that your child is experiencing big feelings by saying something like, “I see that you are upset.”

State your expectations by setting firm, clear limits in just a few words like “We don’t hit. Hitting hurts.”

Now that you’ve made it clear what they can’t do, you still need to give them a healthy outlet for resolving their feelings. Children who can’t find a way to take this step may bury their feelings. You’re likely to see those feelings re-surface on a larger scale at later time. Offer your child a few safe suggestions like:

  • hitting a pillow,
  • stomping their feet,
  • or expressing themselves in words or tears.

Finally, regulate your own emotions. Respond with warm affection and treat them respectfully. Shaming children or will make it more likely that they will hit again in the future.

Contact us to for consultation on child hit behaviors. We serve families of San Diego County and Orange County, including Carlsbad, Encinitas, San Marcos, Rancho Santa Fe, Escondido and surrounding cities.

About Susan Gehrig, PhD

Susan Gehrig, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and founder of Paradox Psychological Services located in Carlsbad. She has a passion for supporting the wellbeing of children and teens. Her expertise is in child mindfulness and self-compassion, cognitive behavioral therapy, and child development. Dr. Gehrig provides psychoeducational testing and therapy services to help build a plan for success. Paradox provides services for families of San Diego North County and greater areas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *