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How to Teach Your Child Not to Hit

Updated on May 3, 2013
Children hitting is a normal phenomena, however, you have to discourage this attitude
Children hitting is a normal phenomena, however, you have to discourage this attitude | Source

Children reach almost seventy-five percent of their mental development by the time they are 4 years old. All children have an inborn motivation to learn, however, each child learns at his or her own pace. Children learn through active participation in different activities, by engaging their all five senses. They like to repeat an activity over and over so as to perfect newly acquired skills. During the process of learning, children learn good things as well as bad things. Disciplining your child can be a daunting task.

Children may hit, bite, pull or throw things. This behavior indicates aggressive nature growing in them. If not addressed early, these kinds of tantrums could lead to bad consequences. While hitting might be a normal behavior in children, developmentally it is not appropriate. You cannot change your child’s hitting behavior over night, however, if you are gentle, you can teach your child not to hit.

Help your child to get mixed up with his/her peers.
Help your child to get mixed up with his/her peers. | Source

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Discourage Your Child When He/She Starts Hitting

Children hit their siblings, friends, seniors, even parents. It is necessary to teach your child not to hit. Children hitting indicates many things. As for instance, my 3 years old nephew express his extreme emotions by hitting and biting people who love him very much. Children hit to display their array of emotions.

My nephew started hitting, throwing things, biting, pulling hair, and showing tantrums when he was 15 months old. He was beginning to understand verbal instructions and took cue from his mother to hit his father, and from father to hit his mother. Since the parents laughed, he was encouraged. By the time he was 20 months old, he began to bite and spit. Now the parents were worried. Children learn different types of behavior from their surroundings.

When Samyak joined preschool, he was excited. However, a week later, he did not want to go to the school. His parents tried to appease him with goodies, but he did not back down. Parents then forcefully took him to school. The next day, he got fever. Later, they learned some of the kids in the school hit him. Children hitting may lead to serious consequences.

I’m not raising children. However, from my observation of child behavior, I have found children as young as 10 months old hit. How they nurture this habit is an interesting phenomenon. To find out how children develop hitting behavior and how this problem can be handled, I interviewed Child Psychologist and Early Childhood Development expert. Here are the findings.

Why Do Children Hit?

They may be emulating the behavior from their surroundings.

They want to express frustration.

They might be experiencing physical problems.

They are trying to gain attention.

They want something.

They are observing cause and effect phenomena.

They are telling about their uncomfortable situations.

They are jealous.

How to Discourage a Child from Hitting

Since the children have limited communicative skills, they try to get attention by hitting people. The basic rule to discipline your child is don’t ignore him/her.

Children learn from nature and nurture. Don’t laugh or smile when a child begins to hit, he/she might get encouraged.

If your child begins to hit, hold his/her hands and divert his/her attention. Instead of scolding, teach your child hitting hurts.

You have to take care of your child’s wants and wishes. A child is a distinct individual, his wants and wishes are as important as yours.

Try to avoid situations that prompt aggressive behavior in children. Do not force your child to do what you want.

Usually, children do not follow negative instructions. Instead of saying don’t do this thing, divert your child’s attention to other creative activities.

Rewarding and punishment are the two basic ways to discipline a child. However, you have to remember, spanking and other forms of corporal punishments are detrimental.

Study your child behavioral pattern, and act accordingly.

Help your child sublimate his anger by diverting his/her mind to something creative.
Help your child sublimate his anger by diverting his/her mind to something creative. | Source

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Ways to Discipline Your Child

Every child is a distinct individual, and every parent has different parenting methods. Your child maybe very normal in home and aggressive amongst peers, or vice versa. To help a child acquire good behavior, you need to understand his/her temperament. The methods you choose to discipline your child depend on the type of behavior your child displays.

When your child hits, make him/her aware about natural and logical consequences. As a natural consequence, you may help your child understand hitting hurts. Logical consequences involve teaching your child what is appropriate behavior and what is not.

It is necessary to teach your child what is acceptable behavior. However, don’t give negative instructions. Many children, even adults, do not follow negative instructions. Instead of saying don’t throw a glass, you can ask your child to kick a ball.

Children may also hit themselves. Don’t over react on such situation, be gentle and engage him/her in other creative activities. Since, the toddlers have limited communication skills, they might hit themselves when upset, or want something.

A child could develop hitting behavior when he/she is ignored, this happens especially when there is a younger child in the home, or parents are talking without caring what the child is trying to say. When the child does not get the attention, he/she becomes upset or jealous. To overcome this problem, don’t let your child unattended.

Sometime when you overreact while your child is hitting, he/she might be encouraged. Try to handle this situation calmly. Remember, negative instructions many times are counterproductive. When you say don’t hit, your child will probably ignore you. However, you can make him/her understand hitting is bad by explaining when he/she hits, other person will feel pain.

Occasionally punishing your children may also yield good result. However, you have to tell you child he/she is not being punished but experiencing consequences of his bad behavior. Reward your child whenever he/she does something good. Rewarding may encourage your child nurture good manners.

(Based on the interview conducted with Rubina Thapa, Child Psychologist)


How to Discipline Your Child

While hitting maybe a normal behavior, it may also indicate dormant anti-social attitude. You have to differentiate biologically conditioned behavior and clinically abnormal behavior.

If you are highly patronizing parent, your child may develop hitting habit just to annoy you. If you want to discipline your child, you have to respect him/her.

If you are raising a single child, he/she may develop possessive attitude. Help him/her to socialize by taking to children gathering.

Don’t ignore your child’s unusual behavior because it may later develop into a major behavioral problem.

When you take interest in your child, you may get insights into his/her behavioral pattern thus being able to assist him/her overcome difficulties.

When you beget second child, your first child could be feel less loved and begin to show tantrums. If unchecked, this could lead to serious sibling rivalry.

If your child’s teachers and neighbors inform you about your child hitting behavior, don’t ever hit or scold him/her in front of other people.

It is necessary to instill values and principles in your child, and base parent-child relationship in mutual trust and friendship.

If you treat your child like grown up, he/she will start behaving like adults.

(Based on the interview conducted with Neelam Sharma, Early Childhood Development Expert)


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    • Vinaya Ghimire profile imageAUTHOR

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      @Kevin, thanks for reading closely and leaving positive feedback. Cheers

      @teaches, it is so true that our hands are for helping not hurting people. Thank you very much for your wonderful comment. Cheers

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      5 years ago

      Great post and one that will help to raise children to be positive leaders. I always tell little children that our hands are for helping and not hurting. Voted up!

    • Kevin Peter profile image

      Kevin Peter 

      5 years ago from Global Citizen

      The way to grow up your kid in disciplined manner is explained well in the hub. Thanks a lot for your useful advices on how to stop children from hitting others.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile imageAUTHOR

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      @Lovedoc, I don'thave kids, but I love watching children behavior. Thanks for your sharing your opinion.

      @Rosemary, thanks for having high opinion about me. Thanks for sharing your experience.

      @Vellur, thanks for reading and commenting.

      @Angel, thanks for your valuable feedback. Thanks for the birthday wish.

    • Angelme566 profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a class A information , so now we have in depth ideas as to why some babies are violent. Isn't it also that they imitate what they saw in television or movies such as Tom and Jerry? Another excellent hub from excellent writer is your birthday...happy happy birthday Vinaya , God bless you..Wishing you healthy , wealthy , peaceful and happy life !!

      Cheers !!!!!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Very useful and informative. It is very important to discipline a child at a young age. Great hub.

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 

      6 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      This is a very useful and informative hub for anyone with young children Vinaya. Your research especially your interview with the Child Psychologist is excellent.

      If and when you do become a parent you will already be forwarned and an expert :))

      My son learned by consiquence early, he hit me once when he was about 2 yeras old. But he had something in his hand and caught me across the bridge of my nose, I saw stars and blood poured and I cried. He was so shocked. I still have the scar but he never hit anyone ever after that.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Vinaya, I found this hub useful & interesting. Your tips are helpful. I don't have any kids yet, but I do have a nephew who will turn three next month. So far, he doesn't show any signs of aggressive behavior, but this is good to know. You pointed out that the parents were laughing when the child hit, well this is not good because what it does is reinforce the behavior.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile imageAUTHOR

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      6 years ago from Nepal

      @Arun, thanks for sharing interesting tips with us. I appreciate your valuable feedback.

      @Samikan, thanks for being here.

      @Frank, I will be glad if the parents will find this hub useful and informative.

      @Billy, I also believe in peaceful world. Thanks for your insightful comment.

      @Livingsta, I'm glad you found this hub useful and informative.

      @Faith, though not a parent, I have observed hitting behavire in children, and parents desperation to solve this problem. Thanks for sharing your expeerience.

      @Careermommy, I'm glad you found this article interesting. Thanks for sharing your parenting experience.

      @Jackie, how children acquire hitting is an interesting phenomena. Thanks for sharing your story.

      @My Cook Book, thanks for being here.

      @Always exploring, it is true that if parents succed in sorting out children hitting, a child will grow to become a good human being. Thanks for your comment.

      @Eddy, thanks for your comment.

      @DDE, thanks for sincerely following my works on HubPages.

      @tillsontitan, one way or other, all parents face this problem. My parents still tell stories of me and siblings' hitting behavior.

      @Marcoujor, I had to talk to the experts because I did not know anything about parenting. Thanks for your compliment

      @Marisa, thanks for your insightful comment. My parents too have similar kind of stories. LOL

      @Purpose Embraced, thanks for reading and leaving valuable feedback.

    • Purpose Embraced profile image

      Yvette Stupart PhD 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      This an informative hub for new parents. As parents we have to teach our children acceptable behavior from they are young.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a very informative and interesting hub that i am glad i read. Things now a days do not seem to be the same as when i was a kid. I got smacked or spanked whenever i did something wrong and now i realize why i was such a little brat lol. I have a 16 month old little boy who has terrible tantrums, kicks, hits, and bites. He is a handful and a lot to handle. Many people told me if he bites you, bite him seems he just bites back harder or thinks its funny. I have also tried most of your solutions and yet he is still acting up at the moment. I have been currently laid off from my job so now he has mommy home a lot more and i think my patience is wearing thin. I feel like I can relate to your post. I really appreciate your suggestions and how you got an expert opinion. Thank you

      I have also started my own web store so if you are interested please feel free to click on this URL and you can also follow me on

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Informational and well researched...I am impressed that you interviewed and incorporated the experience of a child psychologist in your writing.

      Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Well done my friend. So many young parents are confused and at their wits end when their children begin hitting. They need to know, as you point out, it is a natural behavior that needs to be changed. I espeically like how you point out they need to be shown the "consequences of his bad behavior".

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      How to Teach Your Child Not to Hit, you have accomplished an excellent hub and so true of what you have mentioned. A useful hub.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      6 years ago from Wales

      So interesting and useful Vinaya.

      Have a great day.


    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Your hub is packed full of great suggestions on teaching a child to not hit. Thank you for sharing with us. Teaching a child at a young age is so important...

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 

      6 years ago from India

      Excellent suggestions, i like this hub. Good read and useful tips. Thank you.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      6 years ago from The Beautiful South

      My two were so sweet they never hit but often got hit and so I tried to get them to defend themselves but they wouldn't. I grew up a tomboy, so seems strange I had such gentle kids, but they lived through it. lol

      Good advice though, this world has too many bullies.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Vinaya, this was an interesting read. thankfully, my boys were never hitters or tantrum throwers, however I know of a couple of kids in their pre-school that fall into this category. It seems every time I pick up my kids I see these two kids fighting, throwing tantrums, you name it. One is taking medicine so that might explain a little bit, but this is a must share for many parents.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Excellent and very insightful hub here. I know when my three year old granddaughter hits her older sister, it is out of frustration when her older sister grabs something from her and she does not know how to react, so I step in and have a talk about sharing and it not being nice to snatch something from someone. I feel strange telling them not to hit each other, and then I hit (or really spank) them, and so I am thinking they are getting mixed signals, i.e., "Nannie said do not hit, and then she hits me." it takes a lot of patience, especially when they are so young, but that is when they must be taught, especially by the parents!

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • livingsta profile image


      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Wow, very useful information here Vinaya. This is something that will create awareness for so many. Votes up and sharing!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very good suggestions my friend. If we could all teach this to children maybe there would be a little less violence in the world. Wouldn't that be a lovely thing? :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      this is a very useful and important hub Vin... should be a must read for young parents :)

    • samikan profile image


      6 years ago from online

      very useful and great hub Vinaya.

    • ARUN KANTI profile image


      6 years ago from KOLKATA

      It is definitely time to take prompt action when you see your child hitting some person out of hate or anger.You should talk with him to make it abundantly clear that such action is not acceptable and will never be tolerated . However, since negative reaction bring bad results the child should better be convinced the bad effects of such violence. I have seen my elder brother asking his kids to try such punches at the walls instead of their siblings or friends and that worked.Thanks for the thought provoking hub.


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