Put a Bib on It

The Boy Who Hits


The most unfortunate incident happened over the weekend and it was quite embarrassing. My 18 month old son, Ev, hit another child. I was mortified.

We were at a birthday party for my niece and Ev was playing with some of my nephew’s cars. My back was turned so I am not exactly sure what led up to the hit (part of the problem, I know), but when I turned around another little girl was sitting with Ev and he hit her on the head with a car! Naturally,  I jerked him up and separated him from the girl. I then asked the little girl if she was okay, but she didn’t know me so that didn’t really do anything to help. Luckily (or unluckily) her dad was nearby, saw the whole thing and came over to her to make sure she was alright. I was so embarrassed because I don’t want to have the kid that hits. I don’t want another child to be hurting as a result of something my child did. I also feel like it’s a reflection on me and my parenting.

I really didn’t know what to do, other than separating him and making him sit away from the cars for a minute. Part of me wished she would have hit him back. Not because I want him to get hurt but because it would help Ev learn “cause and effect”.  If you hit someone, they might hit you back. Although I know two wrongs don’t make a right. I ended up following him around for the rest of the party, especially when he was around that little girl. I felt guilty that I wasn’t right by him when he went to “strike” her. Had I been there, I could have prevented it or if I wasn’t quick enough to stop him, then I would at least have been able to speak directly to her father and explain whatever the reason was — which I am assuming had something to do with sharing. So, I was his shadow for the rest of the party — “just in case”.

He played at the same train table as the girl later and didn’t try to hit her and even rubbed her arm to say “hi.”  The girl’s mom was very sweet about it and told me to stop following him around and that her daughter went through a brief hitting stage herself. She gave me some suggestions, like always putting all the emphasis on the “victim” and not giving any attention to him at that moment — which is kind of what I had tried to do. I also know that if he was a little older, I would have talked to him about ways to handle being angry or upset because someone took his toy. At 18 months he doesn’t have the cognitive ability to think through why he hit and what he can do in the future. I don’t believe it to be a reoccurring problem. I know at child care, he hit once or twice during the transition into the older room, but that’s pretty much it. I still want to be well prepared in case it happens again or does become a problem so that I can end the phase quickly.

I think the other part that is really hard for me is that I don’t want people to think of Ev as a “bad” or “rough” kid. He is generally happy and sweet. And I want people to love him as much as I do.

2 thoughts on “The Boy Who Hits

  1. Ugh, I know exactly how you feel. My son bit another child at child care, I was MORTIFIED!

    • Tell me about it, Heather. Being in this field for 10 years, I know it’s part of his development, as I’m sure you knew biting was. But it’s still awful, when it’s your child being the agressor. We have been working on using our “nice hands”, which seems to be helping.

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