Hitting

How do I continuously support my daughter to stop hitting when frustrated or pulling one down when upset. She does this to our son and me.

Answer:

Please let me know if your daughter is verbal or non-verbal in a follow-up comment. First thing we need to do is teach her how to deal with being frustrated or denied access (doesn't get the answer she wants). As far as being frustrated we can teach her to say, "I'm mad!" either verbally, with sign language, a picture card, etc. You can practice this throughout the day. Set up mild situations where you know she is going to be frustrated and tell her, "Don't forget, if you are upset you can say, "I'm mad!" You will probably have to prompt the response in the beginning. Next is to teach coping techniques for when she is frustrated or gets told no. She can ask to take a break or I like to work on "problem solving." I also try not to say "no" if that is the root of the problem behavior. If the answer is "no" I will try to answer with some other options to redirect her. For example, if she wants to go outside, but it's not available I will say, "Sorry not right now, but we can play a game or watch some TV instead!" Definitely try to have fun alternatives and provide lots of praise if she tolerates the denied access in the absence of hitting. "I like how nicely you kept it together!" OR "I like that you kept your hands to yourself when outside wasn't available!" Something like that! These are good proactive strategies, but also make sure there is a consequence to hitting/pulling one down if there isn't already. For example, timeout in her room or if she is in the middle of a fun activity then the activity is all done. Try this and let us know how it goes!

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  1. Please let me know if your daughter is verbal or non-verbal in a follow-up comment. First thing we need to do is teach her how to deal with being frustrated or denied access (doesn’t get the answer she wants). As far as being frustrated we can teach her to say, “I’m mad!” either verbally, with sign language, a picture card, etc. You can practice this throughout the day. Set up mild situations where you know she is going to be frustrated and tell her, “Don’t forget, if you are upset you can say, “I’m mad!” You will probably have to prompt the response in the beginning. Next is to teach coping techniques for when she is frustrated or gets told no. She can ask to take a break or I like to work on “problem solving.” I also try not to say “no” if that is the root of the problem behavior. If the answer is “no” I will try to answer with some other options to redirect her. For example, if she wants to go outside, but it’s not available I will say, “Sorry not right now, but we can play a game or watch some TV instead!” Definitely try to have fun alternatives and provide lots of praise if she tolerates the denied access in the absence of hitting. “I like how nicely you kept it together!” OR “I like that you kept your hands to yourself when outside wasn’t available!” Something like that! These are good proactive strategies, but also make sure there is a consequence to hitting/pulling one down if there isn’t already. For example, timeout in her room or if she is in the middle of a fun activity then the activity is all done. Try this and let us know how it goes!

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