The HitHug Conundrum

by The Momma on January 23, 2012

So, I don’t know what to do with this particular little bit of fun.

The Noodle has a bit of  problem with hitting when he gets worked up–whether he’s frustrated, mad, happy, or excited, if he gets overstimulated hitting is one of his outlets. This only really seems to happen with us (we’ve never heard reports of him hitting at daycare), which makes me glad on the one hand and also annoyed on the other. Now, we’ve been working diligently on this from a discipline point of view, but his new habit makes it kind of hard.

See, before the routine was: Noodle gets worked up, Noodle hits and hits and hits (himself, the dog, the wall, us, the floor, the chair, whatever is closest to him) until one of us can reach him and stop the madness (he usually gets a time out to calm himself down, sometimes with one of us holding his hands if he keeps hitting himself or whatever surrounds him), and when he finally calms down he gives a hug to whoever (or whatever) he hit.

Now, though, the routine sometimes goes: Noodle gets worked up, Noodle hits, Noodle immediately hugs whatever he hit. Like, there’s not even room for a breath between the hitting and the hug. It’s almost one fluid motion…hithug.

What the heck do you DO with that? He obviously knows hitting isn’t something he’s supposed to do. He knows he has to say he’s sorry/give a hug when he hits. But now he seems to think he can hit and hug and one sort of negates the other.

I know that a big portion of it is we have to anticipate the hitting a little better, and calm him down before we get to that point. But I feel like the lesson he’s learned from us isn’t NO HITTING, but instead “you can hit as long as you say you’re sorry.”

Which, um, isn’t what we mean. At all.

So…I’m at a loss. Do we just ride it out? Ignore the hitting? Ignore the hug? Help!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Reading (and chickens) January 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I say ride it out, but I’m not exactly the world’s best mom. All I know is that these things that are problems disappear and then they get new, even more complex ones. And so on and so forth.

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Kanriah January 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

My son had a brief time when he would hit then hithug. The hug was comforting to him and also made him feel it was okay. I finally refused to allow him to hug me for a while afterwards. For him I had to make sure he understood that the hug didn’t make it acceptable. We made him wait into he was genuinely sorry & upset before he was allowed the comfort of the hug. He was usually pretty quick to feel bad and want that comfort. Making him wait made him think about it or feel guilty or needy for the forgiveness or Something so that method didn’t take long to work for him.

I say don’t ignore the hitting or the hug but instead refuse the hug until he means it. Your feelings/arm/whatever really hurts and you can make a big production out of being upset. I was even mean enough to tell mine to go away because I didn’t want someone who hits me to be with me right now.

Good luck with all of it and hopefully whatever tactic you try works.

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Kanriah January 23, 2012 at 3:42 pm

By the way, the I’m hurting & go away stuff were said more like I was on his level instead of Mom style. If that makes sense to you.

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The Momma January 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

That makes sense. I have a feeling that’s what we’re going to have to do–the back to back thing just isn’t working for me!

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