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How does one control a 3-year-old extremely intelligent boy who occassionly hits people for no apparent reason?

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2008-01-02 02:56:25

A three year old tests boundaries and is constantly learning

social rules. If he hits, he may be expressing himself the way he

knows how or testing what's allowable. Show him hitting others is

not acceptable; one good method is leaving him alone when he hits,

showing him that others don't want to share the company of one who

hurts others. Social alienation is a powerful tool. Once he learns

he gains more attention by not hitting, he'll stop. What's it like

to be THREE? This stage of a child's life is highly developmental.

What the child exhibits is mainly a mix of observed behaviors and

manifestations of personal feelings. Those things perceived by the

child as beneficial for resolution to the conflicts they face are

employed as coping mechanisms for dealing with daily life. If the

child is exposed to a venue in which combat is portrayed as

something other than detrimental and painful, that will be a basis

for the forming of that child's behaviors. The discernment between

what is seen by an adult as spoof and that which is known to be

real-life has not fully developed in a child of this age. This

serves to foster a testing environment for the child's reasoning

abilities, making for mixes of behaviors which, sometimes, are

funny; and, at other times, are highly embarrassing--- if not

totally outrageous. If the child receives a laugh as a consequence

of the exhibition of a certain behavior in one situation, the child

does not understand why the same laugh is not provided in another

circumstance which may not be conducive to laughter. If the child

has few outlets in which frustrations may vent appropriately, these

frustrations will be exhibited in ways that are unpredictable; and,

the most-heard words in a child's world are 'don't', 'no', 'stop',

'quit', 'sit down', 'behave', 'leave that alone', 'be quiet', 'I

said so'... That's a lot of negativity and little direction. If an

adult is put under similar constraints which rob them of personal

power and identity, they become sociopathic. When a child endures

such a life, it is seen as normal--- and largely ignored. Added to

that is the lack of inhibition normally understood by adults to be

a proper attribute, and which lack is part of which contributes to

the exuberance of a child, and the situation becomes clearer. The

key to handling difficulties which arise is INVOLVEMENT. You must,

as a parent or guardian or caregiver, be part of the world in which

the child lives. You are perceived as being a 'BIG' person: You're

older, you're taller, you're stronger, you get to do things without

asking anyone else, you can come and go as you please, and you KNOW

stuff... To a kid, you are what they hope to be like in some way;

and, to them, this spells FREEDOM. If what you expose to this child

is not of benefit to their positive development, then the child

will develop with that which is provided. It's a situation of

'garbage-in, garbage-out'; and, everyone in the little one's world

is a contributor. That means every TV commercial, every video game,

every movie, every cartoon, every laugh, every argument, every

violent or loud outburst, every kiss, every hug, every touch of

loneliness--- all are taken to heart by the child, being formed

into that which will make them the individual seen by the world

tomorrow. When an adult follows a system of discipline which is

consistent and fair, employing both a pat on the back as well as a

proverbial boot on the butt when called for, and does not demean

the child in the process, the child learns what is expected of

them. This provides them with a basis with which to govern their

actions without reducing their self-image to subhuman realms. Where

yelling and screaming are employed, they constitute abuse. Make no

mistake: There is justification in raising one's voice for the

purpose of being heard over ambient background noise; but--- there

is absolutely NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER FOR ANY ADULT TO LOOK DOWN INTO

THE EYES OF A TODDLER AND SCREAM IN FURY... Sadly, this happens far

too often. If the adult was small, standing in little shoes, in

small wet pants and diaper, without anyone to protect them, not

understanding why they were receiving this treatment from someone

they loved with all their heart, the situation would be clear to

them. If that adult took the time to play, to crawl, to talk to the

child, and to explore the world with the child, then the ability to

reason out the problems and solutions would be less difficult; and,

every kid needs someone to treat them like they're fun to be with.

It's when the fun disappears, and nobody's there to help pass the

time or carry them through the rough spots that self-devised coping

mechanisms will come into play. If the behavior is rewarded with

results that are perceived by the child as beneficial, and the

routine is repeated enough to form into a behavior pattern without

alternatives being provided, or accountability imposed, there's a

problem; and, the problem didn't begin with the child in most

cases--- it began with the method employed. If such is the case,

the behavior needs to be interrupted--- and changed; and, the most

effective person to do this is someone loved, respected, admired,

and who can be trusted to understand and be fair, without being

demeaning or abusive: YOU... Barring any physiological aberrations,

this is greatly effective. If employed on a hit-or-miss basis

rather than on a consistent basis, this can be highly destructive.

An adult needs to be responsible in this regard; they hold a

child's future in their hands--- and it's fragile


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