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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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My granddaughter hit me 2 times,both times she hit & ran.

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Why would my grandchild suddenly start hitting me? My granddaughter hit me 2 times,both times she hit & ran, she was angry, because I asked her to stop doing what she was doing. She will be 3 yrs old in a couple of weeks She is very close w/me, & has never hit me before. I do not spank my grandchildren I only give timeout or take a toy away, I know mom/dad do spank though. She has been hitting her 5yr sibling right along, even when the sibling hasn't hit her. But there was a time when the sibling would just hit her for no apparant reason.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using!

Toddlers often go through a phase of hitting -- they don't yet have the ability to understand and express themselves well when they're feeling frustrated and hitting is a simple way to show how they're feeling.

Taking the toy away was the right move if the hitting involved a toy she was supposed to give up. Time outs can be very effective in this situation. When she hits, avoid lengthy explanations about why it's wrong. Simply remove her from the situation and take her someplace where she'll be safe for a brief quiet time (no fun, no attention, no toys). A general rule of thumb for time out is 1 minute per year of age, so it's literally just a few minutes before you'll return to her. Ask if she's ready to be "sweet" (or whatever word you choose) and when she's ready she can return to what she was doing. This will take some skills training at first -- Teach her what being sweet it by "noticing" when she's acting that way. For example, "I noticed you share your toy. I like being with you when you're sweet." You could also teach her how to be gentle and practice gentle pats on the back, brushing her cheek, etc. to show her what that means.

In most cases, this is a brief problem that will be outgrown. Be consistent with the consequence and teach / model appropriate ways to cope with frustration. Give her the words she'll need by making observations when you see she's becoming mad ("I can see you're getting mad. Are you mad? Sometimes when I'm mad I like to take deep breaths. Should we try taking deep breaths together?") Being able to express herself will help tremendously. I wish you the best of luck!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you, all that you said is helpful. However, could the little game parent and child play be to blame? I have just learned one of her parents plays a hitting game w/her. It is the same game her parent played w/her older sibling a couple of years ago.Is it the same reason her sibling would hit her for no apparent reason a couple of years ago? When I wrote my original question I forgot about this situation. I just found out this was going on again.
Expert:  Jennifer replied 6 years ago.
Hitting in play is definitely not a game I'd recommend. It sends a mixed message as to what kind of behavior is acceptable. If the game can be altered to something more socially appropriate (e.g., pat-a-cake, high fives and special handshakes) it might help.
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