How does your child react when hit by other kids?

26 replies, Page 1

 Former member 2010-12-01 17:20:35



Im a mother of a girl who is 2yrs & 3mnths now. She is a brilliant girl otherwise, but the only thing that is very disturbing to me is that she does not even know to hit back as a defence when other kids of her age or a little older ones hit her or push her. Im surprised how she is not getting mad at them! I dont expect her to be like a macho, but isn't it just normal to know tht one would want to hit back when hit by someone?? All she does is just stand there & allow the other kid to continue if that really doesn't hurt her or if it does hurt, she just cries and comes running to me! Did any of you go through such a situation? Pls advice how do i teach her to defend herself?

 Former member 2010-12-01 17:59:03 daughter is 3.3 year now..i started sending her to playschool by 2.2.And i remm she never used to hit any of kid unless someone use to mess with her.

Usually in a group there r some notorious one who r always up to distrubing other kid...i never told her to give anybody back.I remm i used to inquire from school,as there was one notorious kid at that time.But i feel kid learns defensive mode themself.

She 2.3 now...will gradually learn things.Dont worry too much.


 Former member 2010-12-01 20:02:58


Hi Ashus...thnx for ur kind reply...but my main worry is bcoz as u said in ur case ur kid does not hit 'unless someone messed with her', if the same was the case, i wouldnt have felt insecure, but the main problem is tht she does not realise tht she just cant let herself to be i wonder if it's just a growing phase and every child undergoes this stage and eventually start up with self-defense, or is it tht she lacks self-confidence. If the latter is the case, I would be more than happy to know how i cud help her out of it.


aanchal 2010-12-01 22:43:35


@nila 2010: inability to hit-back is not developmental stage in every child's growth curve. it is an individual child's way of handling situations. also, its not a problem in itself but a manifestation of another underlying problem. unless you handle the cause, the effects wont go away.

i will try to jot down some pointers here and see if you can relate to any:

  • adults often jokingly or affectionately tell the child how thin he is, or how weak he looks, or how his poor eating habits will never put him at par with his friends. such casual remarks may deplete the child's confidence to stand in a group. he may feel he is too weak to do anything except cry.
  • we often tell kids how bad it is to hit others. it may happen that in the heat of moment, we may give a very high degree threat to the child to stop hitting (example: i will lock you in a room if you hit your younger brother one more time). this can instill deep fears in child's mind and he may relate hitting with punishment unconditionally.
  • the child has learnt from his circumstances(family dynamics, cartoon channels, daily-soaps) that 'one has to bear in order to be accepted'..he feels that any hitting will make him an outcast forever.
  • the child has been threatened by other kid's parents on 'troubling' the other kid and now the child is too scared and feels watched over.
  • the child has very poor self esteem and self confidence. he just cannot oppose
  • the child has a split view of the world - he feels timid, fearful, weak when outside home and behaves passively. later he compensates by being overconfident aggressive and assertive once inside home.
  • the child has a very different and exaggerated perception of the concept of hitting- he feels his anger is very dangerous and needs to be controlled to avoid a major catastrophe.
  • the child has always been told by parents to give-in and be a good kid. like when someone snatches toys from him, parents tell the child not to snatch it back, not to feel bad, to wait, to play with something else, to smile, not frown and voila! be a good boy..this makes the child very dull later who feels that any 'bad behavior' will declare him to be a 'bad boy' and he will no longer be a good boy.

from your post, i feel your child is also facing problems in being positively assertive with outside world..i think the first thing you need to do after some understanding what could be troubling your kid, is to sit down and talk with her. coach her on the difference between attack and defence. tell her its not ok to initiate, but its ok to retaliate. also, coach her on how to express anger without needing to hit-back someone.

play with her at home. use themes like house, school, friends, sharing, waiting for turn, anger, patch up, family to know her ideas. at points where you feel she is not going on the right track, give her a dose of confidence with the correct version of reality. for example, if she says that she doesnt go upto the teacher to tell if someone takes all the biscuits from her lunch box, then tell her how it is important to tell the teacher so that 1) she doesnt remain hungry 2) the other child doesnt continue to learn a bad habit.

my kid also faced the same problem till last year and once we sorted out what could be the reasons behind it, he was out of that timidity.

take care and keep us posted :)


 Former member 2010-12-02 10:55:44


Dear aanchal, WOW!! You have just left me dumbstruck i must say! I really admire your matured way of handling queries :) Honestly, We are a lucky bunch of parents to have met you online! :) From the pointers provided by you, I think my problem best relates to the first one! Her grandparents and most of them who meet her always comment on how thin she looks! Yes...she is thin and tall but definitely not weak i can say that for sure...but i never realised tht such comments can get into her mind and affect her so deeply at this early stage. Sometimes we tend to overlook the fact that though small, they are individuals who could understand what we feel and talk about them and take it to heart! Thnx a million for those insights...As per your suggestion im planning to play games with her and emphasize on how strong she is...Hoping the best and I will definitely come back on the result. Thanks a lot! :)


dadx2 2010-12-02 11:00:36


 aanchal, per your insight what should be the right response from a kid on being hit / pushed:

1. hit back

2. let the person hitting know that its not OK to hit and that it hurts

3. complain to some elder person around


sometimes i m confused as to what the correct response should be.... like when siblings fight i tell the one that was hit not to hit back but use option 2.... but there are times when they are in the park / public place that i want them to use option 1.... if the person hitting is really bigger that my kids then i wud prefer them using option 3...

your thoughts..


aanchal 2010-12-02 13:10:44


@nila2010: you are welcome and thanks for the kind words. m glad i can be of some help..i just hope things get better soon..take care :)

@dadx2: i guess u r right about using different ways according to the situation.. there may not be a fixed way of responding or reacting..hittig back is not so bad but should be avoided unless the other options are exhausted.


sels 2010-12-02 13:50:15


I would like to know what should a parent do when my close friend's child is hurting my child in my friend's presence.

I had a situation like and  felt embressed and angry  as I could not react immediatly  due to my friends sake.My friends child is very  aggressive and violent by nature while his parents keeps asking sorry to everyone for his behaviour.Other common friend of ours does not tolerate such behaviour towards his daughter and treatens the boy in from of everyone.Do I also need to do the same to keep my child protected?

I would like to know who do we react when

1) My child is ill treating other child?

2) when my child is hit by other child?

During our childhood, our parents usually neglected it as child's play... and should not be taken seriously as it spoils adult's relationship. How do we react in the present time when each child is gem of its parents eye!


Mamma1 2010-12-02 14:26:30


@sels even i face the same problem son is one of those quiet types where as my best frnd's kid is very aggressive and hyper ..he always push my son and hit him on his head ..i just say its ok hes your friend u play with him..But my son is so scared  even to go their house ..There are a few more kids who trouble him a lot he cant handle it he 'll cry and come to me ..Their moms dont say anything ..They feel that adults shudnt interfere in this ..And i feel helpless ..

@Aanchal ...i feel to an extent the last point (be a good boy)is applicable in my case ...that exactly wht we use to tell him..


aanchal 2010-12-02 17:58:49


when our kid gets bullied by our best friend's kid, its a tough situation to be in. while its not advisable to act as a mediator unless kids fight, you cant let the child sweetly get bullied all the time either. your silence may tell the child that you dont care if he is getting hit and bullied. you need to talk to him, at least privately about it. when in company,you can tell the other child that its not a good thing to hit/snatch and that learning to share is very important. if the other mother is a good friend of yours, she will understand. (in fact, her reactions may tell you how good a friend she is ) if the other child continues to hit your child, put your foot down and tell him gently that you will not allow him to hit your kid. he can say whats wrong without hitting and that if he continues to hit, his friend (you kid) may not want to play with him further. see how your friend responds to this. dont let this come between the two of you, though this will depend on her sensibility too.

interference and intervention shouldnt be confused with each other. proper and timely intervention gives a lot of confidence to kids, especially when they are small and are getting constant unfair treatment.


Mamma1 2010-12-02 18:59:25


Thanx a lot Aanchal ..I'll  try this nxt time ..

You are rite if shes a gud frnd she shud understand ...

The thing is my son loves to play on his own so the bullies like to trouble him and watch him cryg ..

.i guess we need to teach him to be assertive without being aggressive ...Thanx once again :)


sannusmom 2010-12-03 11:20:27


Hi Nila2010,

I have a2 yr old son and he is quite a softy.He does not hit back or fight back anybody when attacked(or when other kids show affection in strange way!!)

Well...what I obeserved of him is he is neither underconfident nor under any threat or stern instruction to keep quite.In fact I do not even scare him by saying 'if you don't the I will...' things.He is genetically like that like his dad.His dad is a softy too but in a humane way and he is the best manager where he works also a wonderful people manager .So I am quite secure of my son that way.

However, I also tell him to escape the tight fists or attacks as cleverly as possible  ..bend down or turn around and get rid of the attacker.If the attack is too ugly he might have to go Karate way!Because not everywhere we can be present to protect him or instruct the other child .

I  too am still in learning stage as he is my first kid.Hope he figures out his own way of defending self with our little help.Moreover this is the stage he is developing his own personality , giving them (kids who are not attackers or defenders)little freedom might help.




gayaks2000 2010-12-03 12:29:31


 @Aanchal... Thanks. That was a wonderful and insightful response.

I have a 2.5 years old who is very non-agressive. He is agressive at home at times. I had taught him to share since he was very young and he is indeed very sharing. But a lot of times other kids take his toys and dont give their toys in return. 

Also, if someone tells him that his toy is theirs he does not protest. The same when he gets bullied by another kid or pushed around. Guess he is too surprised to react. I have told him multiple times that he should not hit. But at the same time i have also told him that he should stand up for himself. 

But still he is timid. Am figuring out how to help him stand up for himself


radhikaskiran 2010-12-03 12:38:07


@Aanchal : Iam posting my query for the first time ever! Used to read all your sugesstions and I must say, U r doing a fantastic job..keep it going! 

Coming to my query , I have a daughter who is 2 yrs 3 monthsold. She is a child who has a split view of the world - gets bullied outside and shows all the frustration back home. Sometime the tantrums get so bad that  I reach a point wherein it really gets on my nerves...

I still not understanding as to how do I handle this! Any suggestions ?


aanchal 2010-12-03 14:26:09


radhika: its something that many kids do. its called reverse role playing. a child who has poor self confidence lets other bully him outside. upon returning home, he wants to see how it is to be like a bully. it also helps him vent out his frustration, anger, embarrassment. if he gets scolded for trying to boss over others at home, he gets all the more frustrated.

talk to your daughter about her feelings when others bully her. the more she can find an outlet in sharing, the less she will feel the need to resort to tantrums.


crazymom 2010-12-03 14:33:49



Have read most of your posts..I am amazed at the info you have..Looks like u ve done research on each and evry bit of child's behaviour and development ..Are you into child counselling?? Great job indeed..

Well I also join the parents of timid kids ..My 3.5 year old son falls to category 6 mentioned in your post..timid outside and very confident inside..But I dont find it as a problem and feel he will learn to defend himsleves as he grows...We shd give them time..After all its survival of the sure they will learn to survive..


aanchal 2010-12-03 14:56:18


@crazymom (nice name!!): i am a child psychotherapist ! trying to understand behavior  is my job and passion..thats why i make sure to take out time to be on parentree when i am between consultations :)

all kids learn to survive, sooner or later..self learnt methods last longer than those learnt through instructions and orders of adults. so, i agee with you..letting them be themselves is the best way to deal with these things, unless and until there is a serious physical threat.


 Former member 2010-12-03 15:09:02


Dear All....Wow! When i started this thread i had absolutely no idea that i wud have so many parents sailing in the same boat as mine! :) Well that definitely gives me an insight tht maybe most of the parents cross this stage before they see their kid a more confident individual (not aggressive, just confident). As i mentioned before, for the past two days I had been stressing on how the food she eats has made her so strong which has already started double-benefiting, she has started to become a bit more assertive now as compared to how she was before and two, she is more open to have her meals now!!! :) Lets hope that it just gets better...Goodluck parents!


crazymom 2010-12-03 16:20:37



No wonder you seem to know everything :) ..must say ppl here are lucky have ur suggestions..


Dont worry yaar..every kid is different...I knew there were more parents like us because my son when put in a group of kids, exactly picks up another kid of similar nature to play know psycoholgy better I guess..

One good thing would be exposing them more to the real world (like taking them to parks , get togethers , kids activities very often) and let them learn by their own..Lets not force them..They are so innocent and their reactions are not manipulated ones, have to be very careful before taking any major steps...


radhikaskiran 2010-12-03 16:23:42


@Nila2010: oh yeah...we are all there sailing in the same boat :) ..good that you started the thread !!

@aanchal : Thanks so much! As of now my little just says someone hit me ,push me n stuff! She might soon build her vocabulary to express her feeling about it..and i will surely talk to her about it .

Meanwhile, I have started to tell her "if  anyone hits and bullies you, tell him/her not to do it. Incase they continue...give them back " [ what a piece of advise :( ]. She just keeps listening and I hope she will implement it sometime soon :D ! 


Neeti 2010-12-12 13:57:07


Dear aanchal,

My problem is reverse.....

my son is 3yrs old and shows aggressive behaviour while playing..........he seems to have his favourites and those who apparently seem to be on his "hit list", who he hits...........

I have tried explaining to him that hitting his wrong, but to no avail............So now the minute he hits someone i make him apologize and as punishment stop his playtime and take him back home.......i feel terrible about it but its the only thing that seems to be working with not sure if it is the right thing..........would appreciate you tips and inputs.....thanks.:)


Neeti 2010-12-13 11:01:00


Dear Aanchal,


Thanks for your reply! I went through the articles and have tried more or less all that is mentioned. Its just that he acts like quite the little 'alpha male'. With kids taller or bigger than him, he plays nicely but if he senses he can dominate someone then he starts displaying aggressive behaviour. This has been going on since he was 1.5yrs old(he is 3yrs now). If this is a phase it sure is taking its own sweet time in getting over:(

During his playtime, I am so scared that he may hit someone that I am always hanging around. I know that he needs his space but its just that other mothers get hyper when they see him around their kids:(( And unfortunately, i feel that my son senses and notices this. How do I handle this??? Before going down to play I always explain that he needs to play nicely(shd i stop doing that?). Too much lecturing may backfire?

Also in one of your links you had mentioned something about emotion flash cards. Would it be possible for you to mail it to me. Would really appreciate it.!


Thanks for your help.



aanchal 2010-12-13 11:26:16


neeti: will surely send you the set, no problems. hope it helps


subhapunati 2010-12-13 11:37:44



Can you pls send the emotion flash cards to me also .

Thanks in Advance.




radhikaskiran 2010-12-13 13:06:16


Aanchal , Please send me the flash cards too !


aanchal 2010-12-13 13:40:11


please send me your email ids through PT inbox



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