Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Hands are not for Hitting

I thought my little girl was past the swatting stage, sigh....  Yesterday at a play date, one of her friends took a toy from her and what did she do to get it back? Swatted at her friend's head.  Nice.

It is a long road in teaching our toddlers right from wrong.  Well, let's just say it will be an ongoing lesson throughout their lives, but it starts now.  Realizing how much we have a responsibility to teach our children makes it challenging but at the same it is fun to watch them learn how their environment works.

So starting with the basics, I realized I needed to work harder at teaching my child about not hitting people (or biting for that matter).  I remembered a book I used to use with children at my old job as a domestic violence counselor.  It was called, Hands Are Not For Hitting by Martine Agassi.

I was so excited to find it in my old files and even more excited that it was the board book version!  Perfect for my still destructive toddler.

Click here to order: Hands Are Not for Hitting (Board Book) (Best Behavior Series)

It is such a cute book, with lots of bright colors that my daughter loves to look at and point out all the animals.

It starts out by showing what kinds of things hands can do, like wave, shake hands, give a 'high five' and coloring.

It then goes on to show you how hands can hurt others like hitting, shoving, etc and that hands are 'not for hitting!'  That hands are for helping, making music and giving hugs, etc.  It also is great way for parents to talk different ways to handle feeling mad like using words, or hitting a pillow instead.

The last few pages of the book are suggestions written by the author as she gives tips for parents on how to handle situations and how to open the book up for discussion with older children when talking about bullies, and what to do when a friend tries to hurt them.

I know my child is learning a lot from reading this, although it will be a slow learning process.  We are also practicing on her dolls and me repeatedly telling her "I know you don't like.... (or I know you are mad because of....) but hands are not for hitting!" :)


  1. Hi,
    I am a young widow of 29 yrs and my husband passed away around 3 months back. I have a 4 yr old daughter, and i ve noticied that after my husband death she has become more aggressive n rebellious in nature.. I dont know why but she is always hitting me. She wants all her demands to be met otherwise god knows what she might turn into.
    I am really worried.
    Plz help..

  2. Varsha,

    I am so, so sorry for your loss! I can only imagine how hard that must be for you and your daughter. I am sure you are both going through the grieving process, at in different ways. It sounds like your daughter is dealing with his passing in the only way she knows how, aggressively or using her anger. It sounds too like she will would be a good candidate for play therapy, as it will provide her a safe place to act out her frustrations, anger and her loss, and the counselor can provide you some great tips on parenting as well. A great place to find a play therapist in your area is to go to In the meantime, try to encourage her to use her words, and express her anger by drawing it out on a piece of paper ("show me how angry you are"), and to encourage her to scream into a pillow or throw the ball outside instead of hitting people (you). And pass the message on when you talk to her that anger is okay but it's her actions that are not. That you understand how sad and angry she is that her dad is not around anymore but that it is not okay to hurt people. Hope that helps!

    The Counselor Mom