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Parent telling her child to hit back


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Hi All,


Hope you are all enjoying this beautiful sunshine and not suffering too much!


Anyway, I have been having issues with one of our children who keeps hitting out at other children. This is generally over sharing but can often be totally unprovoked. It appears to be getting worse and I have our SENCO and his keyperson on board trying to manage this behaviour.


Long story short, today he has not had a good session at all and when speaking to him, he tells me his mum has said that if he gets hit by another child he is to hit back! This shocked me as the parent has always told me that she tells him the complete opposite in fact.


Has anyone else had to deal with parents who tell their children to hit back?


We have tried all sorts of strategies to manage the behaviour such as reading "Hands are not for hitting", talking about having "kind hands" at pre-school, reflection time and now a treat jar with marbles. However, nothing seems to be working. He understands that he shouldn't be doing it but still continues :(

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Unfortunately I have come across many parents who would tell their children exactly this. The only thing you can do is reiterate to the child that regardless of what his parents might say, when he is at the setting he needs to follow the rules you have in place and that includes not hitting.

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He doesn't seem to be hitting back but the one who hits first though. He may not understand the difference if he has behavioural difficulties.


I have, unfortunately as many others have, in the past told my children to hit back when all else has failed and school has done nothing to rectify the problem. They rarely have though. One of my daughters was hit by one of the other parents in the cloakroom at school - wish she'd have hit back then but that's another story!


Surely the SENCO is working with parents too to help them with how to deal with his behaviour? I look after a child who hits a lot as well as biting, kicking etc. He knows what he is doing but doesn't understand that he hurts others.

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Can I ask how old this little boy is and how long he has been with you, it might help us give you some other suggestions.

As for the parent telling the child to hit back, unfortunately this is a common phrase told to children.

I think this is more likely to be the result of a parents experiences of hurtful behaviour, and not wanting their child to suffer the same.

When we have had children with unacceptable behaviour in the past we have used many strategies depending on the situation. We have a book of photographs of the preschool children " called how we behave at preschool", this has often helped by giving them a visual cue.

I think I would be doing some observations to see if anything particular is triggering them, or by plotting times in the day to see if there is any pattern.

It's very wearing isn't it , good luck with this, hoping it improves soon. :)

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Guest Spiral

We have had a child who has consistently spat, hit, punched and kicked many of our children. Yesterday he hit a child in front of their parent (out of school hours-but I was present).

The child who was hit is a quiet gentle child who has a lovely nature and he had a whopper of a mark and broken skin.....his mum said to 'hit the other child back' and I'm afraid I pretended not to hear what the parent said to their child.


They are off to different schools and it is unlikely their paths will cross after our last day at pre-school!


Usually I would have very different thoughts and would employ different mechanisms for helping children to deal with uncaring behaviour.



I have also had experience of a child who has hit others as he had been present when his parents argued and tended to 'shove' each other around. He seemed to copy their behaviour.


Best of luck Tinkerbell,


Spiral :-)

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I think that is a very good point.. about how behaviour at home can influence the way a child reacts to some things... Maz put a very good video on Facebook yesterday covering just this point.. found it and you can see it

. It is a banned advert in Australia.. but highlights how children can/could be influenced by things they see and adults be completely unaware of it happening.


as to being told to hit others.. we did the not in my setting rule, anything they had been encouraged to do was not part of our rules, we had xxxx. not always worked but with a lot of reinforcement it tended to remove most.. those it did not work with was a case of observe and try to see if there was a cause.. parents saying one thing to you and another to the child I would discuss with the parent... not always easy but in one case we found the child was actually saying the same to mum, that we had said you hit back... so without that communication we would never had found that out... and worked together to sort it.

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Thank you all for your helpful replies. This child is 3 & 1/2. My SENCO is working with the parent but the parent now tells me that she doesn't like the SENCO as she keeps telling her that her child is hurting other children! This parent doesn't seem too interested in working with us but rather that we can deal with it when it happens here and she will sort it out at home rather than a consistent approach both at pre-school and home. We have invited the parent in to observe the child's behaviour but she has never participated in this.


The SENCO and keyworker are carrying out observations to build up a picture of when/how/what/why these incidents happen but as Fredbear says this is very wearing now. We have seen this behaviour for some weeks now and its difficult to spot any real trigger or pattern to it.


Thanks to those of you that have made some suggestions. I like the "How we behave at pre-school" book. This is definately something I'd like to implement. I was thinking of taking pictures of children actually seen behaving correctly and using those in the book so children could identify some more maybe.


Liking the "not in our setting" rule also. Thanks again

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