by Lyn Lomasi, Staff Writer
No one is a perfect parent, not even me, as a parenting expert. There is no such thing as perfection when it comes to raising kids. However, there are certain parenting mishaps we just shouldn't do or let our toddlers see. As a veteran parent and former nanny, I've had plenty of experience with toddlers who hit. It's not always something the parent is doing. But there are at least 5 parenting no-nos that could teach toddlers to use violence to get their way. Are you unintentionally participating in these parenting no-nos that may encourage hitting in toddlers?
Fighting in front of toddlers is a big parenting no-no. Arguing in front of your toddler can cause him stress, frustration, anger, and other issues. When this fighting is physical, it is even worse. Domestic violence is never appropriate. But it's especially inappropriate in front of a toddler. By hitting each other in front of watchful little eyes, you are encouraging hitting in your toddler. Counseling, separation, or even jail time for the offending party may be the best option for a couple that takes this route. Seek authorities and a professional's guidance right away if there is any physical violence in your home.
Being physical in anger can encourage hitting, even if you are not directly hitting anyone. Slamming items down, throwing things, or hitting things when frustrated teaches your toddler to be physical when upset. While you may not be hitting a person, you are still acting out your anger in a negative physical manner. Parenting behaviors like this encourage hitting in toddlers. If you feel like you need to do something physical to express the anger, try jogging, yoga, playing basketball, or another form of exercise.
Treating animals poorly can encourage hitting in toddlers. As the parent, you are supposed to be a positive example. Animals are living beings, just like you and I. Mistreating animals not only teaches your toddler to do the same. But it also teaches him to use violence when annoyed with something. Children, especially toddlers, follow the lead of their parents. They learn by observance. Even when you think they are not watching, they are. If you can't have a pet in your home without hitting and other negative treatment, please find a new, more loving, home for the animal. This will be good for your toddler, as well as the pet
Laughing at violence is never good. Certain television programs and movies may make a mockery of violent acts. While older children may possibly understand the difference between movies and real life, a toddler may not. The same is true for video games that encourage hitting and other violence as a way to get ahead in the game. Then, of course there is reality. Never, ever laugh about violent acts in your toddler's presence. While it may not be intentional, by doing this, you are encouraging hitting and other forms of violence. In a toddler's eyes, laughing may mean that the violence is OK.
Spanking can also encourage hitting. Yes, I know I am going to upset some people by saying this. I respect that not everyone has the same disciplinary methods. But in my experience, toddlers whose parents used spanking for discipline hit far more than those whose parents used other methods. If you think about it for a moment, it makes sense. Spanking is the act of hitting someone for an undesired behavior. In a toddler's eyes, this may send the message that when they don't like a behavior in another person, they should hit that person. There are more positive forms of discipline than spanking that still teach your toddler effectively.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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