When will he EVER stop hurting me? When, when, when? I am so sick of constantly being hurt by this child! I have been telling him for years that “you may be angry, but you may not hurt me,” and it still happens every day – many times a day! I do not just “let” him do it, but he moves fast and I can’t always intercept in time.
Is it okay to make going home a choice he makes if he hurts me? Maybe I should explain that he loves to go places and every time he knows we’re going home he cries and complains about it.
For one child it was as they were turning four. Another child, younger, was aggressive a bit beyond that. Keep setting the boundaries, don’t let him hurt you, don’t give the impression that it’s okay, give him appropriate outlets for his aggression (texture play, baths, manipulative toys, and something he can punch/bite/pinch). A big determining factor in how long it continues is how verbal the child is and how well they can communicate about their feelings.
One thing I would encourage is to make sure you are being very firm about letting him know that hurting you is not okay. I would take his hand in mine, firmly, and look him in the eye and say, “Stop hurting me. It is not acceptable to hurt me.” I would keep looking at him until I could tell that he got it. Then I would give him big hugs and talk about how much I love him, and I would be a bad mommy if I let him hurt me – that I won’t hurt him and he won’t hurt me.
As for making going home a consequence – yes, it’s appropriate. It’s what I do when I can go home and return later for the items (or don’t really need them in the first place). It will definitely make it where you don’t get things done so make sure you’re willing and able to walk away. I’ve walked through stores with a melting-down child who I’m verbally comforting or holding while they flail about because I need to shop. I get looks, but if I can stay emotionally detached, I usually have a distracted and calm child (or a sleeping one) by the time we’re checking out. Not always, but usually. Be aware of your own triggers because many people have shared that their worst parenting moments come when they are embarrassed.