All right. Hi, I’m Megan Jackson. I am a kiddo therapist and parenting specialist, and I’m here to teach y’all how to set limits with your kids and help them process their behaviors and feelings.

So we got our kiddo and they are playing in the playroom with siblings and they decide that they’re going to hit their sibling. They’re really frustrated. So traditionally as parents we’re like, “Stop. Don’t.” Because we don’t want them hitting, we want to help. The problem with that is they have this feeling and this behavior that is going, if we’re only saying stop it, they’re just going to re-experience the feeling back here and they don’t get a way to process it, and they don’t get a way to experience it.

So, what we want to do instead is we want to pull this off and we’re going to say, “Oh, hey buddy. I see that you have a feeling, a big feeling, and I want to give you a better behavior.” So I’m going to acknowledge the feeling. I’m going to say, “You’re really mad.” And then I’m going to communicate the limit, people aren’t for hurting. It’s very simple. It’s very brief to the point. And then I’m going to give my kid an options. I’m going to target alternatives, which means I’m going to say to them, “You’re really mad. People aren’t for hurting. You can stomp your feet. You can ask for help.” I’m going to give them options that help them process through and meet this need that the behavior is doing in a more appropriate way, in a way that I feel comfortable with and it’s actually better for them.

So awesome. Here’s the thing. Parents often say to me, “Megan, I tried this, but they’re still hitting. So what do I do?” Well, I’m going to tell you. So one, recognizing the hitting is super effective. It’s a really effective behavior. When I hit someone, they leave me alone. They don’t touch my stuff. I really like that. So what I want to recognize as a parent is I want to be close to my kid, I want to be closer to them when these are big time. So when they’re playing in the playroom, I may, instead of chilling on the couch, I may come sit on the floor in the playroom and do my thing so I can be close because I know that’s a high intensity time where we have this. And then I’m going to try to intervene. So I’m going to see kiddo doing it, and I’m going to jump in and do this real quick, say these things, and then I’m going to just wait with them and help them choose. I’m going to reinforce the times that they do it well with lots of praise and lots of loving. And then I’m going to continue to be pretty consistent, not super angry, but firm about resetting this until they can learn it.

So this is a process, parents. It doesn’t happen overnight, but y’all got it. Let us know how it works for you.