I’m a child expert, phrases like ‘gentle hands’ NEVER work if your child hits or bites & how to deal with it instead | The Sun

A PARENTING coach has shared her expert advice on what to do if your child starts hitting or biting other people – and it’s probably not the tactic you’ve been going for.

Mum-of-four Gen Muir revealed that while this is a common issue in toddlers, there’s a right way to deal with it, as well as phrases that will make it worse.

Gen, who is a social worker and runs TikTok account @connectedparentingau, shared a video where she tackled what she deemed “toddler aggression”. 

She told her 48.4k followers: “What NOT to say when your child is hitting, biting or pushing and what to say instead.”

Gen then shared how parents should avoid using phrases such as, “When you hit mummy [or daddy], it makes them sad.”

She explained: “Yes, we want to teach our child that their actions have consequences. 

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“But, in a moment where a toddler is hitting, biting or pushing, they have lost the ability to regulate and they need you to do that for them, and we need to be in control in that moment.

“So if we’re saying that their actions are impacting us in a way that stops us from being that person, we’re handing the control and the power over to our toddler.

“That makes them feel less safe and more likely to hit again.”

Next up, Gen maintained that mums and dads shouldn’t say words such as “gentle hands”. 

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She went on to say: “There’s nothing super wrong with it – it’s just not very clear. What does that even mean?”

Gen also said that the phrase “we do not hit” is similarly unhelpful, as it’s “confusing” because they just did exactly that.  

Instead, Gen encouraged fellow parents to speak in the first person and be concise and clear so that their toddler can learn not to repeat their actions.

She said: “Here’s what I would say instead and this has been proven to help your child find other ways to communicate that don’t involve hitting, biting, or pushing much faster.

“‘I won’t let you hit – I’m going to move me, the baby, or you to keep us safe. You can be mad, but I won’t let you hit.’ 

This has been proven to help your child find other ways to communicate that don’t involve hitting, biting, or pushing much faster

To clarify her stance, Gen also uncovered the reasons it’s so effective.

She continued: “By saying the words ‘I won’t let you’, what you’re doing is making sure that you know it’s your job to physically help your child, stop your child and keep everybody safe.

“You can even add those words. This reminds us that we’re in charge and we need to be calm in order to help our child to calm down. 

The mum concluded: “I promise you, this is the start point – from this point, we can offer our child empathy because there is always a reason that we hit, bite, kick or push.” 

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“And I know the trolls are going to be on this saying I’m the reason that there’s a problem with this generation.

“But I’m telling you that I’m a mum-of-four and this works and it is proven to have a much faster impact from stopping kids from using their bodies to communicate.” 

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