Why I Told My Daughter To Hit Her Brother


These two are always fighting.  Constantly.  They fight over toys, who had it first, and “he took it away from me!”  She’s bossy and emotional, he’s mostly non-verbal and prone to frustrated meltdowns.  Are they gifted?  I’m not sure yet.  I do know that their personalities are clashing a lot.

She has overexcitabilities, he has SPD like his big brother.  She’s closer to reading than 5-year-old Engineer and knows most of the kindergarten level stuff at 3.  He’s just barely 2 and correctly identifies every letter he’s gotten his hands on in our big magnetic letter box.  I’m rather hoping they’re not gifted because I already have more than I can deal with coping with the Engineer.  I can hope…but I’m fairly sure it’s a vain hope.  Pretty sure I have three 2e’s on my hands.

Today, their divergent needs forced me to abandon the household rules in favor of pushing them to mature a bit.  Our big standing rule, “No Hurting Anyone” was modified to fit the situation.  You see, the Destroyer likes to hit.  He’ll walk up to someone who is contentedly playing on the floor and just whack them.  Smack!  Right in the head.  Wailing ensues, mommy attention for the injured and discipline for the offender.  He’ll cheerfully say “sawwy (sorry)” but will promptly start hitting again.

I’m fairly sure this is learned behavior from what he sees of his brother’s impulse control issues, but I’m not ruling out special needs just yet.  Honestly, his behavioral issues are worse than his brother’s were at this age, and he’s extremely rigid about the way things ought  to be.

The Princess, on the other hand, is a push-over.  She’ll wail and cry huge tears over things, but will rarely try to solve the situation or retaliate.  We jokingly call her a drama queen, but I’m well aware that her emotional overexcitabilities are a big part of the problem.  I don’t want to crush her emotions, but I do want her to learn to stand up for herself.  It’s a skill she will desperately need with two brothers who are physically bigger than her, with the extra unpredictability of special needs.

So, after 3 consecutive whacks from the Destroyer, I told her to hit him back.

The look of shock in her eyes!

The Engineer came rushing into the room, “can I hit him back too?”  I said no; “you’re too big and you might hurt him.”  I could see the cognitive wheels turning in the Engineer’s head, and I know that I will have to deal with the ramifications of the rules are different for different people later.

Despite all that, she never quite worked up the courage to hit him back.  At one point, when I had stepped in to police the one-person-on-the-trampoline-at-a-time rule, she thought about it.  She asked “can I hit him back now?” after he tried to smack her off the trampoline.  When I nodded and said yes, the Destroyer looked at me with wide eyes.  By the time she asked about where to hit (back or butt, never face) and after I told her to put the toys down first, he had already walked away.

I have to admit, it sounds like a completely wrong move.   Egging my daughter on to hit her little brother?  Parenting fail!  At the same time, it feels right.  Defend yourself kiddo, don’t take crap from anyone!

I’m hoping that I can teach him that hitting hurts and has nasty consequences while simultaneously teaching her how to stand up for herself.  We’ll see if this works!  I have a really bad feeling it’s going to backfire.

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