Tips for helping children who hit others

Parenting specialist Mary Hartzell, MEd, shares advice for parents on ways to help their children who are hitting others
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Tips for helping children who hit others

If a child is hitting, hurting, pushing or grabbing, all of those things that don't make them as attractive a play partner. People become afraid because they have hurt them. It has to be given a great deal of focus and attention by parents and teachers alike, in helping the child learn what to do when they are frustrated. They already know what not to do, but they are stuck in the same thing. They are stuck in biting, hitting or grabbing because that is their first impulse. It really takes attentive parents and attentive teachers to make a plan with the child about how to help them. Then be there, and even shadow the child if it looks like they might get into trouble, you will be there when they start to get frustrated. Then you can help them find another solution that is pro-social.

Parenting specialist Mary Hartzell, MEd, shares advice for parents on ways to help their children who are hitting others


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Mary Hartzell, MEd

Author & Parent Educator

Mary Hartzell has over 30 years experience working with children, parents and teachers. She is the director of The First Presbyterian Nursery School, a nationally recognized early childhood program in Santa Monica, California. She is co-author of Parenting from the Inside Out and also has created a series of CDs on Parent/Child Relationships. Her parent education classes and her private consulting practice have benefited hundreds of families.

Mary began her career teaching in the public school system and completed her master’s degree in early childhood education and psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles. She taught in the early childhood unit at the UCLA Lab School and supervised student teachers. 

Mary is the mother of three grown children and has four grandchildren. During the years she was raising her own children she taught in the gifted program of the Los Angeles Unified Schools, primarily in South Central L.A. For the past 20 years Mary has been a workshop presenter at national, state and local conferences of the National Association of the Education of Young Children. She has been a lecturer at UCLA extension and is adjunct faculty at Santa Monica Community College in their early childhood department. She also provides workshops, teacher education and consulting with schools throughout the United States.

Mary has served as president of the North Bay Chapter of the Association for the Education of Young Children, Vice President of the Association of the Child Development Specialists. She was the recipient of the first Pediatric Aids Foundation’s “Hero’s Award” for her work with children and parents.

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