How to Handle a 7-Year-Old Hitting At School


Kids, especially at 7 years old, are all still trying to learn boundaries and ways to properly release their emotions. This may lead to emotional outbursts when they don’t have an outlet for some of their emotions.

One of the more severe outbursts may be hitting another child which is not okay and we have to teach them that.

How do you handle a 7-year-old hitting at school?

  1. Remain calm and composed.
  2. Separate them from the situation.
  3. Figure out why they are hitting.
  4. Let them know how it affects the other person.
  5. Have them apologize (when they are calm).
  6. Let them know the consequences of their actions.
  7. Help them find better ways to release their negative energy.

Hitting other kids isn’t good for your child to be just doing. Some emotional management is a great thing to teach your children, especially in situations like this.

It takes a bit more than just these brief bullet points to manage this type of situation, so keep reading to learn more.

1. Remain Calm and Composed

When you find out your kid has been hitting another, your first instinct may be to freak out. You may be wondering “How is my cute perfect baby influenced to do this?” or “What did I do wrong when raising them to make them think it’s okay to do this?”

Don’t freak out. Kids hit other kids sometimes and it is totally normal.

Kids tend to hit each other as a result of not knowing how to properly release their negative energy and emotions. At age 7, kids are still learning how to release these emotions and not bottle them up.

You shouldn’t freak out about “not teaching/raising them right” because a lot of kids at this age are still learning too. It isn’t an abnormal thing for kids to still be learning this.

Now, when you find out your kid has been hitting, the first thing you should make sure you do quick is to compose yourself and remain calm.

If you go to figure out the situation and you are in a flaming rage, the situation won’t get anywhere and nothing will be able to be handled properly. Your child will only see your anger and get more upset and won’t be willing to cooperate.

So, before going in, take a few breaths and relax. Everything will be just fine and your child will be more willing to listen and understand if you are calm but serious instead of hysterical and angry.

2. Separate Them From the Situation

The next step to do is making your child is separated from the situation and the other kid so that they won’t continue to hit. If your child is still in the middle of the situation, his negative feeling won’t improve, but possibly just the opposite.

By separating them, they have a minute to relax from those negative feelings and calm down so that you can both handle the situation better.

3. Figure Out Why They Are Hitting

After you both are calm, try to figure out the situation. Ask what happened and why they were led to hitting the other kid.

You may take each kid aside separately to figure this out as well so that you hear both sides of the story. Figure out what the kids may have been arguing about, their feelings, and where and how they hit.

If both kids are at fault, you may have to sit down with each of them to talk through the situation and let them know what was wrong and how to better handle their feelings.

4. Let Them Know How It Affects the Other Person

After your child tells you what happened and what led them to start hitting the other kid, then you need to let them know how this might make the other person feel and how it may have hurt them. It is important to do this to teach your kids that their actions DO affect other people.

Let your child know how it hurt the other child, both physically and emotionally. Tell them “When you hit Becky, it gave her an owie and you hurt her feeling when you _______. Do you know that?”

You will also need to let them know that hitting is not a good way to handle their emotions. It is important to be as calm and sympathetic and sincere during this discussion with your kid because getting angry only dismisses that your child is trying to learn how to handle his or her emotions. 

5. Have Them Apologize (When They Are Calm)

Once your kid understands what they did was wrong and is in a calm mood, let them know that they will need to apologize to the other kid for hitting them and hurting them.

You should supervise this process to make sure it doesn’t turn into another throw-down because that would just put you all the way back to square one.

Have them apologize something like this:

Kid 1: “I’m sorry, Becky, for __________ when instead I should have done __________ to express my feelings better.”

Kid 2: “I’m sorry, Rodger, for __________ when I should have done _________ to express my feelings better too.”

Why It’s Important to Apologize:

When I was younger, my parents used to always make my siblings and I hug after we apologized after an argument or disagreement. This was the most annoying thing ever when I was little, but surprisingly taught me the great principles of “Forgive and Forget.”

It is important to teach your kids these principles in whatever way you deem most fitting. Understanding these principles helps people to let go of grudges and anger towards situations you can’t control.

Holding grudges and anger towards situations you can’t control or are in the past only wastes energy and exhausts your emotional stability, not to mention that it is healthier to have a positive outlook on things and let go of useless negative feelings.

It is a lot healthier to be happy about what is happening now in your life and to let go of the negative feelings you may have.

I’m not saying to IGNORE those negative feelings, because this can actually lead to a large build-up of these negative emotions and feelings.

This build-up will eventually build up to the point of an emotional snapping point in which the person will basically eventually have a giant emotional breakdown that might seem like a near-psychotic episode. 

Think of a dam to help describe this situation. The dam is your emotional sanity and the water is all of your negative emotions. You keep going through frustrating situations and instead of releasing this energy, you keep pooling it up behind the dam.

You keep pooling it up more and more without trying to handle and release some of the build up.

Finally, you get to the point where you sanity dam can’t keep in all of that negative emotional water build-up and it finally just cracks and crumbles resulting in floods and floods or negative-emotion-water to wreak havoc on anything and everything within close proximity.

It’s not pretty.

Moral of this story, make sure that your kids, and you, not only apologize but forgive and forget about the negative feelings because otherwise, they will just build up in an unhealthy way which stresses out your mental stability and capacity and makes everything harder.

6. Let Them Know the Consequences of Their Actions

After your kid has worked through his situation and apologized, let him know that although he has apologized for his actions and worked through his feelings, he still has to pay the consequences for his actions.

Keep your calm and serious, yet sympathetic manner and explain exactly why he has to still pay the consequences. 

Explanation for Consequences:

“I am glad that you have apologized and worked through your anger properly this time, but you still have to pay the consequences for your actions.

This is because hitting is not okay because it hurts others. It will never be okay to deal with your anger in this way and the consequences you have to pay now will help you remember that hitting is not okay.”

Depending on how serious the situation is will alter how severe the consequences will be. The extent of the consequences will ultimately be up to you as the parent, but if you need some ideas I have listed some below for you.

Consequences:

  • loss of video games
  • loss of t.v. rights
  • more chores
  • timeout
  • take away certain electronic priviledges
  • don’t allow the children to play with the certain toys until the situation blows over

These are only some of the methods of punishment my own family used. Each set of parents have their own parenting styles, so these punishments may not be according to your style.

Ultimately, as parents, you can handle this situation however you deem fitting to your specific circumstances. 

7. Help Them Find Better Ways to Release Their Negative Energy

After the child understands their consequences and has apologized for his or her actions, you can then talk to the child about how to better handle the situation if you haven’t already.

These ideas can include talking through their feelings in a calm manner or walking away from a bad situation.

Sit and chat with your kid about the different ways they come up with (and you come up with) in which they can better handle their anger in frustrating situations to prevent this from happening again.

Make a list with them, even! Visual aids are always helpful with kids.

As the day and week progresses, have your child work on keeping their anger in check and work through it properly without repeating the bad situation.

When you see your child about to get angry you could say, “Hey Rodger, remember our list!” in a “be careful” but fully supportive and loving tone of voice.

When your kids feel like you are on their side they are much more willing to handle situations calmly and listen to you and work on their behavior in a positive manner. 

What If My Child Was Defending Him/Herself?

In some situations, you will hear about situations at school or even between sibling in which your kid only hit another out of self-defense.

This is an entirely different situation than randomly hitting in an outburst of anger and this type of situation needs to be handled much differently than the other.

If another kid at school is bullying yours and beating up on them, I feel that it is definitely okay for your kid to defend themselves if necessary, but use their own self-defense as a last resort.

If your kid is getting bullied, he or she should try to get any form of help at the school possible before resorting to handling the situation themselves.

Below I will add a list of steps they should conduct before resorting to solving the situation themselves.

Steps to try and stop getting bullied at school:

  1. Ask the bully to stop
  2. Ask a teacher or yard duty to have them stop
  3. Take it to the school office
  4. Warn the bully that if they don’t stop, you have permission from your parents to defend yourself
  5. Defend yourself

With these steps, you should only progress to the next step if the previous step you took still isn’t working. Your kid should do their best to not resort to defending themselves without help from adults.

However, your kid needs to know that they are allowed to defend themselves if that is their last option of solving the situation after all of their other methods and sources are exhausted.

I have a great story that will help further explain how to handle this situation:

When my older sister was in 5th grade, she had this boy that kept trying to kiss her without her consent. He kept trying to catch her or corner her to try and kiss her and she was not having it and it was not okay.

My older sister tried telling him to stop multiple times, but it didn’t phase him. She tried telling a yard duty and her teacher about the situation, but that didn’t help at all.

She took the issue up to the office to the principal, but that didn’t help either. This behavior kept continuing and no one was helping my sister resolve the situation.

She came home one night and told my parents that the boy still wasn’t stopping and that the adults at the school weren’t helping her stop the situation and so my dad told her something very important.

He told her: “(Older sister’s name), next time he tries to do this, tell him that your dad gave you permission to punch him so hard you break his nose. Since you have gone to the school about the situation and they aren’t helping, you have my full permission to deck him and he will learn his lesson.” 

And so, my sister went to school and, sure enough, this pesky boy corners her to try and kiss her again. My sister looks him straight in the face and repeats those exact words that my dad told her.

She said, “If you don’t stop, my dad gave me permission to break your nose.” And almost immediately this boy stopped.

My sister didn’t have to result to physically defending herself from him, but she knew and she made sure the boy knew that she had full permission and was fully capable of decking him as hard as she could. 

Your kids need to know that it is okay and even necessary to defend themselves sometimes in situations where they aren’t getting the necessary help otherwise.

Not teaching your kids how to defend themselves leaves them vulnerable and even unsafe. If my sister and the boy were older than 10, the situation could have been much worse very easily.

My dad has made sure that my sisters and I each know that we have full permission to defend ourselves and that we know how to as well. We have been taught to not leave ourselves defenseless and vulnerable to bad situations.

Make sure your kids know how to properly handle their emotions, not to pick on the vulnerable, and that it is okay to defend themselves if and when necessary and teach them how.

By doing this, your kids will be able to take care of themselves and will be independent if and when the need arises.

Related Questions:

How do you discipline a difficult child? When disciplining a difficult child, first you will have to pick your battles because there will be many. Do your best to prevent your child from getting in situations that will cause blowouts.

Ensure that they know all of your rules and the consequences of not following them and follow through with those consequences when they don’t as well.

Make sure you listen to your child too so that they don’t feel like they are being ignored and punished instead of being heard before judgment. Make sure when you pose things for your difficult child, pose options.

This will help them see the situation from a more broad perspective and understand everything fully.

How do you discipline a child without hitting them? You can discipline them by putting them in a time-out, taking away certain privileges such as electronics, reward or praise good behavior, ignore the little misbehaviors, and try to teach new ways of handling situations to your child. 

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