Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Book Review - Hands Are Not for Hitting

In a perfect world, reading "Hands Are Not for Hitting" several times with my daughter would have resulted in her learning to only use her hands to be kind and take care of herself and others. Alas, it is not a perfect world. I do think reading this book with her was a step in the right direction in helping her understand that hitting is hurtful, that other people don't like it, and that there are other things she can do when she is angry or scared. I also think it accomplished a somewhat different goal in teaching her some things she can and should do with her hands, like give or receive a high five, blow a kiss, shake hands, and help with chores around the house. We always have to stop and practice these while we are reading, especially the high fives. I think it also is useful for those really hard days when she has been overwhelmed socially and is unable to restrain her aggressive behaviors. We often pull it out on those days to help her talk about the incident in a way that helps us understand what triggered her behavior. Then we can better support good behavior when a similar situation arises. The pictures are all beautiful and illustrate the situations, actions, and solutions in positive ways with a diverse set of children and adults depicted. Just about the only thing I might change is the phrasing of the title. In keeping with our attempts to use positive phrases to address behavior we try now to say, "We always use gentle hands." There is also a board book version for younger children, and this title is part of a series of books that cover similar social/behavioral topics. We've been happy with all of the books we've used, though we do not have all of them. The cover I've photographed from our home library is different than what is now on Amazon, so I guess there is a new edition out, I hope that is not confusing to anyone. Enjoy!


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