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post #21 of 66

Remember that it is as important for your daughter to know it is not okay for her to be hit and you will protect her, as it is for your son to learn not to hit. I would respond with a consequence for him, and/or by displaying anger toward him and protective behaviour toward her. I have been on the end of this wherein I was the mother of the girls who were targeted randomly by aggressive boys, and the mothers IMO were too passive and overly concerned with his feelings, and underconcerned wiht my daughters' experiences and their feelings. She doesn't just need empathy, she needs protection. And he will survive learning that hitting is NOT allowed and will result in negative consequences, that he will be stopped and punished for it (the lightest punishment that is effective, even a firm 'No that is NOT allowed' or a timeout or removal of a favoured toy.

post #22 of 66

A few random ideas I'll shoot out here... Have you tried any elimination diets, like gf/cf/sf, feingold's, scd? I found my dd(and me too) have a issue with gluten and pasteurized dairy, we're also soy free, hfcs/trans-fat/preservative free, and working towards sugar free. Have you tried magnesium supplements? Getting him tested to see if his vitamin/mineral levels are where they should be? Have you considered the possibility of sensory issues? I'm hoping you're looking into counseling for the entire family, but especially for both of your children.

 

Here is a checklist for sensory processing disorder, you may want to take a look at it or possibly mention it to your doctor and have your ds evaluated. Best of luck.

http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-processing-disorder-checklist.html

post #23 of 66

This sounds really frustrating. You say that you're a gentle family and don't think either rewards or punishments are OK.  However, you're considering allowing your daughter to retaliate (by which you mean hitting back?).  It seems to me that if you want to keep continue being as non-violent as possible, using time-out is a much better path than letting your daughter hurt your son back. 

 

Also, you said that you don't do punishments or rewards to your kids because you wouldn't do them to your husband or your mother. That's just not true. We punish and reward other adults all day long, it's just that the punishments and rewards are different than stickers or toys or time outs because those don't work for adults. When I get mad at someone for saying something really offensive, I walk away mid-conversation, that's a punishment. When my boss gets mad at me for screwing up, she fires me (not really, hasn't happened, but it could!), that's a punishment. When my exhusband used to be really helpful and sweet, I would make him his favorite dinner, that's a reward. When my friend is greatful for my support and bringing over food several times after a family death, she writes me a thank-you card with a little poem about friendship, that's a reward.   All these small daily rewards and punishments shape our behavior throughout our lives. I wouldn't go to work every day if I wasn't rewarded with a paycheck, I just don't like my job well enough to do that!

 

I think your options are 1) allow your son to continue hurting your daughter and for her to drift farther and farther away from you, resentful that you won't protect her, or 2) implement discipline that involves rewards and punishments. You might want to read "123 Magic," it works like a charm with my son. Another option is taking your son to a behavior therapist and getting some parent training for yourself.

post #24 of 66

My son, who is now 7, went through an aggressive period from about ages 2-5. In his case, there was some obvious trauma where it made sense that he was doing that. Here's what worked for me:

 

1) Play therapy. He had a great playtherapist who also used EMDR. She was really cool and understood my parenting. 

 

2) Feingold diet. It was challenging to do it as my son loves fruit and you have to cut out salicates (sp?). 

 

3) I used the Nurtured Heart Approach-Parenting the Challenging Child by Howard Glasser. He talks a lot about the parent as toy concept that you mention. When they find they push buttons they keep pushing them. The techniques were not ones I would have been drawn towards normally--but it was an extreme situation that needed to be dealt with. I modified it some. It is about noticing and commenting (praising!) the good things and energizing them. I wasn't totally anti-praise like some folks around here but it was certainly more than I would normally do.He really loves praise. I look at it like his love language is "words of affirmation".  If that is a child's love language and they are in a family that doesn't believe in praise that seems unfortunate. I think there is a way to do meaningful praise that is directed at the very heart of a child. (I think the book is for older children but you can apply some of it.)

 

I did 2 & 3 at the same time because I was desperate. So I'm not totally sure what had the most effect, but he was a different child in about two weeks. Calmer and able to control himself. 

 

Not saying this will work for your child--it is very individual. My son still requires more from me as a parent--he keeps me on my toes but things are good now. 

 

I do think what you describe is out of the "norm" in terms of the extremity. There are professionals out there that are respectful of parents and can help. It can be really tricky to tease out what is going on. There is a tendency to over diagnose SPD and you can drop thousands on OT--most of which isn't rocket science. I do find evaluations helpful though--it is information. I've found great people for both my kids but it took some time. 

 

It is hard as parents when things don't go as we intend. It raises questions about what we are doing wrong, etc. I find I have much more compassion for parents of challenging children now. We tend to blame the parents when a child is acting out. Parents certainly have to look for answers but some kids are SO MUCH MORE than other kids that people don't understand. Things that work with other kids (like that nice rational discussion about why hitting is bad) won't work with all kids. Anyway, you may have to change some of your parenting beliefs because he may need you to respond differently. 

 

And one thing will probably not "fix" this issue. You have to try different approaches and it is ongoing. Good luck. I feel for you, I really do. 

post #25 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eligracey View Post

2) implement discipline that involves rewards and punishments. You might want to read "123 Magic," it works like a charm with my son.

 

Total thread jack, but thanks for the book recommendation.  I was just reading some threads looking for book recommendations for a gentle discipline tactic that involves rewards and punishments in addition to natural consequences.  This might be the ticket.

 

post #26 of 66

You're welcome!  I think it's a good book but to be honest probably needs supplementing with other books, for example I'm pretty sure it doesn't go over how to do sticker charts.

 

My favorite technique for my 2.5 year old is the Either/Or:  "Either you can put on your jacket yourself or I'll do it for you" and of course he wants to do everything himself and so he happily does it. You can apply this to everything in toddler-land, I swear.

post #27 of 66

Okay, a few thoughts, not in order:

 

1) A lot of what you describe in *both* of your kids speaks to me of sensory issues.   Both sensory avoiding (noise) and sensory seeking (hitting and making noise).    I think your idea of consulting with an OT is a good one -- we had OT evaluation through school when my DS was 7, and it was really a good thing.

 

2) My sensory kid was the one who made liars out of a lot of GD experts.   NOT in the "GD is wrong and doesn't work" way, but just that some of the commonest GD techniques recommended across the GD board simply were not right for him.   Everyone says "Oh, you just have to tell them X," or "Oh, if you do Y, they'll get it."  Nope.

 

3)  In general, we figured out that we were talking far too much.   Talking so much was simply overwhelming to him, especially when he was getting overwhelmed with sensory and emotional input and on the verge of flpping out.   We had to pick one message and shorten it drastically to get it through.   In the heat of the moment, explaining and justifying and explaining made things worse, and prevented the important message from getting through.  ("You must stay away from the swings!"  worked better than "Oh, honey, if you walk so close to teh swings the girl who is swinging will kick you in the head and that will hurt and you will be sad and she will be sad that she hurt you so you can't play so close to the swings when a person is swinging, please."

 

4) Playful parenting techniques infuriated him.   If he was having a serious or difficult moment, trying to distract him with games or jolly him out of it wtih sillyness was percieved, I think, as insulting and condescending.   BOTH my kids hated just about all Playful Parenting tactics, and made this very clear.  "NO LAUGHING AT ME MAMA!"

 

5) Too many choices were almost as bad as too many words.  Yes, we wanted to respect his wishes and give him as much autonomy as was age appropriate.   However, overwhelming him with options when he was already feeling overwhelmed with incoming sensations was really upsetting to him.  

 

6) You say your DS doesn't get negation -- it's good you noticed that.  My DS could not really process "if - then" statements at that age, so all the advice to "Tell him if he holds your hand then he can walk" and things like that?  Totally inappropriate.  His brain wasn't holding the idea of order of operations, of "first we do X, then we do Y," or "If we do X, then we can do Y."  And repeating messages like that over and over just made him more and more frustrated.

 

In general, some kids get really overwhelmed with a certain style of GD.   IT's not really developmentally appropriate to expect it of them, and they respond better as toddlers and preschoolers to a more parent-directed interaction, with a simple message and clear expectations/limits.   This doesn't mean ditching gentleness.  It doesn't mean spanking and timeouts and artificial consequences, or using shaming.     And a kid who doesnt' do well with discussion at age 3 or 4 can grow into it -- now that my kids are older,  we *do* talk things out, present alternatives, discuss reasoning, and all that.  And the kid who melted down if you tried multi-clause statements as a toddler?   Is the one willing to discuss and come to agreements now.

post #28 of 66

I read the whole thread and find a lot of it really alarming.  You need to intervene and set some boundaries.  Gentle discipline doesn't mean no discipline. I almost didn't respond because this hits home so much and I feel really triggered but I'll just say this- as the mother of a child who has permanent scars from a child who sounds a lot like your son- you absolutely need to address this now!  It sounds like he needs more structure and rules and most likely some professional help.  It sounds like you would all benefit from professional assistance.  It's not fair to the babies and your daughter and the other kids your son comes in contact with for him to be allowed to terrorize them.  We don't interact with the kid who hurt DD anymore and I am still livid at his parents for their laid back (gentle discipline= no discipline) approach to their aggressive son.  We don't hit or shame either, but we do indeed have boundaries, expectations, rules and discipline.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing and some children absolutely need to know boundaries.  I believe firmly that one child's right to express themselves ends where another child's safety and dignity begins.

 

I am also really, really concerned about the dog situation.  The entire thing is problematic, but the dog thing can be fixed.  If your son can't be kind to the dog, the dog needs a new home. 

 

post #29 of 66

This is hard stuff, but I think there are things you can do.  :)

 

We had similar issues when DS was young.  He has an SPD diagnosis.  He used to hit his sister a lot.  She tried retaliating, and it didn't work.  She was also a child, and so I didn't leave it to her to figure out - I protected her as much as I could.  I also recognized that sometimes she was kind of obnoxious to her brother because a) sibs do that, and b) she was fed up with being abused.

 

I would really recommend posting in the SN board or your tribe to get recommendations for a service provider and look at an EI evaluation.  Your family needs help learning strategies to help your son learn to self-regulate and manage his big emotions and reactions.  Yes, some service providers are "mainstream" but there are plenty who get attachment and GD.  Another point is that AP is about meeting a child's needs, and it sounds like your son needs external self-regulation (ie from a caring adult) because he hasn't developed those skills yet.

 

1-2-3 Magic is a difficult read as the author uses a circus animal analogy.  The gist is that kids need to know what to expect, and the counting is just giving them an opportunity to pause, think and decide their next move (not how the author would frame it, but how I believe it is).  With kids with impulse control issues, they need help to pause.  So it's rough the first week or so and the child does end up getting a number of time outs.(we did them together on the bottom step).  In not very long, I rarely got to "2." When the kids were a bit older, I'd flat out say to them "you know, if I have to start counting it means that you guys are not showing a lot of self-control and are being pretty unpleasant.  Could we regroup please and find a better way to be with family/friends/people at the library?"   1-2-3 doesn't have to be totalitarian if it's done with clear explanations and respectfulness.  We used 1-2-3 as a way to impose external self-regulation when a child needed it - kids are usually doing the best they can, and when they're not doing well, I think that they need help.  I wouldn't call the book a great go-to method as it really is about simple compliance as it's written - I think the method needs to be modified and fit within a larger array of strategies.

 

I like Kurcinka's Kids, Parents and Power Struggles.  I also like the Transforming the Difficult Child book.  I'm a big fan of When the Labels Don't Fit for the author's attention to the experience of parenting a complicated child.

 

I'm going to repeat this as I think it's really important - AP and GD are about meeting a child's needs, and meeting a child where they're at.  Many books are written thinking of the typical child who is not regularly overwhelmed by what's going on inside them and what is going on around them.  When you're dealing with a child who's highly reactive and often unregulated, you need to help them regulate before you can expect them to be "rational" or "thoughtful." The skills are in how they, as an individual, need you to help them regulate while they develop the skills to do it themselves.  Allowing a child to be perpetually unregulated is unkind, IMO.  And as they get bigger they are harder to influence, so staring early is wise.

post #30 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by joensally View Post

 

I'm going to repeat this as I think it's really important - AP and GD are about meeting a child's needs, and meeting a child where they're at.  Many books are written thinking of the typical child who is not regularly overwhelmed by what's going on inside them and what is going on around them.  When you're dealing with a child who's highly reactive and often unregulated, you need to help them regulate before you can expect them to be "rational" or "thoughtful." The skills are in how they, as an individual, need you to help them regulate while they develop the skills to do it themselves.  Allowing a child to be perpetually unregulated is unkind, IMO.  And as they get bigger they are harder to influence, so staring early is wise.


This is exactly my experience (and a much shorter, more succint version of much of what I said above).

 

With time, my son learned ways to check himself, to stop, take a moment, regroup, self-assess, and regulate.    You could see it happening -- he'd start down the slippery slope toward meltdown and then, suddenly, one of the things we worked on would kick in.  He'd take a deep breath.  He'd center himself.  He'd stop and rephrase.   

 

But that came after a lot of work and help from us.   

 

(We also found that 1-2-3 worked well to help cue him, to give him that "stop, wait" moment.   At school, his 2nd grade teacher worked out a nonverbal cueing system with him to help him realize he was doing something that needed stopping, so that she could make him aware before it got bad, without embarassing him in front of his peers.  It worked really well).

 

post #31 of 66

A lot of toddlers go through an aggressive period.  However, not hitting people is a really important social boundary that needs to be taught.  Your son is going to need your help to sort this out - he cannot be left to do it on his own.  Children who have to work out social boundaries without guidance typically wind up ostracized because their behavior hurts others.  This is deeply damaging to their self-esteem.  Caring parental intervention is faster, more effective, and protects the child's self-concept in the long run.  

 

Right now, your ds probably has a lot of reasons for hitting your dd, but underlying all of them is his experience with being allowed to hit his sister.  In other words, your ds is hitting your dd (and other people and animals) because you allow him to do so.  If you continue to allow your ds to hit people, other children will fear and avoid him, adults will react to him in a negative way, and he will probably be seriously hurt by your dog.  These experiences will eventually change his behavior, but not until he has experienced some crushing emotional wounds and been though some painful, avoidable injuries.  To protect your son from these injuries, you need to stop him from hitting people and other living things.  

 

In order to help your ds through this, you need to identify the circumstances that lead to his hitting.  There is probably a pattern to this with identifiable pre-cursor behaviors.  When you see these pre-cursors, or when he hits, you need to remove him from the situation.  Some parents redirect to an object that is acceptable to hit.  Some parents remove the child to another place to be alone, or alone with a parent.  

 

In order for this to work, you will need to keep your ds with you all the time.  Bring him from room to room with you as you work around the house.  You can give him jobs to do to help you, or you can give him a little play space near you.  Learning to help can also be very helpful for aggressive toddlers, because it gives them an outlet for their energy and a positive way to get adult attention.  

 

Please don't let your son continue to hit.  It isn't kind to those around him, and it isn't kind to him either.  

post #32 of 66


I agry with everything below. We GD, but it took us some time to find our own way, and it is still evolving, and not always successful.  99% of what the GD books suggest doesn't work 99% of the time. Playful parenting--forget it. Validating--leads to escalations. I have to be constantly attuned, focused, and 'working' on it--or things just don't go well. It is exhausting, but what else can be done? It is very celar to me that something more mainstream, like time outs or rewards wouldn't work either. Not only they are against my gut feeling, but they also won't work for DD, even if I can see them working for DS (but with him, there's no need).

 

I do get it when you say that you can't supervise a lot, as you need to do other things. But I think it is worth trying. You need to take a week, and declare your kids' interactions your first priority. It is the same if both had high fever and were throwing up--you'd be attending to them, and everything else would be put on hold. 1. Figure out how you are going to deal with the issues 2. Devote yourself entirely to the kids. BE there. Observe. Try to prevent with times in as needed. Don't let thing escalate.

 

This will help you to better understand what is exactly going on, what are the triggers, and you might be able to 'reset' the negative cycle this way.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by savithny View Post

Okay, a few thoughts, not in order:

 

1) A lot of what you describe in *both* of your kids speaks to me of sensory issues.   Both sensory avoiding (noise) and sensory seeking (hitting and making noise).    I think your idea of consulting with an OT is a good one -- we had OT evaluation through school when my DS was 7, and it was really a good thing.

 

2) My sensory kid was the one who made liars out of a lot of GD experts.   NOT in the "GD is wrong and doesn't work" way, but just that some of the commonest GD techniques recommended across the GD board simply were not right for him.   Everyone says "Oh, you just have to tell them X," or "Oh, if you do Y, they'll get it."  Nope.

 

3)  In general, we figured out that we were talking far too much.   Talking so much was simply overwhelming to him, especially when he was getting overwhelmed with sensory and emotional input and on the verge of flpping out.   We had to pick one message and shorten it drastically to get it through.   In the heat of the moment, explaining and justifying and explaining made things worse, and prevented the important message from getting through.  ("You must stay away from the swings!"  worked better than "Oh, honey, if you walk so close to teh swings the girl who is swinging will kick you in the head and that will hurt and you will be sad and she will be sad that she hurt you so you can't play so close to the swings when a person is swinging, please."

 

4) Playful parenting techniques infuriated him.   If he was having a serious or difficult moment, trying to distract him with games or jolly him out of it wtih sillyness was percieved, I think, as insulting and condescending.   BOTH my kids hated just about all Playful Parenting tactics, and made this very clear.  "NO LAUGHING AT ME MAMA!"

 

5) Too many choices were almost as bad as too many words.  Yes, we wanted to respect his wishes and give him as much autonomy as was age appropriate.   However, overwhelming him with options when he was already feeling overwhelmed with incoming sensations was really upsetting to him.  

 

6) You say your DS doesn't get negation -- it's good you noticed that.  My DS could not really process "if - then" statements at that age, so all the advice to "Tell him if he holds your hand then he can walk" and things like that?  Totally inappropriate.  His brain wasn't holding the idea of order of operations, of "first we do X, then we do Y," or "If we do X, then we can do Y."  And repeating messages like that over and over just made him more and more frustrated.

 

In general, some kids get really overwhelmed with a certain style of GD.   IT's not really developmentally appropriate to expect it of them, and they respond better as toddlers and preschoolers to a more parent-directed interaction, with a simple message and clear expectations/limits.   This doesn't mean ditching gentleness.  It doesn't mean spanking and timeouts and artificial consequences, or using shaming.     And a kid who doesnt' do well with discussion at age 3 or 4 can grow into it -- now that my kids are older,  we *do* talk things out, present alternatives, discuss reasoning, and all that.  And the kid who melted down if you tried multi-clause statements as a toddler?   Is the one willing to discuss and come to agreements now.



 

post #33 of 66

PM'd you.

post #34 of 66

What stands out for me is that you seem to be very concerned that your ds not be punished or manipulated in anyway, but your dd is being punished by your ds. Even if she is provoking him, it is not his place to discipline his sister.

 

I'm also not seeing where you've stepped in to guide either of them in appropriate ways to respond. Have you tried stepping in right before your son hits to suggest how he can interact with your dd?

 

He's 3. Talking to him after the fact and telling him what NOT to do will have very little effect. You need to get to him before his breaking point and tell him what TO do.

post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post

Yes.  Although, I see perhaps 10% of them.

 

You only see 10% of what, their interactions?  That doesn't make sense.


 

post #36 of 66



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post

Still happening, and he is 3 and she is 9.5.  I came here to start a thread only to find I had this one.  That was not a great realisation.  I certainly didn't ignore the hitting but it seems nothing is helping.  I've almost been at the point of telling her to retaliate, because that is what an older brother would probably do and he might learn some caution if not respect that he is out of his league size wise.  But I am a pacifist so I'm not really attracted to that option.  I have re read this thread closely with fresh eyes to see anything I might have overlooked.  The only other option is that there is an issue with my son.  I might have to face that fact soon, as he really is emotionally out of control, and I can't go into details here, I feel too flat for how much effort that would take.  

 

I'm homeschooling and oddly, that helped since we started.  Either that or I'm numbing out to it now.  I hope not.  

 

I've taken him into our room onto our swing chair for "feelings" time.  This works if he is reacting in anger.  I actually cope better with aggressive outbursts as they seem to make sense... we all react poorly with anger and frustration at times, and I am great with tantrums and expressions of anger (hey, I gotta point out my good points when I find 'em!).  But it is the threatening with a stick/knife/etc by waving it in front of her that I can't get a handle on.  He isn't angry, in fact, he seems to be enjoying it.  I refer to it as when he is "playing her like a conductor", because as an observer, that is what it looks like.  He waves something in front of her, and she screams and yells and so on at him and he just smiles and keeps doing it. 

 

I should add here that it has been commented on gently by others that my daughter tends to overreact.  This is true, plus she is hypersensitive.  They both put their fingers in their ears when other kids seem fine with the noise levels of an event... I think they are both easily overwhelmed.  So I must add that into the equation for solutions.  I have mentioned that she might like to see if he will actually hit her, or if he is just enjoying the show she puts on.  She tried it and said, "I feel like you're going to hit me" and he calmly replied, "I'm not going to hit you."  How much truth is in that is yet to be seen but that was just today.

 

For several months I can't take him to social occasions with children younger than him, esp babies.  He pinches them really hard, sometimes getting a fistful of their back or arm flesh and pulling.  I am very vigilant with it, and when I see him making a beeline for a young one, I dash right beside him to guide him through it.  We are "that" family that others make a wide berth around, and eventually I have to literally pick him up and drag him out (of the library, park, where ever we are) for the safety and comfort of others.  If I see him reach out for a young one, I will gently grab his arm and say, "we wait until invited to touch our friends" (or something else just as lame) and if he has tried to hurt them, I will say to be gentle and he says, "I want to hit the baby.  I wanna hurt the baby.  Hurt the baby hurt the baby."  WTF??  We're a gentle family so this is just freaking me OUT.  

 

He is smiling when he does it so I don't know how much is for effect and how much he even understands of what he is saying.  I remember as a little girl I gave an arm burn by twisting the flesh of a younger girl when no one was looking.  I try to remind myself of that time so I don't start thinking I'll find three 6's in his hair one day.  

 

Anyway, ack.  So, aside from aggression from emotions (which I'm ok with, even though his emotions are frequent and intense and he won't take no for an answer) it is this torturing of his sister that doesn't seem to be emotionally based, although I'm sure in some way it is, it looks more like part of his fun.  He only actually hurts her by pulling her hair or hitting her if he is angry and part of that I'm trying to teach him to express another way and part of it I am trying to help DD see him as a baby, not as an equal as she does tend to frustrate the living heck out of him and expect more from him than he can achieve right now.  My concern is that he screams most of the time, and I feel like pulling him up on the screaming isn't fair but pulling her up on not being fair isn't fair either... if you follow.  He isn't like this with his cousin.  He is a quiet little mouse when she is around.  So he has it in him, he just has no respect for his sister.  He won't listen to her at all, and if I pull him up on something, he'll get upset and go over and hit HER for it.  

 

BTW, he still tortures the dog.  He does the same thing to him as he does to his sister by waving something in front of him like he is going to hit him with it and the dog now bites DS regularly.

 

Ok, so I'll leave it at that for now.  Any takers?  



I call this "the age of constant supervision" because you have to be on top of kids who hit all.the.time. Its not fun, I don't get much done, but my kids and my dog feel safe from each other.  I don't get into explanations about feelings with a toddler, we just don't hit. Assaulting each other is not allowed. End of story.

 

 

 

post #37 of 66

I suggest you start actively parenting instead of expecting your daughter and the dog to do it for you.

post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post

 I wouldn't say we "let" him bully DD, but I would say we don't know how to deal with it - we tell him how we feel, remove him from her (or vice versa) and say we don't like it and I thought we could just wait this out... how long will it take?

He actually also hits DH and takes his glasses a lot which drives him so nuts he has yelled at him about it before (he has broken his glasses twice in the past), but I'm not so worried about that because it is DH. DS doesn't hit me, and I believe that is because I wasn't his squeaky toy about it. DH and DD react, and therefore DS continues.

 



You are letting him bully his sister.  And it doesn't matter WHO he hits, it's that he hits period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post

  If you asked those in my life, they would tell you that DD has pushed DS to the brink.  To show her, I once videotaped them in secret and played it back to her.  She was shocked at how badly she treated him (this was a year or so ago).  She threw a huge ball in his face, she took anything he was holding, he would speak to her and she would ignore him and this kind of thing would go on until he exploded.  It isn't one sided, and I do wonder why he is so obviously frustrated with her, it has been an extremely tough battle because they both add something to the mix.  I don't know how to fix it... DD, being older, is getting better with him.  He is great when she is not around.  I'm not blaming her, I'm not suggesting she "asks for it" and I'm not going to pull the line that the victim of aggression deserves it or any of that... I'm saying that together it is a really stressful mix.  I can't keep them apart for obvious reasons, but holy cow how I'd love to.

 

 

 

 


Your son is constantly hitting every person in the family, yet you videotaped her taking something him? Why?

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by freestylemama View Post

I read the whole thread and find a lot of it really alarming.  You need to intervene and set some boundaries.  Gentle discipline doesn't mean no discipline.


Quote:

Originally Posted by lasciate View Post

I suggest you start actively parenting instead of expecting your daughter and the dog to do it for you.



Yeah to both of those.

 

You are allowing your son to keep doing this.  If he hits, remove him from the situation.  I honestly don't care if a kid freaks out if he gets picked up and moved after hitting someone.  You are letting him do this.  Ignoring the hitting doesn't work.  It just makes him find a different victim.  None of this is far to your daughter, who deserves to have a home where she isn't hit and then blamed for it.  It's not fair to your son either to grow up learning to be a bully.  And the dog regularly bites him, wtf? 

 

Take your son to a doctor, you've gotten lots of good ideas here.  Just do something instead of allow this to go on.

 

post #39 of 66

There are some behaviors that will go away if parents and others in the child's environment ignore them.  This technique (which is known as extinction) doesn't work for hitting because hitting hurts other people.  Consequently, a child who hits can easily get the attention of the immediate victim and can always escalate hitting behavior to the point where a parent HAS to take notice.  

 

Maybe it will help, Calm, if you see your son's hitting as an expression of his need for your attention.  He doesn't hit you because when he's with you he already has your attention.  To get him to stop hitting, you need to provide him with your attention in a caring, freely-giving way before he hits, and show him ways to capture your attention without hitting.  If you only observe 10% of your children's interactions, your son may feel he has to struggle to get you to attend to him.  

 

I understand the temptation to cut off attention once the hitting starts, but you can't.  Cutting off attention at that point leaves his sister and the dog vulnerable to injury, and puts your son at risk for being injured by one of them.  Also, it encourages your son to continue to escalate until he finds the point where you cannot ignore him.  And that point is there - he could break his sister's nose, he could provoke the dog into attacking him.  

 

Please take a moment now and imagine how the medical professionals in your community would have to respond to those potential outcomes.  Your dog would have to be re-homed or, more likely, put down.  A pattern of serious child-on-child injuries could lead to CPS interference in your family life - and it would be needed, because such a pattern of injuries would demonstrate your inability to provide a physically safe home for your children.  No one deserves to be hurt and scared in their own home.  

 

You want to prevent all that, and it's going to take a lot of work.    

post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm View Post
 

 

In re-reading this post, after reading some quotes pulled by others, I had a few additional thoughts.

Quote:
I mentioned those authors because they are most like me.  I don't believe any philosophy fits any child completely... but I do believe that every child fits being respected and simply treated like any other person, not like a dog that needs training.  I find all training or behaviour focused approaches to be disrespectful of any person, whether adult or child.  I believe all behaviour has an underlying emotion or issue... it's just applying it takes much more time and energy than I have.  I wouldn't get anything else done, as DS is so tightly wound.

 

First:  If you do not use behaviorism, then you have to accept that your child is still learning from punishments and rewards -- just not ones applied consciously by you.   I think the reason that even anti-rewards and punishments GD theorists talk about "logical consequences" rather than "natural consequences" as behavior motivators is that there are some natural consequences in life that are simply too steep.   Right now, you're risking a major one with the dog, for example.  When my DH was very young, his family dog gave him a "natural consequence."  It bit him on the face.  Fortunately, the dog was applying the behavior modification technique that dogs give to puppies -- it was a gentle bite, not a mauling one.  However, human faces are more tender than puppy faces, and don't have as much loose skin.  DH still has the scars from this experience.  

 

 

Quote:
A large part of the problem might be that I am not in the mix enough.  They go out on the trampoline for instance and I should be near them to guide them but I'm usually upstairs doing dishes or something.  I find I can't do it all, esp with a house with stairs that makes getting to them every single time difficult.  Good questions though, and I could probably answer them by listing them:
Quote:

 

Yes.  Although, I see perhaps 10% of them.

 

These two things make me wonder if you are unconsciously rewarding both children for their behavior.   You say you don't do rewards, but remember that your focused attention is, itself, a reward.  And it sounds like your focused attention is something they're not always getting, and want more of.  So if your DS hitting people, and your DD overreacting, are things that result in lots of attention from you, you ARE rewarding them. 

 

Or to turn it around, you punish them for getting along by going away.

 

I turned it around because I'm not saying you should ignore the hitting, at this point.    I'm saying that it might help to have more positive interactions with them either together or separately.  This will cut into your time to do other things, but well...

 

Quote:
 I have also asked him why he did it... he doesn't seem to understand the question.  So I help him with words (frustrated?  Can't get the words you need?  etc)  I tell him it hurts to be hit, and it isn't ok to hit her.  I offer for him to get "feelings out" and 50% of the time he takes me up on it and has a cry or scream on my lap, or just sits and looks at me or tries to play it out - I make hand puppets and they play out the scene.  I find after a session like that, he is great for the rest of the day, so I try to initiate those but it doesn't always happen.

 

I've seen parenting writers across the board say that asking "why" is never a good idea in the heat of the moment.  And in the heat of the moment, "Why" shouldn't matter, because it has already happened.  "Why" is for later.   

 

I almost always found that dissections of "why" and "what happened" and "How did you feel" went much, much better if they did not happen immediately.  We took calming down steps first, and only later did we talk about where things went off the rails and play out alternative responses.

 

Quote:
Essentially, if I am right there, at all times, things are ok.  If I can step in at all issues, things are ok.  Perhaps I'm expecting too much to think they can play together alone yet?

 

You do have a big age difference, one that in many cultures would be playing out very differently.   An 8 year old in many place, if she was playing alone with a 3yo sibling, would be granted near-parental authority, first of all, which would change the dynamics.   Eight year olds also have very different play styles and ability to play than 3yos.  Perhaps if they'd had more time back when he was younger where you were there all the time, stepping in, they might be to a better point by now, but since this dynamic has been going on for so long now, it might not be realistic to expect much different from them.

 

The thing is, even if you believe that all kids are as deserving of respect as adults are, that respect needs to happen in the context of developmental stages.   Kids deserve respect, just like adults -- but two year olds (like he was when you first posted) and three year olds (like he is now) don't have the same social or cognitive abilities that adults do, or even that 7 or 8 year olds do  -- and they need guidance to develop those abilities.   Social skills do not develop in a vacuum - they are learned, and children have a strong instinct to watch their parents and siblings and friends for cues as to how to treat other people.

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