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When You Can't Avoid Getting Hurt by the Kid

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Seriously, I have bruises. My 5 yo LOVES to play with other children, begs me to bring him places, sulks and whines when its been a long time since he had a chance to play. I know how he feels, I'm a social butterfly too. And this is week 2 of us having a car after 6 months of being mostly housebound without one (DH travels for work so we couldn't drop him off at work and have the car or anything).

But he FREAKS OUT when it's time to leave. He refuses to get in the carseat. Today I had to manually put him in after he tried to bite me, and then he scratched, pinched (and bruised!), and kicked me as hard as he could, while screaming over and over "I HATE MY MOM" so my friend's whole neighborhood could hear.

It is very hard to get him in the carseat when he's fighting me/hurting me, which has happened SEVERAL TIMES lately. His carseat is in the middle (I have 3 carseats in a Honda Civic!)- and the baby was screaming, the little brother wondering around, a bunch of stuff to be loaded into the car.... I know it's not cool to let your kid hurt you, and I'm having a hard time letting go of all my mind talk that "he needs to be punished for this!". I validated him ("You're so angry aren't you? When I was younger I felt like I hated my mom sometimes too")... got everyone in and drove away. Within 3 minutes he was totally calm and talking to me normally. But I am not over this and don't know how to *FEEL* GD about this!! Without feeling like I was abused and taught him it was ok to try to get a piece of me! I mean, I couldn't stop the pinching/scratching while buckling him in, but yet, when I walked over to my friend to gather up little brother with huge long nail marks down both arms, I felt like a pathetic parent.

I feel like I need to talk to him about this, after I calm down- but I'm not sure what to say.
post #2 of 11
wow, that sounds really hard -- especially with two younger kids!

At five, do you think he's old enough to grasp if you tell him before you go somewhere, "When it's time to go, we're going to leave without fussing and ESPECIALLY without hitting/kicking/scratching. Otherwise, the next time I go somewhere with your brother and the baby, you are going to have to stay at home with Daddy. I love to go places with you and have fun, but I can't let you hurt me. Sound fair?"

A ten-minute and five-minute warning before leaving anywhere might help, too. And the prospect of something fun to do at home, so it's not just "All the good times are over!" and a crushing letdown. Could there be a special toy or comfort object that he is allowed to hold when he gets in the car, so he has something to do with his hands (and his strong feelings) that doesn't take it out on you?

I think punishment or a lecture after the fact will not help matters and will just make him feel bad and anxious, but he does need a very clear, unequivocal message that he is NOT allowed to hurt anyone anymore, and that hurting people will have results he doesn't like -- not as a punishment, but to protect you. If he can't go play without hurting you, then for a while he will not be able to go play because you must not be hurt.
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Before we got out of the car to go to play, we agreed I'd give him time warnings and we would not fight about leaving. I gave him a 30 minute warning, showing him the clock; a 15 minute warning... but then play started to disintegrate between his friend and him, to the point that no matter how we re-directed them they were bent on aggressive/unsafe play. So maybe 5 minutes before agreed upon time they were slamming doors on each other and I pulled him away from slamming the door on his friend (his friend started this, while his mom was changing her baby's diaper) and he bit me... I felt like it was just too chaotic and time to go.

I guess ultimately he is just very aggressive because we were not GD at all his first 3 years, and I have been mostly GD (increasingly so) the past 2 but his dad still believes (or acts like) if your child is not "afraid of the consequences" they will not behave (lovely view of humanity, eh?). So this poor child is getting really conflicted messages, I'm so sick of it the other day I actually sat down in front of my DS wielding a cast iron pan to protect him from DH giving him a spanking. That in itself is a very confusing message, oh the irony- but I wanted DH to know I am not going to let him continue to spank a child who is now trying to hurt people when they cross his wishes!!!

I'm sure I sound like a basket case of a mother and wife, but I am just trying to figure it out as I go along and since I was raised by "spare the rod, spoil the child" parents and was given The Pearls and the Ezzos at my babyshower, I've got A LOT I'm working through in regards to being an attached mother.

Maybe what I really need help with is how can I help him heal?
post #4 of 11
You have all my empathy. Sometimes parenting is really, really, really hard, and when you throw a spirited child into the mix things can get complicated. I am there with you, my son can get aggressive with me at times although the older he gets the more reasonable he is starting to become.

I would start by connecting with him on a one-on-one level for a few minutes each day, kind of like 'floortime' where he leads the play and you just follow along. This kind of positive ineraction tends to decrease aggressive impulses in children.

Also, I am all for setting the situation up for success! A movie he gets to watch at home if he cooperates with getting in the car when it is time to go , and a specail snack he can has as soon as he is buckled in. Before you go on the play date, do a puppet show or role play how leaving the play date should/shouldn't look like.

Sometimes we do our best to be compassionate parents and things still go wrong. Try not to be too hard on yourself!
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
wow, that sounds really hard -- especially with two younger kids!

At five, do you think he's old enough to grasp if you tell him before you go somewhere, "When it's time to go, we're going to leave without fussing and ESPECIALLY without hitting/kicking/scratching. Otherwise, the next time I go somewhere with your brother and the baby, you are going to have to stay at home with Daddy. I love to go places with you and have fun, but I can't let you hurt me. Sound fair?"

A ten-minute and five-minute warning before leaving anywhere might help, too. And the prospect of something fun to do at home, so it's not just "All the good times are over!" and a crushing letdown. Could there be a special toy or comfort object that he is allowed to hold when he gets in the car, so he has something to do with his hands (and his strong feelings) that doesn't take it out on you?

I think punishment or a lecture after the fact will not help matters and will just make him feel bad and anxious, but he does need a very clear, unequivocal message that he is NOT allowed to hurt anyone anymore, and that hurting people will have results he doesn't like -- not as a punishment, but to protect you. If he can't go play without hurting you, then for a while he will not be able to go play because you must not be hurt.


Also, have you ever shown him your injuries? In the heat of the moment, he might not realize exactly what he's doing and I'm sure you are not fully expressing your pain while you're trying to wrangle children. I think I would sit down very calmly with him at home and just say, "Have a look at this. These scratches really hurt. When you hit/scratch/bite me it really hurts, and I don't think I want to go places if I am going to end up hurt like this. It's just not fun for me. Do you think we could work on a plan so that we can still have fun and I won't get hurt?" And then let him do some talking. I am not saying this to induce guilt in your child. But I think that the natural consequence of hurting people is that they will have a reaction to you. And having him reflect on what he's done is something he'll need to do throughout life and hopefully reconcile after thinking about it.

I agree that he might be confused based on your past discipline methods, but at age 5, you can be honest with him. Tell him that you know that he has been hurt in the past, but that you and dad are really trying to change things. See if you can get him on your team trying to change the family dynamic.

post #6 of 11
I'm not sure what kind of advice to offer because I am right there with you. Although most often for us this kind of behavior happens at home. Staying calm on my and dh's part does help sometimes, but for us ds's behavior seems to come out of nowhere.

I wouldn't feel too bad about your past discipline efforts. We have been practicing GD with ds (he's just about 5 now) since the beginning and we are still having these issues of hitting, biting, kicking, etc. I've been trying to tell him to "Use his words. Even if he wants to tell me he hates me or how angry he is. Because that would hurt my feelings and I would feel bad, but hitting people is not appropriate or an option".

I know I've had welts on my lips (from scratches), scratched arms, bruises, and bite marks from my lovely usually very sweet boy.

Hugs!
post #7 of 11
Honestly without your dh on board this might be a hard road. Although you can do GD it's going to be so difficult for your son to switch back and forth and cause more anger. Does your dh know about GD?
post #8 of 11
BTDT and it sucks! Our big thing was to give warnings (not 30 minutes, that's to far away, more like 5 minutes, then 3 then 1.) The great thing about they way we did it is you could make 5 min. when things start getting bad, then jump quickly to 3 and 1 while you get your gear ready. Then, leave the other kids in the house along with all your stuff and get your 5 year old in the car first then go back in and get your stuff and get that in the car, then a last trip to get the other kids. ETA: While you're getting him in the car, don't say a word. My older child would try to provoke me into yelling but I'd just quietly force her in to the seat and be done. Much easier on me which in the end meant I was better off dealing with her when we got home

Honestly, we've been GD with all of our kids and both our older ones have gone through this phase and all my friends kids (also GD raised) have too. Good luck!
post #9 of 11
Do playdates often fall apart toward the end like that? I'm wondering if that's a big contributing factor, that he's already totally spun out of control before it's time to go. Maybe more frequent (now that you've got the car) but very short visits are the way to go for a while ... also, maybe carefully selecting the other kid to play with, visiting mellower playmates until he has enough self-control to play with his door-slamming buddy, because it sounds like they really ramped each other up?
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, unfortunately he has only ONE friend. We are new to out here in the country, don't know many people. This child is his age, but very different in temperament. The mama and I have become excellent friends- she's my only friend who is crunchy. There is no La Leche League here. I tried to start a natural parenting group but with 3 spirited children and a very small population (who are not so natural to begin with) it was burning me out. And when the visit is short, they get very mad, because its only once every couple weeks they get to have a playdate- this mama is really to busy to do it more often.

I am trying to bring them to the playground as much as I can. And in the fall he will start a once a week homeschool coop. I hope he makes some friends!
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thalia the Muse View Post
Do playdates often fall apart toward the end like that? I'm wondering if that's a big contributing factor, that he's already totally spun out of control before it's time to go. Maybe more frequent (now that you've got the car) but very short visits are the way to go for a while ... also, maybe carefully selecting the other kid to play with, visiting mellower playmates until he has enough self-control to play with his door-slamming buddy, because it sounds like they really ramped each other up?
In my experience, it didn't matter if we saw friends frequently for shorter times or just once a week for a couple hours. When it was time to go, they flipped. My mellow child who has mellow friends did this as did my rowdy child who has rowdy friends. I think it's just a phase that some (most?) kids go through at some point.
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