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Alternatives to Sending a Child to Her Room

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have two kids. When my oldest (5 years) gets aggressive, I send her to her room. She may leave as soon as she's done hitting, kicking, etc..., but she must stay there until she's done trying to hurt me or her brother. This often involves me holding the door shut while she yells threats at me. I've tried holding her, but she will continue to act aggressively towards me for a long time. I'm not sure I think it's gentler to restrain, and even if it is, it'd be hard for me to keep my younger kid (2) safe. Still, I would love some gentler ideas. She often has aggressive outbursts. We've talked a lot about what to do when anger both out of the moment and in the moment, and we've come up with many different plans for things to do when she's angry (deep breathing, screaming into a pillow, stomping her feet, having a snack, cuddling with her doll in bed, rocking with me, singing her "angry song," etc...). She'll agree to a plan when she's calm, but she can't seem to get off the idea of hurting others when she's angry. Any suggestions?

post #2 of 5

I think i'd start with looking at her general routine-is she getting good amounts of sleep?  eating regularly from  whole, varied foods?  After that i'd try to diffuse situations that regularly set her off if there are patterns.  Once she is hurting people if you can get her removed I don't see anything wrong with that and perhaps you modeling the things you 2 have come up with to calm her down in the moment(say stomping your feet while she's in her room, might trigger her to do something else.

post #3 of 5

I came for advice on this exact issue. DH likes to take DS (4yo) to his room when he hits. But this just pisses him off. I don't think its productive. Teacher Tom has a really good blog post about hitting--actually I think there is a follow up to it too a day or two later (last September). I'm sure you could find it if you search. But DH still thinks taking him to his room is necessary.


It sounds like your daughter is the same. It sounds like she's got some physical energy to expend, and I'd be inclined to direct it in a less destructive direction. But this hasn't worked with my son either.


I'm starting to think the whole "consequences" thing is not necessary. Penelope Leach says the only punishment that works is our disapproval.


I just need more to convince DH.

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

To clarify: I don't send her to her room to punish her or as consequences. I send her to her room to try and protect me and her brother from hurting us. That it is unpleasant is a side effect, and one I'd like to avoid. I just don't know what else to do.


She gets 11-11.5 hours of sleep a night. I've been trying to work with her on expanding her palate. What she does eat is okay in terms of being healthy (all whole foods), but it's pretty limited. I will definitely try the modeling thing when she's in her room. Thanks!



post #5 of 5
Have you looked into cranial sacral therapy? I've known some very intense kids that canned down noticeably with it. Allergies can also create the symptoms you describe.

Otherwise I do agree that withdrawing your attention can be very effective. Tell her that you will not interact with get when she us aggressive and remove yourself. Kids really desire attention so that is often effective. Also giving more attention, say extra snuggles before bed and special days just with mom or dad might help.

Hope that helps. Best of luck.
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