Originally Posted by Mittsy
Does this physical behavior mainly happen when he is angry, or does this happen all of the time?
If this behavior happens all the time then you may want to explore the possibility that your child may have sensory issues.
It is extremely important for you to protect your animals from your son when he gets like this, I can not stress this enough.
It is not related to being angry. Rather, it happens most when he is really wound up/excited/happy. I took a look at the sensory lists and those don't sound at all like him. However, I've seen some hints that he may have the same OCD that I do and I believe it is sensory related so I will keep an eye on this possibility. Thank you
Also - I hear you on the animals. I feel like when this starts happening I'm going to have to put the dogs in their crates. That makes me sad because really, that's punishing them because of my son. The configuration of our first floor pretty much means we can't gate off an area and going upstairs isn't always a possibility. Also, that would basically mean we are separated from the dogs most of the evening, every evening. For one, that doesn't give us any opportunity for him to learn to behave appropriately, and two, these are true family dogs. Meaning they get sad and depressed when they aren't allowed to be part of the family. That seems silly to those who don't have these kind of dogs, but it's the truth. That said, I don't discount the seriousness of the situation.
Hm. Something that just occurred to me. I wonder how possible it would be to gate off the kitchen. It would really suck, but it might be possible.
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
Mama, I grew up in a gentle household and even I can understand the temptation. I really admire and sympathize with parents who have an upbringing to struggle with in addition to the everyday challenges of being an effective disciplinarian.
Sometimes I think that time
fixes some of these things better than anything else but that's little comfort to a parent looking for solutions yesterday. ;-)
Doing what you can to be sure that your reaction isn't somehow encouraging this, limiting as many options to hit as you possibly can, and a renewed focus on self-care is an OK way to go for now if that's what you can manage.
Does anyone else have some help for this mama?
Originally Posted by BellinghamCrunchie
Its really hard to figure out what he is getting from the hitting, pulling, and being rough from the post. Its hard to figure out what to do unless you know what he is getting from it or trying to get from it.
I would take a stab and guess its sensory. Does he do everything physical a little more intensely, a little more wildly? It seems like it would be worth a shot to try to provide swinging every day (swinging really helps "normalize" the sensory system), and maybe a mini trampoline in the house with a bar he can hold onto, encourage lots of rolling, bouncing play such as by putting all the couch cushions on the floor and encouraging him to climb on them, pick them up, carry them, stack them. When DD was that age we used to put her in a blanket, hold the ends, and gently swing her back and forth while singing to her. She also liked being rolled up in a blanket like a burrito (leaving head and shoulders out) and being unrolled. Sounds paradoxical but horseplay on the floor with him can actually reduce the hitting.
Also, this isn't ideal, but I understand the need to DO something when you've just been hit and are hurt. It can be really hard to control that response that wants to hit back. If you're finding it hard to just walk away, it might be better to firmly grasp his forearm, "pin" it to his waist for a moment, and say "no hitting" than to hit back. Moving away is preferable, though.
Another thing that might help is teaching him to do "safe hands." Safe hands is one hand clasped in the other. It gives his hands something to do instead of hitting - it teaches a new automatic response. You would practice "safe hands" frequently during the day when he is not hitting, and right before getting close to him. Then when he hits or looks like he is about to you can say "safe hands!"
Thank you for these ideas! Yes, I think he might be a bit "wild" with the physical stuff. Not so much that I was ever concerned, ya know? Just like boy/toddler/active kid stuff. But he is definitely ... exuberant!
Originally Posted by kristah1000
My DD was in an awful hitting phase too, and we also said we wouldn't hit. One day I snapped and hit back, and felt horrible. I didn't even want to tell my DH I felt so bad, but I did and we talked about it and agreed that it wasn't what we want to do. I Completely understand the frustration, feeling like nothing else will work, and honestly just snapping. Since then I haven't hit back (mainly because my logical brain tells me that it doesn't make sense to teach "no hitting" by hitting), and I sometimes have to literally walk away from her to get away so I don't lose my temper anymore. We tried more gentle approaches, like saying "we don't hit" and talking about what she can use her hands for instead of hitting, hitting into a pillow etc.
Here are two things that have worked for us somewhat consistently, but only once DH and I agreed that it was what we both were going to do every time. We would hold both of her hands down and say, "I'm not going to let you hit me." Then she would have to calm down and apologize before we would let go. The other thing we would do sometimes is pick her up and hug her, and not let go until she calmed down.
Honestly the other thing I thing she needed (and still needs) is to get older and learn better communication skills. It might be something we just have to wait out, but I think as long as it is maintained that hitting is unacceptable and never will be acceptable, it will hopefully get drilled into their little brains. I hope things get better with your DS soon!
Many thanks again to all who responded. We've already discussed and started flat out ignoring the behavior when it is directed at us. It was surprisingly easy once I re-framed it in my mind. Because, honestly, 8 times out of 10 he isn't actually hurting us at all. Any input on how long we should expect if this is going to help?
We've also discussed starting the safe hands idea, to start.
I'm a little worried about this week. 3 nights this week DP (who works nights) has an earlier than normal start, meaning it's all on me when I get home. Dinner, clean up, bedtime. Playing/attention. Pet care. I know other mamas do this nightly, but I find it such a struggle lately. He will at least have dinner done (crock pot) or prepped, but I'm really dreading this week.