Denise, Hm, wrestling before friends come over sounds like something to try indeed. I am thinking perhaps just a maintainance dose of role play before play dates might be the answer. I've been trying to attack the situation in a general way, but perhaps I need to just be case specific. Tomorrow we have our regular weekly babysit/playdate with one of his fav pals. I'm planning to pretend I'm his pal earlier in the am and do some mock play scenes. They get along well for the most part, but his pal is a very strong personality and lately has gotten rather exclusive with me and I can tell it bothers DS, jealous and also a bit of the "left out syndrome."
Hi ParisMaman! Well, Dr. Cohen talks quite a bit in his book about aggression. He delves deep and what insights he has! I don't have the book on me right at present, but I will see if I can get some good excerpts/paraphrases sometime later in the week.
That said, we too have had our battles with hitting. We've had however mucho success with things like role play/drawing/puppet play in working through it. About a year ago, DS went through an intense hitting phase involving a friend's younger son (his playmates younger brother). He was being babysat at their house once a week. During all of this, I made extra time to sit down and play with DS and as Dr. Cohen suggests, let him take the lead. He was more than willing to show me that he too was trying to work through this. Everytime I sat down with him, the play would always turn to one object/character hitting the other be it trucks, trains, stuffed animals, puppets, whatever. I followed along... at the library one day we happened to be playing puppets. DS made up his very own game and even called it appropriately enough, "HIT BACK." I admit, this was early on and I wasn't feeling all that sure when he kept wanting me to hit his puppet back, but I went along (gently of course). Then, when I felt we'd covered that territory, I changed up and then starting talking my puppet more like, "I really don't like to be hit. I don't like hitting you. I like it when we play nice though." We went on like this. On and on... it seemed. Whenever we'd sit down to draw, he'd want me to draw someone hitting someone else, etc. Over a couple of weeks time, DS revealed to me through play that he was really working on boundaries more than anything else. In addition, he was feeling rather insecure at my friend's house and also feeling a little sibling rivalry towards his pal's younger brother (another thing he talks about in the book, that even only kids can experience sibling rivalry was hugely eye opening for me). The best part however is that after this couple of weeks, the hitting stopped. He went back to being very gentle with the younger chap, as he had always been in the past. *whew*
I think how a parent uses PP really depends upon the child's favorite mode of play. DS LOVES pretend and role play so in a way, I think he makes it rather easy for me. Today, we were having a ROUGH day, DS was tired, whiny and nothing was going his way much less a mom trying to get the chores done. Finally when I was washing the car and he was getting frustrated trying to help, I fixed him a snack, gave him an official supervisor chair which I placed on the porch, and told him he was the boss. He LOVED it. "Uh mommy, you missed a spot!" He would occasionally get up and hide behind the bushes during which time I'd "slack off on the job" and he'd get to suddenly reappear and reprimand me, "Go back to work!" He was laughing, I was laughing... laughing so very healing. He really needed to get some control and what better way than through playing the boss! (Thanks Denise!)
I'm rambling. I love this thread. It's keeping me "current" so to speak. I LOVE PP and I keep it on the shelf for reference, but it's easy to lose sight when you aren't reading up all the time, forget what you need to do, etc. This thread is helping me keep it fresh!