How to handle violent outbursts? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 06-29-2010, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We've had a long, hard road with ds2. Things have been getting gradually better, but we still have some issues.

Today was the worst incident yet. He was playing with the other kids in our complex (which he's usually fine with these days - incidents tend to be of the "they've been playing for a long time and he's started throwing sticks" or "X hit me, so I can hit him back" kind of thing, and they don't happen that often). DD1 came running in and told me ds2 had hit someone and given him a nosebleed. I don't know the boy he hit - I think they've just moved in (looks him and two older sisters). The dad had taken his son in to clean him up when I got outside, but he came and talked to me while I was taking ds2 back home. DS2 apologized (he always does - he's very free with "I'm sorry"), but I really don't even know what to say to this guy...

DS2 says he doesn't know why he hit him. First he said he was angry at him, but then he said he wasn't. Then, he said he was "happy" when the boy's nose started bleeding. I mean...what?? (I do think this is ds2's version of cutting off his nose to spite his face, but it's still freaky to hear.)

So, he can't go out to play with his friends for the rest of the afternoon, and probably tomorrow, but...what do I do with this kid?

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#2 of 5 Old 06-30-2010, 11:48 AM
 
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Do you know "why" he hit the other boy? Was it a mistake in the middle of roughhousing? Or was it more deliberate? I'd try to get the heart of that first.

As far as the bigger picture, I'm completely stereotyping here, but boys very often just need to rough house, so I'd continue to give him that opportunity with the qualification that it shouldn't get to the point of tears or injuries, and to stop immediately if someone says "stop" or "no". And it should be with someone who's similar in size/age to minimize the chance of injuries. Continued rough housing may seem counter intuitive but personally I think most boys need to do this, it helps them establish friendship bonds, and it also helps them learn to do it so it's only fun and nobody gets hurt.

I would have a discussion about what your son was feeling when he hit the boy (he said happy, and that's a good start, I'd try to flesh out his answers a bit even if they seem odd to you). And I'd ask him how he thought the other boy felt getting a bloody nose, how he'd feel if it happened to him, and continue teaching empathy for others.

I'd also impose a logical consequence like you did. He'll get it eventually. Some boys learn quickly. Others take time. He might need to be more closely supervised for awhile until he's more capable of controlling his actions in that regard.
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#3 of 5 Old 06-30-2010, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you know "why" he hit the other boy? Was it a mistake in the middle of roughhousing? Or was it more deliberate? I'd try to get the heart of that first.
According to ds2, and the other kids who were there, he just walked up and punched him in the nose. They definitely weren't roughhousing first.

When dh got home, ds2 todl him that the other little boy had called him an "idiot". I have my doubts about this, for several reasons: 1) Nobody else mentioned that, even though there were several other kids around. 2) DS2 had told me several times that he didn't know why he hit the other boy. 3) "Idiot" is ds2's fallback thing that he calls people when he's mad (name calling is something else we're working on), but it's not really that popular around here (name calling is popular, but the particular word "idiot" isn't).

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As far as the bigger picture, I'm completely stereotyping here, but boys very often just need to rough house, so I'd continue to give him that opportunity with the qualification that it shouldn't get to the point of tears or injuries, and to stop immediately if someone says "stop" or "no". And it should be with someone who's similar in size/age to minimize the chance of injuries. Continued rough housing may seem counter intuitive but personally I think most boys need to do this, it helps them establish friendship bonds, and it also helps them learn to do it so it's only fun and nobody gets hurt.
I have no problem with the kids roughousing. DD1 also gets into it, and most of the time, people have fun. DS has a lot of trouble stopping, and we're having a really hard time getting him to understand that "don't", "stop" and "no" mean exactly that.

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I would have a discussion about what your son was feeling when he hit the boy (he said happy, and that's a good start, I'd try to flesh out his answers a bit even if they seem odd to you). And I'd ask him how he thought the other boy felt getting a bloody nose, how he'd feel if it happened to him, and continue teaching empathy for others.
We keep working on this. I couldn't get anything but "happy", although he later said it wasn't very good that it happened. (DS2 tends to put things in terms of "it's good that" and "it's not good that", when he's thinking about stuff - "it's good that I gave you a picture, isn't it, mommy?" or "it's not good that dd2 broke my toy".)

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I'd also impose a logical consequence like you did. He'll get it eventually. Some boys learn quickly. Others take time. He might need to be more closely supervised for awhile until he's more capable of controlling his actions in that regard.
It's the "eventually" that's getting to me, I think. It just feels like we've been dealing with the same stuff forever. He's taking a long, long time to develop any kind of empathy. It's strange, because he's actually very cuddly and sweet, but he just doesn't pick up on other people's emotions at all. He pushed his baby sister and she fell over and bumped something. She was screaming her head off, and he was just...oblivious. I picked her up and said something about her getting hurt or scared when he pushed her, and he said, quite seriously, "she's not hurt, mama - and not scared". When I asked why she was crying, he looked totally perplexed, and said, "I don't know". But...then he gave her a hug and kiss.

Well, he's in today, and we'll see how things go. He's mostly been fine without a parent outside (and I can't be out there all that much right now), but I think we'll try trimming down how long he can be out to play, and see how that goes.

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#4 of 5 Old 06-30-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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While I understand you may have things to do inside I would not have left my son outside to play with other kids unsupervised at age 5. He still was quicker to try to hit someone when he was angry rather than some other way of dealing with a situation. No consequence is going to change his personality or make him mature faster.

Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#5 of 5 Old 06-30-2010, 05:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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While I understand you may have things to do inside I would not have left my son outside to play with other kids unsupervised at age 5. He still was quicker to try to hit someone when he was angry rather than some other way of dealing with a situation. No consequence is going to change his personality or make him mature faster.
It hasn't really been an issue this year, until yesterday.

Now, he's probably going to have to spend a lot of his summer inside, which really sucks.

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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