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#1 of 12 Old 05-15-2011, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ds is nearly three and rather spirited- some issues have come up recently and i have not had much success managing them myself. there are a few things- a big issue is that dh and i are not seeing eye to eye right now about discipline :(

 

ds has been seemingly randomly hitting dh on and off for months- my philosophy is just to tell ds that hitting is not ok, gentle touches please etc. but, dh no longer agrees because ds is still hitting him.

 

this is the way the interaction between them goes...

 

ds hits dh

dh says "DON'T HIT DADDY"

ds may hit him again

dh says "DON'T HIT DADDY"

and now he has started swatting him on the butt

 

i have told dh that telling ds that he may not hit and then spanking him sends ds a mixed message and makes him confused. dh understands what i mean, but it's almost like he doesn't care because he seems to take the hitting personally. I would really like to find something that works, because as much as i want it to be effective- telling him the hitting is not ok, to be gentle doesn't seem to work :(

 

also, ds asks and sometimes cries for dh throughout the day but when he arrives home all he wants is me- and freaks if dh tries to be involved in certain activities on the other hand when he leaves to go somewhere, last night it was to pick up dinner for us and poor ds was hysterical  and it took me at least a half hour something to calm him.

 

i don't quite understand what is going on between the two of them, but this roller coaster is so exhausting and confusing i need some tips or insight or something...

thanks


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#2 of 12 Old 05-15-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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It sounds like your DH is on the same basic page as you, he just needs some more tools for this situation.  Since what you're trying isn't working, he's desperate and relying on the only other tool he knows.  Discipline for this kind of issue has two parts.  One part is teaching the child appropriate behavior, which you are doing.  The second part is preventing behavior that's not okay--which isn't happening.  When DD hits, I'll physically restrain her in a bear hug, explaining that I have to help her control her body so that I can keep everyone safe.  Your DS is too young to have the impulse control to stop himself, but you can't just let him hit people--so it's up to you and DH to physically help him control his body until he can do it himself.

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#3 of 12 Old 05-15-2011, 12:31 PM
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Sounds like your DH is having really loud strong reactions. Strong reactions are interesting so it can increase the behavior. You DH first needs to not take the behavior personally then he can quietly say "hitting hurts, I don't let people hurt me" and then walk away. It's a boring response and one that doesn't let your DS keep hitting. When everything is calm you can talk about why violence is bad with your DS. There's a good book for that age  "Hands Are Not for Hitting" by Martine Agassi. Here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/Hands-Are-Hitting-Best-Behavior/dp/1575423081/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1305487401&sr=1-2 .

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#4 of 12 Old 05-15-2011, 02:16 PM
 
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The first thing is that no matter what you do, it will take a long time and much repetition to change this behavior. No matter what includes spanking. People don't spank once and see a behavior change. You can't expect anything else to work after just one or a few times either. The second thing is that spanking is more likely to cause the behavior to continue than even ignoring it, since he will learn from what you do more than from what you say, and if he's getting hit he will continue to hit. Someone, not necessarily you, but he'll learn that hitting is the way to get what you want.

Toddlers frequently go through aggressive phases. Not all, but many. What I did with both mine (who had short lived aggressive phases but did both go through this) is to physically stop them from hitting me by holding their hand, every single time, and say, every single time, "You may not hit me" or "no hitting". It is an issue of being consistent, and of not getting all emotional as emotion might be what he's going for. Also, if he seems to be angry when he does it, you can help him name his emotions, like "it's OK to be angry but it is not OK to hit." But mine seemed to just hit, even when they were happy.

The good news is that he will outgrow it unless he learns that aggression is an acceptable way to problem solve, and spanking him is teaching him exactly that.
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#5 of 12 Old 05-15-2011, 02:55 PM
 
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It sounds like your DH needs to start helping DS figure out what to do with his hands.

 

When my Ds was that small and he would hit me or his dad, we very calmly placed him on the floor near a pillow pile or merely on the sofa alone and said, "No thank you.  You may sit alone and hit pillows if you want to hit." and sat elsewhere.  If he followed me, I would say "are you going to control your hands? "  and when he agreed I'd scoop him up and cuddle him to show what we do with our hands.

 

If shouting "Don't Hit Daddy."  isn't working than it's time for a new communication technique. 

 

I think your DH needs to model how to protect himself from someone who hits in a calm, non-reactionary, matter of fact, rational manner.  If your DS hits DH, rather than shout he can calmly state: "DS, honey, I don't want to be hit, so cuddle time is over until you can be gentle with your hands or use your words, okay?" and be firm and consistent, but give him the chance to prove he can. 

 

I think there is also this manly thing my DH does with DS, when he shouts "You'll do as I say!"  which always makes me laugh because on the one hand he wants to be a gentle parent and have a loving open relationship with his child the likes of which he never had with his parents, and on the other hand he wants absolute and total dominance over DS's actions and choices.  Talk about having your cake and eating it too.  It just doesn't work like that ESPECIALLY if what you say and what you DO are totally contradictory. 

 

I think the problem is that most men I know, DH included, when another man is violent with them their reaction is to hit back twice as hard to shut it down, not defend themselves, protect themselves or talk about it.  They don't think "What did I do to deserve that?" or "I'd better get out of here."  They think " I need to crush him, to deter him from trying that again."  and I do not know if that is a socialization thing or an evolutionary protect the tribe sort of thing, but for my dad, for my DH for most men (obviously not all, I'm generalizing here) this is how their brains work and I think this has an impact on how men react to discipline differently than women from a gutteral reaction point of view.  Men of our generation tend not to want to hit their children, they have come to value the emotional connection they have created in their families, but by the same token they have no other go-to reaction.

 

MamaZee is right though, either way it will take months of consistency and practice to teach your DS not to hit.  IME the most consistent you are the more quickly the phase goes.

 

 


Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#6 of 12 Old 05-15-2011, 06:09 PM
 
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I agree with the PP's - and I empathize b/c its a frustrating phase! 

 

I agree with the book suggestion upthread - that book was fantastic for us!  Also, when my DS hits, I walk away, and tell him why, "I can't be near you when you hit.  It hurts when you hit me" and then when he comes close again I ask him to use "gentle, loving touches" which also seems to work OK.

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#7 of 12 Old 05-19-2011, 08:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i have talked more with dh about this issue with ds. he really seems to be trying, which is great :) i know it is difficult to change a behavior no matter if it is ds, dh or me. we have had a rough month or so at home and i think that ds is having a fair amount of trouble making these transitions- a month ago i decided to nightwean ds and  shortly after that dh went away on business for nearly three weeks and when he got home the hitting behavior, which hadn't been too often for a while before that started up again.

last night, ds happened to wake around three a.m. a whole 3 hours before milkies "wake up"  ds was very upset, crying, not wanting to be consoled at all. flailing, so i tried to gently  restrain him and was having trouble so dh tried to help  me out. ds BIT dh bag.gif !!!  not surprisingly, dh FREAKED!!! yelled very loudly and made a huge deal about how much pain he was in and went to sleep in the other bed. it was quite dramatic for my taste! i mean, of course it was not right for ds to do that... i told ds how much biting hurts etc. but, dh's  reaction frightened ds so much that he was quiet for a while and snuggled with me to fall asleep while sniffling and sniffling.  ds bit him on the leg again this afternoon after ds and i returned from a day trip. I kind of think ds is upset with my dh and doesn't know how to handle it or express what he is feeling. is this just something that will come with time? how to i help him cope with his feelings?


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#8 of 12 Old 05-19-2011, 08:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natty529 View Post

i have talked more with dh about this issue with ds. he really seems to be trying, which is great :) i know it is difficult to change a behavior no matter if it is ds, dh or me. we have had a rough month or so at home and i think that ds is having a fair amount of trouble making these transitions- a month ago i decided to nightwean ds and  shortly after that dh went away on business for nearly three weeks and when he got home the hitting behavior, which hadn't been too often for a while before that started up again.

last night, ds happened to wake around three a.m. a whole 3 hours before milkies "wake up"  ds was very upset, crying, not wanting to be consoled at all. flailing, so i tried to gently  restrain him and was having trouble so dh tried to help  me out. ds BIT dh bag.gif !!!  not surprisingly, dh FREAKED!!! yelled very loudly and made a huge deal about how much pain he was in and went to sleep in the other bed. it was quite dramatic for my taste! i mean, of course it was not right for ds to do that... i told ds how much biting hurts etc. but, dh's  reaction frightened ds so much that he was quiet for a while and snuggled with me to fall asleep while sniffling and sniffling.  ds bit him on the leg again this afternoon after ds and i returned from a day trip. I kind of think ds is upset with my dh and doesn't know how to handle it or express what he is feeling. is this just something that will come with time? how to i help him cope with his feelings?



I am going to ask a very sensitive question.

 

Did you cheat on the night weaning when DH was gone?  I used to cheat when DH was away.  I still let DS crawl into bed with me if his dad has a trip...just that if you did, and I don't know if you did, but it might be that your DS sees Daddy's return as going back to the harsh regime of Daddy.  When my DS was a little older than your DS, we had to go to the States for about 4 weeks while DH stayed in Scotland to tie up some lose ends after the passing of his dad, and I co-slept with DS and nursed him to sleep and generally was super coddling to him and probably if I am honest using his closeness a little to fill the void of his daddy being so far away.  When DH rejoined us it was VERY tense between them, especially since at that point it went from being me as the SAHP to DH being the SAHP and I went back to work fulltime after 10 months leave.  They fought on and off for months. 

 

Have you ever read this story by Frank O'Connor.  It's a comical take on a boy's love for his mother, but some of the issues between sons and fathers applies on many levels.

 

I think this is a part of boys and dads...I think the besat thing you can do is remain calm, firm, consistent and model exactly what you expect "You seem angry, are you angry?  We don't bite people when we are angry, we say 'Daddy, I am angry and I don't want to share Mommy right now. May have some alone time with Mommy, please?' and just keep modelling reflection, identifying the need and making a clear request.  They do get past it.  If your DH can try to get past the hurt and the frustration and spend more one on one time with his little guy it might happen faster.

 

One thing my DH would do fpr example was when DS bit or pinched or hit him was he would resist the urge to scream and shout (to much) and instead of going off to get away, he'd kick ME out of bed (not really but he'd ask me to leave respectfully and sweetly) and spend the night talking to DS, explaining his feelings and hurt, but then telling him stories, and cuddling and being silly.  The more he did this the less estranged DS felt and the less he felt like Daddy's presence meant he was no longer needed, but instead that Daddy was his friend, too.


Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#9 of 12 Old 05-20-2011, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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we did jay gordon's plan- 10 days. i did not cheat at all during that time. there was one time about a week later, after the plan had been "completed" that i went ahead and nursed him during the night when he woke  because we had an important thing to do the next morning and i needed ds to be well rested.that was the only time.


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#10 of 12 Old 05-20-2011, 08:19 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by natty529 View Post

we did jay gordon's plan- 10 days. i did not cheat at all during that time. there was one time about a week later, after the plan had been "completed" that i went ahead and nursed him during the night when he woke  because we had an important thing to do the next morning and i needed ds to be well rested.that was the only time.


Okay...I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to cast dispersions. 

 

Did you read the story?  It's definitely worth reading IMO.  Helped me wrap my head around a little what DS was feeling towards his dad in regards to our relationship.
 

 


Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#11 of 12 Old 05-20-2011, 10:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post




Okay...I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to cast dispersions. 

 

Did you read the story?  It's definitely worth reading IMO.  Helped me wrap my head around a little what DS was feeling towards his dad in regards to our relationship.
 

 

not to worry :) I did read the story. it has given me insight... an angle that i hadn't really considered. thank you

 


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#12 of 12 Old 05-21-2011, 06:09 AM
 
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When our kids hit they are sent to their rooms.  There they stay until they are calm enough to apologize.  

 

Biting at night would have pretty serious consequences, too.  When my kids reacted aggressively during nightweaning (towards me) I would leave.

 

We also do a lot of talking about how hitting is not tolerated, ever.  I don't hit them.  They don't hit us.   There is no hitting in this house.  (no hitting is tolerated, I guess is what that means).


DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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