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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My ds is almost 6 (in just a couple of weeks) and we are having major battles with him over being seriously disrespectful of us. I know we have our own issues that we are trying to work on (not yelling, trying sooooo hard to contain my own anger), but he continues to kick, hit, spit in our faces, etc. I know we have a long way to go to being gentle parents, too, and that will help, but I am so at a loss of what to do when he does this stuff! I've read so many books talked about in this forum, and I just feel like I'm not doing it right or don't know how to actually put it into practice (especially Unconditional Parenting, which I love, but can't seem to figure out _how_ to do). I end up resorting to punishments like sending to time out on the steps, no bedtime stories, etc. When we have calm conversations about it, he seems to get it, but as soon as we do something or say something he doesn't like, it starts all over again. I am just so frustrated and feel like a failure. Any one have any advice?
 

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What are the situations when he's being aggressive? My first guess from the little bit you said is that it's when he feels a loss of control over what's going on? If that's the case, then maybe instead of focusing solely on getting him to stop the aggressive behaviour, you could very actively come up with ways for him to feel more in control of his life, and to regain some control when he feels he's lost it. That's something we have worked on with my ds (who's 4.5 so probably the issues are slightly different but maybe not much). When we're successful at allowing him to feel more in control he does much better.<br>
It's hard to be more specific without knowing exactly what's triggering it though.
 

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We went through a phase like that with my oldest. She did not hit us/get physical, but she would have tantrum constantly (sometimes it was every 15 minutes). When she got frustrated or angry, it seemed her first reaction was to scream and yell at us, anytime, anywhere.<br><br>
I was completely against a reward system, but after other things failed and I felt my resentment growing, that is what we did. If she made it through one day w/o yelling at us, she'd get something. 2 (new but consecutive) days, she got something even better. We went up to 5 consecutive days. Sometimes she'd miss a day and we'd start over from that set of days. By the end, it was DONE. She broke the habit.<br><br>
We clearly outlined what she was not to do, and we gave her alternatives. We'd remind her-- it is OK to cry, to get mad, to say you are mad at us, etc., but not to scream at us. When we saw a spell coming on, we'd remind her of this, and give her a reminder of what the goal was (in terms of behavior and the prize). She'd get a reminder, but if she continued we started over from day one. We did not get angry with her when she yelled, but said, "It is OK, we will just start over." That worked.<br><br>
More than ever, it is essential to set up a child to succeed when you see this type of behavior. That means, as you said, no yelling from you--or at least make it a rarity. (Easier said than done, I know-- just bringing out the tough love here!) I would address this before you attempt any sort of reward system. If you cannot stop yourself, how can you expect a child to stop him/herself? It also means noticing times when they are most at-risk . . .tired, overstimulated,etc.<br><br>
It's been over a year since we did this and once we ended it, the behavior did not come back, and she never expected prizes/rewards (which is what I feared) after it all ended. The big prize was a trip to a local amusement park.<br><br>
I am dealing with hitting now with my toddler (she does not usually hit me-- hits her older sister), but I am treating that differently because she is so young. (Our oldest was about 4.5 when that behavior happened.) With my toddler, I think she is just frustrated by the lack of time we can give her one-on-one. I think she really wants to be the baby, to be cuddled all day, etc. I do this whenever I can, but my little one rarely sleeps (day or night), so there are few chances that my toddler gets us all to herself. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> So, I am going to make sure we find even more ways to give her special attention.<br><br>
That may be what I'd focus on with your son. If he hits, I'd probably take him by the hands, look him in the eye, and firmly say NO HITTING-- my tot takes notice/stops for that period when I do this. Do this every time (which I know-- consistency is hard). Then, move on to just being there for him, offering a hug, etc. Begin to look for patterns (my toddler does it most in the afternoon/evening when she is tired, so I am on high alert).<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> to you<br><br>
PS While he doing this, do not take it personally. Do not say-- he is disrespecting me! Say, he is handling his feelings the best way he knows how. What tool can I give him instead?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks--yes, the behavior happens usually at times when we are asking him to stop doing something, even when we give what seems to be fair warning. Like playing a game on the computer--we tell him 10 more minutes and set a timer for him, but when we actually make him turn it off, the yelling/spitting, etc. starts. DH and I had a really good conversation last night and I finally feel like he's going to get on board with me to try to stop our own yelling. I've been trying to talk to dh about it for a while, but was afraid he'd be really mad at me for telling him that he also needs to change his behavior (I'm not leaving myself out of this, by any means) so that ds will see how he's supposed to respond when he gets mad. So, hopefully, we can all get this straightened out and get back to being the kind and gentle family we were in the beginning! I want to _enjoy_ parenting again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Mizelenius</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10721897"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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PS While he doing this, do not take it personally. Do not say-- he is disrespecting me! Say, he is handling his feelings the best way he knows how. What tool can I give him instead?</div>
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Thank you! I know this deep down, it's just so hard to remember it in the moment--especially for my dh. I'm reading Non-violent communication right now and am working on remembering this! Thanks for putting it in words for me.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>samuelsmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10722019"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">the behavior happens usually at times when we are asking him to stop doing something, even when we give what seems to be fair warning. Like playing a game on the computer--we tell him 10 more minutes and set a timer for him, but when we actually make him turn it off, the yelling/spitting, etc. starts.</div>
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We have this happen around turning off the TV (which really means turning of DVDs in our case). Here are some things that help my ds:<br><br>
- make a plan before he starts watching about what thing will happen afterwards, so when he's turning off it's not just the end of something, he is anticipating the next activity<br>
- give him a warning that it'll be time to turn off soon, and then a couple of minutes before it's time, I sit down beside him and see what's going on in the program. We might talk about it a little or sing along with a song that's on TV.<br>
- when it's really time to turn off, we negotiate a good point -- so instead of enforcing a specific moment to turn off, I'll say "it's time to go do X now, so let's find a good point to stop. How about when the characters figure out this problem? (or whatever)". Ds usually agrees while he's engrossed in the program, and then when we get to that point he's reluctant but once he's reminded "It's time to do X!" he's usually okay.
 
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