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How to gently deal with animal beating

905 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  NiteNicole
I'm new to GD. I've been your standard disciplining mama for my son's entire 4 years of life but I've made the decision to change my ways. But now I don't know how to deal with certain things like beating up the cat. I'm not talking about a little torment. I'm talking about last night I found him choking her. I had no idea what to do to get the message across that this was unacceptable but in a gentle way. My boyfriend sent him to his room but I didn't feel that was very "gentle"

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At that point seperating them was probably the best thing. And he probably needed some time to calm down before any teaching can be done anyway- very little gets learned in the heat of the moment.

So in a perfect world when you walked in on that you would first decide how would be the best way to get everyone calm- perhaps he needed to leave your sight for a while because you are too upset- maybe you and the cat could have retreated to your room. And different kids really need very different things to calm down, many do well by themselves for a few minutes, others want to be held or have thier back rubbed, others just want you near but not touching. So the next thing would be to really pay attention to how you can help him get back in control when things are going badly. And if it is time alone- working on ways that he can ask for that or choose that as a way to calm down not as a punishment.

And the real trick here is to decide what the real problem is- the cat hurting is only a symptom- and address that. Perhaps a moving running toy is just too big a temptation and you could work on helping him notice that urge and work it out in other ways- a game of catch, squeezing or pounding playdough. Perhaps he is angry about something else and the cat is a scapegoat and you could work on finding out what he is angry about and figure out how to fix that problem.

Is that any help?
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I see you have a new baby in your family. Congrats! How is your older child coping with being a big brother? Could he possibly be acting out some tough feelings that he doesn't know how to cope with?
That is exactly the problem. He is acting out the jealous feelings he's got about the new baby and I'm trying so hard to make it like life used to be by keeping his routines as normal as possible but he's still sort of resenting me and the baby and taking it out on other people/things. I'm so at a loss some days.
He is 4 years old. He has a lot of words at his disposal. I feel sympathy for him, but if he were my child I would expect him to use his words to communicate his feelings, and not lash out at the animals. I think this should be your goal... that he be able to vent his frustrations in words.... I realize that a strategy for acheiving that is not a simple challenge. But you need a way to react everytime, and I think consistency is probably very crucial here. I'll keep thinking about it.

Off the top of my head though, has he ever complained verbally about the baby? What is your response?

Poor kiddo. If its any comfort, this phase *will* pass. The first few months with a new babe are the most stressful!
There is nothing wrong with sepration when someone/thing life is at issue. I think as adults we need to learn to seperate, calm down, then deal with the situation/emotions.

But once you/he has calmed down that is when you go in and talk about it. I have found in these situations asking my children how they would feel if that happen to them gets them to think. Having them put themselves in other peoples shoes.

At four years of age he is still imature enough not to use his words and the poor cat became the target of his frustration.

I am wondering if you are feeling a little guilty because of the new baby? Maybe feeling a little of his frustration. Are you feeling more emotional because of the baby?

I think you and your boyfriend did pretty good. You could of yelled, scolled, belittled him, or spanked him.
When someone/sthing else is being abused by the child, I think that's a good time for the child to learn the difference between "gentle" and "forceful" - the hardway. My first concern in this siutation would not be how to correct my child in a gentle manner, but how to protect the other living thing from my child. Some offenses (for lack of a better word) are more serious than others - this I personally don't think sending a child to his room for nearly killing the cat is enough. At the very least, he should know that because of his actions, he will not be allowed to interact with the cat for a while and he will not be left alone with it even longer. And I probalby would've thrown in some serious firm talking to drive home how important it is (ok, am I a wimp that THIS is my idea of "the hard way?").

I think sometimes we can get so caught up in trying not to tread on a child's spirit that we miss the BIG PICTURE. If he can't be respectful of other living things, perhaps it's time to learn what it feels like when other living things are not respectful of him (I'm not suggesting that you strangle the child, but he should know that some actions can result in limited freedom).

I am willing to let a LOT of things slide in the interest of the big picture (is my family happy? then it doesn't matter if something got broken, the house isn't spotless, and sometimes things are REAL loud around here), but crulty to animals or others are top of the list of things I will not accept.
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