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I am really hoping to find some new ideas... we are a GD family and we have been working a lot with my 4 yo who has been having issues lately... we avoid no's whenever possible, give options, let him help find solutions, etc etc. but occasionally the answer is no and he gets incredibly angry, like explosive and then he will not listen to anything, will not accept love. and will not talk except to say whatever he thinks over and over... then he will strike out (usually by punching) whoever he feels is the cause of his frustration. He only does this with the family not friends... When he is not angry we tlk about ways to deal with angry, like telling what he is feeling "I am really mad" or stomping his feet (which he does) but in the moment he needs to strike out... I feel like he figures, he is hurting so he wants the person who hurt him to hurt too... he usually diffuses fairly quickly afterwards and right now I have let it go... explaining without blame that we use gentle touch (he says he knows it is wrong and he just forgot) and reminding him of ways we talk about to deal with his anger... I do not make him say sorry etc... and I am hoping it will go away BUT lately it seems more frequent and well I was thinking today thatif he's still hitting me like this when he's 10 I am going to have bruises! So, how else can I remind him? deter him? give him other tools to deal with his frustration? I am already working a lot on avoiding frustration altogther and this is working and getting less... but hey, everyone has reason to be frsutrated/mad sometimes and I don't know how to help with his "explosions"... Ideas????
 

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Can you give him a safe way to vent those frustrations? He can pummel this pillow when he wants to hit someone. Then after that is a habit, maybe enroll him in a martial arts class. I have talked with parents that swear by matial arts for aggressive kids. Not because it's aggressive but because it teaches lots and lots of self control.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/privateeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="private eyes">
 

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I have an explosive child, and typical triggers include being told 'no' and other people not doing exactly what she wants them to do (like siblings deciding they don't want to play anymore). Once she has begun having a meltdown, just about any interaction either prolongs the episode or makes it worse. So really, while she's exploding and as long as she isn't attempting to hurt her siblings I just try to be there for her to let her know she's going to be okay and that I love her. Afterwards, when she is calm again, we can address whatever it is that led to explosion and talk about her feelings in order to help her learn the communication and problem-solving skills she needs. She, like many kids, explodes only at home (or if away from home only with close relatives that she sees often-this is a recent development, she is 7) and not at school.<br><br>
However, really the very best way to address explosions is to work on proactively addressing the problems that lead to them. I've found that there is definitely a pattern, and once I knew that I could predict what was likely to result in an explosion (which it sounds like you already know). The key for us isn't just in avoiding situations likely to result in explosion, but learning to work with her to solve those problems before a problem has begun. The model we are trying to learn is the Collaborative Problem Solving method from the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. If you can get your hands on it, the very latest edition of the book presents the method in the most clear, easy to understand way (IMHO). There is a good overview of this program <a href="http://www.explosivekids.org/pdf/caregiverhandout.pdf" target="_blank">here</a> at the website of the <a href="http://www.explosivekids.org/index.html" target="_blank">Foundation for Children With Behavioral Challenges</a>. We try to handle problem-solving before a problem begins, but we also use this method once a problem has begun but before she explodes (though this, called "emergency Plan B", is not as effective in the long run as proactive plan B). Basically the steps are 1) empathy and reassurance ("you want pizza. what's up?" 'I'm hungry' "you want pizza, you're hungry, I'm not saying you can't have pizza...) 2) define the problem (get your concern on the table: "....I'm not saying you can't have pizza. My concern is....) and 3) Invite the child to problem-solve ("let's work this out, do you have some ideas about what we can do?"). The goal is to find a solution that addresses the concerns of both parent and child (that is mutually satisfactory) and that is realistic/doable. Often this step includes thinking about/evaluating the ideas that come up ("does it work for you? does it work for me? what would that be like?), and requires a willingness on the part of the parent to embrace not knowing what the solution will be (but trusting it will be satisfactory to everyone and realistic...so if pizza isn't realistic or mutually satisfactory, pizza isn't the solution). (The pizza example is an emergency plan B example, the child is already hungry and wanting pizza. A recent proactive plan b attempt at our house involved hitting when siblings don't do what dd wants, so the empathy step began with "I've noticed that when your siblings do things you don't like (gave examples), you often hit them or yell at them. Can you tell me more about that?....my concern was that I want everyone to be safe and I want us to respect each other, and then we focused on what she can do when she becomes frustrated with them. This one is a work in progress.)<br><br>
This is a method that assumes that "children do well if they can" and that a child who is exploding is lagging in certain social, emotional or cognitive skills that would allow them to handle frustration in better ways. The CPS method is designed to help them learn those skills through the process of problem-solving.<br><br>
IMHO, this is a great program not just for explosive kids but for all kids and well worth reading about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Max'sMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6494259"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can you give him a safe way to vent those frustrations? He can pummel this pillow when he wants to hit someone. Then after that is a habit, maybe enroll him in a martial arts class. I have talked with parents that swear by matial arts for aggressive kids. Not because it's aggressive but because it teaches lots and lots of self control.</div>
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We try those things and he will stomp his feet and he is in Tae Kwon Do... but the thing is he is NOT an agressive kid... I know because my older ds is definitely much further along the conitnum towards natural aggressiveness... and Tae Kwon Do has not helped so far although it has been amazingly helpful for my eldest....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sledg</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6495070"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have an explosive child, and typical triggers include being told 'no' and other people not doing exactly what she wants them to do (like siblings deciding they don't want to play anymore). Once she has begun having a meltdown, just about any interaction either prolongs the episode or makes it worse. So really, while she's exploding and as long as she isn't attempting to hurt her siblings I just try to be there for her to let her know she's going to be okay and that I love her. Afterwards, when she is calm again, we can address whatever it is that led to explosion and talk about her feelings in order to help her learn the communication and problem-solving skills she needs. She, like many kids, explodes only at home (or if away from home only with close relatives that she sees often-this is a recent development, she is 7) and not at school.<br><br>
However, really the very best way to address explosions is to work on proactively addressing the problems that lead to them. I've found that there is definitely a pattern, and once I knew that I could predict what was likely to result in an explosion (which it sounds like you already know). The key for us isn't just in avoiding situations likely to result in explosion, but learning to work with her to solve those problems before a problem has begun. The model we are trying to learn is the Collaborative Problem Solving method from the book The Explosive Child by Ross Greene. If you can get your hands on it, the very latest edition of the book presents the method in the most clear, easy to understand way (IMHO). There is a good overview of this program <a href="http://www.explosivekids.org/pdf/caregiverhandout.pdf" target="_blank">here</a> at the website of the <a href="http://www.explosivekids.org/index.html" target="_blank">Foundation for Children With Behavioral Challenges</a>. We try to handle problem-solving before a problem begins, but we also use this method once a problem has begun but before she explodes (though this, called "emergency Plan B", is not as effective in the long run as proactive plan B). Basically the steps are 1) empathy and reassurance ("you want pizza. what's up?" 'I'm hungry' "you want pizza, you're hungry, I'm not saying you can't have pizza...) 2) define the problem (get your concern on the table: "....I'm not saying you can't have pizza. My concern is....) and 3) Invite the child to problem-solve ("let's work this out, do you have some ideas about what we can do?"). The goal is to find a solution that addresses the concerns of both parent and child (that is mutually satisfactory) and that is realistic/doable. Often this step includes thinking about/evaluating the ideas that come up ("does it work for you? does it work for me? what would that be like?), and requires a willingness on the part of the parent to embrace not knowing what the solution will be (but trusting it will be satisfactory to everyone and realistic...so if pizza isn't realistic or mutually satisfactory, pizza isn't the solution). (The pizza example is an emergency plan B example, the child is already hungry and wanting pizza. A recent proactive plan b attempt at our house involved hitting when siblings don't do what dd wants, so the empathy step began with "I've noticed that when your siblings do things you don't like (gave examples), you often hit them or yell at them. Can you tell me more about that?....my concern was that I want everyone to be safe and I want us to respect each other, and then we focused on what she can do when she becomes frustrated with them. This one is a work in progress.)<br><br>
This is a method that assumes that "children do well if they can" and that a child who is exploding is lagging in certain social, emotional or cognitive skills that would allow them to handle frustration in better ways. The CPS method is designed to help them learn those skills through the process of problem-solving.<br><br>
IMHO, this is a great program not just for explosive kids but for all kids and well worth reading about.</div>
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funny, a friend just recommended that book and I borrowed n abridged version on tape read by the author and am half way through it now... to begin I found it all very extreme (as my friend warned me) in that these kids were all the way explosive and my ds being only 4 and well I just don't think he is there ... yet! but I can definitely see the same characteristics that is spoken of in the book... AND I find that he comes from a very mainstream discipline approach as in he keeps saying well you may have found that normal rewards and punishments which work for other children don't work for this child... and well we don't use rewards and punishments etc... that said sorry I just had to vent since you actually have read it!) I think it is very helpful... and I just got to the part about how to help after the what's going on introduction.... and I think tht many times it will work and honestly it is something we usually do! I anticipate his triggers as much as possible... I really really pick my battles! (this morning to my dh's disgust I let him eat a peice of gum he found before he even ate breakfeast because he had decided it was "his" and it didn't seem worth risking a meltdown for a piece of gum!) and when I start to see the pattern happening I try to emphathize... I try to describe... I try to engage him to solve the problem with me... but he is also very stubborn and he is still stuck in unwillingness to compromise... even though his brother is an excellent modeller of compromise working... I am trying to think of some recent concrete scenarios...<br><br>
actually when I really think about it... lately the full meltdowns are from when he misunderstands... like he think I said I would buy him the video when I dsaid he could hold it and look at it while we were in the store... then he melts down when its time to go and I don't buy it (I didn't have choice as I couldn't afford it anyway)... or he thinks something is his when it is his brothers... and then I can't explain it to him... he won't hear... even when I say "I know you think you heard x and you want that to be true... "<br><br>
and was your dd like this at 4? and if so, could you describe it a little at 4 or preschoolish age... did it get better or worse? and what do you do during a meltdown if it gets to that like if the steps just don't work that time? do you remove her physically to a safe place like her room so she won't hurt others? I have been taking ds to his room and holding the door closed with me in there with him until he calms down... then we usually draw pictures to help him think about his feelings and then he is back to normal and we let it go... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/thanks.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thanks"> so much for posting it is great to get input from someone who understand explosive children <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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I'm glad you're enjoying the book. When I first read it I thought two things: 1) This is not my child, my child isn't this extreme and 2) This method will never work, I already pick my battles and try to compromise. Later on, I realized that my child had indeed become explosive and that I hadn't really understood the program the first time I read it, there was something missing from my understanding--only later after re-reading it did I understand that this was a totally different way of parenting than picking my battles and "trying" to compromise. That's a much longer post, though. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> (I'm not implying you don't understand it, btw, just sharing my experience.) If you can get your hands on a copy of the DVD (like at a library, it's very expensive) that's actually pretty good b/c there are actual parents on there asking actual questions and actually attempting Plan B. I went to a workshop a few weeks ago to learn more about it, and am attending a workshop tomorrow as well. The more I re-learn about it, the better I get at it. It's a very simple program, but can actually very difficult to put into practice. I did learn that Plan B most frequently fails to work because 1) parents are missing steps 2) parents are really doing sneaky Plan A (imposing parent's will) 3) kids are lacking some skills necessary for engaging in Plan B. And probably something else I can't remember. It usually takes awhile, too, when you first start for children to trust that you aren't trying sneaky Plan A. So keep trying.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gr8fulmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6506543"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">and was your dd like this at 4? and if so, could you describe it a little at 4 or preschoolish age... did it get better or worse? and what do you do during a meltdown if it gets to that like if the steps just don't work that time? do you remove her physically to a safe place like her room so she won't hurt others? I have been taking ds to his room and holding the door closed with me in there with him until he calms down... then we usually draw pictures to help him think about his feelings and then he is back to normal and we let it go...</div>
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Age 4. Age 4 was so hard. She had a lot of trouble with sensitivities to various things like how her socks felt, how pants felt, how her sleeves felt in her coat, noises, crowds, smells. She had a lot of sleep issues. Lots of tantrums, screaming and laying on the floor for up to two hours. Many tantrums were over sensory things, many were over being told "no", many were inexplicable. I remember it as being a very, very hard time. But she was never like that outside the home. We struggled with getting to preschool for two years, tantrums daily over getting shoes on and such. At the end of two years I met with her teacher who told me "she's going to be a gentle leader, like Buddha" and I nearly fell off the chair. She also first developed tics around age 4.<br><br>
She is 7 now. She is not better, I can't say she's worse, many of her issues are different. She is definitely more aggressive. She still has tics, and more of them (seeing a neurologist about this soon). She has fewer sensory issues. She has fewer tantrums or difficulties over being told "no" because we say "no" a lot less often-mostly we're finding alternative solutions together. Often if I do say "no" or she misunderstands me and she begins to become upset, we can do some emergency Plan B and prevent a full-blown tantrum and find a solution. At this point she has only been having full-blown meltdowns with regard to her younger siblings. If they don't do what she wants them to do, she'll immediately (she has an extremely short fuse wrt to this) scream at them or (try to) hit them. Sometimes I can defuse this situation with emergency Plan B (and getting in between them). This is hard, takes a lot of work and vigilance in listening for the signs it's coming (and if she's in a bad mood, it's definitely going to come). Sometimes I can't defuse it b/c she escalates to quickly, and if at these times I step in to physically prevent her from hitting a sibling she has a full-blown, very aggressive meltdown. When this happens I have been taking her to my bedroom, and closing us both in there with me leaning on the door so she won't leave. We'll stay there until she's calm (but interacting with her doesn't help), which is usually a good half hour to an hour--sometimes I have to leave b/c I have to check on the other kids or (like last night) give them a meal, and in this case I close the gate at the top of the stairs (she hasn't yet figured out how to open it) and hope for the best. That is so far the best thing I've tried. This way she's away from the other kids but knows I'm there for her, and I can see when she turns the corner and will be receptive to being helped to calm down. Honestly, Plan B is difficult wrt the aggression toward siblings, b/c her fuse is so short and her impulse control so (apparently) poor in these situations that she has a lot of difficulty engaging in Plan B. For this reason, we are looking into psychiatric help and are now open to the idea of medication. Otherwise, Plan B has helped in so many other areas. And I do have confidence that in the long run it will help with her aggression toward her siblings too, I just think there are some real brain issues getting in the way right now.<br><br>
Hope you find some of this helpful.
 

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would you consider having a stuffed animal (preferably large) that your child could pound on when angry? when i was growing up, i had a punching bag in the basement for that purpose. that is a little tricky because if you don't punch with proper form you can hurt yourself. but i was not the only family member who found it useful at times...
 

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hiya! I would add, definitely don't sweat it too much, as this is *very* typical 4-y.o. behavior from what I experience and hear from other moms of 4's, so with your approach being a gentle one it's highly unlikely you'll have a 10-y.o. still hitting. our almost 4 ds has recently added biting to his repertoire, something he has never done before <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked">: like you, it's just lucky me and dh that bear the brunt, and occasionally one of his nannas. these are the books that have helped me the most:<br><br>
Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka<br>
Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles (same author)<br>
Transforming the Difficult Child by Glasser and Easley<br><br>
I love, love, LOVE Kurcinka! my ds is off-the-charts spirited in most of the personality traits; that first one helped me understand him. the second one I'm starting over right now because I need a refresher <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> that last one has a ton of practical stuff in it, but you'll probably be very put off by the rewards system they have devised (I was). I just read the introductory chapters and the ones on reinforcing postitive behavior and skipped the rest. I'm a whole-life unschooler, and it very much has a dog-training feel to it, which was gross, but nonetheless it was helpful to realize ways I could "teach what he *can* do" by pointing it out (very old-school catch-him-being-good stuff, but I realized he didn't know and therefore it was helpful). it was also helpful in realizing the ways I was giving attention only to the negative, which obviously is a recipe for disaster, but I had kind-of slipped into it without realizing, kwim? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:<br><br>
one other thing I found out was important for my ds, which may or may not be true for others: I was using waaaaay too many words trying to explain and talk him through things. this created tantrums on top of the meltdowns <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> once I learned better ways to say things, which is still sometimes an experiment, things improved quite a bit.<br><br>
it really sounds like you're doing a great job! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> sometimes you won't catch it in time, but there will be more and more times that you do, and eventually your dc will take over self-regulation. don't feel bad when the meltdown happens and your dc can't hear you; it's impossible at that point. just get through them as safely as possible and know that the gentleness you're modeling is really helping-- your dc isn't losing more power to you by your threats/yelling/authoritarian crap when emotions have already overwhelmed him.<br><br>
one final thing that *really* helps when I feel like having a tantrum myself: I remind myself that one day, he'll be an adult. adults don't do this (generally speaking <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">). adults know how to say what they need and want. adults also generally don't care as much as a 4-y.o. about what's on their pizza, or that they really wanted chicken nuggets. recently I was talking to a telemarketer, oddly enough, and saying that I'll probably miss this phase when it's over, even though I get literally clobbered a lot right now. and he said his daughter was 8 or 9, I think, and yes, you will miss it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Hi. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I am dealing with this with dd (5) right now. In the last couple of weeks she has taken to being exceptionally rough with her 2 yr old brother to the point of shocking me (and herself) at what she has done. I know she regrets it as soon as she does it and immediately hugs him and kisses him and says sorry, but it is happening A LOT and I have been getting concerned. And it seems to be getting rougher. Tonight we sat down and talked after she whacked the top of his head about three times because he took something from her. I was stupified. I explained as I have dozens of times before how badly he could get hurt if she hit him, or slapped him or stepped on him etc...and she seems to get it after, but in the moment it is so difficult for her to stop herself. We have talked about the pillow as well, but the only way that would work is if the pillow was strapped to her brother. It happens so fast, she doesn't think about it. Which I think is hard for them to do at this age. I don't have a lot of advice, if any, but one thing I have noticed is that if she gets some time to herself, her own space, her own time with her toys and books without little brother bugging her, her own time with me, and enough of these things, she is much more tolerant, much more careful and aware with him and not so volatile when he takes things away from her, which is her biggest trigger. I don't know if this is an issue with you, but we live in a small place, we all sleep together, eat together, play together, spend every second of every day together, save an hour or two maybe when ds naps, but maybe the brothers are overwhelming at times? Maybe all the toy sharing and mommy sharing and everything sharing gets to be too much. I don't know, this is just what I have noticed here. It's hard to give that personal time but I am working on it, I think it is important at this age, as any age, but it starts here. I noticed it starting at four as well, especially with a younger sibling in tow. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"> But I will be watching for some more suggestions!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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I just though of something else. I know you mentioned Tae Kwon Do and it not helping him to relieve the aggression and dd was in TKD when she was four and I actually found it to make her more aggressive at that age. I'm sure this isn't applicable in general,but maybe for him? just thinking...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch">
 

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Lucia's been shaking her fist and me and saying "Don't make me HURT you!" When she dosen't like something I do <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br>
I'll be watching this thread with interest.
 

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Hi Holly <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br><br>
Thanks for eveyone's comments... I just really am at a loss as to what to do when he hurts us... today he actually hurt his friend when they were playing a game and got angry... I removed him and sat upstairs with hiom until he calmed down... I told him I didn't like but if he was hurting other people I would have to use my power to protect them and that was why I was forcing him to stay in his room with me until he calmed down... I still don't think he fits the whole scenario of the "explosive child" book concept BUT I do see some charactristics that really fit and I am desperately hoping that this book will give me some new tools, because I just don't know how to stop it! and I know I need more tools... I really feel like this IS a phase for him and I feel like I need to find the right tools to help him work through it and maintain the integrity of our family relationships during the phase....<br><br>
so sledg...<br><br>
I totally agree with the need to address these issues on the "frontend" as the author puts it, befire it happens or right in the beginning not after... I think I have my head around what to do after which is really not much <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> mostly I just try to provide a safe environment and wait it out then help him work through his remaining feelings and let it go... I do not overtalk him at that point as he is completely unreceptive... so give me some more help on using the method described to help before hand... I get the idea of the baskets... basket A non-negotiable issues mostly peronal saftey (liek wearing a seatbelt) basket B negotiable issues like what he eats for dinner and basket C I don't like what he waers to bed etc... I really think I am being true to this idea and haviong very little in basket A and being truly willing to negotiate in basket B and I truly let go without guilt stuff in basket C... so I guess it becomes how to do the basket B routine... 1. emphathize "You really don't like what we're having for dinner, you wish you could have macroni and cheese" 2. Describe the proble, "we don't have any macaroni and cheese in the house right now... that's really upsetting you" 3. engage him to find solutions "What do you think would make you feel better? do you want to look in the cupboards with me? would you like to help make something different?" etc Does this sound right???<br><br><br>
just to be clear too on other reading this thread... this is not about agression in general.... this is specifically about aggression during angry/frustrated episodes where dc lashes out at the person he feels "wronged" him....
 

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My son is 3.5 and he has been going through a major hitting phase lately. It almost always comes from having to cooperate (we are a single parent family, effectively, and when I say it is time to go, it is time to go...) against his will. I have hesitated over the "you may hit this pillow, punching bag, etc." because I had heard that it was better for him to learn NOT to hit in these situations. Now I am thinking that at least he would be hitting something inanimate that can't be hurt and that's better than hitting people.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>gr8fulmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/6517499"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">so give me some more help on using the method described to help before hand... I get the idea of the baskets... basket A non-negotiable issues mostly peronal saftey (liek wearing a seatbelt) basket B negotiable issues like what he eats for dinner and basket C I don't like what he waers to bed etc... I really think I am being true to this idea and haviong very little in basket A and being truly willing to negotiate in basket B and I truly let go without guilt stuff in basket C... so I guess it becomes how to do the basket B routine... 1. emphathize "You really don't like what we're having for dinner, you wish you could have macroni and cheese" 2. Describe the proble, "we don't have any macaroni and cheese in the house right now... that's really upsetting you" 3. engage him to find solutions "What do you think would make you feel better? do you want to look in the cupboards with me? would you like to help make something different?" etc Does this sound right???</div>
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Well, I don't like the "baskets" terminology. They changed that in the latest edition of the book to "Plan A, Plan B, Plan C." The baskets, to me and to a lot of others, gave the impression of "picking battles" such that safety issues (or wahtever issues are most important to the parent-like maybe going to school) are *always* handled by imposing the adults will on the child (basket A). Yesterday at the workshop Dr. Greene emphasized that the Plans are not a ranking system for prioritizing the adult's agenda. They are distinct ways of approaching problems that have distinct goals. Plan B is not a technique, he said, it's an approach that helps you understand your child and help your child learn skills. Plan B lets you, the parent, ensure that your concern is addressed satisfactorily, that your child's concern is addressed satisfactorily, and teaches skills. Plan B is changing your relationship with your child, changing how you communicate with your child.<br><br>
Plan A pursues the adult's expectations but does not address the child's concern, doesn't reduce explosions, and doesn't teach skills. It is true that if someone is in immediate danger, running into a parking lot or about to hurt another person, you're going to use Plan A and jump in and impose your will (grab the child running into the parking lot or physically preventing the child from hurting someone). It's what you do when someone is in immediate danger, and there is no time for Plan B. However, if it's at all likely to happen again you need to move to proactive Plan B.<br><br>
Basket C (now Plan C) is what you turn to when you, the adult, have no concern about what the child is requesting or doing so you let them do it. Also, you might use Plan C when you have a concern but are working on other problems that take priority so you're letting this one go for awhile even though you have a concern. Plan C is what you might go to if emergency Plan B isn't working, and an explosion/implosion is imminent (in order to prevent an explosion)-but when all is calm you're going to go back to Plan B at your earliest opportunity.<br><br>
About Plan B:<br><br>
1) empathize and reassure-get specifics (often children present solutions, make sure it's concern, and begin with a neutral observation-in emergency B that's going to be reflective listening): "you don't want to eat dinner, what's up?" 'I want macaroni and cheese' "you want macaroni and cheese, what's up?" 'I don't like this food' "you don't like this food. <i>I'm not saying you have to eat it.</i>" (reassurance let's your child know you're working with him-you might say "I'm not saying you have to, I'm not going to make you, I'm not saying you can't have it, etc."--and this does not undermine you. You're also not saying he doesn't have to eat it or do it, or that he can have it or whatever.)<br><br>
2) Define the problem (present your concern, a problem is two concerns that have yet to be reconciled. Make sure it's a <i>concern</i>, not a solution): "We don't have any macaroni and cheese."<br><br>
3) Invitation (the goal is to find a realistic, mutually satisfactory solution-one that is doable and addresses the concerns of both parties): "Let's see if we can work this out. Do you have any ideas?"<br><br>
A real example from my life: dc: "<i>can I have a piece of cake?</i>" 'no, not now' "<i>but I want a piece of cake!!</i>" 'you want cake, what's up?" '<i>I saw the cake and I just want it.</i>: 'Are you hungry?' "<i>A little, but I just want cake.</i>" 'You want cake, I'm not saying you can't have it. My concern is that you haven't eaten since breakfast, it's almost lunchtime, and if you eat cake now you might not be hungry for lunch. When you go a long time without healthy food, you get cranky. Let's see if we can work this out. Do you have any ideas how we can solve the problem of your wanting cake and my concern about you getting cranky?' "<i>Well, what if I eat half a sandwich now, and then have the cake, that way if I'm not hungry for lunch I still had some healthy food.</i>" 'That works for me. Okay.'<br><br>
Now, that's <i>emergency</i> Plan B. If he's asking for macaroni every night it's going to look different:<br><br>
1) Empathy: "I've noticed that lately you've been asking for macaroni and cheese for dinner every night after we sit down to eat, what's up?"<br><br>
2) Define the problem: "I'm concerned that if I make macaroni and cheese every night that won't be healthy for you."<br><br>
3) Invitation: "Let's se if we can find a way for you to eat things you like that and also make sure you stay healthy. Do you have any ideas?" or "let's see if we can work this out. Do you have any ideas?"<br><br><i>There are ways for Plan B to go wrong/not work:<br><br>
1) Parent is being a genius, coming up with the solutions the parent thinks are acceptable, not allowing the child to participate in problem solving. Children often come up with good solutions, it's good to give the child the first opportunity to come up with an idea (if they can). Chidlren have good concerns and good ideas, take their concerns and ideas seriously.<br><br>
2) There are not two concerns on the table. If there are two solutions on the table ("I want pizza" is a solution, not a concern) it isn't Plan B. Two solutions on the table is a power struggle. If only one concern is on the table, it isn't Plan B. If one concern and one solution are on the table, it isn't Plan B. "I want you to stop hitting" is a solution, whereas "I'm afraid someone is going to get hurt" is a concern.<br><br>
3) It's really Plan A: the parent has in mind only one (or two) acceptable solutions and is only willing to agree to that (those) solutions (and often those solutions address only the parent's concern).<br><br>
4) Empathy is missing. Empathy is a fact-finding mission, take your time with empathy. No perfunctory, drive-by empathy ("You don't like this food, but..." or "You don't want to go to school. My concern is..." notice that with the school example you haven't gotten to a concern, and with the food example the child's concern is blown off the table by the "but"). This step should not be rushed through. Most adults have a great deal of difficulty with this step.<br><br>
5) Over-reliance on Emergency Plan B. You'll get the most durable solutions when you engage in Proactive Plan B.<br><br>
6) Agreeing to a solution that is not realistic or mutually satisfactory.<br><br>
**If the child is lacking skills that would allow him/her to participate in Plan B, you'll need to model those skills (you may be guessing at what the child's concern is, or coming up with ideas for solutions when he can't) or teach them directly.<br></i><br><br>
Most of the time a problem is not going to be solved in one Plan B discussion, it takes time. Before you start Plan B, though, it's important to get to know what your child's skills are, what skills are lagging, and what the triggers are. Look at the <a href="http://www.ccps.info" target="_blank">www.ccps.info</a> website for a "pathways inventory" which you can use (It's also in the caregive handout at the other website I linked to previously). My child has problems with aggression in very specific situations, but in addition to knowing that I need to understand what lagging skills contribute to her problem: she has difficulty shifting gears (shifting cognitive set), she has difficulty with organization and planning (she turns to the first solution that comes to mind-often hitting or yelling), she is something of a black-and-white thinker (cognitive flexibility skills), she has difficulty putting her emotions and problems into words (language skills), and she has difficulty regulating her emotions in the midst of frustration (separation of affect). Now, I'm not clear on exactly which is the primary problem. But I also do know that she has a tendency to be frequently cranky (chronic difficulty regulating emotion), and when a person is frequently cranky and frustrated and irritable they are less able to problem solve, be flexible, tolerate frustration and problem solve. All these clues help us decide what to address first: if she's chronically irritable, and in that state minor things feel like enormous frustrations and thus she's more likely to explode, maybe it makes more sense to begin with helping her with her overall mood before addressing the aggression specifically. Or maybe the aggression is priority because it's dangerous, and we need to find ways (<i>with</i> her) of helping her cope without hitting in those situations in which she's likely to become hit. We're also going to have Plan B discussions with her siblings, so they can <i>all</i> learn to solve problems, with each other, that come up when they play together. Really go over those social, emotional and cognitive skills to get an idea, and do a situational analysis (when does it happen, what precedes it, what skills are required in that situation?), identify the triggers. You may have already done this, but I'm finding that with our dd's aggression in specific situations, it's taking multiple Plan B discussions and multiple re-evaluations of what's going on to begin to find a durable solution.<br><br>
Plan B is hard, because it's not how most of us function and it's not how we were raised. It takes time for us to learn it, and can feel "like slogging through mud" at first. It takes kids time to trust it, because they're so used to plan A. The difference between Plan A and Plan B, for probably a lot of parents committed to gentle discipline, can see subtle-but remember, often Plan A sounds nice and gentle, but it's still the adult's agenda being addressed without the child's concern really being addressed. I found that kind of difficult to admit.<br><br>
And remember this analogy from Dr. Greene: Think of an airplane as Plan B. The empathy step is the engine revving up, defining the problem is beginning to roll down the runway, the invitation is when the plan lifts off and begins to fly. In Plan B once you're up in the air with the invitation, you have no idea where you're going to land-the universe of possiblities is open to you. It requires a willingness to drop your agenda and be open.<br><br>
Not all kids with lagging skills have full-blown explosions. Some engage in maladaptive behavior that is less severe, and some implode and become withdrawn. Most only explode/implode/behave maladaptively in very specific situations. Even among "regular" kids, it's when "the demands of the situation outstrip the ability to cope adaptively" or the inability to access skills under great stress/emotion that most often lead to maladaptive behavior. Most of us have probably had that experience of being so upset that we can't think straight. "Children do well if they can." Don't get caught up in whether or not your son fits the descriptions of explosive kids in the book. Just think about what difficulties your son is facing in what situations.
 

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sledg! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/thanks.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thanks">! that's awesome <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I will copy and print your words when I get some paper... I think your explanation of plan B is very good... and I like the plan concepts better than the baskets too <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> and I see what you mean about being true in plan B... I'll keep you posted <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 
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