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<p>I have been at my wits end with my 6yo ds.  He can be such a sweet boy but at times it is like he loses himself in anger.</p>
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<p>Here is what happened this morning, how would you have responded?</p>
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<p>The boys had constructed a game involving their costumes.  DS1's role in the game had him putting on multiple costumes.  Since he had so many layered costumes on already he was having difficulty putting on another and needed help.</p>
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<p>I was attempting to cook potstickers on the stove while talking to MIL on the phone.  I was at a point where I had to get the potstickers out of the pan and they were sticking (what a disaster!).  I asked DS1 to please wait just a moment and I would help him after I was finished removing the food.  He then began to get angry, calling me an "idiot."  To keep peace I just helped him with his costume, though I know I should have gotten off the phone and addressed the name calling.</p>
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<p>A few minutes later I was still on the phone with MIL and had oil in my pan awaiting my potstickers.  As I was about to put them back in the pan DS1 comes back for my help with his costumes.  I told him again to wait a moment because I had to get the food back in the pan (oil was beginning to overheat).  This time he told me he was NOT waiting.  I reiterated what I said before about waiting patiently because I had to take care of the food.  He then called me "idiot" again and spit at me. </p>
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<p>How would you have handled this?  What would you do if your response then led to either physical violence directed at you (pinching, kicking, hitting, biting), kicking at whatever furniture objects are nearby, or throwing whatever is near?  (Common responses from DS1)</p>
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<p>SJ</p>
 

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<p>First, I would have hung up with MIL and told her that I had my hands full with hot oil and parenting. With the child not having mastered his volatile feelings, and the oil being a fire or injury hazard, I just think a phone call is too much else to add to the mix!  :)</p>
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<p>As for the behavior, I'd be zero-tolerance on that. First step is physical safety. If my child is lashing out at me with hands or feet (it does happen with my DS7, as he has a hair-trigger temper), I immediately send him to his room for 5 minutes so we can both cool down. Because I need to be safe, to feel safe, and frankly to take my reaction down a notch....I'm easy to anger too.</p>
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<p>After 5 minutes the timer I had set will ring, and he comes out and we talk. I say "I cannot let you do that to me, but I CAN listen to what you have to say. You were probably frustrated and impatient just then. Right?"  Then I'd listen to him talk. Then I'd say "You understand why we don't do that in our house. It's unsafe to spit (or whatever) at someone. Not only that it hurts their feelings. We want to be safe in this house, not afraid of each other. Now I understand your frustration with the costumes, and impatience at having to wait for me talking on the phone and cooking. But that is no excuse to hurt another family member. "[using my most stern, Serious Mama voice here] "Do you understand?"</p>
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<p>Hopefully the answer would be yes!!</p>
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<p>In our house the groundrules, the principles that we go by are: ALL family members are important, not just some. ALL family members must feel safe and be safe. And I mean that. I mean that he needs to be respected by the adults, and the adults need to be respected by him. If your son is not feeling respected overall on a day-to-day, these words will not ring true to him and you will have a harder time with it, I think. If might-makes-right is a big part of his environment, then you will have these problems too. He will learn that force is the way. Spitting, hitting, yelling whatever.</p>
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<p>Of course I have no idea what goes on in your house. I am speaking in general terms here, not about YOU.</p>
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<p>By the way, where does he hear the name-calling? (I'm guessing it's at school?) I don't even allow <span style="text-decoration:underline;">myself</span> to name-call when I am driving down the street and someone yammering on a cell phone cuts me off, and BOY do I want to! I just don't want to model that for my kid. And if it blurts out, I quickly explain that I shouldn't have name-called, and explain how afraid I felt in that moment when the guy cut me off.....but that is no excuse and I, Mama, need to try harder next time. And we don't watch TV shows where people call each other idiot or other names on a regular basis. I mean, it may crop up from time to time like in a movie, but our son looks at us when he hears someone on TV say something like "idiot!" or "shut up!" --he's looking for our reaction because we don't approve of talking to others like that  :)   We avoid mainstream kids' TV and primetime TV for this reason. There's too much snark and attitude and lack of respect.</p>
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<p>Anyway I am rambling. Good luck! You've got a real challenge there.</p>
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<p>Well, the costumes would have been put away the first time he called me an idiot.  I wouldn't let someone call me an idiot, and still give in to their demands.  He absolutely wouldn't have gotten help with his costume.  But, when I noticed he was getting frustrated, I think I would have gotten off the phone before it escalated to being told I was an idiot.  </p>
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<p>My mother would have slapped my mouth and been done with it.  LOL.. she'd have rapped me in the mouth with the hot spoon she was holding.  Probably not a good idea.</p>
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<p>Just curious about the spitting.  I guess it doesn't really matter... But, when he spit at you, was it a pththth kind of spit?  Or did he actually SPIT at you?</p>
 

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<p>This kid obviously thinks he can use name-calling and violence to control you, and whether or not you mean to, you're reinforcing that with your actions. You say you know you should have hung up the phone and addressed what was going on, but you did what your son wanted "to keep the peace" instead, so those actions gave him the expectation that similar behavior would garner similar results on his second attempt.</p>
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<p>If your son behaves violently and/or disrespectfully toward you or anyone else, the fun activity needs to stop/be taken away immediately. If his response to that is to escalate the violence, remove him from the situation and tell him you will discuss it with him when he can control himself and speak to you respectfully. </p>
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<p>Does your son see anyone else behaving this way toward you? Is he watching shows where people act this way? If either of these things are true, changes need to be made that stop him from being exposed to these scenarios. And he DEFINITELY needs to NEVER get his way as a result of those behaviors EVER again.</p>
 

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People tend to spit when they are feeling out of control and when they feel powerless. It sounds like he hasn't yet collected a toolbox of coping skills. Yes it is a terrible way to behave, but it sounds like a cry for help more than anything to me.<br><br>
I agree with the previous poster who said it was time to get off the phone. I think that you are aware you needed to address the problem the first time. It would be worth it to both of you to make dealing with frustrations a focal point of your interactions. In play, in your everyday behavior(ugh waiting for this salesclerk is so frustrating, but I'm going to try to be patient by... Counting humming a song whatever). Discipline is not just about extinguishing bad behavior it's about setting our kids up for success.
 
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