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    #121994 - 02/04/12 05:21 PM Discipline - Hitting?
    scbusf Offline
    New Member

    Registered: 02/04/12
    Posts: 1
    Hello everyone! This will be long, so please bear with me.

    My DS is 5.5 and in Kindergarten this year. He has always had an issue with hitting when he was upset. When he was 2 and 3, we just figured it was normal toddler stuff. It has continued.

    He hits other kids when they are doing something DS thinks is wrong. Example: a classmate was playing with the leaves on the ground on the playground at school. DS thought he was doing the wrong thing, so he went up and hit the other boy.

    Another example: My DD (age 4) was just standing in between DS and the TV, DS gets off the couch and goes up to her and hits her because she was standing in his way.

    We have talked to him approximately 34,239 times about the correct way to handle those types of situations ... first, tell the other person to stop or whatever, then if they don't, you tell mom/dad/teacher/whoever.

    We've tried timeouts. We've tried taking privileges away, which just makes him angrier and then he hits us.

    At school, he has had warnings and for the next infraction, he is going to be sent to the office. Same for the school bus. I'm totally fine with him being sent to the office.

    I just don't know what to do any more. This is completely unacceptable, but I don't know how to stop it from happening. It happens so fast that even if I'm right next to him, I can't stop him from escalating. And of course, I can't be with him all day at school.

    Has anyone else gone through this? What worked for you? Starting Monday, our days at home are getting much more structure. I had him help me come up with a list of things to do after school (he's in morning Kindy) - lunch, HW, outside time, snack, quiet time, drawing time.

    I do think he is bored somewhat at school. He doesn't have much of a chance to be as creative as he needs to be. He also says that he doesn't finish his work quickly because he wants it to be "just right" and then he can't do the fun stuff.

    At this point, I'm open to trying anything!!!!!

    Thank you!


    #122613 - 02/09/12 05:10 PM Re: Discipline - Hitting? [Re: scbusf]
    La Texican Offline

    Registered: 07/10/10
    Posts: 1777
    Loc: South Texas
    I dont know what you can do. It almost seems too late if he has one more strike & he's out, it almost seems home here's a new perspective on timeouts, it's not to punish or to teach a lesson for the long term. Timeouts are to "snap them out of it" and keep their behavior from spiraling after the initial indiscretion (hit, whatever). A good place for a timeout is pull them over beside you and keep them there for a minute to cool down. Saw that on PBS from a daycare teacher. Got the correct timeout mind frame from a popular book.

    Bumping this thread in case anyone knows what to do long-term.
    Youth lives by personality, age lives by calculation. -- Aristotle on a calendar

    #122621 - 02/09/12 05:47 PM Re: Discipline - Hitting? [Re: scbusf]
    Percy Offline

    Registered: 12/11/10
    Posts: 170
    Nurtured Heart Approach - Transforming the Difficult Child workbook. Lots and lots of praise for every second he is breathing and not hitting - I exaggerate but the point is make the good behavior the focus and maybe he may like the positive attention instead of negative. Do you have any reason to suspect ADHD? It seems that he has impulse control issues in several settings. My DS has had similar issues and he has responded to the NHA - the timeouts are as La Texican says more about disengaging to diffuse the behavior you don't want.

    Good luck.

    #122622 - 02/09/12 05:49 PM Re: Discipline - Hitting? [Re: scbusf]
    ABQMom Offline

    Registered: 08/25/10
    Posts: 868
    Make the punishment hurt enough (and I DON'T mean physically) that you only have to talk about it once.

    Sit him down when he is calm. Tell him that it is never ok to hit another living being to take out his anger (so he understands this means the dog and cat as well) and that his hitting is unacceptable. Then tell him that since talking to him about it in the past hasn't worked, you have made the decision that the next time he reacts in anger by losing control (notice I did not say JUST hitting here), that ______ will happen. Tell him that there will be no time outs, no second chances, that you mean business.

    And then follow through. Do not budge for his crying, pleading or because you are embarrassed by the scene he makes. He knows exactly what buttons to push to get you to relent, so you have to purpose that you will not back off. It is only when he pays a price unacceptable to him that he will stop.

    Think of it this way. A man who beats his wife usually only does it in private. He knows perfectly well how to control his anger when there is a police officer present, because THEN the price is something HE is not willing to pay for in order to get his anger out through hitting.

    You know what he cherishes, what will make him the most upset to lose. And know that he will lose his temper, and you need to follow through and take it away for long enough that he understands he might not ever get it back the next time.

    And then when you witness his temper kicking in, calmly remind him that if he needs to calm down, you will take him somewhere quiet until he is in control. If he lashes out, instill the punishment. The verbal prompt will help, because the next time he will be more likely to accept the offer or calm himself down.

    I used to work with behavior disordered high school students way back in the dark ages, and when it came to violence, we made sure the consequence was swift, severe, and sure. Unless there was an organic cause of the child not being able to stay in control, this almost always worked after the first time.

    #122624 - 02/09/12 06:03 PM Re: Discipline - Hitting? [Re: scbusf]
    DeeDee Offline

    Registered: 04/16/10
    Posts: 2498
    Hi Scbusf,

    Originally Posted By: scbusf
    At school, he has had warnings and for the next infraction, he is going to be sent to the office. Same for the school bus. I'm totally fine with him being sent to the office.

    You need to watch this strategy carefully-- if he prefers the office to the classroom, he may hit more instead of less, as an escape behavior.

    Originally Posted By: scbusf
    I do think he is bored somewhat at school. He doesn't have much of a chance to be as creative as he needs to be. He also says that he doesn't finish his work quickly because he wants it to be "just right" and then he can't do the fun stuff.

    What are the teachers saying about the hitting-- is it the only unwanted behavior? Is it diminishing or increasing over time? If it's increasing, it's doing something for him that he likes or finds satisfying-- so you have to figure out what he is getting out of it, and make sure that hitting is made to feel unrewarding for him every single time.


    #122631 - 02/09/12 07:11 PM Re: Discipline - Hitting? [Re: scbusf]
    jack'smom Offline

    Registered: 01/02/10
    Posts: 757
    There are alot of things you can do. Does time out work? My younger one HATES time out. We have him sit on the bricks of the fireplace without toys and we set the timer. Our older one we have write lines, as in "I will not hit my brother" 10 times or whatever. You really want to nip this in the bud.
    Try talking to him about his anger or having him draw pictures of how he feels and why.

    #122653 - 02/10/12 01:05 AM Re: Discipline - Hitting? [Re: scbusf]
    Madoosa Offline

    Registered: 02/20/11
    Posts: 710
    Loc: South Africa
    From what I have read, hitting in frustration is a way that kids try and signal that something is triggering their emotions. They often need a reason to deal with the emotions in the form of raging or usually crying and the hitting is sort of like in the hope that the other kid will push back and give them a reason to cry. It often happens like this with siblings as they are a "safe" place to share emotions.

    One way that works with us really well with the younger kids is to sit with them when they need to calm down. No distractions, so I put them on my lap and hold them. I make it clear that hands are for making things, not breaking or hurting. And I don't let them up from my lap until they are calm. Distraction tactics here include "I need water, I need the toilet, I need to sleep, I am hot, I am cold, I am hungry, go away, I need to read, I need to watch tv...." Just calmly say "we can do that later, right now we both need to be together here."

    With older kids (aged 5+) it seems a lot harder - you can't hold them physically if they don't want to and they have often learnt so many techniques for switching off or controlling their emotions. Then all you can do is remove them, stay with them and help them find a way to get the anger out. You can also verbalise it for her - tell her that you can see she is angry/frustrated/annoyed/whatever, but that it's never okay to let the emotion out on someone else. Then give her beanbags or something to throw at the wall, or get her a swingball set or trampoline to get out the BIG emotions in a safe way. If you show her that you understand the big feeling, she will realise that it's okay to get angry because she will survive it, but at the same time its not okay to express the anger against the closest living target.

    Hope I am making sense.
    Mom to 3 gorgeous boys: Aiden (8), Nathan (7) and Dylan (4)


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