6 year old hit me in the face in the supermarket queue

(16 Posts)
iamworkingonit Sat 19-Mar-16 18:36:13

My son hit me hard in the face when he did not get what he wanted at the supermarket. I am shaken and upset. It was a hard whack.
We left the supermarket. Straight after he had done it he hid and refused to come with me.
When we got home he was very upset. He told me he tried to control himself but he was too angry. I talked to him but frankly it's very difficult because I was shocked. I have told him to be angry is normal, we all get angry, I said hitting someone is wrong. I told him we are both sad inside as a result. I have told him if he is angry he must tell the person and then walk away if he thinks he might hurt someone. I have banned all screens for the weekend as a punishment.
He is a warm, articulate boy. There has never been physical violence in the home. He is not smacked. He finds contolling his temper a challenge and there have been issues in the playground with hitting and kicking. He has lots of friends and is popular and friendly. He is frequently at the park and has lots of opportunities to be physically active. I am worried about his reactiveness and inability (sometimes) to deal with his anger.

GlitteryFluff Sat 19-Mar-16 18:53:54

Sorry no advice but bumping for you thanks

iamworkingonit Sun 20-Mar-16 06:26:07

Please can anyone give me a response/ ideas on how to deal with this?

Kleinzeit Sun 20-Mar-16 11:09:20

Oh that must have been such a shock! flowers

Try not to panic. So far you have handled things very well. He’ll get there. It may take time and persistence on your part and a bit of growing up on his part. Your punishment is about right, you may need to repeat it if it happens again. Do make sure that he apologises too - a proper “I am very sorry for hurting you”. Don’t make him promise not to do it again though, however tempting that is, because if he’s not got his feelings under control a promise may not stop him and then you’ll feel even worse.

And this book gets a very good press from other MumsNetters whose kids have problems holding back anger - though it’s not one I’ve used myself as my own DS had other issues we needed to focus on first.

Bonbonchance Sun 20-Mar-16 15:34:29

I'm not a parent but am a teacher & I currently am specialising in emotional literacy (programme called PATHS) so I think you handled it well saying it was ok to be angry but the behaviour wasn't ok (what I'm working on a bit just now with slightly younger children). Could you teach him a strategy to calm down if he gets angry - eg deep breaths, counting to ten etc? Then say why he's feeling angry. Emphasise you understand that it can make you angry if you don't get what you want (not that you can always get what you want) but hitting isn't the way to deal with it.

iamworkingonit Sun 20-Mar-16 20:36:01

Hi Kleinzeit what is the name of the book?

Kleinzeit Sun 20-Mar-16 20:55:41

Sorry, it's "What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Problems with Anger" by Dawn Huebner. Did the link not work?

Never sure if I should comment on these threads because so much comes down to parenting style. The fact you've talked about what happened and how to handle it is great...but do you think the punishment was necessary? I understand it will hit him where it hurts but if he's lashing out in anger he's not in a logical/reasonable place or able to change his behaviour just by thinking/chatting about it. I'm different to a lot of parents, I get that. But I think you need to look further - what is he lacking that means he cannot control his temper in the heat of the moment? How can you help him gain the skills he needs to control himself? He's still very young, impulses are hard to control especially if he's lacking in communication or frustration/disappointment tolerance skills...

What do you do when you feel very angry? (not suggesting you lash out by the way) IME what he experiences will have a deeper impact than what he is told/what he loses out on as a punishment.

Have you seen the lives in the balance website? Or the explosive child book? It focuses more on the skills children may lack and problem solving rather than assuming they misbehave because they want to. Has been a huge help for my family particularly to get us all on the same side rather than battling each other

It must have been a real shock to be hit, particularly in public, I'm sorry you had to go through that. But your child isn't bad or likely to grow into a horrible person because of this (maybe it's just my brain that worries about that kind of thing) and you are able to teach him the skills he needs to control his impulses and emotions...it will just take a little work and time.

iamworkingonit Sun 20-Mar-16 22:30:05

Thank you for your comments. I very much want to be help my son gain skills so he can control himself when he is angry and use anger in a productive manner. He was very upset after the incident and just wanted to cuddle me. He was deeply upset not just because I punished him but mostly because he lashed out and he knew that it was wrong. He said to me " I find it very hard when I get that angry and I don't know how to stop". And I felt somewhat inadequate in my response because helping him to manage these feelings is not a black and white issue. i might have been better to say lets work on it together and I will have that conversation with him as we go on.
I cannot pretend I manage my anger well although I do not deal with it in by hitting or any such thing.
I will look at the website above and the book recommendations.
Punishing him was perhaps not a good idea but he becomes really over wrought and over stimulated when he is on the computer and I didn't want him to become any more 'wired'. His time on screens reasonable.

Kleinzeit Sun 20-Mar-16 22:46:38

Well…. yes, I’ve done Explosive Child myself. But so long as it’s not escalating and there’s not some huge underlying problem I do think a consistent and not too severe punishment for physical aggression is quite a good idea. Children have a sense of fairness and they don’t always like to feel they have “got away” with unacceptable behaviour. He’s also been hitting out at other children so he does need to accept and expect punishment for aggression. The OP could help with any lagging skills as well, of course.

Hiding and refusing to come to the OP sounds like shame which is actually quite a good reaction. Also the OP's DS actually sounds quite emotionally articulate to me - no way could my own DS have said what the OP's DS said about it afterwards! So I am sure he'll get through this phase.

iamworkingonit Fri 22-Apr-16 07:10:10

I am wondering if anybody who is familiar with the philosophy/strategies in 'The Explosive Child' can help me put the ideas into practise?
Yesterday my child came home with a Blue Card. This represents a serious incident had happened in the playground involving my son and is a means of communication the school has. I will talk to the teacher about it but I work and hence only get to see him a couple of times a week.
My child threw a stone at another child in anger. The other child is physically ok but it must have been frightening. The child is a friend of my son's and someone whom he plays with both in and out of school. When I spoke to my son he said he threw the stone because he was angry and didn't know how to stop himself. He said he knew it was wrong. He went on to explain that his 'best friend' is also friends with this boy and I gather that he is jealous of their relationship and he may have been excluded prior to throwing the stone.
I told him that my problem is that the child who was hurt must have been very frightened and I am worried about him and that I am upset that my son choose to express his anger by hurting someone. (I used language that was a bit more on my son's level). My son's says that his problem is that when he get angry he doesn't know how to stop.
Can anybody give me some ideas of where to go from here?It is really distressing to have my son behave in this way and and am wanting desperately to help him work out practical ways of coping with his feelings.

CrazyDuchess Fri 22-Apr-16 07:22:30

Have you spoken with your GP? I can't admit to know anything about this but they maybe able to pinpoint some reasons towards the anger and point you in the direction of some real help??

Twicemarried Fri 22-Apr-16 08:31:05

You are doing a great job separating the action from the child. We were always told this was crucial to changing behaviour. You have made it clear you love him unconditionally but it is the behaviour you don't like and you may need to repeat this many times.

It seems like he feels a bit insecure inside and that could be down to anything but constant reassurance that he himself is lovable is the way to go and you are already on it.

Many years ago we used a book called "helping children locked in anger and rage" by Margot Sutherland. I think it is still available. We helped children in women's refuges who came to us confused, angry and prone to violent outbursts due to circumstances outside of their control. These were all lovely kids btw. I am not saying this is your child at all so please don't take offense as none was intended. I have children and actually found the book very helpful to me in simply understanding how it feels for a young child to be a bit out of control.

iamworkingonit Fri 22-Apr-16 18:58:58

Went to see the teacher after school. We talked about the incident and the teacher said every week there are at least two incidents in the playground my son is involved in. He said he didn't want children being frightened of my son and of course I don't either, but to be totally frank I felt like bursting in to tears and I know that is unhelpful.
I can't see my son managing the current situation. There is the boy that he admires and he wants him to like him. I have witnessed their interactions before school and the boy whom my son wants to be friends with is a bit dismissive of him. We have talked about it and sort of made a joint decision that if my son feels angry and thinks he might hurt someone he will go to an adult and ask for help. I know the reality of a busy playground with supervision changing half way through lunchtime and it is looking like a tall order for my son.

iamworkingonit Sat 23-Apr-16 06:25:37

I have been thinking about my child's fairly regular angry outbursts and the aggressive behaviour that occasionally accompanies it. I am very worried. It has been an ongoing problem and I am frightened that it will spiral. I looked up the Camhs site and was thinking of contacting them through a referral from my doctor. Has anyone else taken this route with a fairly young child (6) and how did you find it? I am concerned that the intervention from Camhs (if it happens) will go on his school record and he will be stigmatised and officially labelled as a troublesome child. Is this true?

moochy11 Tue 26-Apr-16 01:10:25

Bumping for you this sounds very hard for you x

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