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Hitting other children

(23 Posts)
mcdog Sat 13-May-17 22:37:28

Hi, AS has always hit other children. His temper is awful, and he just lashes out. I feel at my wits end with it, and have totally run out of ways to manage this. He's been home 6yrs and is 8 now if that makes any difference. Has anybody got any ideas of how we can manage this?

Claram55 Sun 14-May-17 11:40:36

Sorry to ask obvious question but are you using time out consistently... or removal of toys !

Hels20 Sun 14-May-17 12:08:16

Clara - time out tends not to work with adopted children.

McDog - our DS is 6, been with us over 2.5 yrs. He has a huge tendency to hit us and sometimes other children. It's been a hard slog but we have been seeing a play therapist for 6 months which has helped - the violence has reduced (though not gone). We always explain to him that it's ok to have the feelings he has but it's not ok to hit. Sometimes, when he gets into a rage, we are just there with him and when he has calmed down we try to talk to him - though we have found a good time is to run through his day with him at bedtime (this was recommended by play therapist). So eg we all got up, I made you breakfast, then you got dressed and brushed your teeth and washed your face. And then you went to school. And I think you had quite a tricky day at school didn't you? I think it was because X wanted to play football and you wanted to play tennis and you hit him. And you can't do that, though I understand you were frustrated..." etc.

I think there has to be some consequence but Sally donovan makes it a consequence that you can do together e.g. Tidying up toys, sorting out the laundry.

I've also found reading Amber Elliott very helpful - why won't my child behave?

mcdog Sun 14-May-17 17:14:38

I don't use time out or removal of toys. It doesn't work for many adopted children, and definitely doesn't work for mine. Just induces a shame response.

I have used "wondering" for so long now, it feels as if I am a parrot just repeating myself. I think it's lost its effect sadly.

Someone on a forum I'm on suggested that every time he feels like hitting he clap his hands instead. What do we think of that??

NotTheDuchessOfCambridge Sun 14-May-17 17:18:39

Just curious as to why time out won't work with adopted children? I'm not judging, it's just it has piqued my interest. Is it all AC or children who have had a difficult past?

Italiangreyhound Sun 14-May-17 17:27:30

mcdog Can you explain what 'wondering' means, please?

Does it mean wondering how to do things differently, verbally, together? Or wondering how the other person feels, verbally, together?

He has Bern with you quiue a long time, how have other things gone?

I guess we are still in the early stages compared to you as ds (6) has been with us 3 years.

We have had some issues and have had a lot of support, luckily. The best thing was Theraplay. A specific kind of play therapy.

How often does your child hit others? Does he got you?

Does your child have any additional needs, e.g. ASD or ADHD?

I think you need to explore these and if not you do need to introduce concrete consequences for these actions.

We have done a version of time out called 'take a break'. It was introduced to me as a part of a course specifically for adopted children. I can say more if you like.

The difficulty is IMHO, if you are not really 'punishing' him and he is continuing with this behaviour, in the long run he may/will lose friends and contact at school etc. Which could be far more 'shaming' then the removal of a toy temporarily or the loss of 'liberty' for two minutes IMHO.

Italiangreyhound Sun 14-May-17 17:29:22

Does he hit you, I mean, ?

Claram55 Sun 14-May-17 17:54:08

I am a foster carer and deal with very traumatised children but whilst we promote positive behaviour consequences need to be put in place children need love safety structure and boundaries x

As for shame whilst I would not want to make a
Child feel bad he or she
Needs to understand hurting another
Human being is unacceptable.

mcdog Sun 14-May-17 17:55:24

Italian, "wondering" as in the PACE model by Dan Hughes.

I do punish, but it's immediate natural consequences. So if we are at a park for e.g. He can no longer play on the equipment as I can't trust him not to hit other children. School do this too with playtimes etc.

He has virtually no short term memory so if I remove a toy when we get home he don't remember what he's done so it's meaningless. It has to be absolutely immediately after the event (this is for everything, not just hitting btw).

He never ever hits me or my husband, or adults in general. Just other children.

Claram55 Sun 14-May-17 17:57:27

Does he do other things and them immediately regret it ?

Claram55 Sun 14-May-17 17:57:42

For instance throwing things ?

mcdog Sun 14-May-17 17:59:11

Clara, yes he seems to be regretful. He often throws things or hits walls etc x

Claram55 Sun 14-May-17 18:04:26

Was there any history of alcohol abuse ? Have you googled faetal
Alcohol syndrome. I have recently and don't quote
Me on this but it effects the part of the brain that would normallly process when your do something which is why after they are
Immediately regretful x

Italiangreyhound Sun 14-May-17 18:07:07

Sorry I was thinking of the hitting happening in the home, but totally understand if it I'd in the park then a home based consequence is not relevant.

Just out of interest does he say why he does it? Is it friends who he is playing with? Or random kids?

My ds has started swatting at his sister (older than him) but due to provocation! So I shall read with interest.

Do you know why he has acquitted toerm memory?

mcdog Sun 14-May-17 18:12:06

Clara, the foetal alchohol has been said about him for a long time now. They won't diagnose though sad a lot of his behaviours totally fit it. I had forgotten though tbh, thank you for jogging my memory smile

Italian, the vast majority of his hitting happens outside the home (sorry for drop feed!!) and school is prob the worst.

He says he "gets sooo angry" which is true, but from trigger to hitting is about 1second so i often don't have time to intervene.

feelingoldandtired Sun 14-May-17 18:26:28

This sounds similar to someone I used to look after he seemed
To so things without processing and then would be immediately sad and regretful x again wasn't diagnosed but health professionals suspected. I googled behaviour stratergies which helped a little. It's hard though but seemed to settle a little. Is there any
Trigger stress ? Speech delay ? Not fitting on etc ? Jealousy ?

Italiangreyhound Sun 14-May-17 18:36:39

OP you do not need to say if you do not wish to but have you had much post adoption support?

mcdog Sun 14-May-17 20:29:50

Italian, we have had a fair amount, buts it's always been about my oldest who has major behavioural difficulties. I feel bad cos my youngest was never as bad in comparison so he was never the focus. I guess we are paying for it now sad

Italiangreyhound Sun 14-May-17 21:42:26

mcdog you are indeed but it is not your fault at all, always remember that. Social services should have foreseen this and given care to your younger one too.

I don't know if Theraplay would help here or not but do hope you will get whatever will be right for you in your situation.

Sorry if post sounded judey, I know we are all trying our hardest in very difficult circumstances.


B1rdonawire Mon 15-May-17 10:41:08

Are they tiny signs it's coming, or is it out of the blue? Just wondering (ha! that word again) whether if you treat him as his emotional age, which is perhaps much younger, and stick like glue - is it then possible to see it coming or is it out of nowhere? If he can't foresee or link consequences, I'd have to supervise play as much as if the child were a toddler I think. What are things like at school, is it happening there?

It sounds like an impulse control issue as much as an anger issue - worth a referral back to the LAC paediatrician to see if they will assess, do you think? (I can almost feel your heart sinking at those words if you've already been through so much with your elder child, sorry...)

I read the thing about clapping too and I liked it - it's dependent upon being right there in the moment, isn't it, and spotting the opportunity to deflect? Not always possible. I guess I would probably keep play with others quite brief, so interrupt often to sort of take the emotional temperature, and do something like very long walks/bike rides, and very short playground time, if that makes sense? So still fresh air and exercise, but mainly alongside you.

Nottheduchess generally time out is avoided for children who are fostered/adopted/have experienced trauma. The neurological impact of their early experiences (including in utero) can lead to a heightened shame response and fear of abandonment. By using time out, you can trigger feelings of shame, rejection and fear. This is highly likely to escalate whatever the behaviour was that you were wanting to stop in the first place. Instead, you can use time in, where the same "complete stop" is achieved, but the adult stays very close, sometimes holding the child on their lap or sometimes alongside, and they have a think together. This is also because often our children don't have the early experiences of their caregiver soothing them, so they don't learn to self-soothe or later to regulate their emotions. We need to go back to that very early baby stage and soothe and regulate alongside them.

conserveisposhforjam Mon 15-May-17 14:29:15

As for shame whilst I would not want to make a Child feel bad he or she Needs to understand hurting another Human being is unacceptable.

Conflating the toxic shame that children can experience with 'feeling bad' and exclusionary punishments with 'boundaries' really betrays a complete lack of understanding of trauma.

I really would look into this and do some reading or access some training. Because you will be damaging the children in your care if you don't understand this wrt behaviour management.

I'm not blaming you because SS sure as hell don't get this stuff.

mcdog Mon 15-May-17 17:32:25

B1, I've had a long think today whilst he's been at school. I think you are right in that I have gradually forgotten that he is emotionally so much younger than his chronological age. He's been so desperate to be allowed to do things like play without helicopter supervision, and be like his friends, that I've loosened the reins too much.

Thank you smile

maggiso Mon 15-May-17 18:14:04

We taught our son to hold or clap his hands rather than hit. Ds used to act before he thought, so what he needed to learn was to get the timing right. I think teaching him to hold hands helped him learn to intersect his actions. He used to hit out when he was cross- or just too close to other people. He used to hit me - so I suppose it was easier as I had plenty of opportunities to assist ! Eventually you could see him 'pulling his punches' - so I praised him for the not hitting. We also worked on his sensory and physical needs ( he has sensory processing disorders as well as learning disability). To be honest he never really learnt to clasp or clap his hands - more redirect his hands in a hands down way. We also tried ADHD medication and that was and is helpful ( a little) for his particular impulse control.

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