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Hitting me

(4 Posts)
season Wed 10-Aug-11 06:58:57

Hi, I'm new to mumsnet and have joined because I really don't know what to d anymore and need some help. I have a 7 year old daughter whose is having more and more frequent periods of aggressive behaviour. This is generally directed at me but sometimes at her older (9) sister. It is very distressing and upsetting for everyone. Last night she refused to clean her teeth until I had complied with certain instructions... look there... do this... etc but I was tired and not in the mood to humour her, so I said, as I often do, please just clean your teeth, mummy has a lot to do and I am going to count to 5 by which time I want you to have started, otherwise I am going to go and you will go to bed without cleaning your teeth. Well, I got to 5 and so said that I was going to go and that she was going to bed and that is when it all fell apart; she shouted no and hit me on the leg, I ignored this and so she hit me some more and it ended up with her thumping me with her fists on the leg and stomach and then repeatedly kicking me. I felt like I was being beaten up. I managed to move her away from the door and just went downstairs while my partner dealt with her and gave her an immediate sanction. I don't normally leave him to deal with situations that have started with me but I am just so at the end of my tether; he have her an immediate sanction and also took away some toys. After about half a hour I went back to see her (now in bed) and asked her why she did that; she didn't talk to me so I just told her that I didn't like it when she behaved like that, that it upset and hurt me and that it wasn't acceptable. The thing is, we have been here before and she is a strong 7 year old and I am really quite worried. We haven't had any of this with her elder sister. I am really lost with what to do - I have tried, positive reinforcement, behaviour charts and sanctions with warnings.

TheArmadillo Wed 10-Aug-11 14:53:21

Is there anything recent that may have triggered this - any big family stuff or problems at school? Any other issues she has that may be affecting it.

I think you need to sit her down and explain very clearly that 'you are not allowed to punch/kit/hit mummy/sister/anyone else' and then clearly explain the very simple punishment 'You will be sent to your room/we will go home/we will go sit in the car for x amount of time' or whatever it is. You may have done this already but it doesn't hurt to repeat. But it needs to be very simple and consise.

I would not do warnings at the time as in she hits you and you warn her not to do it again, I would say any violence leads straight to the sanctions imposed above.

I would also discuss with her how to appropriately deal with her feelings or anger/rage - give her a safe place where she can deal with them, e.g. her bedroom and tell her she can shout or hit a pillow or anything else you don't mind, get her to help come up with ideas. Explain how we all get annoyed/angry but we have to deal with it - maybe give examples of what you do when you are very cross.

It might also help if you/your dp demonstrate what you do when you are cross, e.g. 'I am getting very angry now so I am going outside for a couple of minutes to calm down' or 'X is very cross, so he's go to his bedroom for a couple of minutes'.

I would also look at her diet, whether she is getting overtired, whether she needs more exercise. I would also look at how much control she has over her life (obviously she can't be in control of the major things, but little things can help), her sibling relationship, her friendships and anything that makes up her life - are there any obvious sources of frustration? There may not be, it may be solely an issue of just not being able to control her temper.

TheArmadillo Wed 10-Aug-11 14:58:36

There is a debate as to whether praise actually does more harm than good in general. I like 'How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk' in general and they bring up the idea of describing the behaviour rather than saying 'oh weren't you great'.

So 'you've drawn a picture, I see you have used lots of blue' kinda thing (though it explains it much better than I could).

season Mon 15-Aug-11 20:27:30

Thanks for that advice, I will certainly give it a go especially the bit about how to deal with her feelings and what I do when I am cross. I have already looked at her diet and activity levels and kept a diary when times have been tough but there doesn't seem to be much of a correlation. I think a lot of it may be down to frustration and control over her life - she says no-one listens to her at home and school.... but we do, of course.....hey, ho.... and I shall get the book you mentioned - I have seen it in stores but just not bought it. Thanks again, feeling a bit more positive about thingssmile

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