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Child reacts to discipline violently(15 Posts)
Was hard to think of a title that describes this situation accurately.
DS1 (aged 3) is a good boy most of the time, but occasionally he has a nightmare, meltdown day for no apparent reason (he is not ill or becoming ill, routine has not, changed, no trigger at all). When this happens, whether his behaviour is addressed or whether you try to ignore it, it always escalates. Obviously ignoring bad behaviour causes bigger problems down the line, so we try to discipline. First we ask him to stop his behaviour ‘please use your quiet voice you are hurting my ears with that shouting’ for instance. He ignores this. ‘If you don’t stop that screaming and shouting you will have a time out/your toys will be taken away/you won’t get any cake’ (we have tried a lot of different things). He ignores this. Time out is started. He will never go voluntarily, the second it is announced that he is getting a time out, he starts spitting and wiping snot on us, and will begin biting and hitting if we try to come near him.
Btw, if it’s not time out, for instance if we choose to take his toys away as a discipline method he will begin spitting, wiping snot everywhere or even peeing on the carpet.
OKAY so this is where I have no idea. What would you do at this point? Obviously this behaviour must be addressed but I give up. I am in tears thinking about it. He behaves like this and we must stay in all day. All I can do on one of these days is try not to upset him as I have no clue what to do when no threat works and any discipline makes him violent (and believe me it escalates to screaming, kicking and scratching).
I really need advice here so I am not going to lie. In the past I tried smacking him. He laughed in my face and said he wanted me to do it again. Today he bit my husbands hand so hard the bones crunched and left teeth marks.
Obviously he doesn’t have a condition as he rarely behaves like this, but when he does it is constant all day. I really need to know how to deal with it
Today he did it during a long walk we went on. He threw himself off a wall in the middle of all his bad behaviour - at the time he was wearing reins attached to the pram and he nearly either pulled the pram with DS2 on it down with him (there was a 4ft drop to a on the other side, only a 2 ft wall on our side) or else he could have seriously hurt himself dangling over this wall from his reins. Luckily I caught him and hauled him back over and he tried to do it again and was laughing. I had gone on this walk thinking burning off some energy would help his bad behaviour but as it was meant to be a long one I had to walk for twenty minutes pushing DS2 in his pram and dragging half walking/carrying a screaming DS1 in front of loads of people out with their families and walking dogs with him screaming ‘naughty mummy, I don’t like you! ‘ etc, etc. He managed to rip out a chunk of my hair in front of a crowd of old people.
I just worry he’s going to be a violent thug if I don’t address this soon, but I don’t know what to do
2 months old. DS1 still acted like this occasionally before he was born tho
I also have a three and a bit year gap between my two boys and recently read that this is one of the worst age gaps to have between siblings.
Your son sounds very bright. I doubt he'll be a thug. My DS2 was like this and had I not already had DS1 who was extremely emotionally intelligent and empathetic, I might have blamed myself but it's just "who he is". DS2 is 9 now and is a lovely kind boy but there really were times when I thought he was going to turn into a psychopath when he grew up.
I must admit I was never a fan of the kind of punishments you are using. I know you call it discipline but it is punishment as far as he is concerned as all it does is focus him on what he is losing via the punishment and making him feel angry/resentful etc rather than addressing what is is that made him behave like that in the first place and focussing on what he has done wrong and what the implications of that are. He is still only a very litte boy and his undesirable behaviour is his way of communicating his feelings to you. He is not yet completely capable of thinking through what would happen when he threw himself off the wall and he was probably delighted to get your full attention as well as realising he could have hurt his little brother of who I am sure he is totally resentful.
I know it's hard with a baby and three year old but I think putting in some time with him rather than reacting to his behaviour is part of the answer, the rest of it is time but of course if he does something to hurt himself or others you need to make it clear to him that's not on.
It’s all very hard. If there was a course in how to raise kids I would definitely be up for it as I certainly have no clue what I am doing. I am very interested in what discipline methods you think I should use? I would have been smacked for this behaviour as a child but obviously that’s not what I want to do with my own kids. Surely you must punish misbehaviour though?
If anyone else is reading this and I s interested, I looked up punishment vs discipline and found this:
Is was very helpful and something I had never heard about
I think he will outgrow it soon. Won't be long before you notice a difference.
Generally no, we didn't punish. Taking time to explain and talk things through is not always easy when you have 2 children to de nlwith but on the whole that is what we did. Punishment wouldn't have worked as DS1 rarely did anything bad enough to warrant it and would have been heart-broken and distraught if we did and DS2 would have done exactly the kinds of things you describe your DS1 doing which would have just made me completely lose it with him.
I know they are not everyone's cup of tea but book such as Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn, the How to Talk so Kids will Listen series and Parenting the Danish Way really helped me think about ot all, focus and kept me sane.
Now we're entering the teenage years and I'm back to reading parenting books again for the first time in many years!
Thanks @TwigTheWonderKid that’s really helpful. Good luck, I dread to think of what the teenage years hold for my two boys but I’m sure itl work out fine in the end
Look up Triple P parenting courses. SureStart offer them near me and I found it very useful. Simple and effective discipline strategies as well as encouraging good behaviour
Just a tip, try telling him what you want him to do, rather than what you don't.
The brain does not have an image for the word don't, so telling a child don't grab that, don't climb up there, don't run off, all they see is what you are asking them. (Think seeing a sign 'wet paint don't touch' how many people still touch it to check!)
So try instead of don't climb up there, try can you walk along this line on the path, or instead of don't throw that, try can you put that down on this spot on the floor etc.
Hope that kind of makes sense!!
I feel for you. There is just under 3 years between mine and it was tough when oldest was between 3 and 4.
I fully agree with telling him what you want him to do just be clear and concise then he knows what mum wants from him.
I personally think discipline or punishment doesn't work at that age, I go down the distraction method and it works wonders. I personally wouldn't ever use time out he needs attention, not to be ignored.
I also think 3 is too old for reigns,no wonder he is trying to jump off walls etc I think you should try without (in safe place) and explain to him he is a big boy now and that he needs to stay close to Mummy. It sounds like you are crashing down the punishment on him and he just thinks you hate him so is trying to get reactions
Reading through, it sounds like perhaps he is having difficulties accepting the changes of the baby - all very normal of course. Use loads of positive language when you talk to the baby, about what a brilliant big brother DS is, how lucky he is, what a lucky mummy you are and so on. There's lots of family books about how mummy has lots of love for everyone. Try and give him a little bit of responsibility with the baby - getting nappies and wipes out of the bag and so on, he could even put the scoops of formula in his bottle, or shake it afterwards, if you are bottle feeding. Boys especially massively benefit from these little bits of responsibility and being made to feel like they are Very Important big brothers and helpers to mummy.
With the reins, perhaps he could use a balance bike instead and balance along beside you? They can't get up much speed and need a bit of concentration to use.
Your eldest is not very old. Please believe me he'll stop behaving like this very soon (won't be long before the second one has the terrible twos).
Btw, three to four year age gaps are generally fine, don't believe everything you read.