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my 6 year old son is becoming agressive... help....

(5 Posts)
loopyloulou Mon 17-Aug-09 12:42:21

to the point where he hit me yesterday. I was so shocked and upset by it.
I could come up with lots of excuses for him - like being tired, too many late nights etc but there is no excuse. I have tried sending him to his room, taking things away, talking to him, but none of them seem to work. i feel like a failure and i am worried about tthe effect it will have on my 3 year old daughter... what can i do to stop it ?????

MamaKaty Mon 17-Aug-09 13:01:26

First of all, you say you've tried many things. The most important is to be consistant!!
The method that seems to work best is a 'naughty step' or 'Time Out'.
When he is aggressive, remove him to the 'naughty step' (or chair or whatever - somewhere with no distractions or toys!!) and make him stay there for 6 minutes (they usually say 1 min per year). THEN speak to him about how his behaviour is not acceptable. Ask him why he is acting that way and then ask him to think about other things he could do when he is tired, frustrated, whatever his reason is.
It's SO important you act the same way every time he does this and don't try to reason with him when he is in a temper - he won't be able to process it. Don't speak to him when he is in Time Out. If he gets up from it, sit and hold him there if you have to.

With consistant reactions this behaviour will stop much more quickly.

Good luck

tethersend Mon 17-Aug-09 13:35:46

I would second MamaKaty's advice- having some time, even a couple of minutes after being hit before talking about it also allows YOU space to calm down before speaking to him about it. It's really horrible being hit, and my reactions are probably not the most rational in the 1-2 seconds straight after!
I would say though, that the timeout/naughty step approach is pretty ineffectual unless you pair it with praise and positive reinforcement for not hitting. Perhaps a sticker chart? ie, one sticker per hour (keep the intervals short! you could lengthen to one per morning, afternoon etc when he has the hang of it) that he doesn't hit... at the end of the day, you can count them up together and swap them for a reward that he's chosen (from a selection which you have given him of course!) Maybe a DVD or a trip to the park; you know what he likes. Also use this time to talk to him about why hitting is not a good idea- ask him questions such as 'how do you feel when someone hits you?' 'what can happen when you hit somebody?' and, most importantly 'what else can you do when you feel angry?'. Giving him alternative strategies will help- perhaps he can have a cushion to take it out on? Or time on his own to calm down (at his request)? Make sure he knows there's nothing wrong with being angry; it's what you do with the anger! If you can help him to identify when and why he gets angry, and what to do when it happens, you will be giving him invaluable skills for life. This sends the message that hitting others is NOT acceptable in a really positive way. As he gets the hang of the chart, he could save stickers up for a week for example, and swap them for something bigger, maybe a day out or a toy? He will feel very proud that he has 'earned' it by not hitting.

I would also have a word with his school to see if he is doing it there, and if they can, as MamaKaty pointed out keep the approaches consistent, ie, give him a sticker for not hitting to take home.

Phew! Sorry, rambling; but best of luck, and take heart that you have not used the most ineffectual strategy of all- how many times have you seen a parent hit their child with the words "you DON'T hit!" err.... great.

GooseyLoosey Mon 17-Aug-09 13:44:10

My son is 6 and can be agressive too. He went through a phase of hitting me. I'm afraid time out has little effect on him so I took away many toys which he earned back over a month by acting in an acceptable way.

We did talk a lot about why he did it. He said he just got so angry that he could not keep the anger inside any more. I came to the conclusion that if he was that angry, telling him not to be would not help, so we talked about strategies to express anger in an acceptable way and to manage it. He can go and kick the angry cushion around his bedroom, he can tell me just how angry he is, he can go into his room and scream. He cannot ever, ever hit anyone.

He has not hit me since (although he does still hit his sister, but I am not sure that this is in the same league as if I were him, I would be tempted too!).

loopyloulou Mon 17-Aug-09 14:31:36

thank you for the replies... he hasn't been doing it at school and i think the tiredness etc is a factor, but beibg consistent i agree is key.
I'm going to put some of these into action straight away. and give him a time out area, along with the feeling its ok to be angry just the way you express it now ( by hitting ) is not.
have to do something.....

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