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Thread: Looking for help....

  1. #1

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    Default Looking for help....

    Okay, after a horrid few weeks (XH hit DS2 (aged 2) causing bruising, DOCS and police involved, now in the Family Court) I have to ask for ideas for DS1 (5YO) anger management issues.

    I have an appointment with a child psych next Thursday (29th) but still need to deal with him for the next week.

    He can be lovely (99.9% of the time) but can get very angry, especially with DS2. I usually give him three chances to "be good", ie stop throwing your toys, (three times), and then time out.

    I have tried time out, 5 mins, he takes off his shoes and throws them places, he stamps, screams, cries, and carries on. I have tried ignoring him, but he gets louder/worse. I have tried adding an extra minute on to the timer on the microwave, but this doesn't work either.



    I have finally tried taking his toys away, one at a time. First "offence" he gets it taken away for 5 mins, the second time, he doesnt get it back for the rest of the day.

    However I often then have to use time out because of his behaviour after the toys are taken away. He kicked me this morning when he was in time out! I added an extra minute onto the time out and took ALL his lego away for the rest of the day.

    Mind you, I do know this is associated with seeing his father - when he doesn't see his Dad he doesn't wet the bed, have nightmares, or get angry. However his Dad is his Dad and he does need to see him and have a relationship with him. Stopping his Dad from seeing him is not an option, however he does only have supervised time at the moment.

    I know he is modelling his Dad's behaviour because I have seen his Dad's behaviour first hand. I just don't know what else to try.

    I'm looking for ideas, help or suggestions for the next week or so until I can get him to the psych.

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by Amity; May 24th, 2008 at 06:28 PM. Reason: taking out names

  2. #2

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    Oh Div, big hugs to you. It sounds like you are having a shocker of a time. I hope at least that your knowledge of the system is helping you through this.

    Obviously this is modelled behaviour, and of course his dad is his strongest role model (same sex parent). So this makes it very hard. Is your XH doing an anger management course or something? Obviously the first step is for your XH to stop modelling this behaviour. Secondly, I would be seeing if your XH can talk to Alex about the fact that what he did was wrong, and that there are consequences (ie court, supervised visits etc). You could back this up by having a similar talk, about how important it is to be gentle with people and not hurt them etc. And also discuss other, more appropriate ways to channel anger.

    I think that changing this behaviour will take time, so unfortunately you can't expect it to be resolved overnight. But in the meantime, if you continue to be gentle and non-violent with him, even when he is at this worst, you will be reiterating the message that it is not ok to resort to using strength and violence (and I am sure that is much easier said than done!). I hope you have some success with this but I am sorry to say I think you have a long road ahead. Take care and best of luck. You are a great mum and you will get past this.

  3. #3

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    Oh man Div you've been through hell lately.

    I tend to be slightly different when it comes to what I class as extreme (its not really but ykwim?) behaviour. For us if its things like violent behaviour we don't get chances its straight to time out etc. Purely because I'm a "Nipper in the bud" iykwim and thus far its worked really well for us. May be different however as this has been something you've been dealing with for a while. One piece of advice I have is to always ensure an apology is made, and if that can't be done then the original consequence remains in place. One of the biggest tools you can use is their own conscience, and no I'm not talking guilt tripping, moreso helping them to be aware of how their actions impact on those around them, and building up that conscience so they are accountable to themselves. Try and talk as much as possible about how it feels to be hurt, and how Alex would feel if when he upset you thats how you dealt with it. Also give him a way to vent, teach him to breath through his anger and praise him for trying to curb it. Also give him a special place he can go and get it out, even if its a pillow he can squeeze tightly or something that works for both of you. Because this is now a coping mechanism for him its not going to be as easy to change if it were a one off, so I'd try and focus on his feelings and teaching him how to cope with them. Explaining its ok to be angry but its not ok to hurt others. And when he is in trouble for lashing out repeat that over and over again, once an alternative outlet has been set in place remind him that if he had used that outlet he wouldn't be in time out etc and when all is calm and good and cuddles are happening talk about what he's going to do next time he gets angry. But he really needs an alternative as you can't just stop a behaviour without replacing it with something else, and that something else can be just as relieving to him with time.

    Goodluck, and please if you need anything please call!

  4. #4

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    Oh babe....
    MR is right. This is from DH, and HE needs to model better behaviour, and speak to his son about the do's and donts of good behaviour.
    Its SO hard, going through what your going through, and i went through similar for a while with my ex before all was good.

    I think some reverse psychology could work with your son, as he is young, and only understands a few emotions. He would probably mostly understand happy, sad and angry.

    Maybe try being very upset when he kicks you? Sob, and say that it hurt mummy, and now I might need a cuddle... He will soon learn compassion, and how to be nice to make you feel better. When he hurts DS2, pick up DS2, and cuddle him, asking DS1 if he can see DS2 is very sad and hurt. being calm is extemely hard, but he play on the fact that he can rile you up.

    Plain old bad behaviour, ie. throwing toys, in this house means you loose them, they are GONE!!! Let him see you put them in the bin. Be calm and firm, and walk off afterwards. If he plays up again, another in the bin, and walk away. quick desisive action will make him see you mean buisness!!He will soon not throw another toy. I use this for different behaviours too, but I get them back and only give them back after a few weeks, otherwise it doesn't work!!

    These are long term problems, and these are just a few tools to help in the mean time. Its hard, but try to be a teacher, friend and role model in the absence of a sensible dad for the time being.

    You are doing a GREAT job, that is SO hard, and you are the best mummy your boys could ever need!!!

  5. #5

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    You've been given some great advice already and there's nothing I could add to it but I just wanted to let you to know that I think you're fantastic and to send you some lovin'

  6. #6

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    Div, call the parent help line if you dont know what to do in the middle of a tanty. I called in desparation when mitch was in timeout the other day. Its good for some backup, and when you aren't quite sure what you are doing 132289. Lovely people they are!

    With timeout - they have to stay there until they are calm. At the 123 magic course I learnt some kids trash their rooms, vomit on command etc, but they have to stay there until they are calm. Then all is forgiven and you go on as usual.

    Its really good for the 'nip it in the bud' theory of Cailin's, which I do think is a good philosophy and may well work as it isn't a long term behaviour thing. I have always been a nipinbud parent, it worked a TREAT with DD, when she got older she would take herself off to her room and come on out with a big smile and an apology.
    I've sort of replied to you in my thread....these things aren't working with Mitch, I really need extra help. He is a great kid but I sometimes wonder if my very stressful emotional time when I was preg (brother died) contributed to his behaviour, my poor little man....

  7. #7

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    Brilliant advice from everyone - on a completely different tangent - has Alex had any counselling - using creative therapy? Just having that as a place for him to express himself, and help you get a handle on what is going on in his little world can be a tremendous help. Divvy hun... not fun at the moment is it? I hope that you are getting some support for you at the moment too.

  8. #8

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    Oh Div

    I don't have a lot of advice but I remember reading somewhere - I think in one of Pinky's books - that if time out isn't working then spend the time in time out with them. It breaks the cycle. Talk about something totally unrelated - like what is going to be for dinner - distract them from what is going on and gives you both a break.

    Good luck hon - you are doing a great job!

  9. #9

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    Div, Matilda has those tantrums still, not as bad as they were but she still does the violent tanty. She will kick and bite you on the way to time out and then try to hurt you as you have to hold her down. We started putting her into the "Cool Down" room instead, so she could get it all out in a safe place like the bathroom which we have changed to not have anything in there that she could hurt herself on. Then when she has stopped screaming etc, we open the door & go into her and sit there and ask her what she did, and then explain with her why she did it (i.e. frustrated... Jovie took her toy... etc etc) and then what else she could have done (told Mummy, walked away, found another toy) and we go back & apologise to Jovie.

    Sometimes when we are in discussing stuff, she gets cranky again & starts hitting etc, so we walk out again until she is able to talk with us. I give her a pillow to scream into as well teaching her good tantrum tactics.

  10. #10

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    Seriously, thank you guys so much for your help. I'm trying... sometimes it's just hard.

    Can't wait for long day kinder tomorrow... then have them home on Tuesday and Court on Wednesday and psych on Thursday so hopefully will be able to get through the rest of the week. It's just at that stage of... one day at a time!

    Hugs and thanks again!

  11. #11

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    Div, have you tried focusing on good behaviour and using positive reinforcement when he does something good/kind/nice? It is hard when they can get soooo worked up and then become defiant - it really puts us at a loss as to how to handle it effectively. Do you have a reward system in place for him so when he does something *good* he gets a sticker and that can build up so when he gets x amount he gets a surprise/treat?

    Naturally I assume that his father isn't like that *all* the time, so is it just being around him that triggers this behaviour in Alex or is it worse when he has seen his father have outbursts? My brother was a bit like that when we were back home after seeing our dad too - not because he was violent etc, but just from the emotional strain of having to leave his dad kwim?

    I really hope you can make headway on this Div, because I'm sure he is otherwise a delightful little boy and it would be a shame for this to impact on him any longer than it already has.

  12. #12

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    Well I've completed the dr Thomas Gordon's Parent Effectiveness Training course (27 hours over 9 weeks) and I couldn't recommend it enough.

    Although the techniques don't work on my mother. Apparently she's the world's best parent because she's parented for over 100 years and I've only parented for 7 so she always knows best. But I digress.

    I've used the techniques with Alex quite a bit, but I think what's really worked is that I sat him down and explained that having a brother is like having a friend over all the time. He'd just had a kinder friend over, and had an absolute ball. I explained that if he was like that with DS2, then they'd be great friends and could play together lots and lots.

    It's been pretty good since then. However, he has been playing up (aggressive/angry) after seeing his Dad, or mostly when he's hungry or overtired. Or when I'm annoyed or overtired myself (and mostly when my parents are around).

    Eg tonight he didn't want to put his pjs on. Kicking and screaming and hitting me in front of my parents. So I took him into the back room and sat him down and explained to him why we needed to put his pjs on, and after the discussions it all went fine. I can't use the techniques in front of my mother because she pi$$ES me off majorly by all her side looks etc. It's really depressing.

    But he has improved. I didn't end up taking him to the psych on the 29th May because XH refused to give permission for him to go. But we're having "family therapy" in November so we'll see how that all goes.

    THanks for all your suggestions.

  13. #13

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    That's great news that you are seeing such an improvement Div. You are doing a fantastic job and I know your patience will get you there in the end.

    As for your mum, well the results will speak for themselves!

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