Please help...don't know what to do ???

Sheryl - posted on 06/23/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I need some advice. My Grandson is 3 and a half and sadly my Daughter & Son-in-Law are seperated & no chance of reconciliation. My Grandson did well in the beginning (has been about 3 months now), but now not so good:(:( He has started screaming at my Daughter, and she doesn't know what to do , so she first tries to calm him down , then tries holding him & talking to him. That doesn't do anything but make it worse, so she just sits him down and walks away to try to take a break, so maybe this will work. Then he proceeds to run after her & starts hitting her with his fists....he has also hit her in the face a couple of times. She is at a complete loss & so am I on what to do :(:( Any advice please ????
Thanks,
Sheryl

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Jenni - posted on 06/23/2011

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Time outs would be essential for this sort of behaviour. Not as a punishment but as a teaching tool to teach him how to calm himself down in an appropriate manner. I'd recommend immediate removal to a time out zone the moment he starts reacting by adult terms 'inappropriately' to his feelings of anger/frustration.
Time outs will help by:
a) Immediately stopping the behaviour
b) Teach him self-control and how to calm himself down
c) Ignore the negative behaviour so he's not getting desired effects or attention for it (kids don't care what kind of attention they get; negative or positive as long as they're getting the attention)
d) Allow him to calm down so he is receptive to the lesson she is trying to teach him: "It's ok to be mad, (his name). But we don't hit when we're mad. We use our words and say 'I'm really mad right now'"

To help the screaming she can apply a logical consequence. When people scream in our society we generally don't listen to what they have to say, or care what they have to say. So she can teach him this lesson by ignoring him when he screams. Give him no attention for it. She could simply say to him: "I can't hear you when you scream" and then ignore. If it turns into hitting, immediately put him in time out.

Also, passively teach him the words for his feelings. Talk about feelings on a regular basis both negative and positive feelings. Talk about how his actions make other's feel. Praise him for making people feel happy and proud! Talk about how other people/situations make him feel.

When he does use his words to express his feelings encourage him to continue using them through praise and helping him feel better or solve a problem.

It does take a lot of time, patience and consistancy. These behaviours won't be solved overnight. But focus on channelling his behaviours into appropriate ways of coping with anger/frustration. The end goal is that eventually he will learn to take quiet time to himself when he is angry and learn to calm himself down and then talk about it once he is calm.

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Jenni - posted on 06/23/2011

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Ahhh good one Sara! Role playing is an excellent tool for children as well. Yes, it definitely won't hurt to employ a professional if she can to help as well, considering the divorce.
Which I'm really sorry to hear about.
All the best of wishes for you and your family.

Sara - posted on 06/23/2011

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Jennifer's advice is good. The only thing I would add is that if those things don't work, it may be beneficial to see about maybe getting him into some play therapy with a certified therapist to help him work through anything that he may be feeling about his parent's separation. Good luck!

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