what can you do with a child that hits kicks bite punch and break things

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Josie - posted on 01/21/2013

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he is 6 years old and i have try everything like 20 mins or so and nothing works even did rules for him and that dont work he is going to mental health and they not helping

Ariana - posted on 01/20/2013

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How old is the child? I'm just wondering because what you should do for a 2 year old is different than what you would do to a 5 year old or a 9 year old.

I would say if the child is old enough to know better sit them down and write out the new rules. So write a list that states, no hitting, biting, punching or breaking things. If the child begins to do this, or looks like they are losing control, make them go to their room. Ask them and if they refuse bring them there, hold the door closed if you have to. If there room is a major fun spot, or there are multiple things for them to break try to put them into another room (spare room if you have one, or bathroom, any room that's boring and small).

I know holding the door is controversial but you aren't locking him in there. Whatever you do don't speak with him once he's been brought to his room in any way until he sounds like he's calmed down.

Afterwards he should apologize to whoever he hit and clean up any mess he's made. Then you should talk about how he could have solved the problem or what he should have done. So if you said no and he freaked talk to him and try to get him to say what he should have done instead of trying to kick or bite. Tell him he should have said I'm really mad at you! I wanted to have that!, try to get him talking instead of hitting. He should lose something he likes, so tv time for the day, if he broke something he should have to give up a toy or if he has an allowance he doesn't get it to help pay for the damaged item. Some sort of privilage should be taken.

I would also add that if he doesn't go to his room when asked you should practice 'going to your room'. So when he's calm explain how you expect him to go to his room (or w/e calming area you want to use, bathroom or laundry room or w/e if room isn't a good spot) even if he's having a meltdown he needs to learn to control himself. If he can't bring himself to his room (and you end up having to bring him and hold the door closed) then he'll need to practice when he's calm. Explain this to him before and have him practice it. If he's refused to go to his room during a tantrum make him go to his room at certain times for 'practice' for the next day. Tell him you won't make him do this if he goes to the room when asked during tantrums.

I would also have him 'practice' having a tantrum without breaking or kicking or biting. Tell him you want to see the biggest tantrum he can do WITHOUT any of these (while he's calm and happy). He'll probably find this hilarious. Then say wow I bet you can do better than that!

It seems counterproductive, but it's kind of getting in his head that there is NO BITING etc. and even if he does lose his cool these things still shouldn't happen.

Work with him on 'calming' techniques when he's calm. So deep breathing, jumping jacks, punching a pillow or punching bag if you can get one, ripping paper. You could set up a 'calm down' center in the area he gets sent to if he's upset, put a picture of the things he can do. That way if he seems to be losing it you can ask him if he needs to go to the calm down area, or try one of the techniques. It may not work right away but it can help him learn that there are other things he can/should do instead of kicking etc.

The last thing I would say would be to create a 'special time' 20 minutes a day. So you go with him for 20 minutes and do something that he likes without directing him, so whatever activity he wants (not TV or computer/gaming stuff). So if he wants to play spiderman for 20 minutes straight, do it, just play with him. It makes kids feel connected to you and shows them you want to spend time with them doing something THEY want. It also makes you feel more connected to them, you get to do something fun instead of having to deal with defiance all the time. It's also a 'win' for them. Kids get bossed around ALL THE TIME so it gives them an opportunity to have you doing something they want.

If he starts to do something he shouldn't during the time, or other ways of acting out tell him you'll do special time later and walk away, try to do it again at a later time. Try to not make requests of him during the time, just do what he likes (without letting him do stuff he's not allowed of course).

If he gets into a situation where he's starting to lose it and looks like he's about to hit/bite/break something try to either walk away and ignore it (if it's possible or safe to do so) and if not offer up for him to do calming techniques, and if that doesn't work bring him to a 'calming' room. Talk afterwards of what he could have done better. Don't badger him during any of this time and remain calm no matter how irrational he's being, if you lose control it will be that much harder for him to calm down.

If you see him starting to improve praise him greatly. So if you ask him to go to his room and he does on his own tell him afterwards how much you appreciate that, or how better he's getting. If he yelled and screamed but didn't bit/punch tell him he's improving. Take every small step as an improvement and tell him how much better he did. If you keep praising it will go from 'good job not biting' to 'I love how you used a calming technique' or 'I've noticed how well you're using your words to solve things!' etc.

I hope some of this could be helpful or relates to your issues!

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