Discipline Question

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Dara, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. Dara

    Dara New Member

    We are having issues with discipline, as we all do. We are targeting more of the violence, or trying to unsuccessfully anyways. Nobody has had any ideas to help solve this issue yet. Basically, this is the issue: Sammy is very violent. He has been increasingly so since he came back from the 23 hour EEG on tuesday. He always targets me with the violence. If it is something that I am asking him to do, like get a new diaper, I just bite the bullet and change his diaper through the kicking and hitting and so on. I usually get beaten to a pulp but a new daiper is not negotiable. I was told by therapists and doctors to follow through with commands I ask of him. The problem lies in times that he is just mad for whatever reason sometimes there isnt an obvious one and he punches, kicks and whatever else me. I used to be able to just walk away from him but now he actually comes after me to hit and kick me. Granted, he is only 3 1/2 but I have 2 herniated discs in my neck and have no upper body strength ( which I am working on)
    We put him in his room so he cant come after me but it is pointless because he has no concept of why he is in his room. I have taught preschool for many years and after a time out, you can ask the child from 15 months on "do you know why you were put in your room" or however you want to phrase it, and the child will answer (usually) with why he/she is sitting out...
    Sammy really has no idea why. We ask him and he says I dont know and actually means it. DO you guys have any suggestions on how to discipline him when he gets violent to try and get him to understand that hitting isnt ok?
  2. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    What is your reaction, body language, or method of coping when he comes at you now if the room/time out does not work?
  3. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Do you know how to do the "hold" where you sit behind him with-your legs wrapped around him until he calms down? The therapists should have taught you. Especially since you have herniated disks in your neck. You still need some upper body strength but you said you're working on it. Just wondering ... Sorry to answer a Q with-a Q but the hold is all I have to offer.
    by the way, he is still wearing a diaper because he's not potty trained because of his general disorders?
  4. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I have a different view of a timeout. I see it as a cooling-off period anytime things get out of hand (as in destruction of property, agression between siblings or against parents). When the child is calm, he/she is allowed out. If the child begins raging again, the child is escorted again to his room for another timeout until he/she is calm. I never ask the child, "Do you know why you were put in your room?" The child learns that when he behaves in a socially unacceptable manner, he is removed from the family. The child further learns that when he behaves in a socially acceptable manner, he can rejoin the family. It's a matter of cause and effect. Sometime later that day or another day altogether, I might sit with the child and process what occurred (and think of better ways to handle the situation), but never close to the time of the problem because that often incites new raging.

    FWIW, my 14-year-old can't always explain why he gets angry and acts the way he does. Sometimes it's just a matter of his brain misfiring, and it's not explainable. We do work on coping techniques, but in the heat of the moment, it's not a good idea to try to figure out what's going wrong. Your son is very young, has speech and developmental delay, and may have brain miswirings you have yet to discover. in my humble opinion, you just need to use the cause-and-effect technique I outlined above.

    Good luck.
  5. Dara

    Dara New Member

    When he comes at me, I just try and protect myself really. Terry, I do know the hold and I use that. When he is consistantly coming at me, I put him in his room, carrying him in the hold position so he cannot hurt me. Oh, he is not yet potty trained. It is a work in progress but he is not there yet. He doesnt understand it quite yet.
    Smallworld, I too agree that a time out is for cooling down. I always used it in my classroom that way and never really called it Time out. From an education stand point, we were always taught to discuss the being put out with the children so they understand why they were sitting out. I only recently tried this with Sammy just for experimental purposes to see if he knew why he was in his room. He clearly has no idea. The problem with Sammy is that he has gone in his room for rages and aggression forever and the cause and effect thing doesnt seem to be working on him!
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    My take on it is a little like Smallworld's. My difficult child used to have periods where he yelled and seemed uncontrollable and angry at me when he was little. This might be a lot different than your situation- difficult child's seemed to always happen right after being in day care for 9 hours or being over-stimulated (not enough sleep). I found that difficult child can't have the amount of candy, sodas, etc. that typical kids have, he needs more sleep- his schedule is critical, and according to his pediatrician- "they do this to Mom because Mom is their "safe place"." The pediatrician said not to worry about yelling, screaming, seemingly anger- he said he is venting. So, I would tell difficult child in a calm way to go to his room and yell all he wanted, I would not get mad, but he couldn't "bad-mouth" me and he could come out once he had calmed down some. If he wanted to ask questions then, that would be fine. Of course it wasn't always that easy- I strained a muscle in my neck once grabbing him up and carrying him down the hall to make sure he knew that "yes, he would go to his room when I said so".

    on the other hand, my difficult child was considered a close to easy child when he was that age. It does sound to me that yours is showing more signs of a mood disorder now and I'm not sure that parenting technique can completely stop those reactions. I just bring that up so you don't fall in the trap of feeling like if you did something differently, it would all go away. It sounds to me like it won't- maybe medications can help. Have you tried- and does it help- to give him certain some periods of the day when he can have more "free time" to do things that he has more choices about, then have the rest of the day where he "has" to do what the schedule or routine dictates? Can you find any apttern in it or see it as him feeling like he doesn't have enough control or does it seem like things are not a problem until he gets mad at you?
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Dara, then putting him in his room is to keep you safe. As I said above, he's still very young. In time, he will learn. For the time being, just keep doing what you're doing to break the cycle of aggression and keep everyone safe.
  8. jannie

    jannie trying to survive....

    When my difficult child was younger, his outbursts were quite extreme. He would become angry over something and then next thing I knew he was kicking, screaming, trying to bite, etc...Time outs did not work because he would trash his room. In order to keep him and me safe...I too, used time out, but I needed to completely empty his room otherwise toys and clothing would be all over the place. I emptied his drawers, removed all toys and took hanging things off the wall. I left him with stuffed animials...those he could throw across the room and nothing would get damaged. Although I hated doing this. he eventually learned that if his behavior was out of control he would be in his room. I even considered reversing the locks, but instead I chose to hold the door closed. I did not engage in conversation...Once he was really calm he could come out...

    Once he was stable...or somewhat stable, and as he matured, we were able to talk about the incidents..however, difficult child still has a hard time accepting responsibility for his actions.

    If you are using his room for a time-out calm down...I think I would just say in a firm voice...You're not being safe...There's no hitting or kicking. Time to calm down in your rooom I don't think it's really about discipline...but trying to help teach your child about trying to be safe.'

    It's so hard !!!
  9. Dara

    Dara New Member

    sometimes, he puts himself in a "time out" in the dining room which is fine. I always look to make sure he cant hurt himself but when he is acting out with violence I have to put him in his room so we can stay safe. Sammy is big into "you happy?" He randomly asks that. A lot of times when I come get him when he is come he will ask that and I usually say "mommy is not happy because you were hitting" He understands that in that moment but when the rage comes any logic or understanding of anything really goes away. Because we just started the whole process with a new neurologist, we are only in the beginning phases of diagnosing him. This guy really seems to be the one to help us. I know we have a very long road ahead of figuring out exactly what is going on in that cute little head of Sammy's. We are still waiting for the 23 hour EEG results allthough I dont think it is seizures that is causing this becuase it doesnt happen everywhere
  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    My son was very similar in regards to not getting cause and effect, and using aggression to get his point across. Probably the biggest thing that the counselors told me is to make sure and show absolutely no emotion when he was raging. My difficult child fed off the negative energy he created when he came at me, or others - even if it was not spoken, but me responding in distress, sadness, anger, etc., he fed off of it. If he got no response other than me walking away or removing him from the situation with-out words, he would change gears.

    Perhaps that is the same for Sammy. If he is asking you all of the time if you are happy, than he is well aware of the chaos he creates, and at some level is getting some satisfaction out of the power he has to create it. I would try and not speak at all when he is raging. If possible turn your back to him and walk away - or lift him, emotionless, into the proper setting for him to cool down.

    Consequences with kids like this are not a tangible entity for quite some time - but the attention or lack thereof he receives for his actions is. Even infants can seek attention, and cry if they are hungry. Perhaps Sammy is hitting and hurting you to get your attention that he is miserable, but if not responded to, he will redirect his behavior.
  11. Dara

    Dara New Member

    We do just pick him up and put him in his room and close the door. We dont talk to him or even look at him when he acts this way. We have been ignoring this behavior for almost 3 years and there is no change. We have even been observed on several occasions and video taped and they all say we are doing it right. A lot of times, Sammy is having a battle with himself and we arent even involved. It is strange!
  12. pearlofgrace

    pearlofgrace New Member

    Check out or purchase the book The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene. It describes the reasons why our children are the way they are (the miswirings...skills and pathways they do not have/need to learn...for example, Executive Skills--being able to shift from one mind-set to another or Emotion Regulation Skills, etc.) and how to handle them with CPS (Collaborative Problem Solving--"the problem or unmet expectation is resolved in a mutually satisfactory manner"). Dr. Greene describes an explosive outburst this way: "an explosive outburst--like other forms of maladaptive behavior--occurs when the cognitive demands being placed upon a person outstrip that person's capacity to respond adaptively."

    My difficult child has been this way since toddlerhood and she's ten now. We have done the time out and carrying her to room when she rages (consistently for years believing eventually she would get it and do as she's told)....it has not worked and only triggers her explosive outbursts. I have been reading the above mentioned book and it has helped me and husband learn why that is and how to handle it. It is not an overnight fix but it has been profound in helping us understand why our difficult child cannot help herself, and how we have to be flexible in order to teach her.

    It is so hard to deal with a child screaming at me and being so irrational and I want to just scream back and sometimes have... :( But that does not help at all, obviously. My difficult child and I are very much alike which makes life even more interesting. :)

    HTH....blessings to you on this journey.

  13. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    This def sounds like my difficult child. He went through an awful stage of taking out severe anger, and only on me. I believe, maybe, kids sometimes take the anger out on the person they are the closest to (just a theory). I used to pul him into my lap on the ground, hug him from behind (criss crossing his arms...but not too hard!), keeping clear of his head (headbutts in anger are NOT fun). In about 15 minutes or so he would be calm enough to try to talk or, at least, function "normally". I learned never to turn by back on him as this only made him more furious and I ended up with a worse attack. This in my opinion, at least with difficult child, is a cry for help, but he doesn't/didn't know how to verbalize it. I also, with difficult child being 8 y/o, get the same "I don't know". Now, though, it pertains to everything. He was sent to his room today for wandering away from his homework 3 times and upon me asking "why...?"

    "I don't know".

    All in all, it seems like a lose-lose situation (holy pessimism, batman). I believe my difficult child wants attention. If I give him all the attention he wants, he'll get used to it and won't be able to function without it. If I don't give him the attention he wants, he gets nothing done and keeps acting out. *sigh* I guess all I have are theories and similarities, but no right answers. The restraining I did lasted for a while, but once he started "cycling" again, it began all over. The violence towards me calmed down, but spread throughout everyone else...

    I'm sorry you're going through this. As I work with my difficult child, I'll let you know what works and doesn't work. Good luck. Keep your head up. <3
  14. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Dara, often children who display this sort of violence do wind up needing medications to control it. I know you were planning to wait until his appointment at Mayo, but if it's getting to be a safety issue for family members then you probably ought to revisit that. A violent child--even a young one--can do a lot of bodily harm.
  15. Dara

    Dara New Member

    SRL, we have been seeing a new neurologist here and he seems to be a good fit for us. We just finished with a 23 hour EEG last tuesday and are waiting for those results. We did talk medication very briefly in our first visit but we are waiting for the EEG results to continue and decide where to go next. We are hoping to get a plan that will work at home too not just at therapy or school. Our main problem is day to day life.
  16. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I'm glad you found someone you trust--hopefully he'll be able to work with you in a medications decision. I know you're not thrilled with the medication route but it's not good to let the violent behaviors continue, both from a safety perspective as well as it becoming a habitual way of expressing anger or frustration.
  17. Dara

    Dara New Member

    I think the problem I was having with the medication with our last neurologist is that he didnt do any testing ever on Sammy. Hi evaluations were just sitting and talking to us and joking with us about the problems we are having. When we did ask for testing he said there are no tests you can do on a 3 year old. The guy we see now, does not seem surprised or confused by any of Sammy's behavior. He wants to rule out seizures first and then we will probably discuss medications at our next appointment in may. These violent behaviors cannot continue. His refusal to walk in public cannot continue. He weighs 40 pounds and I have 2 herniated discs. I dont have the upper body strength to carry him everywhere. These are all issues husband and I have been fighting to get help with forever now. It seems that this guy is the one to help with that. We are also looking into suggestions for new therapy program since this one isnt really doing the trick. We love Sammy's therapist but they just arent addressing our concerns and problems. I know we have a long confusing road ahead and I am ok with that as long as we have someone being proactive in our corner which we finally found!