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caedmyn
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Looking for ideas for consequences to motivate my boys to stop reacting to anything that displeases them by hitting, pushing, tackling, etc.  The highly impulsive 8 YO is particularly bad about this, and 6 YO and 4 YO have followed right along.  They are being mean to each other all.day.long, every day.  I have yet to find a consequence that motivates them to stop.  DH thinks it's normal boy behavior, but apparently he and his brother used to shoot each other with BB guns when they were kids, unbeknownst to their mother, so I think his definition of normal might be a tad bit skewed.  The 8 YO has also had several incidents where he's hit kids at church/parks, though generally with some provocation (not saying that makes it right).  

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I agree with your husband that it is pretty normal boy behavior.

 

Which doesn't mean you shouldn't try to redirect it.

 

I haven't had much success though; it's one of the reasons my middle boy is in school this year (get them out of each other's hair).

 

On the plus side, I recall reading about research studies indicating that physical fights between boys actually leads in many instances to greater bonding. Go figure.

 

You can try giving them more physical outlets, both pre-emptively and in response to fighting. "Go run around the block" is my go-to response to physical fights.

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Instead of trying to find a consequence you might want to consider finding an outlet for them to use to get out their aggression in a more positive way.  Redirect them when they start to hit or get physical into something more acceptable.  IME redirecting and helping them to understand when they are starting to get upset so they can learn to redirect themselves has a long term result more so than outside punishments.  For DS it was running around the front yard.  It helped him to do something physical in a positive way rather than getting aggressive toward a person.  But there are also times that they get to wrestle around if everyone is okay with it and if they stop when asked.  Some people just like tussling around like puppies.

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I think the impulse to be physically aggressive is within the range of normal. But civilization means we don't act on all our impulses. In my opinion and experience, physical tussling and interaction is fine as long as both parties are okay with it. Aggression to hurt someone because you are angry is not. Which is not the same as standing up for yourself physically, which I am also okay with.

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I was counseled by a mom when my boys were young to nip that behavior in the bud from the beginning because things just get worse as the they get bigger. I took that to heart as the mom of four boys. Each and every incident I made counter productive for them. We talked about it and healthy ways to deal with conflict other than violence and they had to aplologize. Over and over and over. No kicking, hitting, pushing, etc. Allowed. Period. We always made sure that when wrestling was happening no-one was allowed to bully. If someone said they were done, stop. Our motto is...if everyone isn't having fun, then it's not fun. I will forever appreciate talking with that BTDT older woman and that gem of advice.

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I would suggest one of the martial arts (karate, tai Kwon do (which I can't spell!), etc. A good studio is great at teaching self-control and appropriate aggression as well as giving them an outlet for all that energy!!

 

Anne

My husband and boys enjoy having airsost wars. The go themselves and to group gathering through our local homeschool group on BLM. They have a blast. They come home with welts but love the chase, hiding, ourdoors, shooting, and pain. Lol. They rotate different games and scenarios. Not a cheap sport though. Each gun kit is $175 Plus face masks and biodegradable ammo. Edited by ifIonlyhadabrain
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My husband and boys enjoy having airsost wars. The go themselves and to group gathering through our local homeschool group on BLM. They have a blast. They come home with welts but love the chase, hiding, ourdoors, shooting, and pain. Lol. They rotate different games and scenarios. Not a cheap sport though. Each gun kit is $175 Plus face masks and biodegradable ammo.

My son LOVES his airsoft guns. All are under 375fps, and are single shot spring loaded. They're safe enough that as long as everyone has goggles, they can go have wars in the backyard.

 

A neighbor has airsoft guns, too, and sometimes they'll all be running in and out of yard shooting each other or taking hostages. Lol

 

ETA: none of ds's guns were over $50.

Edited by amo_mea_filiis.
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A second vote for martial arts. If you find a good instructor, not only will they have an outlet, but your instructor will give them a chatting to if they've been hitting for no reason etc. and its really good for the kids to hear it from someone other than mum.

 

The other thing is, I think the key is not just teaching them no hitting but with boys and especially add boys, is getting them to insert a pause between action and reaction. I spent a lot of time with my eldest trying to teach this. Stop. Pause. Then act. Don't react. You need to teach the concept in a non confrontational environment then when It doesn't happen instantly you have to be there and when you see hitting about to happen go through the drill. You call out "stop". Then ask them "now what's a good way to handle this?" Over and over and over. And of course you need to be teaching positive conflict resolution strategies for this to work. These might look like this "use your words. What is the emotion you are feeling? I'm angry or I'm upset. Why? Tell the other person. Then the other person needs to be guided prompted to acknowledge that feeling and if they are actually in the wrong to apologise.

 

It's exhausting but you just need to keep at it over and over again.

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I was counseled by a mom when my boys were young to nip that behavior in the bud from the beginning because things just get worse as the they get bigger. I took that to heart as the mom of four boys. Each and every incident I made counter productive for them. We talked about it and healthy ways to deal with conflict other than violence and they had to aplologize. Over and over and over. No kicking, hitting, pushing, etc. Allowed. Period. We always made sure that when wrestling was happening no-one was allowed to bully. If someone said they were done, stop. Our motto is...if everyone isn't having fun, then it's not fun. I will forever appreciate talking with that BTDT older woman and that gem of advice.

 

Yep. This. I don't have boys, but I don't understand letting kids push, hit, or kick each other, ever, at all. Agreed-upon wrestling or martial arts with set rules, okay, but just being mean, either with words or with physical violence? No way, not allowed, the end.

 

OP, you're looking for ideas for consequences? What do your boys enjoy? Say it's Legos. If one boy hits another, he loses the privilege of playing with Legos for the hour/afternoon/day. You might give them each one warning to start, but after that, apply the unpleasant consequence each and every time, and they'll learn soon enough. Or just have them go sit in a chair in silence for 10 or 15 minutes. I didn't used to be an advocate of "time outs," but unsurprisingly, a lot of kids really hate sitting and doing nothing. It's much more pleasant for them to just get along with each other.  :)

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Depending on what she means by "impulsive," punishment can really amp up a kid rather than help him control his behavior. If he's not developmentally capable at the moment, or if he has a more "explosive" personality, punishment can be counterproductive and make things worse. If excess energy is the problem, direct them to that. With some kids, there really isn't a currency. Or they're not at a point in their development where they're capable of being that forward thinking.

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I don't have boys, but I will try to encourage you to help them redirect it. We have friends who allowed their boys to do pretty much whatever. As a direct result, we aren't close friends anymore. Her boys hurt my daughter several times. I would tell her, and she would talk to them about it, but within a month or two - back at the same behavior again. This is really bad because one of their sisters is my dd's closest friend.  Imagine my fury when I discovered that they were still hurting my child, but her "friend" asked/begged her not to tell me because she was afraid they might not be able to come to park day. What??? At that point, we had a final talk - if your boys hurt my child once more, I will do *everything* I can to ban your boys from park. And you really ought to talk to your daughter about encouraging her friend not to report abuse.  And it made me seriously wonder what is going on in their house that it is acceptable for boys to hurt girls and it to be okay and not something we talk about. 

 

I really don't care what you do in your own home, but, please, please, don't let your boys physically attack others. 

 

My child was not the only target. I've seen these boys attack others as well. And I don't believe it is typical boy behavior, because I don't see any other boys doing the same things. The mom is overwhelmed. 

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Looking for ideas for consequences to motivate my boys to stop reacting to anything that displeases them by hitting, pushing, tackling, etc.  The highly impulsive 8 YO is particularly bad about this, and 6 YO and 4 YO have followed right along.  They are being mean to each other all.day.long, every day.  I have yet to find a consequence that motivates them to stop.  DH thinks it's normal boy behavior, but apparently he and his brother used to shoot each other with BB guns when they were kids, unbeknownst to their mother, so I think his definition of normal might be a tad bit skewed.  The 8 YO has also had several incidents where he's hit kids at church/parks, though generally with some provocation (not saying that makes it right).  

 

Well I have a little different take from the others, partly because I don't have a slew of boys wrestling each other and mainly because my boy does what you seem to be describing. You didn't say they wrestle and have fun and brawl like healthy, typical boys. If that's what was going on, you wouldn't be posting. ;)  You said they "react to anything that displeases them" with physical aggression. In other words, instead of using WORDS, they're using physical. 

 

You've tried consequences, but consequences imply an ability to learn from cause/effect. You're going to need to find what FUNCTION the behaviors serve and back up and give a replacement, a more preferred response. What do you WANT them to do instead? They may not have the words. So instead of saying "I hate when you do that!" they may be hitting. My ds does that a lot, using single words or brief phrases or just going to physical entirely, and a LOT of it is that he can't get out appropriate language. 

 

It might even be that in your family that kind of language is discouraged. Like it might be uncomfortable for you to help them say things like "I hate when you do that" or other strong things. But I decided, at least for my ds, that I've got to put words to what he's feeling and give him the appropriate language if I want a replacement for the physical behaviors. 

 

But that's because in my ds' case the behaviors are communication. So think through it. Consequences don't work with all kids, especially if they're slow to pick up the clue phone on cause/effect. The consequence may be totally disconnected in their mind from what they did and therefore not instructive. You may need to replace the behavior and redirect. Mainly replace, modeling the behavior you want. 

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I really don't care what you do in your own home, but, please, please, don't let your boys physically attack others. 

 

My child was not the only target. I've seen these boys attack others as well. And I don't believe it is typical boy behavior, because I don't see any other boys doing the same things. The mom is overwhelmed. 

 

Bingo. This is HUGE. There must be a planned consequence, an immediate consequence (follow-up) if they hit someone else, especially in a public setting. In our house it's an absolute YOU LOSE policy. You hit me, you lose the thing, the event, whatever. Absolute. You have to be no tolerance. Unfortunately, our kids are at the age where this is NO acceptance, no more oh he apologized and it's ok. You've got to be draconian, firm, and have a plan. You've got to pre-warn them ahead of time on the consequence and the behavior plan. If they hit ANYONE, they lose and are done. Determine the consequence and stick to it.

 

You're also going to need consequences within your family, but that's harder to enforce with so much going on, so many kids. I would probably go more nuanced, me personally. You could ask a behaviorist, if you have one. For my dd, our team very quickly moved to stop all physical completely, require apologies, and redirect. Your kids have to feel safe, especially girls or any boys who don't participate. If there are kids for whom it's kind of mutual, then maybe you have a different set of rules you enforce. Like stopping all that might not be as high on the priority list. You might not be able to fix everything at once, so you target what you CAN enforce and what you CAN make happen and what is most important. So strangers/public, absolutely must be enforced and pronto. Daughters and non-participants at home, next layer. Then, when those are under control, fine-tune the brothers thing. Even a behavioral team doesn't try to do everything at once. They *ignore* behaviors that they aren't ready to tackle. Sometimes it's better not to see it if you aren't ready to deal with it.

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Well I have a little different take from the others, partly because I don't have a slew of boys wrestling each other and mainly because my boy does what you seem to be describing. You didn't say they wrestle and have fun and brawl like healthy, typical boys. If that's what was going on, you wouldn't be posting. ;) You said they "react to anything that displeases them" with physical aggression. In other words, instead of using WORDS, they're using physical.

 

You've tried consequences, but consequences imply an ability to learn from cause/effect. You're going to need to find what FUNCTION the behaviors serve and back up and give a replacement, a more preferred response. What do you WANT them to do instead? They may not have the words. So instead of saying "I hate when you do that!" they may be hitting. My ds does that a lot, using single words or brief phrases or just going to physical entirely, and a LOT of it is that he can't get out appropriate language.

 

It might even be that in your family that kind of language is discouraged. Like it might be uncomfortable for you to help them say things like "I hate when you do that" or other strong things. But I decided, at least for my ds, that I've got to put words to what he's feeling and give him the appropriate language if I want a replacement for the physical behaviors.

 

But that's because in my ds' case the behaviors are communication. So think through it. Consequences don't work with all kids, especially if they're slow to pick up the clue phone on cause/effect. The consequence may be totally disconnected in their mind from what they did and therefore not instructive. You may need to replace the behavior and redirect. Mainly replace, modeling the behavior you want.

Almost always the conflict is two sided here. Yeah, sometimes a kid is just being a bully though. I try to figure out what is really going on and often make the kids talk it out and have a do over. I ask them to talk to one another with honesty and respect. I may suck at a lot of things, but one thing I've been consistent on is teaching my kids to work out conflict in a productive way.

 

OP, I don't know if you would want Christian materials, but I went through The Young Peacemaker with my kiddos. It's probably too much for those ages but would be a good resource for you to help them.

Edited by ifIonlyhadabrain
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I remind myself a thousand times a day, "Language is hard for my boys." and "His feelings are valid and his message is valid, it is just his delivery that is unacceptable." and "We're all doing the best we can; my mistakes just look different that theirs."

 

I try to stay attuned to the energy level and atmosphere and step in before things get too ramped up.

 

I use structure to keep kids productively busy and avoid giving them more free time than they can appropriately handle.

 

I keep myself busy near where they are playing and physically stop hitting, ideally before they land the first blow.

 

I assign tasks to the hitter as a form of time out:  jumping on the trampoline, working on the on-going puzzle, helping me gather laundry, reading under their covers with a flashlight, sharpening the pencils, finding all the coins hidden in the rice box, etc.

 

I encourage them to come to me when they are upset, so I can help walk them through non-violent communication.

 

I teach, by endless repetition, a few simple short statements they can fall back on when their emotions are running wild: "Don't touch me!", "I'm using that!", "Me next, please.", "Leave me alone!", etc.

 

I make sure the boys are getting ample time each day apart from each other...one in the front yard, one in the back and one in the playroom; quiet independent play each afternoon; sometimes I even have them eat lunch in separate rooms to give them a break from each other.

 

I make sure I closely supervise them all playing together for a period each day, so I can coach them through conflicts and watch for situations that I want to discuss with them at a time of non-conflict.

 

I grit my teeth and hope we all live through this stage.

 

Wendy

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If you think there may be any attention seeking in the hitting, you can deal with it by removing attention from the hitter and focus 100% of your attention on the one being hit by providing sympathy and comfort. I wouldn't use this as a first line approach, because kids need to know that their actions are not okay. If what you are doing is not working, however, I would definitely give it a try.

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I agree with you and not your husband. 

 

I am alone with the kids for the last two days and I have found I am much more stern than my husband. I have no problem with removing all joy from their lives (computers, etc) of they do not follow expectations. But, also, when my husband left, I right away called the kids in and said none of these shenanigans will fly with me. I have no problem with them hating me. I laid down what I expected and what will happen if they break the rules, and I have kept by it.

 

My poor husband. He has texted me multiple times saying he misses me and hates being away. I love him and all, so of course I say "oh we really miss you too." But what I am thinking is "you were gone? huh. Well, ...." So so sad. He would be crushed if he even read this. But my husband is too tolerant of the behavior himself.

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Sending them out to run laps might be a good consequence, but that'll have to wait til the weather is warmer and there's not snow and ice and/or mud everywhere.  I've had them sit before for things and it does seem to help, but I have a hard time making them do it consistently for whatever reason.  Maybe I should try it again.

 

The 8 YO has no pause.  Literally none...in fact I think his body is generally a couple of seconds ahead of his brain.  He has what I've always called a processing delay.  I suppose it is actually slow processing speed, but anyway, it regularly takes him a few seconds to react to something someone says, like he has to mentally switch gears.  So trying to get him to think before acting just does not work, because he's already acted before considering possible consequences.  It's hard to find effective consequences for him because of this.  

 

They are not going around attacking other kids.  I can't think of a time when the 6 YO has been physical with a non-sibling.  The then-3-YO had a few run-ins with other kids this summer, but generally provoked and I do think that is pretty common at that age.  Or at least, it seems very common for 3 YOs to push another kid if they get in their space or are nasty to them.  He was certainly a lot less aggressive than some of the kids his age we encountered.  And all but one of the 8 YOs incidents have been provoked, as in, other kid grabbed his jacket and wouldn't let go so he punched him.  Or other kid was following him around trying to hit/kick him because they wanted a toy he had and finally he got tired of it and punched him.  He has always had to apologize and then there's been some consequence, like not being able to play outside at church for a month after the one unprovoked incident.  And he did seem to learn from that, as the other boy involved was very nasty to him afterwards (there was already a history between them) and pulled his hair and did other things to him a few times and he didn't retaliate.  Why he can't seem to learn that with his siblings IDK.  They do go after DD at times but she provokes them regularly, and then gets unhappy about the result.  She's also the oldest by three years and the biggest by nearly a foot and 25 lbs.  I have not seen any of them be aggressive towards other girls, even when provoked.

 

I think the aggressiveness is sometimes expressing frustration, sometimes retaliation, and sometimes just plain meanness, depending on the kid and the situation.  They all know that they're supposed to ask someone to stop or ask mom for help...we've drilled that a lot.  A lot of times they just won't do it, or, when they do ask someone to stop, sibling just ignores them, and then they get physical.  

 

They do need more time separated, and more structure.  Things will be a little easier once the weather gets nicer and they can burn off more energy outside, and have another place to be separated.

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I can see if having them state how they're feeling helps at all.  The 8 YO makes excuses for himself..."This is what I do when people make me mad."  

 

I will look at that Young Peacemaker. We have tried a lot of different programs/books/etc on different character-training topics, though, and the only thing that seems to have made any difference is Zones of Regulation, and it's so dependent on me to constantly remind them and facilitate using it.  Sometimes it gets to be too much.

 

I have looked into martial arts.  Not sure I can handle the extra driving/trying to get somewhere on time/hauling everybody around right now.  If we could find something in the evenings that DH would agree to take just the participating kids to, that would be ideal, but I don't know if that would actually happen.

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My position has always been, if you will be arrested for doing this as an adult, then I need to teach you to control yourself as a child. My boys are spaced such that each one weighs about twice as much as the next. So, hitting is definitely out. When the oldest first hit his growth spurt, he had no idea how much bigger and stronger he was. I am glad we had already put a stop to hitting before that. 

 

I usually reserved punishment for hitting for only the most extreme cases. In most instances, I took an educational approach. "I understand that you are feeling X and want to express it, but you must never touch another person while expressing your anger..." (I do distinguish for self-defense.)

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Sending them out to run laps might be a good consequence, but that'll have to wait til the weather is warmer and there's not snow and ice and/or mud everywhere.  I've had them sit before for things and it does seem to help, but I have a hard time making them do it consistently for whatever reason.  Maybe I should try it again.

 

The 8 YO has no pause.  Literally none...in fact I think his body is generally a couple of seconds ahead of his brain.  He has what I've always called a processing delay.  I suppose it is actually slow processing speed, but anyway, it regularly takes him a few seconds to react to something someone says, like he has to mentally switch gears.  So trying to get him to think before acting just does not work, because he's already acted before considering possible consequences.  It's hard to find effective consequences for him because of this.  

...

 

I think the aggressiveness is sometimes expressing frustration, sometimes retaliation, and sometimes just plain meanness, depending on the kid and the situation.  They all know that they're supposed to ask someone to stop or ask mom for help...we've drilled that a lot.  A lot of times they just won't do it, or, when they do ask someone to stop, sibling just ignores them, and then they get physical.  

 

They do need more time separated, and more structure.  Things will be a little easier once the weather gets nicer and they can burn off more energy outside, and have another place to be separated.

 

Fwiw, what you're describing there is the impulsivity of ADHD. It responds to ADHD meds. And yes, the kids will often have low processing speed. So yes, there's a gap where they might impulsively do things way before they've thought it through and might need extra time to think through things, even when they slow down and try. 

 

Now there are two ways to understand consequences. It can mean punishment, and I think that's what a lot of people mean when they just use the word. But when you look at it behaviorally, you can also just think in terms of what followed. So maybe the kid is tugging your arm or biting to get your attention, and you stop what you're doing and give him the attention. So the setting (antecedent) was whatever it was, and the behavior was the tugging/biting, and the consequence was you gave him attention. I'm just making an example there. And the FUNCTION of the behavior there was to get attention.

 

So when you say ok he's hitting so I'll send him out to run laps, that gets kind of weird. It's not enforceable if he decides to be non-compliant, and it's actually a positive thing if he's in the mood. So it doesn't really answer what the function of the behavior was and what a sensible follow-up was that respected the function of the behavior. If, for instance, the biting or whatever is to get your attention, then giving attention is NOT what you want to do. So the function matters. The consequence doesn't have to be punishment, but it needs to be careful and to keep in mind what the kid was trying to accmoplish (the function of the behavior). 

 

I agree, that's the exasperating thing about behaviors like this, that they can be so out of the blue, so different from their personality. Like I have no doubt your kids are sweet and pleasant and all that! My ds can be a real charmer too! And then he can bite you or punch you or... And when he does that it's just very unexpected. So it's not about saying your dc is bad or not nice or not well-trained or well-parented. It's more about figuring out what the *function* is of the behaviors you're seeing, so you can figure out the appropriate response. Not punishment even, but just how to respond. 

 

At least that's where I'm at.

 

I know people say physical activity will tame the ADHD. For my ds, it takes the edge off, but it by no means even comes CLOSE to eradicating this problem. Like if you're thinking oh I'll step up such and such, well good luck. My ds can do 3-5 hours of intense sports a day and still have the behaviors. But maybe for your kids the 30-60 minutes of martial arts class or whatever will help. For my ds, they just tone down some of his most challenging sensory seeking behaviors. I jsut wouldn't bank on it, and it shows that even if it helps you still have the winter time problem. That's why we keep swim team and gymnastics and didn't rotate to soccer or other cool things this fall. Swim and gymnastics run year round, even in winter, so I have dependable outlets to meet some of that need. 

 

You worked through Zones with them? Wow, that's great! I'm trying to think if there's something in there that could help you. Zones wants you to do check-ins. Our OT made little key rings with chenille stems and put little pictures with sentences. It makes a flip thing with options to work through. You could make them specifically to fit these behaviors you're dealing with. So like "when I'm frustrated with my bros I can..." and have a ring with like 8 options that he flips through. So then, instead of talking, you hand him the ring. And that's something you can practice every day with all the boys, so when they're in the moment it's a tool they're used to using.

 

That would be a really easy, pro-active solution. 

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LOL, my ds is the same age/size. Actually I haven't weighed him recently. He wants me to measure him tomorrow, so maybe I will! But he's wicked strong. :(  As the behaviorist was pointing out to me, 8 is on their way to puberty. It actually matters that they learn these tools.

 

If he's that impulsive, it might be just putting him on meds or a small amount of caffeine would nip it. For that weight, per what I read lone, you'd be looking at 1/2 an Energem, like just a teeny tiny amount of caffeine.

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To pick up Wendyroo's thought here, the term is escalation. Amazon.com: Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns eBook: Brenda Smith Myles Ph.D., Jack Southwick: Books Apparently this book has a good section on recognizing the signs of escalation. Someone was just telling me about it, so it's on my get it bought and read list.

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Fwiw, what you're describing there is the impulsivity of ADHD. It responds to ADHD meds. And yes, the kids will often have low processing speed. So yes, there's a gap where they might impulsively do things way before they've thought it through and might need extra time to think through things, even when they slow down and try. 

 

 

:iagree:  I immediately thought the same thing.  caedmyn, your words (that Elizabeth referenced) are an excellent description of the impulsivity of ADHD without using the actual term.

 

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I can see if having them state how they're feeling helps at all. The 8 YO makes excuses for himself..."This is what I do when people make me mad."

 

I will look at that Young Peacemaker. We have tried a lot of different programs/books/etc on different character-training topics, though, and the only thing that seems to have made any difference is Zones of Regulation, and it's so dependent on me to constantly remind them and facilitate using it. Sometimes it gets to be too much.

 

I have looked into martial arts. Not sure I can handle the extra driving/trying to get somewhere on time/hauling everybody around right now. If we could find something in the evenings that DH would agree to take just the participating kids to, that would be ideal, but I don't know if that would actually happen.

The Young Peacemaker series is good!

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I have no doubt he has ADHD.  Caffeine is on my list of things to try for both him and DD.  I started them on phosphylated serine (totally butchering the spelling I am sure) today to see if that makes any difference since I already had some.

 

I have not even tried to take the edge of his energy.  I'm not sure I've ever seen him worn out from a day of hard playing or activities...he just doesn't wear down.  I don't have the energy myself to be hauling everybody back and forth to activities every day so he can burn off energy.  I'd like him to run laps up and down our rural street once winter's over, but I'm afraid he'd end up filling the neighbors' mailboxes with weeds or throwing rocks at people's dogs or something.  Maybe he and DD could do it together.

 

Those cue cards are an idea.  I suspect they'd end up taking them apart and scattering them around the house though, or using them as "money", or who-knows-what other than their intended use.  It might be simpler just to choose two go-to activities for him to choose from when he's not in a good zone...would make it easier on me for remembering to remind him anyway.

 

He actually likes running laps, so compliance isn't usually a factor there.  And if he's being aggressive out of frustration, as he often is I think, seems like running would be a good outlet for working off the frustration.  It would be less of a punishment than a "you need something to do with yourself other than hit, so go run".  It's worth a try anyway.  The whole function thing is a little beyond me.  I got a whole book on it a few months ago and it just seemed like a little more than what we need, and more effort to figure out than I have to invest right now.

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You might not be ready to go there yet but meds have helped tremendously here. We see no negative side effects but huge positives. It does give that PAUSE button.

 

I think of it like glasses for a kid that really needs them. Yes, they can function without them but oh, howuch easier it is to function WITH them.

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Our OT recommended push-ups, SLOW push-ups. That way you're getting the heavy work, the sensory input. You can do them inside, in the winter, and they're easier to get compliance on. He might seem to like running (my ds does too!), but in the moment, once he's non-compliant, he might not be so thrilled and compliant about them.

 

That's a lotta behaviors you're dealing with. It takes a while to get meds, even when you decide to do them. Like even if you decided right now to make the move, you'd have 2-4 weeks to get the first ped appt for testing/questionaires/whatever they want, another 4+ weeks possibly for the appt with the ped, and then filling the scrip. In other words, it could take a couple months. 

 

Literally, a lot of what you're describing could come under control with a stimulant med, boom. The first day. And then you could come in with your social thinking, with your perspective taking, with your Peacemakers and cue cards, and he'd be more in a position to learn and be receptive. But right now what you're saying is that he's so off the charts that even when you try these things, he can't receive it.

 

I'm right there with you on the cautious about meds, and I'm living a lot of intensity too. I draw the line at safety, and our providers draw the line both at safety and at whether he's able to receive instruction. When he's not able to receive the help the practitioners (and you!) are trying to give him, that's really over the line. That's showing he can't bring it under control on his own. And maybe his sister or someone else could. Like there are degrees and genders and differences. But it's just the truth that you could literally see a change on the first day of meds. 

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Any techniques you'll want to use in a heated moment (when he's red zone or yellow zone) will need to have been practiced other times when he's green.

 

For me, that's the breakdown. Like I know all this stuff, but then it's backing up and scheduling in the practice of the tools so we use them when he's GREEN enough that he can do them more habitually when he's yellow/red and needs them.

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Please talk to your husband about the distinction between fun rowdy play that is mutually agreed upon with boys in similar size, vs. physically acting out in an aggressive manner when one is angry. There is a huge difference between them and I'm pretty sure he doesn't want his boys to behave aggressively toward others. He needs to think of it as "If a much older child or an adult acted this way toward my child, how would I feel?"

 

To stop the aggressive behavior, you may need to curb the fun wrestling and rowdiness until they are old enough to moderate it and understand when they're getting otu of hand.

 

I'm one who allows a certain amount of physical wrestling and play, but not because one is angry and the kids have to stop when someone is no longer having fun.

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OP not agreeing with your husband, but dh has fond memories of BB gun wars with neighborhood kids. The parents had no idea it was going on.

 

I listened to a very interesting talk at one of the GHC conventions by an author who talked about boys bonding through physical play.

 

I try to give my boys safe opportunities to "fight" within a clear structure that allows them to opt in or out.  I made them pool noodle light sabers that are safe, but wow do they sting if you get whacked hard.  The three rules are 1) as soon as you pick up a light saber, you have to hit yourself hard on the leg to remind yourself of how it feels - if you don't want to risk feeling that, then opt out of the game right then, 2) you never hit anyone who is not holding a light saber and 3) head shots are off limits.

 

I think the light saber fights have been good for my boys.  They have all had opportunities to hurt and be hurt within the structure of a fair fight in which they agreed to participate.  It was like a revelation when my 7 year old suggested to the 5 year old that maybe they could just fight "for fun" but not hit too hard.  I don't think he had ever realized that he could choose how hard to hit/push/squeeze/etc.

 

Wendy

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