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Old 10-01-2007, 02:32 AM   #7
GCM_Sticky
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Default Re: Collected Paste Posts about Biting

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Title: To consequate or not?
Post by: palil on October 02, 2005, 04:03:51 PM
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My ds1 will be 4 in 2 weeks.. my little guy just turned 2. Lately, the 4yo has been way too physical/aggressive... using his body in a hostile/hurftul way when he wants to make a point, protect his territory.. when he's upset, etc. Stuff like leaning on/laying on or squashing his brother when they are fighting over a toy, and biting him hard enough to take a dental impression from the mark. (and to be fair, he is often provoked. I try hard to protect his space, teach cooperation, keep them busy, etc. but sometimes they just irritate each other. :P ) Just now he thought little brother was drinking from a dirty cup (he wasn't) and when I walked in the dining room he was digging his fingers/nails into his arm while saying "it's OLD!" (trying to make him put it down). Here's how we've addressed aggression in the past:

We teach him to use words instead of his body, and we've tried lots of different phrasing. Last night dh told him when he feels like biting to say "Mommy, I feel like biting L. HELP ME!"

We teach him to make ammends when he does hurt.

If he hurts over a toy, brother gets it or it goes away.

He frequently has to take a break when he hurts, or I direct him to a solitary activity to cool down when he's being aggressive. (that's our version of you hit-you sit)

So here's the new question: When an incident occurs, and I come on the scene, he immediately "repents" and says he's sorry... gives his brother kisses.. says he won't do it again. In the past, I've let him return to play once he makes it right, takes a break, talks about it... whatever. Now, though... I have a lot of mixed up thoughts about this new trend. Help me sort them out, please?

1) I don't want to assume negative intent. However, there's a little part of me that feels like "he's learned that all he has to do is say he's sorry and then there will be no consequences" then he just does it again the next time he feels like it. :/ I hate to think that way. Is that a relic of my punitive background?

2) On the flip side, I feel like if he makes things right with brother, and I then enforce a consequence anyway after the fact, that I am moving toward being punitive again.... consequating just b/c "that's the rule" or it's the SOP or just for the sake of consequating b/c I'm upset that he hurt his brother ... making him "pay" for what he did even though he's resolved it. After all, if they have resolved it, and I consequate anyway, isn't that just adding something on?

NOTE: if the offense is repeated within a short timespan, I have no hesitation in restricting his play for a while, limiting his contact with his brother, etc. b/c I feel like he's clearly showing me that he's not in a place where he can control himself and his body. Also, we teach him that sorry means you don't do it again, or sorry means you act differently next time, so if that's not happening, I'm not going to keep encouraging him to go through the motions when the words have clearly become just words. It's with the isolated incidents that I'm wavering on how to handle it, and I'm also trying to judge "how often is too often" where I feel it's appropriate for me to enforce some limitations even though he's done his part to make the last offense right.

Right now.. for example. He just bit his brother--less than half an hour after the incident at the table. So I have them separated doing stuff. No uncertainty about whether that's appropriate, but is a consequence called for here?

Thoughts? Suggestions? This has been so bad the last couple of weeks.

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Title: Re: To consequate or not?
Post by: Joanne on October 02, 2005, 04:22:49 PM
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{{{hugs}}}

Your punitive culture and thinking is showing.

He's *little*. Yes, he's bigger than 2, but he's *little*. You need to do more. Of the same you've been doing. :P I agree with everything in your post except the consideration of additional consequences.

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Title: Re: To consequate or not?
Post by: MarynMunchkins on October 02, 2005, 05:25:53 PM
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Sounds like he hit that testerone surge. Lots and lots of outside time helps a little.

I think Joanne is right. (as usual ) Just more of the same, more often. He'll get the hang of it.

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Title: Re: To consequate or not?
Post by: palil on October 02, 2005, 07:33:50 PM
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ok. thank. I pretty much "knew" that what I was feeling was off. Just needed some reassurance that I wasn't being permissive.

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