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Please help! Everytime my 8yr old son gets mad, he will hit us hard. How do we get him to break this habit???

I dont understand why he is acting this way to me or my bf. He will also lash out toward other kids at daycare. My bf is very involved in his life and so am I. It seems when he is tired he acts this way but that's still no excuse. His father is not involved very much in his life, come and go basis on visits. What should I do??????


Asked by hazeleyezmommy at 9:02 PM on May. 18, 2013 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 12 (893 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • That means becoming aware of how so much of our habitual ways of communicating with kids unintentionally but routinely negate & deny feelings. Invalidating them in this way escalates situations that otherwise wouldn't have to unfold in this way. If we focus solely on stopping the behavior, then we're yet again missing how our own responses & patterns contribute to the situation.
    Two good books that explore these aspects of communication are Parent Effectiveness Training (P.E.T.) by Thomas Gordon and How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber & Mazlish. These are easy to find in public libraries.
    Shifting your patterns of correcting, and your habitual ways of handling conflict situation & limit-setting, will do the most to resolve the issue of his feelings, whatEVER the immediate trigger. It will just improve your dynamic! You also will get a clearer idea if there is something specific amiss.

    Answer by girlwithC at 12:48 PM on May. 19, 2013

  • Anything new going on in your life? Has there been any changes going on? I agree with M-avi that you need to find out why he is acting out. Talk to him and see if something is going on at school. Be consistent with punishments. Have a consequence and enforce it every time.

    Answer by kmath at 9:11 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • It sounds like aggression. You need to figure out WHY he's acting like that.

    Answer by m-avi at 9:08 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • How are you disciplining him? Does he suffer consequences for his actions? I'd take away whatever is important to him, the next time he acts out & make him earn it back.

    Answer by 3libras at 9:05 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I agree with M-avi. He's angry and you need to figure out why. Has he always done this or is it a new thing? What has changed in his life, however small. How long have you and your boyfriend been together and how long has your boyfriend been an authority figure?

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 9:12 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I would do more than just send him to his room. Maybe some physical labor to help get his aggression out. Picking up sticks in the yard or something.

    Answer by kmath at 9:17 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • As far as "big picture," recognize that the behavior signals an existing issue & respond in a way that addresses it. You don't have to answer all the Why's if you recognize THAT it's happening for a reason, and respond to that generally. It's emotional--anger, frustration, grief/loss, helplessness (etc.) Recognizing that his behavior "acts out" how he feels inside puts you on the right track.

    I would encourage you to respond (overall) in a way that addresses his anger & alienation, and builds/strengthens your relationship. A behavioral focus undermines your connection. When you focus on the behavior instead of the underlying causes, you do "whatever works" to stop the behavior (typically punishment, consequences.) But focusing on stopping the behavior with punishment WON'T help resolve the anger issues, and just creates more of the feelings that drive the behavior. Don't focus on the symptom instead of addressing the problem!

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:25 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • I agree that the bottom line is you need to find out where the aggression is coming from. But I also agree that a consequence involving physical work might help him get his aggression out. Shoveling snow, raking leaves, even running up and down the stairs several times, or jumping jacks, would give his immediate rage somewhere to go.

    Answer by Ballad at 10:36 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • What are the consequences for his hitting? How are you disciplining?

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 9:04 PM on May. 18, 2013

  • Jinxs, prissy.

    Answer by 3libras at 9:05 PM on May. 18, 2013