Strategies pay off, sometimes

Over the last few months, we’ve had a real challenge with our 3yo son, G-, who is a very sensitive fellow. When he gets frustrated, he gets quiet, then he finds a little core of energy inside and thrashes out. He’ll hit, punch, kick, whatever. Not in a flailing maniac sort of way, but just a single act to convey to whomever upset him that he’s not a happy fellow at that moment.
He’s scratched us, thrown things at us, chased me with a stick, and more.
But clearly getting mad at him and/or any physical reaction tends to just feed into the behavior (I know, I’ve tried it once or twice, just restraining him and talking with him quietly).
This evening, however, we tried something slightly different and it seemed to work pretty darn well: when G- got mad at me and went to hit me, Linda just pulled him away and held him gently while talking to him about how “we don’t hit each other in our family” and how he could yell, stomp his feet or otherwise express his unhappiness, but without hurting anyone else. At first it didn’t seem to work as he pulled away from her and kicked me (harumph!) but then it did work, rather miraculously, and the moment passed.
We went through that twice during dinner and both events were little blips on the radar rather than major upsets or traumatic actions.
What a relief to know that we have a strategy that works for this phase. As Linda and I like to talk about, there are “get through” phases and there are “teach them to be different phases” and G- being physically aggressive to express his upset is a definite “get through”. But we have to get through it, and today there’s a glimmer of light. Hurray!

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