Question from Member A: 

Hi Rachel! I have a question about aggression (mostly hitting/kicking/throwing objects that hurt). I haven’t been sure how to do this without adding to my kid’s yuck in an unproductive way.

Previously with any discipline it was like he took it personally. He genuinely felt hurt by it. In the removing sibling conflict training it says the exception to staying calm is aggression. Does this mean that when my son (almost 5yo) is being aggressive it’s okay to put him in his room and close the door? I’ve been doing this since as calmly and as lovingly as I can since I saw the training. I say, “Isaac I’m putting you in your room until you can cool off because we cannot hit. When you have calmed down let me know and we can talk about it.” And then I’ve been waiting close by. After a varying amount of time he emerges a different kid, apologizes and we’re all happier.

I’m also working desperately to keep him stimulated enough that the aggression doesn’t start to begin with, because he seems to do it a lot out of boredom. But I wanted to make sure it’s not bad parenting/cruel/contributing to yuck to remove him to his room when he’s aggressive. Also we lock the door so I feel a little weird about that.

Reply from Member B: I have the same question! I’ve recently started employing the same tactic for hitting with my 3 YO and it seems to do the trick in the moment but I doubt myself every time I do it.

Reply from Rachel: IMO you can stop doubting yourself. Allowing him to cool off in a safe space is a great idea!

The key is to get him there before you get too angry so you can get him there with firmness and respect instead of anger/control.

Reply from Member C: We are
Going through this same thing. I’m curious what Rachel says.
Our aba therapist says that if the are in the escalation phase or yuck you make sure they are safe and can’t throw anything. Which I think is what Rachel says as well. We also started a behavior plan. One when he is being good and kind he gets a check mark after 5 he gets a reward. He also has one st the end of the day and if he gets 5 or less aggressions ( he doesn’t know the amount) then he gets a token. After 4 he gets a bigger item.

The main thing is you want to keep track of the antecedents or the trigger. What happens right before the aggression. Is it control-, denier access? But are they also hungry or tried or over stimulated

Reply from Rachel: Yes… Being proactive can reduce this behavior a lot!

Reply from Member A: Yes – I think we have control issues stemming from some of the parenting happening in our house, which we are also working on. That and under-stimulation. Thank you for this reminder! I’ll keep an eye out for what else is happening right before. ?

Reply from Member C: good luck!
I know it’s hard! It got worse for a bit bc he wasn’t used to us being stern and not caving but it’s slowly getting better. I’m glad we have each other and Rachel to help!

Reply from Member A: Yes exactly. I have given in WAY too much so I’m learning to be more consistent and not let him get away with stuff. My biggest struggle is keeping my energy up enough to deal with him as he needs to be dealt with. ?Thanks for your support!

Reply from Member C: Again I’m also curious what Rachel says but if you child has a safe area to finish the the cycle that will help

Reply from Rachel: yes yes yes!! Absolutely it’s OK to put them in their room when they’re in Yuck — especially when they’re being aggressive. At that point they need a safe space to calm down.

Ideally you’re doing it the way you described (GO YOU!) — being on his side rather than against him. Remember, you can be firm and respectful at the same time, which is basically putting him in his room, staying close by, and showing him that he’s safe.

What you said is fine. You could also say, “We’re going to your room so everyone stays safe. You’re safe too. I’ll be right on the other side of this door.” (And then you don’t have to say much more because he can’t actually hear you at that point… He simply senses your energy and categorizes you instinctively as “friend” or “foe.” That’s why, ideally, you’re not doing this in anger but with firmness and respect.)

I also love that you are working more proactively to meet his need FIRST so this behavior doesn’t happen to begin with. Brilliant, Mama!

Reply from Member A: Thank you! Your trainings have helped so much. And the nugget about him categorizing as friend or foe is HUGE HUGE HUGE!!!!! In connection to the control issues mentioned above I think we get SO much farther with my son when we discipline as a friend, and his dad has a very hard time staying in friend mode. He tends to go straight into foe/conflict/head-butting mode and it ramps up yuck.

Reply from Rachel: Yup… What we really want to do is to be a respectful authority!
If we want them to keep their cool when things aren’t going their way, we want to show them that WE can keep OUR cool when things aren’t going our way. ?