Need Help to stop child from hitting me
Has anyone had luck with stopping their adopted child from hitting them? My adopted son is almost 5 years old and has been with us for almost 1 1/2 years. He hits me (Mom) when he gets mad. I have tried everything from ignoring it to timeouts and nothing has worked. He feels like he can do it and shows no remorse for the fact that he punches Mommy.

Any thoughts?


My thoughts are that you stop allowing it. If a child that age raised a hand toward me, it would never make contact. I would grab the arm, spin the kid(don't twist his arm-that would hurt him)put him on the floor in front of me in a hold. I would look him very square in the eye and let him no that he was NEVER to hit mommy. He'd know clearly that mommy would keep him from hurting her, himself, or anyone else. He'd stay there until he calmed down and apologized. He would then owe mommy some age appropriate chore for hitting.

If you are opposed to any kind of holding, child is removed to his room until calm. He then would need to tell me why he'd been in trouble, apologize, and do an age appropriate chore.

The fists hurt a great deal more at 16. It needs to stop now.
Not only is Lucy right about how it will be worse when he is older, but eventually he will hit others not just you. Other kids at school, cousins, other kids in the neighborhood, his wife, his kids.
I always used the grabbing the hand method as well and the very firm NO, we do not hit and never, ever, ever let them get what they want when they try hitting. If we say it's time for bed and they want to stay up and watch tv and hit, the TV is off and the child is carried to bed instantly. If they are in a store and want something and you said no, and they hit, pick them up and carry them out of the store. Go back later when dh can watch him, or when he calm, but do not buy any treats or toys for the child. If you were going to go to the park and he wants go sooner and hits, you cancel the trip to the park all together, even if you have to call someone you were meeting. He needs to learn that not only does hitting not get him what he wants, it gets him unpleasent consequences and loss of things he wants.
Thank you for your responses. I fully realize what will happen when he gets older and I can no longer carry him or hold him to stop the hitting. That is what scares me. We find ourselves wondering often if we have made a terrible mistake in adopting him. We were told that he was this sweet boy that we would need to bring out of his shell and his is not that at all. I fear of what the future brings when 1 1/2 years with us has made some improvements, but not enough. We definitely do not reward him for that behavior, but he does not seem to care. When we try to talk to him he just screams and will not listen. If we are home when this happens, we send him to his room to calm down and then try to get him to tell us why he was sent there. We do not always have much luck with getting an answer.

Thanks again for your input.

I agree wholeheartedly with both Lucy and Lorraine. You must NEVER allow that to happen. You can control your five year old but when he gets to be a teenager it will be a different story. My nephew beat his father up so badly he ended up in the hospital with severe head injuries.

I would say, do the hold on him even if you have always believed you would never do such a thing. Kids are kids and they need to have someone in charge. They need to learn to respect authority and the sooner the better.

You might want to consider having him evaluated by a therapist who has experience with adopted children. He may have a lot of anger that he doesn 't know how to express and so he is using hitting. It's common for mom to be the recipient of pent up anger. Also some good attachment books might help give you some tips.
I was also going to ask if you have been seeking any therapy for him. It sounds like this is something you absolutely have to pursue. It is no reflection on your parenting skills to seek outside help.
We have been seeing someone for a while now. It has helped some, but has not corrected the situation. We try their strategies with some that work and others that do not. We have also read soooo many attachment books that they all seem to blend together at this point.

Thanks again.

I would only add that we were not ALLOWED to "hold" our M in any way when she was violent, not even to stop her from hitting us (you don't need to tell me its ridiculous) I realize that your son is adopted so, you may no longer be under the watchful eye of an agency/county. But, in our county, we would have needed special written permission and training from our child's therapist to use any sort of hold since we are a "basic" level home (ahem.).
athikers said...
I would only add that we were not ALLOWED to "hold" our M in any way when she was violent, not even to stop her from hitting us (you don't need to tell me its ridiculous) I realize that your son is adopted so, you may no longer be under the watchful eye of an agency/county. But, in our county, we would have needed special written permission and training from our child's therapist to use any sort of hold since we are a "basic" level home (ahem.).

When my 4 yr old fd used to have tantrums, the safest place for her where she would not hurt herself was in her bedroom - I would stand inside the door, not giving her any communication until she had calmed down (I used to stay with her to make sure she didn't harm herself in anyway). During these times she often used to hit/kick me and when she did, I would step outside the room, shutting the door so she could still see me but not touch me until she had calmed down a bit, then would go back into the room. My SW told me she did not agree with me leaving the room but I said I didn't feel it was right to stand there and let her kick/hit me as this gave her a very wrong message - I therefore asked my SW for some other methods I could use since she didn't approve - she couldn't give me any!! I spoke with the child's SW about what I was doing and she didn't bat an eyelid! so I continued with my method and soon the kicking/hitting stopped.
What did you do when this happened in a public place? My son is doing it more and more in public settings and it is difficult as he is already making a horrible scene.
When my son was young and we had major, major tantrums, if we were out, I would leave the store we were in and we would go sit in the car. (a few times we went home, but he seemed to like to throw them when I had driven an hour to get to a bigger store, as we live in a very small town) I would fasten him into his carseat and get into the front and start the car, and turn the radio up. Sometimes we just sat there and sometimes I drove around. (if a lot of people were staring at us) When he calmed down we tried again. But when he started again, we would just leave the cart and walk out right away, sometimes the shock would be enough to calm him down before we got very far. After a while just asking him if he needed to go to the car was enough.
I agree with all the above advice and here's one more ... Next time you are going somewhere, surprise your little tantrum thrower with a babysitter ... no warning, just smile at him and tell him you are not sure he is strong enough to manage not to have a tantrum at the store ... and then be SURE and return home eating an ice cream cone or some other PERK for those who CAN maintain themselves. When you do decide to give him a chance, go on to the store but have your babysitter on notice so if (read: when) he does test you again, you are prepared. He leaves the store with the sitter, you go for ice cream.
One of the biggest mistakes I've made in parenting is NOT calling the police when a child does something illegal. I always want to be the good mommy and deal with it myself. That was a big mistake. When my adoptive son was six yrs old (now 10 yrs old) he was hitting and kicking me, and I was advised to call the police. I had a letter from his therapist stating the he was RAD and that RAD kids often make false allegations of abuse. With this in hand, I called the police and told them what was going on and asked them if they had an officer who was knowledgeable in the games that RAD kids play. They sent a wonderful man named Officer Black, who's name still brings a look of respect and surrender to my son's face. Officer Black was wonderful in deed... walking in to my son's bedroom a towering six feet of authority and in a booming voice asked him, "What's going on here son?" He told my son what the law was regarding violence, as well as what a great Mom he thought I was, and that he would not tolerate my being physically abused for as long as he was on the force. My son believed him and it ended that problem. He finds other ways of lashing out, but no more physical violence. I also told him that if he ever hurts my dog or cat, I will call the police again, as it is illegal... and I will.
I tried calling the police that ended in a horrible phone conversation claiming the police were not there to coparent. I was informed that if they came out I would be the one in trouble, I should either learn to parent my kids or send them back to fostercare.

ANother time in public I had the police called to intervene with a dogooder screaming I was abusing my child. I had to hold her in a restraint on the floor to protect myself and other children. The officers that came out were fantastic and once I showed them the letter I carry from their therapist they competely understood.

My son is violent and does a run up and kick me thing that is knows will get him to be held. I swear that is is goal when he is feeling out of control.
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