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Old 05-18-2011, 01:59 PM   #1
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Is this overboard?

My 5 year old son "attacked" my 3 year old son. What I mean is, he started hitting him. He hit him several times, at least 3, with his fist. This isn't normal for him, but he is a 5 year old boy with a 3 year old brother. Sometimes they hit each other. I always send them for time-out in their room when they do. Anyway, I was a bit mortified by how aggressive he got. His brother was annoying him, but it's not like his little brother was attacking him and he needed to defend himself. He should have walked away and come to me. So, I immediately sent him to his room and told him he would have to stay there for the afternoon, meaning till dad gets home. It's not that dad is going to "punish" him. It is just a tangible time for him and signifies the end of the afternoon to me. At the most, he will be in there for 2 hrs, but probably less. My husband gets home between 5 and 5:30. I want him to realize this is a BIG deal and absolutely not acceptable. The customary 10 minutes or so really didn't seem like enough. Is this too long? And, if it is not a strong enough consequence, please feel free to tell me that too. He is 5.5. He is my oldest.

ETA - I just wanted to add that I did go up and talk to him about it and about why it was wrong and how he should have handled it differently. But, I let the punishment stand for now.

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Old 05-18-2011, 02:11 PM   #2
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Hmmm, I've told 5yo dd this but never followed through. It was before lunch and dh doesn't get home until 5:30 so that was way too long. My only problem with extended room time is that dd seems to end up happy to lay in bed and sing to herself. I would love to hear any tips you get. My 5.5 yo goes between terrorizing my 2.5 yo ( doesn't always hurt her but gets very threatening and in her face) to loving her and smoochie smoochie facing her.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:17 PM   #3
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Re: Is this overboard?

I agree 10 minutes probably isn't enough for him to get that it was a big deal, but I think 2 hours is a little overkill. I only say that because after probably 30 minutes, he's probably going to forget about what happened and find something else to occupy himself for the next hour and a half.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:48 PM   #4
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Re: Is this overboard?

I would say that time in his room is more for your benefit than his- he can't cause more problems with his brother to compound your frustration with the intial fighting. My son is the same age- and that really wouldn't be much punishment for him as he enjoys time alone in his room.

If it were me (and this does happen at our house- I have a 5.5, almost 4, and 2 year old boys), I would have separated my oldest for a significant amount of time to his room, said no Mario Kart (our standing rule- no game for the day if you hurt your brother), and then I would have went in to talk and role play the situation to get the right action and words in his head. I always hope that next time, he'll think twice...but it's always in the heat of the moment that big actions like hitting and pushing come into play. Consistency and maturity will help to curb the behaviors (right????!!??)

Oh, and he would have had to apologize to his brother.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:52 PM   #5
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Re: Is this overboard?

I think having a conversation with him will have more of a lasting effect than sending him to his room for an hour or two. Talk about his feelings, why he hit his brother, why that isn't a acceptable response to his feelings, how it hurts people. Encourage him to empathize (or sympathize if his brother or friends have ever hit him.) Then talk about ways he could learn to control the impulse to hit, better ways he could have handled the situation, and what he can do next time instead.
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #6
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Re: Is this overboard?

I make my kids stay with me, when they're in trouble. If I'm on the computer, they have to sit at my feet or on the couch, if I'm in the kitchen cooking, they have to sit out of the way, if I'm doing laundry, they have to sit on the step down to our laundry room. And they have to help without fussing (like, can you fold this towel, get me the butter, etc) or their time gets extended. I never send them to their rooms because they would like nothing better than to sit and read or play.

Now, this is just how my girls are, but this is the WORST punishment I could inflict! TEEHEE! Sit and watch mommy cook/do laundry/clean bathroom. And yes, they have to follow me around as I move throughout the house. And of course after the intial fussing and crying, we talk about why that's not okay.
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:15 PM   #7
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Re: Is this overboard?

Not overboard at my house. Not even close. I'm sure that there are interesting things for him to do in his room that won't get him into trouble.

When my younger two (4 and almost 3) get squabbly or too physical with each other, I will separate them. The main offender gets sent to their room and the other one has to stay in the playroom. They've had to stay separated for 3 hours like this before. (there was a snack break and a potty break)

It's ok to make your point with him. It's also ok if that point keeps him out of more trouble, too. Send him away for an hour, he comes back and repeats the offense and then what?

ETA: Or do what Aleta suggested. I do that with them for lying and it's the.worst.punishment.ever.
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:35 PM   #8
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Re: Is this overboard?

Thanks everyone! Oh good. I'm glad it wasn't overboard. I feel like sometimes I don't know what is age appropriate with my oldest because I haven't been through it before.

For him, he does have toys and books in his room. Plus, I brought him some crayons and mazes/dot to dot and the like. I also gave him his snack. But, honestly, he really doesn't like being isolated to his room. For him, it definitely is a punishment. He also was supposed to go out to dinner with Dad tonight. (He takes each child out separately periodically.) He isn't going to be allowed to go. My husband is going to take his brother instead. (Because he brother is next in line, not because he was the one hit.) The older one will go out next week. He won't get to miss entirely, just postpone.

I already talked to him, but we don't feel talking is enough. I want to send a clear and strong message that we do not hit people, especially over and over.

That is a great idea making your kids stay with you all day. I'll have to try that.
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:35 PM   #9
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I think it sounds good! I've done that before and it made an impression! I'd stick to it.
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Old 05-18-2011, 04:13 PM   #10
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Re: Is this overboard?

I think you did an excellent job with that situation. I see so many older children who have never had to face consequences and it is not good.
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