Q. What is an appropriate response to a child who hits you or pushes you out of anger and he is 11? When the anger escalates, and you tell him it’s not ok and he still does it? It’s a slippery slope. This same child has also been extremely violent to his brother and knocked his head against the wall. He’s improved a lot over the years, but sometimes this violent behavior still rears its head, and I don’t know what to do except to scream stop. What is an appropriate response?
A. If you are telling your son that his anger and hitting is not ok and he keeps it up, it means he needs you to address something that he has no idea how to articulate. This is what makes parenting the hardest job on the planet. At this point you are reacting to his behavior alone, the tip of the iceberg, what you see on the surface. But the emotional state that is provoking that anger is what needs addressing, and that can be a long gradual process depending on how long this has been going on and how deep his pain.