Deescalating my son's violent behaviour — Scope | Disability forum

Deescalating my son's violent behaviour

hettie74 Member Posts: 1 Listener
I am absolutely at my wits end with my son’s violent behaviour. CAMHS have said he doesn’t meet criteria for ADHD or Autismhowever they have considered a second opinion.  It is mostly at bedtime he is just exceptionally violent throwing things punching, kicking biting head butting etc and he blames us for it. We are only trying to get him ready for bed. He is also not great at shops and can become violent very quickly while out shopping. I would like some advice on how to deescalate his violent behaviour. I’m absolutely terrified of him. He is 7 but as strong as an ox. Thank you in advance.


  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Member Posts: 7,945 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @hettie74 welcome to the community! 

    Sorry to hear this. I cannot advise as I have no experience however some members of our community have and I am sure they will be more than happy to get in contact with you to offer support and advice.

    Let us know if we can help you further :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,674 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @hettie74
    That sounds really tough, this information is from the Family Lives Website, you can read more here.

    Managing aggression in your children

    It is important to try and set some time aside to find out if they are struggling with this, it might not be easy for them to open up straight away and you may have to keep approaching them gently until they can open up.  You might want to leave a book for them to write their feelings in if they do find it hard to talk.  If they are not much of a writer, maybe give them a memory stick and they can store their thoughts digitally. Let them know that you love them very much and are there for them but need them to meet you halfway.  You can ask them questions that will help them to explore their anger, like how it makes them feel when they hit that point, how it makes them feel after, etc.

    Feeling angry and upset at times is natural and acceptable and most people do at some point or another, so let your child know this.  Try to acknowledge their feelings, but set limits: "I know you feel angry, but I don’t want to see any hitting; biting; shouting or swearing."

    Keep a diary so you can write down the incidents as there may be a pattern and note down the triggers.  Are there particular events that set your child off? If you start to see when, you can sometimes work out why.

    If children see problems solved with raised voices or fists, they learn to follow suit. If you want to stop a child being violent, you may first have to address what is happening around them, it may be difficult to explore this but if there is conflict in your family life or perhaps communication is often through shouting, they may have learned this behaviour.

    Learn how to defuse an angry situation. Lower your voice instead of shouting and look them in the eye.  Talk with and listen to your child when they’re calm. Look at why they might be feeling bad before looking at what they may do to control their behaviour.

    You can’t wave a magic wand and vanish away a child’s unhappy feelings. What you can do is help them learn how to manage what they do about them. So encourage them to say, "I feel angry/left out/put down", instead of hitting out.

    It isn’t easy loving or showing affection for a child who is being hurtful. But they need to be shown that they are acceptable. Separate who they are from what they do by saying, "I love you and always will, but I don’t love what you’re doing."

    Be positive and praise them when they do well. Blaming, shaming, or punishing children can make them feel worse about themselves and so even more aggressive.

    Further support

    Coping with a potentially violent child is very challenging and no parent should expect to have to do this alone.  You can get support from us directly from one of our family support workers through the Family Lives Helpline on 0808 800 2222.  You can also speak to your GP, Health Visitor, School Nurse or even your child’s teacher.

    Senior online community officer