Help, your child just slapped you, fact or fiction. By Now I am sure that you have seen this video and probably had some type of reaction to it. Well, good or bad this issue has to be discussed. I am sure you are now seeing the numerous media blitz about “child abuse” so corporal punishment may soon be a thing of the past. Is this young man mentally ill or just “acting-out?” Well this would be a very difficult question to answer without doing a clinical assessment. Let’s take another quick peak at the video.
How did you feel immediately after he slapped his mother? Did you feel sympathy or anger, or both? What would you have done in this case? What you immediate react with corporal punishment, place him in time-out or call child protective? Those are just a few appropriate options but I would surmise that right now you are saying a few more “choice” words. Here is the thing, sometimes from the outside looking-in , we can have very different perspectives of what “reality really is to the parent/child in distress.”
1. This is most probably NOT his first “act of aggression” of this young man towards his mother.
2. There are certainly some boundary issues between the young student and his mother.
3. A serious clinical intervention is needed or someone may get hurt in the near or distant future.
4. The mother’s current interventions and processes are probably vulnerable.
5. There is a need for a “quick clinical intervention.”
I know that many of you feel that I am attempting to be politically correct. However, it should be appreciated that most probably this is not the first “conflict” the two of them have had in the more recent past. Listen to what he actually says, “your not the boss of me.” Children mimic behaviors and I would have to ask mom where did this child get permission to physically put hands on adult, in particular her-his mother? I would next venture to ask him , “What made you feel that comfortable to hit your mother, in the face or on any part of the body? ” The responses to these two questions is probably where my therapeutic interventions would began in the simplest case. There are three areas I would work-in: 1) Parent-Child relations; 2) Understanding Boundaries in the home and school; and 3) Defining “domestic violence.'” I would imagine that you would probably want more aggressive interventions but there has to be a drill down before jumping right-in.
Differential Diagnosis to consider:
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Intermittant Explosive Disorder
It is very important to gain access to as much clinical dat as possible before jumping in to aggressive with a treatment plan. This is cardinal and the hallmark of psychiatric care.