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Old 09-24-2007, 08:40 PM
Location: Between Here and There
3,684 posts, read 10,842,736 times
Reputation: 1650


Here's the story:

This afternoon my five year old was playing in the yard, I was there as well. All our dogs were out and I was dealing with one of the smaller ones that got her head stuck in the fence (it was a crazy day for sure). He was riding a fisher price trike up and down the hill. My lab was at the bottom of the hill off to the side of where he was riding, not in his way. Suddenly she starts to cry and roll and I look to see my son right next to her on the trike. I asked him if he hit her...he doesn't answer. I ask again (while running down the hill) and he still doesn't answer. The dog is 10 1/2 years old...she gave up chasing the boys around last year when she blew out her knee and had surgery to fix it...so I know she didn't run in front of her and he was way off the path of a straight line from top to bottom of the hill (the dog was right in front of the big tree we have and that is not where my son rides). He finally admits that he did indeed hit her and it was the trike's fault...because it gives him really bad luck.

The dog can't walk...she weighs 90 lbs...I can't lift her. My husband has to come home early bring her to the vet and $1000 later she has a fractured leg. Now I have to recoup her which is long an stressful and not to mention she was in a lot of pain from this.

Here's the problem:

I am incredibly angy at my son for doing this. He has poor impulse control. I am sure he did it on purpose. I am also sure he didn't hurt the dog on purpose, but just thought "Oh lets ride at the dog and see what happens." But still he knows better than to do things that may hurt the dogs. I know I have to forgive him, but every time I see my lab, I get angry again.

Help! He's only five and I shouldn't be this mad at him, but I am. What do I do?

Old 09-24-2007, 09:03 PM
Location: Texas
8,668 posts, read 19,920,136 times
Reputation: 21277
Well, this probably doesn't help much, but for what it's worth I would be angry too. As you said, however, he is only five and doesn't really connect actions with consequences as much as maybe we would like yet. Did you talk to him and/or discipline him for what happened? Even at five, they are able to be taught that what they did was wrong and why.

Sorry you had such an awful day, irish!
Old 09-24-2007, 09:10 PM
Location: Lovelock, NV - Anchorage, AK
1,195 posts, read 4,914,946 times
Reputation: 463
I would make him cater to the dog I know he is only five so you can only give him the responsibilty of what five year old can do. You need to let him know your upset and that he needs to take care of the dog cuz he hurt it.
Old 09-24-2007, 09:23 PM
12 posts, read 36,874 times
Reputation: 15
Being as you didn't actually see it happen.... it could have been an accident. he may have lost a little control of the bike and gotten off his normal path and couldn't stop in time. Did you give him time to explain what happened.... or were you just so angry the only thing you would give him a chance to say was that he did it??
Old 09-24-2007, 09:46 PM
Location: Pasadena, CA
145 posts, read 466,405 times
Reputation: 177
I too would be shocked to have my child do something like this. I could only imagine how hard it is to love someone so much and yet be so mad. If this is not his usual behavior you could try grounding him. Taking away all toys and leaving him only 'thinking things' like books, paper and drawing supplies will still give him activities but mellow ones. I did this with our 4 yr. old daughter when we'd had an issue. For each day of positive behavior she earned the use of a favorite toy. Negative behavior would add a day of punishment or an extra group of sentences. Each day she copied a sentence pertaining to what she'd done wrong 10 times (sometimes I think that little people are overwhelmed with stimuli, become more impulsive and act out). For us this method worked as a kind of re-booting by paring down our daughter's environment and slowly adding things back. It also let her have some control by earning the things she valued with good behavior. Your son could also help in the extra care for the dog and learn that dogs and other creatures have feelings too. As an example if the dog limps then put a pebble in his shoe to illustrate the dogs discomfort by walking a little bit. You obviously have a home that respects and well cares for animals. With all of that love an compassion I'm sure he'll learn to be more thoughtful. Take Care and Good luck.
Old 09-24-2007, 11:04 PM
Location: Da Parish
1,127 posts, read 4,447,432 times
Reputation: 985
Just a few thoughts...

1. Take the "bad luck" bike and put it away until it becomes "good luck" and never hurts
another dog again. (develops the sense of concequence for an action)

2. Ask the boy how he would feel if you came at him with a bike and broke his leg.
(develops empathy)

3. Let the child see that you are upset/sad that the dog is hurt; let him know that the
dog is a member of the family and that you are upset/sad that the dog is hurting and
in pain. (you are modeling how someone feels when an animal is hurt)

Your anger is justified and there is no need to feel bad about it at this point. Your anger is showing the child that what he has done is unacceptable. Let him know you are angry, but don't brow beat him over the incident. Give him the opportunity to redeem himself by having him spoil the dog more than usual. Five year olds seek/need approval from their parents so you have lots of influence at this time in his life. We've all lost our minds as children at one point or another (made sister jump from roof once) this too shall pass. Sorry you and yours are having a bad day; best wishes.
Old 09-24-2007, 11:18 PM
Location: New Mexico
631 posts, read 2,105,713 times
Reputation: 325
Tuff one.
You'd almost think your kid was evil.
But reading Drouzin's post it makes complete sense.
He screwed up with his little mind. Have compassion and teach it again. He'll get it.
Old 09-25-2007, 03:43 AM
Location: In the sunshine on a ship with a plank
3,413 posts, read 7,836,441 times
Reputation: 2214
Wow, Irishmom, I feel for you. When I try to put myself in your shoes I'm at a loss and in pondering a solution, I just want to cry for your situation.

Drouzin's post has some great advice. I might add some counseling to that. Maybe it's overboard, but you hear so many stories of issues later in life starting with cruelty to animals.

On the other hand, he is only five. But when I was five I knew better- and I think my son did too. I'm sure you know him well enough to know if he feels genuine remorse for his actions. I would certainly not buy the excuse about the tricycle and would restrict him from any and all fun activities and toys until he admits what he did and why.

And even if counseling isn't necessary, a call to your pediatrician might be in order for a professional opinion.

Your family is in my prayers.
Old 09-25-2007, 04:09 AM
Location: Happy in Utah
1,224 posts, read 2,941,784 times
Reputation: 901
I can understand why you are mad, he should help with the recovery of the dog, sorry about your day.
Old 09-25-2007, 07:50 AM
Location: Between Here and There
3,684 posts, read 10,842,736 times
Reputation: 1650
Thank you all for posting. Your advice really helped me put my anger in perspective. I do think it was on purpose, but not intended to hurt the dog...my son does have poor impulse control and I have thought at times he may be ADHD but was told he is too young for a definitive diagnosis at this age. I may opt to have him tested or to seek some counseling...probably more for me than him...to make sure I am doing the right thing in how I handle situations. My anger did difuse and I am able to deal with my son again, but being that angry at him really was a shock for me. I did punish him and he did make nice with my lab. He has obviously been processing the situation in his little mind because he is talking a lot about how poor Lucy got hurt by that bad luck trike...at least it's a start. He's my challenge kid for sure.

As for my lab she is splinted and on pain meds and is fine unless she has to move. I am able to get her in and out of the house with a sling so at least I'm able to deal with it.

Again thanks for all your support and advice.
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