It’s important that your son receives an evaluation by a mental health professional. It’s unusual for a child to be as aggressive as you have described. His violence might be stemming from issues of which you are currently unaware. An evaluation might uncover the root of the problem.
The evaluating mental health professional may suggest family therapy. Family therapy might be the most appropriate treatment for this problem. A family therapist can interview family members, assess the family dynamic and provide you with parenting advice regarding the discipline of your children.
It’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. You stated that you need suggestions about how to handle his behavior “before someone gets hurt” but your daughter and your family pets have already been hurt by your son. At this point, his behavior is too much for you to handle without professional help.
Ask your pediatrician for a referral to a mental health professional for an evaluation. You may also want to consider reading parenting books that focus on behavior modification. Behavior modification is characterized by an authoritative parenting style and providing the appropriate reinforcement or punishment of behavior. Education coupled with professional intervention should assist you in gaining control over your son’s behavior. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog