How much self control can an 8-year-old be expected to show under physical and psychological provocation.
I separated from my ex wife about 4 years ago. My son has been living with her for around the same period. He has developed a very violent reaction towards her, her mother and her new partner. Biting, kicking and hitting.
I've asked him why he does it, he says that they are mean to him all the time and hit him.
He doesn't display any of this behaviour with me. Even when he stays with me for consecutive weeks I never see any behaviour that I would consider abnormal for an 8-year-old. Sometimes he doesn't listen but he is never violent.
He was never violent or angry when I was living with him full time before the separation. However I often had to intervene between him and his mother when we were all living together as they would argue like two children instead of like a parent and a child. This would leave him very wound up and frustrated but I always used to take him out of the situation, now I'm obviously not there to do that.
I worry he is being put in extremely provocative situations and isn't emotionaly mature enough to know how to deal with them. I've tried telling him if he is feeling angry he needs to leave the situation but I don't know what I should expect him to be able to do at his age.