To ask if this is normal in a 6 year old

(61 Posts)
Thepowerof3 Tue 06-Aug-13 09:56:16

My 6 year old still has tantrums, screaming and crying (not usually in public) she is my eldest so am I BU to ask if other six year olds do this as I would've thought she would've grown out of it by now but obviously she hasn't and I'm driven to distraction

noobieteacher Tue 06-Aug-13 09:58:05

what do you do when she tantrums - can you ignore it?

Mine only does that when over hungry.

Thepowerof3 Tue 06-Aug-13 10:00:00

I try to ignore it but sometimes it so extreme I put her on her bed to calm down safely and partly because it makes me feel so wound up and angry and I don't want to hurt her

wearyandweepy Tue 06-Aug-13 10:02:30

Not something my dd does and she's almost 6. What causes the tantrums?

Doubtfuldaphne Tue 06-Aug-13 10:04:06

I still have them now and I'm 32

Onetwothreeoops Tue 06-Aug-13 10:06:55

Mine was like this and like shattereddreams DC it was when she was hungry. I resolved it by letting her eat more snack food when she gets in from school. Her behaviour has massively improved and life is a lot calmer in our house now.

Davsmum Tue 06-Aug-13 10:08:29

Providing there is nothing medically wrong with her then she may just be highly strung and cannot cope with frustration, like many children.

Its more relevant to look at what you do/how you handle it and what sort of issues leads to these tantrums. You certainly need to be consistent and to make sure she understands it is not acceptable behaviour.

JogOnKitty Tue 06-Aug-13 10:12:48

My dd is nearly 7. She still does this occasionally when frustrated or upset. If I engage with her, it tends make her scream and shout even more. The best way I deal with it is to say 'When you are ready to talk calmly, Im here for you.'
Until she calms down, she does not get any attention.
Hope you can find a way to deal with this. smile

noobieteacher Tue 06-Aug-13 10:14:19

If it's making you feel wound up and angry you have to find a way to deal with your reponse. Try visualising her as a poor little thing, caught up in her emotions - what she is really. Look at her with pity and think of the next thing and move on. Your response of stress and anger is fuelling her tantrum. She will learn to calm down if she knows you are in control of your own feelings.

This is completely normal, it's only in hindsight that I have seen how you can get caught up in your child's tantrums, but it is actually quite easy to step back.


NoComet Tue 06-Aug-13 10:33:06

Yes, DD2 did from 6-9 she was far more likely to get in a rage than when she was little.

DF said her TDDs threw better tantrums at 7 than 2.

Since DD2 was impossible to reason with when in a rage, we just used to say 'room until you want to be nice'.

'Nice' being short hand for co-operative, not whiny and not trying to wind your elder sister, mother and or Father up. The world does not revolve around you and you cannot always have your own way, sorry.

When she was small, she would reappear in 10-15 minutes, generally being reasonable or I'd go and find her.

When she was older she'd play on her lap top and DD1 and me have been known to forget her, the peace was do nice blush

I think at 6-7 it's still little child frustrations, by 9 it's wanting a bit of control over their lives, and not being able to have it.

Once DD2 got to being old enough to leave in her own or walk to the shop herself she got way better.

With six year-olds really all you can do is ignore as much as possible and lots of hugs when they are being nice. You cannot reason with them when they are in a rage, you sometimes can when they have calmed down.

However, you have to accept that doesn't stop them having the same strop about the same unpalatable fact of life tomorrow.

Dahlen Tue 06-Aug-13 10:52:46

My DD was like this very occasionally. Usually when very tired and usually when frustration had boiled over past a point where she could control it herself. Quite often, if I asked her if she needed help to calm down, she'd nod and a five-minute cuddle was all it took. There is definitely a lot to be said for spotting the signs and heading it off before it reaches that point (for our benefit as much as theirs wink).

It's not unusual in a child of this age. You're doing well if she limits them to home. A lot of parenting means accepting undesirable behaviour as normal in your head at the very same time you are outwardly showing that you won't condone it. grin

NoComet Tue 06-Aug-13 10:55:21

Why DD2 got in a strop and DD1 didn't (and at 15 still doesn't) is difficult to say.

Looking from the outside you would think my socially inept, Billy no mates often bullied, dyslexic, scatty, fussy, dippy elder DD1 ought to be the one who found life frustrating.

In fact she is the one who finds adults and consequently parents far easier than her peers, is happy in her own company, doesn't panic in a real emergency and has a deep self confidence.

DD2 is an angel at school, cares deeply what people think of her, had lots of friends. I think at home it was nice to let her guard down and have a jolly good whine.

Also she is very cooperative. She has to do well in lessons and well in sport, she is a dreadful loser at any board game. Clearly she can't strop at school, but by god she can be vile at home.

But most of all she doesn't have DD2s cold self confidence and needs to feel more in control of her world than DD1 does.

NoComet Tue 06-Aug-13 10:56:25

Cooperative = competitive

MrsMelons Tue 06-Aug-13 12:47:52

DS2 is 5 and he still does this, he gets very tired and is unbearable, also when he is tired. It is only ever when he is with me and DH or my mum and dad.

I have to ignore him otherwise it could be anything up to 45 minutes. I did think there was someone odd about it as DS1 had tantrums for about 3 weeks when he was just 2 but nothing really since then but after speaking to friends it is fairly common in infant school age children.

Thepowerof3 Tue 06-Aug-13 17:42:04

It seems to be more tired than hungry with her, most of the time I deal with her ok but it has been practically every morning and my patience is worn to shreds! Just wanted to know if it was normal as that makes me feel a whole lot better

Beastofburden Tue 06-Aug-13 17:55:27

Does she do it at school?

Thepowerof3 Tue 06-Aug-13 17:57:46

No never

spanky2 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:09:41

Yes. Usually shouting and throwing things .sad I say stop it.Help him breathe and count to ten. If that doesn't work I put him in the shower just to have water running down his back . Then rub talcumn powder on him. He finds being stroked calming but it has to be done in a not cuddly way .hmm

spanky2 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:12:13

I always praise him when he calms down in less than about 20minutes .

pyjamaramadrama Tue 06-Aug-13 18:12:24

Ds is 5 and still have mini tantrums.

They usually only last a few seconds/minutes at most.

He can still do it when told no, it's usually stomping feet, shouting 'it's not fair'.I tend to just ignore it or warn him to stop and he does.

spanky2 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:14:33

Starballbunny your two are very similar to mine except I have boys !

NoComet Tue 06-Aug-13 19:28:47

Spanky grin
What I always find slight difficult is the outside world can't see why I find DD2 award work and quirky DD1 far easier.

iamadoozermum Tue 06-Aug-13 19:40:08

My 5 nearly six year old DS2 is like this. I posted on parenting about it last week in fact because it is driving me and DH mad. DS2's trigger is tiredness and he can scream and yell and scream again. He gets very caught up in it and wears himself (and us) out. Cuddles help, but he'll reject the offer at first then say he'd like one.

For those that put them in rooms/on beds - do they ever refuse, if so, what do you do? That's what we've been getting today and short of physically picking him up, I'm not sure what we can do?

BarbarianMum Tue 06-Aug-13 20:04:34

I had (occasional) tantrums until I was 9 or 10 blush

I turned out fine and am quite a calm person now.

Thepowerof3 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:58:21

If she refuses to go I pick her up, underneath her arms so I don't hurt her

pointythings Tue 06-Aug-13 21:00:16

DD1 did this at that age, we taught her to put herself in 'time out' to calm down. She was allowed to read and play quietly away from us, we made it very clear this was about defusing a situation and not about punishment. It worked very well, and I don't think it's at all abnormal, six is still very little.

LingDiLong Tue 06-Aug-13 21:21:49

Yes, DS who's 6 has them. My 8 year old DD doesn't and had grown out of them at 3 or 4. He's just much less able to deal with his emotions, he isn't very 'emotionally articulate' really. He gets angry, he screams. We are trying hard to encourage him to talk to us and find other ways to deal with his anger. Recently he's got a lot better at calming himself down quickly and is always very contrite afterwards.

Davsmum Wed 07-Aug-13 14:05:14

I do think childrens tantrums differ depending on who they are with and how that person is reacting.
Thats why I believe we all need to look at our own responses to tantrums.
My niece has massive tantrums for her Mum and yet gives up almost immediately for her Dad and does not bother with them at all for her Grandad or Grandma because they just wouldn't tolerate them and ignored her completely whereas her mum would tell her off - or try to placate her and kept trying different things because sh felt she should DO something to stop it.

Thepowerof3 Wed 07-Aug-13 16:42:51

I put her in her room so I'm able to ignore it otherwise I find the screaming nerve jangling, maybe I'll send myself to my room!

LingDiLong Wed 07-Aug-13 20:35:33

Davsmum - DS's don't! He has them with everyone. When he loses the plot, he loses the plot.

Thepowerof3 Wed 07-Aug-13 20:38:48

My DD does it for everyone outside of school

WhoreOfTheWorlds Wed 07-Aug-13 20:51:03

Our DCs never really had tantrums and had definitely grown out of them by the time they went to school at 4.

But we holidayed earlier this year with a 4.2 year old who tantrumed 2-3 times per day. It was full on screaming, howling and rolling on the floor. Often it was caused by something as insignificant as a drop of water from a puddle splashing onto his shoe?

One day their tantrum last nearly an hour. In desperation their Mum left them in their bedroom and the child came downstairs still screaming and shouting, but looking for their Mum. When they walked into the kitchen where I was standing alone I said very sharply 'Oh do be quiet now, no one wants to hear that noise' and the child was immediately quiet.

They were quiet for about 20 seconds, then when they heard their Mum approaching they immediately started howling and tantruming again.

I can't believe this is normal behaviour? The child seems incredibly highly strung and extremely manipulative.

NoComet Wed 07-Aug-13 20:53:21

I'm very old school, very disobedient DDs get a smack, by 6 DD2 knew room meant room.

Anyway she's very far from daft and even when in full rage she knew me and DD1 were likely to ignore her, so she might as well go and calm down.

It's not very fair having a big sister who doesn't strop, she's even less sympathetic than mum.

DfanjoUnchained Wed 07-Aug-13 20:54:01

What time does she go to bed?

LingDiLong Wed 07-Aug-13 20:55:06

3 yo DD has tantrums where she's clearly looking for a reaction. DS's are different.

Just because one child might be doing it for attention it doesn't mean they all do.

And just because you were able to shock a friend's child into being quiet, it doesn't mean it would be as easy for their parents!

Holidays are often a nightmare for kids who are 'highly strung' - they're tired and out of routine. Tantrum city.

My 11 year old dd1 used to have proper screaming jump and down tantrums between the ages of 5 and 9. Ignored and sent to room till calm but it was stressful. Shes brill now but is still stroppy but that's hormones. It will pass!

CorrineFoxworth Wed 07-Aug-13 20:56:09

Might be worth looking at tantrums v meltdowns

LingDiLong Wed 07-Aug-13 20:57:55

Ooh, thanks for that Corrine. I'd say my DS has 'meltdowns' then definitely. It's nothing to do with attention or wanting something, they come from nowhere and seem to completely overwhelm him.

WhoreOfTheWorlds Wed 07-Aug-13 20:59:02

Davsmum, what you say is very interesting?

I noted that the child was far more likely to tantrum infront of their Mum because she felt the correct response was to try and calm the child down and reason with them, or try and distract them. I very much got the impression that the child thoroughly enjoyed Mum's undivided attention during that time.

Obviously the child knew there was zero point tantruming to me or to their Dad who was highly annoyed by the tantruming and would just leave the room.

Goldenbear Wed 07-Aug-13 21:41:24

My DS is 6 and still has 'tantrums' in private but he is copying his sister who is 2. Often it starts off as a 'joke' and will escalate into something more real but I have to say they were worse after school 6 months ago. They are definitely lessening as I just talk to him now.

Thepowerof3 Wed 07-Aug-13 21:47:37

She goes to bed by 7 but we are more flexible in the holidays, thanks ghostsgowooh that makes me feel a bit better

CorrineFoxworth Wed 07-Aug-13 21:47:43

I'm glad that link was useful as I would hate to be accused of internet-diagnosis!

Thepowerof3 Wed 07-Aug-13 21:53:52

That's so true LingDiLong, my DD wants to stay up like her friends but just can't seem to cope

PatriciaHolm Wed 07-Aug-13 21:57:04

DS still has tantrums (not meltdowns, that link is really good thanks Corrine as it has passed through my mind before) at 7.5. His are, these days, largely when he's hungry; he CANNOT deal with hunger at all well, but then neither can his 43 year old father, so I know how to deal most of the time. He doesn't do it for anyone but his parents either.

I also have almost 9 yr old DD who is having pre-teen strops all the time. It's just fun fun fun in this house atm -reaches for wine glass- wine

WhoreOfTheWorlds Thu 08-Aug-13 11:01:14

Thank you for that link Corrine, reading that it's very clear that my friend's 4 yr old is definitely tantruming and not having a meltdown.

I have witnessed them pulling the same style of tantrum at all times of the day, in very different situations and in their own home. So I don't think it's caused by hunger, tiredness or being out of routine.

I think they tantrum because they are very highly strung and they are allowed to, and because they then get their Mum's undivided attention while doing so.

TheSmallPrint Thu 08-Aug-13 11:06:54

Yes, I have an almost 6yo DS who is great at throwing tantrums. He also has a naturally deep and loud voice so there is no ignoring him. I have found distracting followed by cuddling to be the most effective way of calming.

I had always assumed tiredness was then main cause but actually I wonder if hunger makes a difference, he is a big lad (98th centile height wise) so maybe he needs more food!

Davsmum Thu 08-Aug-13 14:34:07

Its not just how you handle a tantrum while its happening - its how you handle a child in general because the way you do can lead to tantrums!

If you are not consistent or you don't listen to a child when they need you to listen or you say No before you have given a request any thought and then give in and say yes because they kick off and you didn't really mean no in the first place then it can all lead to frustrations and tantrums.
So can not preparing them for what is going to happen - like just removing them from whatever activity they are doing without any notice or warning.

Its surprising how many people probably do not link any of that to a child's tantrums.
Something causes a tantrum. Children don't just suddenly have them for no reasons.

valiumredhead Thu 08-Aug-13 16:01:24

Ds had only just stopped and he's 12.

WhoreOfTheWorlds Thu 08-Aug-13 17:05:19

I agree with you Davsmum. I believe my friend's child tantrums because he's very highly strung and nervous, and he doesn't feel very safe in the world.

His Mum's approach is quite a wooly and she isn't always consistent in what she says or does and I think this actually makes him feel quite afraid. So his tantrum begins and then her hesitant approach to his distress only makes him feel more scared and that no one is in control of the situation.

My Mum can remember being a very little girl and throwing huge tantrums and what made her tantrums 100 times worse was the knowledge that her Mum didn't know how to cope with the tantrum and just went to pieces, and that made my Mum feel terrified. My Mum would describe herself as a very anxious and highly strung child.

Thepowerof3 Thu 08-Aug-13 17:35:32

That's not the kind of parent I am Davsmum but thanks anyway. Her most recent massive tantrum was about a rice cake if that gives you some perspective

valiumredhead Thu 08-Aug-13 17:50:16

Some kids are prone to tantrums, just as adults are, it's their personalities. Regardless of how you parent them. Over tiredness and hunger definitely play a part. A combination of ignoring, although sometimes that makes it worse and distraction definitely used to help.

Thepowerof3 Thu 08-Aug-13 17:54:21

That's exactly what I thought Valium, I have 3 DCs and parent them in the same way but only one is tantrum prone

valiumredhead Thu 08-Aug-13 18:02:20

Actually thinking back 'mummy's secret chocolate' helped diffuse a lot of tantrums toowink

Tubemole1 Thu 08-Aug-13 18:44:10

My 6 nearly seven year old has these tantrums.

It usually happens if she's tired, hungry or doesn't get her own way. She also does it if she's bored. She likes to shake her tail feathers and list all the ways we have failed her hmm . She pushes boundaries especially in front of GPs. My ILS give it the contempt it deserves, but my df laughs at her, making it worse angry .

At school she's an angel.

We say, let it all out dear, cos there's no reasoning with her. Then when she's calm, we ask, really? What was that about? She whinges about what is wrong which is often different from the original reason so its hard to keep up sometimes.

We haven't mastered the recognition of triggers. Dh, bless him, tries to reason with her but that gets nowhere. Now, I try and keep her belly full, her interest engaged and get her to bed on time, but sometimes it can be something totally different. Sometimes, she can't hit the ball with a bat. Sometimes, she comes second in a race. Sometimes, I don't listen. Sometimes, her confidence is zero.
We are totally winging this parenting lark. Very badly, on occasion sad .

LingDiLong Thu 08-Aug-13 19:15:21

Davsmum, with the greatest of respect, none of that is rocket science. I would argue that, in fact, lots of people DO link all that to tantrums! Seriously, if there was a cast iron way of preventing them and stopping all children from having any tantrums ever, then someone would have written a book by now and made a million.

These are some of the reasons my DS has tantrums; if one of his sisters talks over him - even if I am there to say 'wait please, DS is talking let him finish', there are times (usually when he's tired) that this sends him loopy. If when he says 'thank you' it isn't acknowledged with a 'you're welcome' or 'that's ok'. If he can't do something that he feels he should be able to do i.e. he had a massive tantrum/meltdown at our local leisure centre because he was allowed to go on a slide but he was too scared to go on it. He felt he HAD to go on it because it was suitable for his age but he was frightened - he couldn't compute this situation at all!

I KNOW the reasons, I do try and prevent them but they aren't always preventable.

JerseySpud Thu 08-Aug-13 19:48:53

I have a 6 year old dd

The world is ending on a regular basis.

Tantruming at 6 is totally normal.

AaDB Thu 08-Aug-13 20:06:49

Ds doesn't tantrum by screaming but instead does grumpy storming. As he can control himself at school, he can do so at home or face the consequences. I send him to his room, not for time out but to calm down. He had a sticker reward chat and he had to take one off. It tests my patience to the limit.

We both get hungry + angry=hangry. That is something his Dad/my DH had to live with. wink

Thepowerof3 Thu 08-Aug-13 20:11:21

So glad to know she's not the only one!

AaDB Thu 08-Aug-13 20:55:21

6 is still little. Old enough to deal with consequences but still to Little to be expected to behave without incident. I'm strict because I worry if I'm not, he will be a nightmare as a teenager.

Davsmum Fri 09-Aug-13 17:13:38

LingDiLong,.. Yes I get your point and I think personality can play a part in the likelihood of a child being a tantrum child so awareness of triggers is even more important.
Of course, there is no cast iron way of preventing all tantrums and I think many children grow out of them whether you handle them right or wrong!

Being over tired will also make a tantrum more likely - but usually thes tantrums are different,.. more of a distress type of tantrum than an anger or frustration one.

As for adults having tantrums as a few people have mentioned; this is definitely a personality issue which has persisted because it has not been dealt with properly in childhood.
I know adults who have tantrums - but they only have them with people who allow them. People are often afraid of other adults tantrums and give in to them. Its totally manipulative and immature but its amazing how quickly they stop it if someone won't put up with it.

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