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HELP! How do I 'encourage' emotional control in a nearly 7 year old boy?

(16 Posts)
MrsBigD Sun 24-Jul-11 08:08:18

HELP! ds is getting more difficult to handle almost by the day. The other day he actually took a running start trying to hit me because I told him it's time to leave, after our usual 5 mins, 2 mins etc countdown...

He can be extremely loving and caring but more and more when he 'turns' then it's no holds barred!

He seems to have very low frustration tolerance and gets rather aggressive & upset over the littlest things. It seems to apply to all aspects of life:

confused be it at school and/or homework where he won't even try something if he doesn't know he gets it right and burst out into tears
confused be it dd accidentially bumping into ds and ds not given time for an apology but reacting immediately - usually with a pummeling
confused be it me talking to him whilst he is doing something like stacking his uno stacko game and when he looks up accidentially knocking it and then saying I'm mean because it's my fault, followed by scowel, tears and angry stomp to his room
confused be it being unable to pour spilled bubble soap from a plate back into the container

He just seems get so angry so easily sad. I know part of it is modelling of dh who has a bit of a short fuse but by no means ever gets physical, just a tad loud. Ds is very strong and physically restraining when he tries to chase after dd is getting ney to impossible despite weight training!

Any suggestions how I can encourage ds to try and 'divert' his anger/frustration? I'm trying to stay calm and point out alternative behaviours but he just responds with 'I can't do that' [imagine stroppy shouty voice].

Not sure whether school is too much for him or what the cause could be. He's a bright button and rather strategic but if he's not interested, then he's NOT interested...

any tips & hints or even acknowledgement that I'm not alone in this would be highly appreciated!

TIA

LeninGrad Sun 24-Jul-11 08:13:20

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MrsBigD Sun 24-Jul-11 10:20:20

Thanks LeninGrad, just reading through the info now.

DD had a similar phase but here's was down to physical illness and once that got resolved she improved greatly (saying that now she's a pre-teen... enough said LOL). However, it never occurred to me that dd could have a non tangible real issue besides bad parenting/role modelling!

MrsBigD Sun 24-Jul-11 10:27:23

I mean ds... a bit tired and frayed atm.. sad

Yr1Mum Sun 24-Jul-11 10:29:53

No pearls of wisdom I'm afraid but just letting you know you're defo not alone - I could have written your post about my DS age 6 1/2. Also have same issues with DH and bizarrely had decided this morning to actually write him a letter to try to get through to him that the way he's treating DS right now is causing a lot of the flare ups. sad Why write him a letter you might wonder? Because every time I try to talk about it I get accused of undermining him and not understanding - but I cannot go on like this where the 2 boys in the house are locking horns all the time. It's like living in a pressure cooker waiting for the lid to blow off!

Sending you lots of virtual support smile

LeninGrad Sun 24-Jul-11 10:36:05

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MrsBigD Sun 24-Jul-11 10:44:03

Had a read of the article and maybe I should have a chat with our GP... not quite sure whether ds quite fits the 'bill' though quite a bit of the information sounds so like him... and it's so easy to read into what one hopes if that makes sense.

'tick' - obsessively resisting ordinary demands - often accompanied by "I don't know", "too hard" and "I'can't" or "I forgot" (my favourite quote one day was 'I can't remember, my head is too full) I do tend to refer to him as 'king of excuses'...

'tick' - appearing sociable on the surface but lacking depth in their understanding - 'tick' - even his school report reflects this slightly with 'works well with others', 'takes pride in his work' and 'displays self control' only marked as 'sometimes'

'TICK' - excessive mood swings, often switching suddenly

'tick' comfortable in role play and pretending, language delay (though he's bilingual which he's currently fighting), he's always been good at entertaining himself, which I took as a blessing given that dd was a rather high maintenance child

LeninGrad Sun 24-Jul-11 10:46:14

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ragged Sun 24-Jul-11 10:56:29

I have a similar 7yo DS.
Reading The Explosive Child has been the most helpful single thing I did to help us. The strategies outlined in there apply to many sorts of developmental & behaviour problems.

That PDA link is interesting; I can identify with the part about anxieties being at the bottom of much of DS's behaviour, and mood swings!, but most of it I strongly don't recognise. I am pretty sure DS is at the ADHD end of normal or the mild end of ADHD spectrum, instead.

ASIDE How did you get those confused smilies using ordinary text, something ) I guess? What did you type?

LeninGrad Sun 24-Jul-11 10:58:38

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MrsBigD Sun 24-Jul-11 11:01:41

Thanks LeninGrad, appreciate it! I don't mind constructive criticism, but simply butinskies do drive me beserk.

Yr1Mum, thanks, it's good to know I'm not alone. I can so understand why you'd write a letter to dh... mine isn't any good at direct 'confrontation' either, though we're slowly getting there. My 'handle' is a stern look and that I tell him 'I'm dealing with it!' when he's about to severely growl at ds for being non-cooperative and contrary...

MrsBigD Sun 24-Jul-11 11:16:29

Hi ragged, weird your post only showed after I'd put my next one up. I'll definitely have a look at that book! Though I usually find that when I read up on things they sound so straight forward on paper but then when I try to apply... I have 'how to talk to children so they will listen' and it all makes total sense, but sometimes it's so much easier to yell 'go to your room' blushhmm

btw the confused is [ confused ] ;)

ragged Sun 24-Jul-11 11:18:44

If you read the reviews on Amazon they outline most of it. I guess it's really not that different from a thousand other parenting textbooks, but the main difference is the thinking behind it, which is very non-blaming and not about understanding the intricacies of underlying problems or diagnosises (which can be too much to always be on top of). If I try to recap here I'll probably oversimplify and botch the description. Basically when unacceptable behaviour presents itself you have 3 options:

A) Hardline zero tolerance adult decision overrides all
B) Negotiate (either on the spot or preferably later when both sides calm)
C) Let it go, let them have what they want

Most the time people do A) or C) at the time, or what they call emergency Plan B, but ideally you recognise recurring trigger situations and work on them at calm moments using Plan B), which will hopefully prevent having to rely on A) or C).

I fear it sounds really simple & obvious summarised like that... I guess the most helpful thing was that reading the book made me feel validated in not assuming that Plan A) was the only morally acceptable choice.

LeninGrad Mon 25-Jul-11 10:26:14

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LeninGrad Mon 25-Jul-11 11:11:17

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Takver Tue 26-Jul-11 16:21:28

I would definitely second (third?) the recommendation for the Explosive Child book. If nothing else, it makes you feel less of a crap parent grin

In fact, I think I need to get it out of the library again - dd is back in full-on melt down mode several times a day at present sad

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