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Anger management in a 5 year old

(25 Posts)
ghosty Thu 14-Apr-05 21:15:57

Hello,
We had DS' first parent's evening last night and to start with everything was rosy ... he is in the top reading group and in numeracy the teachers words were "He is at the top of the class with his numeracy skills" ... of course I was bursting with pride as my DS is a bright boy.
Then there was a big 'BUT ... '
She said that DS has a problem with temper outbursts. This is nothing new to me as DS has always been a highly emotional child and has very intense feelings. When he is sad he is heartbroken, when he is happy he is deliriously so and when he is angry he is able to blow a gasket in pretty spectacular form. Up to now he seemed to keep his outbursts at home and direct them to me or DH ... but apparently he has had a few outbursts at school recently and this week he hit another little boy in his anger
I was devastated ... firstly that DS hit a child but also that he seems unable to control his feelings and naturally that the teacher has an issue with it. I was also a bit pissed off that she waited till parents evening to tell us. When I was teaching that sort of thing would be talked about with the parents straight away.
Anyway, I need pointers on how to help DS find a way to manage his feelings a bit more. He has such strong feelings and finds it hard to make sense of them.
At home DH and I are not particularly angry people, we have shouted at eachother before in front of DS but we try very hard to keep our issues till DS isn't around. We obviously don't hit eachother ever so DS can't have learned this from us ....
He knows that it is NEVER ok to hit and I also use time out when he loses it so that he knows he can't get what he wants unless he goes about it in a civilised manner.
The problem is is that he gets soooo frustrated when things don't go his way or in his opinion he has been treated wrongly (the incident at school was because someone spoiled something he was making ... again that makes me upset because some child ruined his thing and he got told off and punished for reacting badly but I imagine the other boy got away with it ... but I know that was no excuse for hitting him)
Anyway, sorry for the long post ...
Any pointers on how to help him?
Gxxx

WideWebWitch Thu 14-Apr-05 21:20:01

Hi Ghosty, no time now, got to go but will come back to this tomorrow if I can think of anything. Sympathy.

ghosty Thu 14-Apr-05 21:22:44

Thanks www ... thanks for reading ....

ghosty Thu 14-Apr-05 21:22:50

Thanks www ... thanks for reading ....

ghosty Thu 14-Apr-05 21:23:04

oops

Cha Thu 14-Apr-05 21:28:23

No wonderful tips but I think you and your partner sound like lovely parents and your boy is only 5. Kids that age do have problems controlling their tempers and you sound like you are doing exactly the right things. Sorry I can't be of more help but it doesn't sound like a big deal to me. Though the school seems to have made it one.

marthamoo Thu 14-Apr-05 21:34:58

Ghosty, don't really have much by way of ideas - it sounds like a maturity thing to me, something that he will grow out of. Obviously he gets so frustrated that he just has a 'red mist' moment and lashes out: I don't believe it's anything to do with your parenting, it's his personality. Did his teacher have any suggestions as to how he can channel his anger in a less aggressive way? It sounds like she is just putting the ball back in your court when this is something that you and school will have to work on together. Could you suggest a longer meeting with her to talk about strategies etc? I agree Parents' Evening was not the time to spring this on you.

I found a few books on Amazon here Can you access Amazon in NZ?

Don't know if that was any use but I had to post - you're lovely and I bet you're a great Mum: this is not to do with any shortcomings as a parent on your part. You'll help him.

marthamoo Thu 14-Apr-05 21:38:04

Ghosty, I can never get amazon links to work. I put 'anger children' into search and it came up with a few titles, eg.,

A Volcano in my Tummy: Helping Children Handle Anger

and

Hot Stuff to Help Kids Chill Out: The Anger Management Book

roisin Thu 14-Apr-05 21:45:21

Ghosty, ds1 was like this, and to an extent still is like this, in that he does seem to feel emotions more strongly than other children, and struggles to control them: anger, fear, worry, excitement, happiness, outrage at 'injustice' ...

But he did turn a corner when he was 5.5. The first time he "lost it" at school they came down on him like a ton of bricks: he had long serious chats with the Head (who has the patience of a saint, she is wonderful) and the Deputy Head, etc. etc. And they just made it clear to him that this was not acceptable behaviour in their school, that he was 5 now, and he was capable of keeping a lid on it. They put in place loads of positive praise/reward stuff ... and it worked! He was clearly at a point developmentally that he was actually capable of keeping control, and someone (not me) was able to get across to him that he had to. I do believe that this was and is more difficult for him than for most children, and he still gets ridiculously excited about things (he's almost 8 btw), but his self-control is much, much better.

Teaching him to count to 10 in his head did help a bit I think. But other 'substitutes to express his anger' like drawing an angry picture, or singing an angry song, or stamping his feet, didn't actually work for him, but apparently they do for some children.

Another which can help is to write a little cartoon story of a child losing their temper, with speech bubbles and so on, and - most importantly - 'think bubbles' of children/adults who are observing the incident. You can look at this with him, and maybe leave the think bubbles blank and ask him what the people would be thinking. (I'm not sure whether a 5 yr old could do this though.) But either way it might help him to see the situation through someone else's eyes, which after all is the key to learning to behave in a socially acceptable manner, rather than just doing what suits you.

Sorry it's a bit rambling - I'm just throwing out thoughts here. Hope something helps you and ds.

Roisin

cod Thu 14-Apr-05 21:46:53

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roisin Thu 14-Apr-05 21:56:37

Sounds like good news Cod

Agree wholeheartedly about hunger and tiredness playing a big role.

cod Thu 14-Apr-05 21:58:37

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cod Thu 14-Apr-05 21:58:48

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roisin Thu 14-Apr-05 22:00:49

Great!

marthamoo Thu 14-Apr-05 22:00:57

I liked bug trip better but Pizza Hut might sue.

goreousgirl Thu 14-Apr-05 22:04:47

Saw something on Little Angels recently with Tanya Byron. She was helping a little boy manage his anger. She asked him which colour he saw when he was starting to feel angry - he said 'red'. She said to him, when you start to see / feel the red colour - go and talk to your mummy - don't hit brother!.... She also suggested giving half hourly stars for good behaviour. It looked good and fascinating - not sure how easy it is to put into practice in real life... good luck

Scrumpty Thu 14-Apr-05 22:39:58

All perfectly normal sounding to me. My son is 5 and in reception, and although hes an angel at school, hes a little shit at home, as much as I love him. Talking works for us and also if drastic measures are required, taking away privileges. Such as telly time, trips out, computer time etc etc. I've found this method really effective, as its a sure fire way of ensuring him that he will not get his own way if this negative behaviour continues. Good luck!!

ghosty Thu 14-Apr-05 22:41:31

Fantastic tips here everyone thanks ...
@ marthamoo and cha for saying I'm lovely ....
Unfortunately, although NZ is pretty forward in most things we don't have Amazon (well, we can order from Aus but the shipping is ridiculous!) ... I will have a look for similar books though MM ... thanks ...
Roisin, your post was great ... thank you. IIRC your little boy is pretty bright isn't he? I have read that children who are 'gifted' or 'talented' in some way can be highly emotionally charged .... I am not saying that DS is gifted but he is very bright and it is interesting that your DS was similar at the same age ....
Thanks for your thoughts coddy ... we have been working on DS' diet for a while and since he turned five I have upped his vitamin intake and now give him EFAs too to supplement his already, pretty good diet .... I work in nutrition so have learned so much about the importance of good nutrition in relation to behaviour etc ...
He is pretty tired at the moment ... today is the last day of 10 full weeks at school without a break (they have 4 10 weeks terms here so no half term break after 6 weeks).
BTW I knew exactly what that you meant 'big' not 'bug' ... just thought you were taking the piss out of the NZ accent
gorgeousgirl ... not sure I could do the half hourly stars but I like the colour thing ....
Thanks again ...

cod Fri 15-Apr-05 18:10:06

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ghosty Sat 16-Apr-05 05:17:48

Cheers coddy ... yup, use brown bread too , white bread is banned in our house, has been for about 2 years due to the need to keep DS's fibre up as he tends to hold on to poos and get himself constipated ...............

bobbybob Sat 16-Apr-05 07:44:41

If he's so bright, could he be bored? Do they get enough physical stuff at school to release some of the tension.

I got really angry at school too (I started at nursery school breaking a milk bottle over another kids head for pulling my hair), I got removed from my history class for screaming at the teacher (who had spent a whole hour saying I was crap and would never amount to anything). I also got really angry at Uni (not so bad students are supposed to get angry at stuff). At work it was a real issue and I ended up leaving at 17 weeks pregnant because they just made me so damn mad, but since having ds I have become so calm I hardly recognise myself. Apart from one incident when the red mist descended at a petrol station and I took it out on some hapless chap who was using a mobile phone while filling up his tank.

I wish it hadn't taken me 30 years to get over myself (petrol station excluded). Your ds is lucky to have a mum and teacher who are prepared to deal with this at age 5 and sort it out. I have just spent my entire life messing up everything for 5 minutes of rage.

I'm not how this will help you, but it's helped me.

ghosty Sat 16-Apr-05 08:25:20

Gosh, bobbybob ... you don't seem the 'angry' type at all ... I am amazed ... when we had that lovely meet-up in Christchurch you were mrs. chilled!
I really appreciate your thoughts on this ... especially about your past and how you wish you had learned to manage your anger better. I think that is what worries me about DS ... he needs to be able to learn to 'put a lid' on it just so that he can be a decent citizen IYKWIM?
I am pretty certain he isn't bored at school ... his teacher is a pretty stern lady with very high expectations and I have seen lots of evidence of extension work for him and a couple of others who seem to be taking to the academic side to school very well. She told us that he never 'loses' it when he is working, it is purely on a social level.
I went to see her on Friday morning to say that I wanted to be informed immediately of any further outbursts, just so that DH and I could stay abreast of the situation. She said that she rather thought DS would tell me himself ... Friday was the last day of term and he brought a poem back for the holidays called 'My bumpy day' which I thought was a good move on her part ....
Anyway, 2 weeks off now, time for R & R for DS ... it has been a long 10 weeks for him!

cod Sat 16-Apr-05 15:37:08

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Jimjams Sat 16-Apr-05 19:07:49

ghosty I'm looking at using brain gym for various reasons. from what I've read so far it seems as if some of the exercises may help with anger. a lot of uk schools use brain gym now.....

bobbybob Sun 17-Apr-05 22:42:48

I think your ds is off to a headstart because you and your dh are not "angry" people. My parents shout a lot, and did even more so when were kids and we didn't have much money. Mum does big flounces and takes to her bed when she doesn't get her way - even now, there are threads on it - in particular the haircut thread. She has very low self esteem.

I was simply acting out what I saw at home, me playing the part of the underdog all the time (which is why working for a boss was such a disaster for me, except for one lovely man who always praised me and I would do anything not to embarrass myself in front of him as a result. The guy who told me I was horrible and nobody wanted to work for me got it full pelt - well what did I have to lose?)

My dh is brilliant and absolutely refuses to argue with me. He will walk away. I will not lose my temper in front of ds, because then I would risk him becoming the same as I was. I look on him proudly when he is in a stressful situation and walks away rather than acts like I would have at the same age.

I haven't had an angry incdident for over a year now. I'm really proud of that.

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