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Am I being too hard, are my expectations too high???

(24 Posts)
FAQ Tue 30-Sep-08 19:45:08

Should an 8yr old be able to go for 3 days in a row without having a HUGE tantrum, I mean hysterical shouting/screaming/crying that can go on for 1/2hr or more???

Buda Tue 30-Sep-08 19:47:03

Don't know really. But FWIW DS is 7 and never has tantrums. He gets angry and/or upset but takes himself off to a corner or his room.

ScummyMummy Tue 30-Sep-08 19:47:25

Depends on the 8 year old. And this is a tough time of year adjusting to new teachers etc- my 9 year olds are grumpy little fuckers after school atm.

misdee Tue 30-Sep-08 19:48:09

depends entiraly.

dd1 gets upset easily but thats generally if she is tired.

other times, not at all.

MrsMertle Tue 30-Sep-08 19:49:03

hmm, dd 9 and ds 7 never have tantrums so based on that i'd have to say and 8 year old shouldn't really be having them

MadMazza Tue 30-Sep-08 19:52:32

I think tiredness affects children more than we think. My 7 yo becomes a completely different child when he is tired. I ensure he is in bed by 7.30 and never wake him before 7am in the morning yet he still comes home from school tired and irritable. I tend to give him a wide bearth. I'm firm with him but give him space to chill out whenever possible. This helps I think.

FAQ Tue 30-Sep-08 19:55:48

well I don't think it's just down to start of the new term etc - as they've happened regularly for a long time now.

DS1's behaviour has just been getting worse and worse - so the other day I stripped him of his "grown up" 9pm bedtime - and put it back to 8pm, and banned him from the playstation2 and computer both for a month. They really are of mammouth proportions, even DS2 and 3 combined (4 and 16 months) come no-where close to his strops/tantrums when he doesn't get his own way or is told off.

We made an agreement (while he was calm and agreeable) that for each tantrum he threw he would get a day added onto the ban, for every 3 days in a row that he was good and didn't throw a tantrum he'd get a day taken off. Sunday he was fabulous, yesterday he was fabulous, he was fabulous before school this morning, but has been getting progressively more stroppy since he got home from school.

I warned him (a lot of times that he was getting very close to having a day added on instead of taken off, and that he was nearly there on losing a day from his ban) but he got worse and worse and eventually threw one of his massive tantrums - so I added a day on.

I really don't know what to do with him atm, he's really really good at school, has loads of friends, and when he's not in a strop at home he really is a LOVELY boy. But once he gets into one of his moods he gets worse and worse and I just feel totally and utterly useless sad

FAQ Tue 30-Sep-08 19:57:22

oh I should add - the tantrums aren't just reserved for the evenings - they can happen first thing in the morning too - in fact at any time of day

missingtheaction Tue 30-Sep-08 19:59:34

urgh how awful, you must be so frustrated. is there anything that sets them off? tbh he does sound a bit old to be having tantrums - tantrums are for 2 year olds who just don't have the control an 8 year old generally does. do they only happen at home? is he ok at school?

FAQ Tue 30-Sep-08 20:02:27

He's fantastic at school, it seems to be absolutely anything, if I ask them to do/not to do something a few times - and then end up having to tell them off he starts kicking off.

DS2 (not quite 5) just sits down and goes quiet/behaves - but DS1.........

Mercy Tue 30-Sep-08 20:03:38

FAQ, he's been through (and will be going through) a hell of a lot recently - as have you.

I'm not in your situation but I would say go easy on him for a bit. Haven't got any real advice I'm afraid.

3littlefrogs Tue 30-Sep-08 20:03:48

9pm is too late for an 8 yr old IMO. My dd is 10 and goes to bed at 8.30, the only night she goes later is when she goes to guides. She would be exhausted otherwise.

Computer games are awful for causing bad temper and tiredness. I had to ban them during the week with my boys.

I wouldn't expect to see tantrums in a child over 4 TBH.

Having said that though, I would start by doing what you have done - reduce the overstimulation of the computer games. Then I would institute an 8 pm bedtime, preceded by half an hour's quiet winding down time.

I would also pay very close attention to diet and exercise.


3littlefrogs Tue 30-Sep-08 20:07:29

FAQ - I don't know your situation, so if you have been going through a lot of trauma, I am sorry - I don't mean to sound critical.

Perhaps he needs to be cossetted a little if he is feeling unhappy/insecure? Perhaps treated as if he was a bit younger for a little while? In a nice way I mean.

FAQ Tue 30-Sep-08 20:23:28

Mercy - I was for a while - but this has been going on for a long time - a long time before we split - so I'm not really sure it's because of that - it's just gradually getting worse.

3littlefrog - DS1 has always gone to bed at 8pm - ever since he was a baby - DS2 and 3 also go to bed at 8pm.

DS1 has never needed a lot of sleep,, he dropped daytime naps of his own accord before he was 18 months old. I pushed his bedtime to 9pm for 2 reasons

1. He was getting up at 5am every morning
2. Because he was feeling that he was being treated the same as his younger brothers - despite being 3 1/2yrs older than DS2, also gave me a chance to spend some one on one time with him without having his younger brothers there.

Generally it's worked really well - he's been getting up around 6am instead of 5, and has really enjoyed spending time with me on his own.

He doesn't play on the PS2 or computer at all during the week - never has done. He's allowed 1-2hrs at the weekends (same as DS2)

He eats the same food as DS2 and 3, and exercise well when it's dry we go to the park for a bit after school sometimes, he runs around. Apart from signing him up to a sports club of some description I can't really see how else I can increase it.

I think if I could pin-point his behaviour to the time exH's and I relationship started to deteriorate it would be easier - but I can't - it started before then and has just been getting worse as he gets older.

It's really upsetting for me as when he's good he's fantastic - he'd done nearly the whole 3 days of really good behaviour, and it was a lovely 2 3/4 days. Wondering maybe it's me???

3littlefrogs Tue 30-Sep-08 20:45:08

Could he have a reward after 2 days? That might reinforce the good behaviour and make the reward more achievable? Make the reward something tangible - like a token or sticker towards a small toy or comic?

We used to do star trees - a drawing of a tree, with a picture of the goal or prize. A star stuck on the tree for every achievemnt, and then the prize after 10 stars.

The boys found working towards a star much more achievable than keeping track of days or weeks to earn a reward.

3littlefrogs Tue 30-Sep-08 20:47:58

If he is only 8, he did really well to do nearly 3 days good behaviour! That is what I mean about needing a small reward earlier/more frequently.

FAQ Tue 30-Sep-08 20:52:22

we've tried star charts/trees/etc etc before and they didn't work.

He's hot on his days/weeks - always knows exactly how many days it is until "something" is happening without me telling him.

His behaviour wasn't all good - we had a few dicey moments, and I've told both DS1 and 2 off a couple of times - BUT the key thing was he didn't go into one of his strops/tantrums - that's what we're trying to eliminate. I'm not that unrealistic to expect good behaviour all the time - I have 3 DS's grin

Buda Wed 01-Oct-08 06:07:46

FAQ - someone on here recommended this for handling anger in children. Maybe worth a look?

Also - I think a ban for a month is a long time at his age. Maybe worth rethinking that a little. I do agree with the banning. It works really well with DS. but a month is a long time.

TheSmallClanger Wed 01-Oct-08 18:00:45

Is there something else getting to him that you don't know about yet? Is he under pressure at school that he's only just coping with while he's there? Children who are clever and popular and well-behaved are sometimes ignored because teachers spend all their time dealing with badly-behaved children. They are sometimes unwittingly put under pressure to be a bit older than their age, IYSWIM.
Also, does he suffer from migraines or similar? They run in one side of my family and can sometimes cause erratic behaviour and bad temper.
You sound like you're doing all the right, sensible things. I hope the situation is better for you soon.

Grammaticus Wed 01-Oct-08 18:03:45

I know this has been done to death on here grin but I am getting much better behaviour now I have actually purchased a copy of "How To Talk..." and am puttingit into practice properly.

3littlefrogs Wed 01-Oct-08 18:07:25

I have been pondering this. Then, on my way home from work i was listening to a programme on anger management on radio 4. There was a man being interviewed and he said the he had real anger problems as a child, and was always sent to his room etc, but no-one ever took the time to ask him why he was angry.

I am not suggesting that this is the case with you, because i know that you do talk (and listen ) to your ds. But - I had a lot of trauma in my life as a child, and remember from a very early age feeling that i had to protect my mother, and not give her anything more to worry about, so i never confided in her.

I didn't have anger issues, but I did have other problems, and i am sure that if i had had another adult that i could trust to talk to, it would have saved me needing counselling in my 40s.

Does that make any sense?

sorry if it doesn't - i am rushing this as i am multi tasking and have to go out in a minute (again).

What i am getting at is, do you think an opportunity to talk to someone else might allow your ds to express his anger/fear/frustration?

neverasleepin Fri 17-Oct-08 05:22:59

Came across this totally by accident & see that the last post was some days ago, but I really do sympathise with you - been through it myself! My DD was miss perfect at school by didn't grow out her terrible 2's at home til she was about 12. She's now 18 & can remember feeling angry but not why. She doesn't recall any real jealousy or any other issues to cause her uncontrollable behaviour but does recall on occassions feeling very bad about losing control. For us, I found that giving her a little snack frequently seemed to help a bit(don't know why & it may have been coincidence!).
Is your DD quite bright/has low attention span? We found that once our DD started senior school (she got scholarship to a Private School so was more academically stretched)she "improved" very quickly. I still remember my feelings of loneliness, failure, depair, confusion. The one thing I held on to was being told "she acts up like that with you & not others because she is secure that you'll still love her"

neverasleepin Fri 17-Oct-08 05:39:17

sorry, I typed your DD instead of DS! I also meant to ask "if your son isn't allowed to express his bad feelings as a tantrum, does he still know that it is acceptable to feel anger?" At risk of sounding pscho-babbly, I always felt that I shouldn't deny DDs feelings only her offensive expression of them. Most of the time (eventually) I was able to (outwardly) calmly tell her that her that her behaviour wasn't acceptable so she had to take that behaviour to her room until she felt able to tell me more calmly what her problems was. She knew any destructive behaviour in her room was her problem - damages wouldn't be replaced. Just remember it's not you. It's not even him really - we all get angry at times (its not a controlled thing), he needs help in expressing that anger in an acceptable manner.

cory Fri 17-Oct-08 09:55:47

Oh, it is hard! I had a lot of tantrums from dd at this age, stress-related due to her disability, and my db had them when he was little for other reasons.

I think I would agree with the poster who said it's a bad idea to draw punishments out over a month. That's a good few weeks when he has little incentive to feel good about himself because he has a constant reminder that he was bad.

We have always tried to make the sun go down on our anger when it comes to tantrums. Punishments, if needed, have been short ones. When they wake up in the morning they know it's a new day. (sometimes I have removed things that they have broken but then very quietly)

What I tried to do (and my Mum in her turn) was to recognise that tantrums are actually quite scary for the person who's having them. So while we never gave in to stop a tantrum, we did try to keep our own feelings very low key, restrain calmly if we had to restrain and be loving and reassuring once it was over. Dd grew out of hers round about the age of 9- mainly because the stresses of her condition became less. My db was perhaps a year or two older. He has grown into a very gentle adult.

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