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Anger management for 7 year old - any ideas please(17 Posts)
My DD has cerebral palsy, physically it’s very mild and intellectually she’s not affected but behaviourally she definitely is.
In summary she seems to be very negative and angry a lot of the time. It used to be just when reacting to disappointments or being told no (cue big tantrums) but recently she also seems to be saying or doing slightly nasty things for no apparent reason and just generally be in a foul mood. Most of this is directed at me or her younger sister. She is also very “glass half empty” and anxious about things going wrong. She doesn’t seem to be enjoying life much and tbh nor are we when she’s like this.
On the other hand sometimes she can be absolutely lovely, kind, wants to be helpful, chatty and happy with life. Sadly not that much of the time.
I have tried getting her to breathe, count, leave the room etc when she starts to feel cross but when she’s in the moment she either can’t or won’t do these things.
Any ideas appreciated...
Her neurologist offered a referral to the psychologist team but their letter talked about helping children who have gone through bereavement, trauma etc so I’m not sure if they are right for this?
What strategies do the school have in place to help her at school when she is feeling/behaving this way?
My sons school have started to follow the Zones of Regulation. They did a workshop for parents a few weeks ago and I believe it's really helping my dc with coping strategies.
In its basic form its moods being placed into four colours. Red green blue yellow. And once the dc learns to recognise what zone they are on, there are specific strategies for each zone that help them overcome it.
It's very interesting and has definitely helped with my 7 year old. I'm not saying it always works but it has been particularly helpful for my dc to realise that actually they aren't the only one who has these feelings and emotions. I now try and say a few times a day which zone I am in and what I'm going to do to help myself.
Making the strategies seem common practice has helped his confidence and given him the boost he needed to recognise certain emotions and how to deal with them.
Definitely worth a look into imo
She might find the incredible 5 point scale or similar, at an age appropriate level, useful for coming to grips with her triggers and learning to deal with them more constructively. It's intended for people with ASD but sounds absolutely appropriate, here.
It's a similar idea to the pp's zones of regulation.
Sorry, I should have said. She is 90% absolutely fine when at school. Loves lessons, clever, great school report recently. She does flare up sometimes in the playground and this has been mentioned.
However her behaviour in the playground isn’t bad enough for them to be particularly concerned or implement anything - I don’t think it’s anything like the way it is at home. If she behaved at school the way she does at home I’d be called in every week.
Having said that, she does see the Senco weekly (our choice), who I believe is working on emotional regulation alongside physical stuff, I will ask the Senco for any ideas. Thanks.
I will look into zones of regulation and 5 point scale, thank you. DD is actually excellent at recognising and describing how she is feeling but seems to be no good at altering her behaviour even when she’s recognised it ... but I guess if we got her to recognise when she’s on amber rather than waiting till red (so to speak) that might help. Unfortunately the switch from green to red seems to be instant much of the time!
Part of the issue is that she never ever wants to talk about her angry/nasty behaviour, even once she’s calm and is feeling happy. So discussing strategies is tricky.
Oh mine can turn on a penny and is incredibly impulsive, I hear where you're coming from with that.
I do feel things like this is very much trial and error. With the Zones of Regulation there might be a dozen activities your daughter could be given the choice of doing when she is in the yellow zone, but only 1-2 of these things might work. Very much trial and error
It can be followed through at home if you're wanting to try it.
Something else I realised a while ago is that sometimes we get the brunt of any negative emotions and behaviour at home because quite frankly, my dc can hold it together for much of the day at school. But when they come through the front door and are suddenly in there 'safe space' (home) they can relax and we get the negative emotions they've been holding in/building up all day. That could be possible with your daughter maybe?
I hope you find a resolve as I understand completely and it can be very difficult for everyone and ultimately we want our children happy
And the lack of discussion is something we had with our dc. He felt lots of embarrass and shame in his actions when he has been in the red zone and he knows he shouldn't be doing certain things, but unfortunately sometimes he just cannot control it.
So when he's calm he gets embarrassed and ashamed and has sometimes flat refused to discuss what happened. Even denying it happened at all sometimes.
What has helped is showing examples of my behaviours and other peoples behaviours and getting him to understand we all feel angry/frustrated at times and we all can make poor decisions when we feel that way. It's not just him, everyone can do it
It's been a long process but he is definitely improving, keep working at it op
Thank you. Yes I’m sure there’s an element of holding it in at school and exploding at home, as well as just being tired after school.
The zones of regulation looks very promising. In yellow there are two squares labelled silly or wriggly and hyper and I often find she is like this right before she goes completely out of control. I have been focusing on trying to get her to calm down when in that state but perhaps should be more specific and try a) to get her to recognise that’s yellow and b) suggest some of the “get back to green” actions. Drink of water could work as it gives her sensory input too (she’s very sensory seeking). She finds being told to breathe deeply annoying because I’ve said it too much and now her little sister says it to her 🤦♀️
I don't know if you'd find this helpful but we were handed this out to take home. I'm sure you'd find much more online if you wanted to go down this route.
The occupational health practitioner at my sons school recommended this
Thanks so much, really helpful.
We had a chat with DD about all this just now. She was reluctant at first (massive understatement...!) but then she realised we were talking about zones of regulation and apparently she’s been learning about that at school with her class ! So she got quite into it, but more into the recognising which zone rather than the take action to change your zone... Let’s see...
Recognising - and acknowledging - the zone is the biggest challenge. Working on getting back to green can't happen until she knows she's not there, anymore.
We used to describe the yellow type behaviours as fizzing with our eldest. He was very much like one of those cartoon bombs with a fizzing fuse.
He's a teen now and just quietly simmers. Less disruptive than fizzing but harder for others to pick up on unless they know him well and are paying attention so he has a tendency to explode with no apparent warning.
Might be worth asking what strategies they use in school when dc are in the red/blue/yellow/green zone and if there's anything in particular that's worked well for your dd
If it's being done at home and school and you're all working on the same hymn sheet as it were you'd be more likely to see results
Wishing you the best op
They do zones of regulation at my DS's school too, and helps to some extent, but like yours mine is good at recognising his zone but mostly afterwards. In the moment he is not so good, and even less good at doing the action to help. I guess it's a learning process, they get better with practice and maturity.
Thanks all. I’ll ask at school but her behaviour there is only an issue in the playground (where there is minimal supervision/intervention as far as I can tell 🙄) so not sure they will have tried much.
Ok we will focus on her recognising her zones to start off with. At the moment it’s more me recognising things are sliding (yellow) and intervening, so I will change that to saying DD which zone are you in?
The being nasty/rude for no reason seems slightly different as it’s quite recent and not necessarily in reaction to something making her cross. Seems more teenage - thinking being rude is clever or something. I’m not sure what to do about this and whether it’s a non NT thing or just 7 year old horrid phase...!