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Tips wanted on how to deal with my 6 year old's anger

11 replies

tetti · 15/01/2009 11:39

I'm really at the end of my tether today.
I'm a single mum of a wonderful 6 year old girl.But,since me and her dad split a year and a half ago,I have seen a change in her behaviour(not strange considering!)

Ok,don't want to ramble on too much,but just to give you some background..
She saw alot of anger when me and her dad lived together,he had a very short fuse(would not abuse me physically,but verbally),and of course if affected her a great deal seeing that.
So,after we split I did spoil her a bit too much(guess I wanted to compensate for what she had been put through),but of course spoiling your child sometimes end up with the child having little or no respect for you.
So,I had to become strict,she is still very prone to tantrums,so I've enforce a rule where she has to go to her room to cool down,I've also become less of a softie(would previously give into her every whim,as I felt so guilty for not being able to keep my relationship with her dad together,my own parents were married for 40 years,so I felt real bad that I couldn't give her the same family unit as I had)

Anyway,her dad can hardly be described as the dad of the year.Up until very recently he had a girlfriend,and he'd always put this woman before our child(ie,he'd turn up 3 hours late to take her out,then just have her for an hour,before heading back to his gf again,or just cancelling altogether).Now he's single again he seems to make more of an effort(has her every 2nd wknd).
But although my girl loves her dad,she doesn't trust hm anymore as he's let her down so many times.
And of course when she gets angry,there's only one person on whom she can lash out on,me!
This morning she lost it so bad that she was kicking and hitting me,and screaming like a banshee(!).I had to push her away from me ,and I told her some things that I regret really bad now(like"I've had enough fo this,you go and live with your dad!",guess we all can say things in the heat of the moment,but really,I should know better than that)

She is everything to me,and is such a wonderful,warm and loving little girl,but I hate to see the effect that the break up has had on her.She would never misbehave or have any tantrums with her dad,because she thinks that if she did,he wouldn't want to see her again(!)
It breaks my heart to think what she goes through emotionally,she is a very sensitive child.I just dk what I can do to make it better,I just want my little girl to be happy..

She's been fine,no tantrums for ages,until she found out that her dad split with his girlfriend(again!),and I guess that was the catalyst this time.
The stress of it all is just getting to me,I work ft,study ft,and I am all my daughter has got,and I hate myself for flying off the handle sometimes (when she gets another tantrum..)
If it was up to me I'd just let her scream it off,but we have the nosiest neighbour who seems to think that I am abusing her every time she goes up to her room and lets off steam(geeees!!!!!)...(ehm,children DO have tantrums you know!)

Would be so good to get some tips on how to deal with my little girl's anger,as I feel I have tried literally everything.Just want her to be happy

OP posts:
MeNmyGirl · 15/01/2009 12:01

Hi, im sorry i cant really give advise here but just wanted to reply so you know we'r here You seem to be doing a great job and managing all the work and studying too,..super mummy!!

I will be watching this thread cos my dd has anger issues too,..she has such a short fuse, not what steams it so its good you know the reason with your lo.

Anyway goodluck oh and SOD the neighbours if you wana put her in her room to cool down then i say just do it xx

Notreallycutoutforthis · 15/01/2009 12:07

I can't offer direct experience, but 2 relatives and a friend are also going through this atm. It's appallingly hard, but at least you can know that she's venting on you because you're the one she trusts. Would it help to maybe get her a punchbag? A relative's doing this with her DS (cheapy inflatable for 5yrs plus), and she tells him that it's ok to be angry, but when he really needs to hit something this is for him to use, not Mummy.

Hope you get through this.

ninah · 15/01/2009 12:26

No advice, but I'll be watching for some. Ds six just the same, and I'm struggling! don't think it is necessarily due to split although we had similar issues in the relationship. I find it really hard to stay patient.

tetti · 15/01/2009 12:37

Thank you both:-)
Yes,I had actually thought about getting her a punchbag(!),I have also thought about whether it'd be a good idea for her to take karate classes,not only to vent her anger(or I'd feel sorry for the other participants(wink),but also for her to learn dicipline in a different environment.
She is like two different people,her teacher told me at a parents eve,that she is the most wellbehaved,caring and considerate pupil in the class,which was great to hear,but at home,well....
It's really,really hard for me not to lose my temper with her when she's at her worst,and I do end up shouting sometimes,but I just don't want it to have to be like that,you know?
I always end up blaming myself for her outbursts(had I been a better mum she wouldn't behave like that,etc etc),but I know that isn't the reason why,it's because of her dad...It's just hard holding it together at times and stay calm,especially when my daughter really flies of the handle.
I always try and remove myself from the situation then,just to calm myself down..
Just wish her dad knew how badly his behaviour affects her,but I have given up on trying to explain it to him(nobody can reason with him,and he'd always say that I'm the bad parent,not him,and that I dk how to raise her,hmmm,very charming!)
I always put her first,as any mother should,whereas he has her when convenient for him.
All he'll say is"Well,she never misbehaves with me,she respects me,so you must be doing something wrong!"(what can I say?....)

OP posts:
ninah · 15/01/2009 14:46

dunno think some of it's just they way they are, rather than Because Of anything ...
I was a horrible child at that age too. My dd is quite different. I'm quite sure my ds would have these issues even if his dad was the most caring dependable individual in the universe. Would be nice to hand him over when I felt the need, though, I have to say! Hate, hate shouting. I threw a wooden tambourine at the wall once - now that's a great example. I want Mary Poppins to come round, tidy up and make us all have some Fun

Notreallycutoutforthis · 15/01/2009 17:38

to Nina's Mary Poppins.

I know I don't have anything like the probs you're having atm, but with a 5yo DS I do find myself shouting more than I'm comfortable with. One thing I do on a day when it feels like I've not said anything positive is to sneak into his room when he's asleep and just whisper in his ear that he's a fantastic person and very much loved. Makes me feel better and maybe it'll sink in to his subconscious? [optimistic with no factual basis emoticon]

tetti · 15/01/2009 19:59

Have to disagree a lil with you Ninah,as I am doing a masters in psychology ,I do know for a fact that there is always a reason as to WHY we behave the way we do.And you have to think,if you are a very young child,you will naturally become affected emotionally if your parents split,and all that hurt and anger has to come out would be very strange(and unhealthy!) if it didn't.
Children just dk yet how to channel their anger and frustration in a way that is less destructive.
Just wish I knew how to deal with the problem...

OP posts:
Jux · 15/01/2009 20:31

Something I did with dd when she was going through a stage of not controlling emotions (!don't they all!) was I made her a special costume she could put on - you could use a hat, or just a piece of cloth she can tuck in to her shirt or something - and when she was wearing she could RANT and RANT and RANT until she'd got it out. Meanwhile I would not say a word, nor react, but listen. At the end, she would take the costume off and we might talk about whatever's come up, or we might talk about it another time, or we might not really talk about any of it.

It was based on the idea of those letters they get in Harry Potter (howlers?). It worked pretty well. DD did it every so often, and I knew exactly what I was in for. She quickly learnt to hang on to things that were bothering her until she had a chance to let it all hang out in her costume. Then she felt better.

She's 9 now; hasn't done it for years (probably not since she was 3 or 4).

LonelystRessedandBlue · 15/01/2009 20:44


Does your dd have any 'warning signs' when she is becoming angry, or does she go from calm to angry instantly? I have problems when ds gets angry, because anything I say makes him angrier, in fact it has got to the stage before where me moving has increased his anger. However I now can see warning signs, the way he speaks changes, he tends to clench his fists, pulls a face, and I have learnt how to talk him down at this point, rather than let it get out of hand. And if I can't talk him down I remove one of us from the situation (either I leave the room or I move him to his room, depending on the situation) in order to calm us both down, as otherwise I get angry with him as well.
As for tricks to talk him down, apart from staying calm (and that really does come with practice), I try the "I know you are angry...", or just being calm but firm (when he's trying it to get something he wants at the end). Its just what works for us, but there may be bits that will work for you.
I do still get angry with him, don't get me wrong, but I don't let his anger fuel mine any more, and I don't react when he vents with things like "I hate you" "You aren't my friend any more" etc. I tend to ignore it as that seems to be more effective than anything else.
If he has said or done anything whilst he is angry that I feel needs addressing, I wait until he has calmed right down and then tell him we need to talk about something he did when he was angry, outline the behaviour and what was wrong. But again I keep this very calm (often have him on my lap, cuddling me), and if he starts up again, I first tell him he will have to go to his room until he is calm enough to talk about it, and if that doesn't calm him down, put him in his room until he decides he is calm enough. And giving him this responsibilty works. If I say he has to stay in his room until he has calmed down, or until he is ready to do x, he will stay there until he is ready, he has books, cuddly toys and music in there and uses them to help himself into the right mood.

Hope some of this ramble helps.

tetti · 16/01/2009 11:00

A big thank's to LonelystRessedandBlue and Jux,you gave some great advice there which I will def take on board!:-)
And I def think that using something like a costume like you mentioned Jux,is a fab idea(my daughter might like the idea soo much though,that she'll start a tantrum just to put it on!(wink).

OP posts:
ninah · 16/01/2009 14:14

loving the costume idea!
agree behaviour is causal, but also think a lot is down to personality - ds has always found it hard to manage his emotions, while dd is comparatively cheerful and pragmatic
good luck tetti. I'll def be trying out the ideas on here

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