My 8 year old son is angry all the time, I think he has learned this from me and I don't know how to help him and me change

Kelly - posted on 09/15/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I am a loving person but I have a lot going on, 2 jobs, college and 2 kids, at home I never get time to relax and I find myself getting angry at my partner and my beautiful sons. My 8 year old is also very loving but overreacts and gets angry instantly. My 3 year old is a cheeky chancer and we try to be fair when it comes to discipline but this isn't easy due to age gaps. Sorry I'm waffling on, anyway I want to help my son be a calmer person, he lies a lot (silly lies to avoid getting rows) and he expects the worse response from us all the time. I have smacked both their bums but time outs, computer bans and grounding is our main forms of disciple. How do I de -stress my house. Kelly.

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Jenni - posted on 09/15/2011

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Wow you definitely have a lot on your plate, I can understand why you're so stressed!



One of the most important keys to a calmer household is modelling the behaviour yourself. Easier said then done, I must add. But children look to adults in their lives on how to deal with stress and strong emotions. That whole "actions speak louder than words" adage.



I found I had to retrain myself on how I reacted when I was stressed out around my children. So a few tools I found useful for myself and also helpful in teaching my children were:

Identifying my feelings verbally. "I'm feeling overwhelmed!"

"I'm feeling stressed out!" "I'm feeling angry!" "I'm feeling frustrated"

This both lets ourselves know that we're in a need of a break and at the same time teaches our children how to identify their own strong emotions into words, rather than actions.



Followed by the appropriate coping mechanism (I have a few of these):

Counting to ten, followed by deep breathing to release the stress.

Asking my hubby to take over for a few minutes if he's available.

Taking a timeout myself if I feel I might say or do something out of anger/frustration.



These model for your children appropriate ways of dealing with stress. We count to ten, we breathe, we walk away until we are calm enough to deal with a situation.



For your older son, I would discontinue the timeouts. They're typically only effective for children 2-7 years old. But with him I would continue to encourage him to go to his room to calm down if you notice he is getting too angry or frustrated with something that he may react negatively (or has already acted out negatively to strong emotions). Not as a negative punishment. Use it in a positive light.

"I can see you're getting really angry at your brother. Why don't you go take a little break from him?"

When he is calm go and talk to him about any negative behaviour he exhibited and how he could have reacted instead. Keep it short and to the point. No lecturing (they tend to stop listening if you overly drill home your point). Followed by hugs and sorries. And move on.



For punishments, I highly recommend using logical consequences or consequences that fit the crime. The problem with using punishments like spanking, timeouts (when not used as tool to calm down but as a punishment), computer bans and grounding is they don't always fit the crime. I'm not saying they should *never* be used. But if you can find a logical consequence to teach a specific lesson about the negative behaviour, they are usually much more effective. They have to be directly related to the behaviour and immediate.

Some examples would be:

Your child makes a mess, he has to clean it up. (If he refuses he isn't allowed to engage in another activity until it is clean).

If they damage property, they have to repair it or do chores to earn the money to replace it.

If they swear (older children) they have to write an essay on why swearing is unacceptable.

If they are fighting the both get seperated for a time. One child must play in one room, one in another. They return when they are calm to address the issue.

If we act out in public, we have to leave. This can be a short trip to the car to calm down.

If we speak rudely or yell... we are not heard.



Basically they're a replacement for 'punishments' implemented by adults to teach lessons about natural consequences they'd experience in the adult world (or close to those nat. consequences).



Count to 5 when you're children aren't listening to you. This lets them know a logical consequence is coming. As well as destresses yourself and gives you a moment to think before you react out of frustration. At the end of 5 give them a choice. "You can either stop rough housing on the play equipment and we can stay at the park. Or you can continue rough housing and we will leave. It's your choice."



Start teaching your 8 year old to "Stop and Think!" When you see him getting angry. Say this phrase. Followed by: "You're angry, what do we do when we're angry?"

Which can be a number of different appropriate coping mechanisms.

Walking away to calm down.

Squeezing a pillow or stuffed animal.

Counting to ten, and breathing.

Jumping jacks.

Jogging it off.

etc.



"I see you're getting angry with your brother. Let's do some jumping jacks to work it out!"

Then help him solve the issue once he is calm.



Always praise your children when you do see them acting appropriately to negative emotions. "Wow! I love how you used your words to say you're mad! How grown up of you!"



Most important! Stay positive! Try to relax and enjoy your kids. I know how overwhelmed you must be but use family fun as your destresser! Doing crafts together, playing sports together, going on field trips together, reading a book.... when you notice your family is feeling especially stressed do something fun together as a family to help build strong bonds and distract them away from negative feelings (that a lot of times can derive from boredom or a need for attention).

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JuLeah - posted on 09/15/2011

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I have observed that when people stop drinking coffee it allows them better ability to control a short fuse. I have found physical activity helps too, jogging, swimming, bike riding ... everyday. Drinking enough water and getting enough sleep.

There are things we can do for our bodies that do help us remain and feel calmer

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