How do I control my sons temper?

Cora - posted on 01/10/2013 ( 13 moms have responded )

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my 5 year old son (who will be 6 in march) has been having BAD temper tantrums every day for the past two weeks and idk whats going on. We have always had an open realtionship and talked everything through he's very smart for his age and talks like an adult. I also have a 10 month old and hes always good with him but everyday he get into these moods that all of a sudden happen, over the littlest things and will start screaming thats he hates us, i will hold him to calm down and he will start kicking and punching. We are out of ideas of what to do we have taken his karate away ,toys, hes been grounded and nothing works! he says hes having good days at school i have never had an issue there and it only happends when im around. we go and do things with just me and him and he still does it. HELP

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Lisa - posted on 01/10/2013

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I went through a similar phase with my daughter - not sure if it was to the extent that you are dealing with, but she could just switch into this incredibly angry mode like the flip of a switch. She, too, always did think and speak like a grown up - she is 7 now and this was a couple years ago, so I'd guess 5 at the time - and I could have great discussions with her about her feelings, situations, etc that she'd understand on a level her twin brother wasn't anywhere near at the time. But then this passionate anger - yikes! And anything I'd say would only fuel it. So I went with saying "I can see you're really angry right now. I'll be in the other room when you're ready to talk." And then I'd walk away. It gave her validation, didn't get us into more conflict, let her know I was there for her, but not putting up with the fit, and gave her time to cool off. Somehow it just worked for her like magic. She would take about 1 or 2 min, collect herself and come talk to me. She still gets passionately angry but not like she used to. It is an on going challenge for her in her life and I look at it as something I need to teach her how to control so she can have a happy life. I don't take it personally, but definitely let her know the effect her anger has on me, or others. It seems to hit home with her when she sees me pull away emotionally because her behavior is unacceptable. And I remind her how important family is and that she doesn't want to damage those relationships. I ask her "What is more important - that toy/tv show/whatever or your brother?" She always gives the right answer. You just have to help redirect the focus and prioritize - a good life skill for us all. I think kids who are very mature early on have a lot to handle and probably experience things in a more adult manner - they don't yet have the tools to handle all of that. Hope this helps you! :) Hang in there!!

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Cecilia - posted on 01/12/2013

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1st, unless hes hurting himself or others there is no need to hold him down. This wouldn't be calming to you if you were angry and someone kept you from moving. Since you say he will talk like a big boy, then give him the chance to. After he is calmed on his own, tell him that you do not like when he acts like that and it hurts your feelings. Ask him why he is angry.

I'm sure it's not as all of a sudden like you think. Maybe when he does it and he's calming himself write down what you know of that happened in the last day. Keep doing it, you might see a pattern somewhere. It might be as simple as he woke up 15 minutes early that day.

Do not take the suggest of telling him you hate him! that is horrible!

Kellery1 - posted on 01/12/2013

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Right on Lula! This is the second answer I have been given today about the power of prayer and God's strength on how to handle my three year old son's outragous tantrums. Simply put, it does work, and at least get's me through them w/ out losing it. Of course there are also the underlying issues, and my son started acting the same way when his baby brother was born Cora. Search your heart tonight before you go to sleep and ask God why he is acting this way, When we are still and listen w/ our spirit, you'd be amazed that the answers are there. Also, the mind has a unique ability to solve problems or discern answers when we are at rest, as weird as that may sound. Think about what has changed recently, has he gone through anything particularly difficult or new. It may not happen overnight but it is a powerful thing to do. I think it is also highly effective for us Mom's experiencing this to spend one-on-one time; just the two of you. It's quality and your undivided attention and affections, not the quantity of time, that your son craves and can help w/ his poor behavior. I am going to start doing this Monday w/ my son as I know this is an answer for us. I'll be praying for all the Mom's out there.

Lula - posted on 01/12/2013

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My first response is always prayer because eveything is caused by a force that is more real than we exist. God can fix anything as long as we are willing to hear His voice and the second thing is to give your child structure in his life. If everything is okay elsewhere then the structure is needed where the tanturms are taking place.

Mel - posted on 01/12/2013

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I have a temper myself and didn't realize I showed it until my daughter blew up about something the other day. She's 5. We set the example, granted they are exposed to others in school and elsewhere. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery and our children look up to us. I guess, the question is "How do you react to things around your children?"
Hope I helped shed some light. If someone had just told me "hey, your not acting alone, you have an impressionable audience" then I would not be trying to reverse my mistakes with my daughter now.

Diane - posted on 01/12/2013

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Every child has currency. You know what his favorite things are, you just haven't upped the ante for a long enough period of time. "The next tantrum, X gets taken away for a week." No tantrums for a week, it gets returned. If tantrums continue, things from his room continue to be removed, even if you have to get down to a mattress on the floor to sleep on. If he's good, and something is returned, and then he slips, then said item is not only removed, it may be given to the Salvation Army. All this can be discussed with a five year old while he is in a calm mood, so that he knows his perimeters. The fact that you are reinforcing his behavior by holding him down, going out of your way to spend time with him when he's been a total ass, just feeds the beast. He's playing you like a violin, and getting lots of rewards for doing it. You just have to be strong enough to get rid of this garbage behavior in a month or so, and not withdraw to your present behavior of reinforcing this. Kicking and punching are not acceptable. Have you sat down with him and outlined a plan for removing his things, and then stuck to it, for as long as it takes? Stopped rewarding him with special time for the two of you when he's punched you? Lastly, since you seem to be soft on holding out with time factors, perhaps you can request some meetings with the school psychologist or counselor, to see what their approaches might be. I really don't care for Dr. Phil, but have watched him out of boredom some days, and I've seen quite a few parents on his show with the same problem. Look online. This is fixable in a short period of time, if you've got the stamina.

Christine - posted on 01/12/2013

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It sounds like it would be a good idea to take him to a counselor. Good luck.

Diana - posted on 01/10/2013

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Has something changed? His schedule, his diet, his teacher, any meds he's taking? If the change was that drastic and sudden, surely there is a cause. Is he in therapy? Can you get him started? I hope y'all figure it out.

Ariana - posted on 01/10/2013

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I would send him to his room to calm down so that you aren't forced to hold him. You could tell him to go to his room and stay there until he's calmed down. Or if his room is full of toys where he wouldn't care you could put him in a more boring place like the bathroom. If he refuses to stay there you could hold the door without talking to him until he calms down. Which sounds bad but if you're at the point where you're holding him down and he's kicking and punching at you putting him somewhere that he can't hurt others and can try to calm himself might be helpful.

Also I wouldn't take him out of karate classes as a punishment for his behaviors since karate teaches self-control and is probably more beneficial than not. If he punches and kicks at you I would also bring this up with his karate instructor who might be able to talk to him. If he's learning to punch and kick in a karate school he needs to know he's not allowed to use that on his parents just because he's lost his temper.

Try to work on calming techniques with him (when he's calm) like deep breathing, punching a pillow, doing jumping jacks, ripping paper, and expressing his anger in words (I'm really MAD). Talk to him about this when he's calm not during a temper tantrum, try to keep it an ongoing conversation and have him practice doing it if possible. Then if he seems to be starting up getting a tantrum ask him if he needs to use one of his calming techniques, or which one he needs. It might not work at first but it's worth pursueing. After a tantrum you should also get him to talk to you about whatever triggered the tantrum and what he could have said or asked about to make it better, and how he was feeling. Try to tell him if he's starting to feel angry you want thim to talk to you about this.

I would also continue with the consequences he gets ontop of working on better coping skills. You might also try doing a technique that is like, you want this, and I want this what's a better way? So I want you to come get ready to go out, and you want to stay and play with your toy, what's a better way? And see if there's a way to compromise, like he could play with it for 5 more minutes, or keep the toy there for later, or take it in the car with him or w/e. Obviously this isn't possible for everything but sometimes trying to involve the kid in the solution can help find positive ways to solve it.

I hope things work out!

Lollie - posted on 01/10/2013

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I think he is maybe jelouse of the new baby, my son did the same thing, we started to send him to play therapy, and it went beter!! But over the festive season we didn't take him, and it got worse, we started again this week. he basiclly plays out his frustrationsand anger... We also keep a stable comfort routine, and I play each day an hour with just him and me...good luck!!!

Holly - posted on 01/10/2013

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tell him he doesn't mean hate, the word he is looking for is angry, and that it is ok to be angry, but we need to find a better way to deal with these feelings, maybe he can write a angry poem about his feelings. or he can scribble his anger out.... scribbling with "angry" colors like black and red and orange, tell him about famous painters who use painting and drawing as a way to express their feelings... some painters use the color blue to show sadness other's use pink and yellow to show happiness and joy.

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