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Need advice- 5 yr old so angry and maybe more?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I am in tears. I am so worried/annoyed/angry at my almost 5 yr old. He has been a bit challenging since about 18 os or so but recently- unbearable. I have a new baby and it is pretty obvious that he is craving attentin so bad and behaving like a typical middle child. I would say most of the time I am a pretty great mom but I have a bad temper and I have lost it too many times- so yes I take some blame for this. Anyway- here is the specific behavior. If he doesn't get his way or sometimes just because he can't find his flip flips (aka- nothing ) he will scream and yell so incredibly loud, knock stuff over, hit or kick. It is really unbearable. We go around and close all the windows.

I wish I could say that I have calmly knelt down and his level or whatever but mainly I just get really mad. I've been working on it but it is truly difficult. What we have done recently is take him to his room and tell him he can come down when he is ready to behave civilly. It has worked sometimes I think because fairly quickly he comes down and is calm. Other times like tonight- he was throwing a fit because his brother was taking a bath first!!!- and he screamed and acreamed and slammed the door and I ended up pulling a muscle or something dragging him upstairs.

I don't whether to keep being consistant with the room thing or what. BTW- We never used the room as a punishment before and actually I not thinkingof this that way- I just think he can't sit down here with the family and scream and hit. I always tell him he can decide when to come down.

The worst part is I am so worried about him. I am afraid he is depressed or has an anger issue or I wonder why he is so maladjusted that the baby is causing this much stress for him.

Most of all- I feel responsible and sad that our family doesn't seem to be working right now. I look at my sweet 4 month old and remember my middle guy when he was a sweet fat smiling baby.

Please no flames, I am feeling pretty sad.
post #2 of 15
A great big hug... I'm on here tonight after a day from hell with my almost 5 year old who just seems so selfish, angry, unhappy... hormonal! I'm feeling for you...
post #3 of 15
I do use the bedroom for inappropriate behaviour, such as yelling and hitting, and do the same as you when it comes to when ds can come back out (when your voice is calm, your body is calm, etc). Remember though to have NOTHING fun in his room though, such as toys, electronics, etc. He'll just end up playing with those items instead of following through with your directions. Leave only books in his room.
Another option would be to take away his toys when he displays certain behaviours. For example, my 4 yr old got into a really bad habit of lying to dh and I about EVERYTHING. It got so bad that he would poop in his underwear, then adamantly state that he didn't, then apologize profusely when you showed him that he actually did. Then lie about it again he next day. We told ds that the next time he lied, he would loose his toys and electronics for 4 days (he's 4 yrs old). And this went across the board to daycare (I worked there so was really able to reinforce this rule), at the grandparents, etc. The only thing he had where his books, school books, and colouring. He ended up going 2 weeks without his toys or electronics b/c he would continue to lie to us. Since then he hasn't lied to us for the past 2 months. It was hard on us but we had to stick to it and not give in....but I can only imagine how difficult it was for him.

Just another method to think about.
post #4 of 15
My almost 5 year old is being more emotional. She's getting angry more often and more intensely and also upset more easily too. I figure it's some developmental thing and will go away after awhile. I've been validating her feelings and then calmly reminding her about better ways to deal with anger than being rude. It's really hard to keep your cool, but getting angry too just models the behavior you want to go away. I wouldn't worry too much, it seems a lot of almost 5 year olds go through an angry phase. I had been reading about it right before it started happening with our DD so I just let my DH know it was normal and to keep modeling patient behavior. When I feel like I'm going crazy and about to lose it over all the noise, we go outside or I eat chocolate or read something for awhile ...... things that calm me down. Don't be too hard on yourself, the long summer days seem to make kids busier/noisier and you have 3 little ones. I know it's often too hot to just spend the day out side here and playing inside just doesn't get rid of all their energy as well.

My DD likes to go off by herself when she's angry, but we don't make her. I have suggested that my DD go to her room until she feels better. But it's not a punishment so it's perfectly fine if she plays in there. Basically finding something nice to do to help calm yourself down when your angry is a good skill.

It may seem almost weird, but my DD has calmer days when she does messy activities like playing in water or painting.
post #5 of 15
Does he get a lot of "active" time to run off some energy? Does he get enough sleep?
post #6 of 15
We had some issues with "explosive" behavior with my DD, last year. Now she is five. For me, the question was, why couldn't she get control of herself? She seemed really out of control, and that was what I hated. It's not that I expect her to never have tantrums anymore, but I was kind of freaked out by their intensity. One of the things that helped me fix that was really cutting down the amount of sugar she was taking in.

Check out the grams of sugar in:

--any juice or juice boxes in your house or at preschool
--organic chocolate or vanilla milk boxes
--cereals, granola bars
--any treats you normally have

32 Grams of added sugar a day is what is recommended in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (and I think that's for adults, even)--and most juice boxes and the organic milk boxes have about that amount of sugar. So ONE of them and a kid is really at their limit. If your kid has a juice or milk box more than once a day plus whatever other sugary things are occuring in their diet naturally, plus a cupcake here and there, or a candy from Grandma, or a lollipop from the bank--it can add up really quickly.

There is a book called Little Sugar Addicts that I got a lot out of, but basically, sugar can act like speed for some kids and the answer is to limit it, and to up your protein intake.

For us, that meant I started buying juiceboxes that were more water (Honest Kids and Roaring Waters are both very low in sugar since they're mostly flavored water) and I stocked up on greek yogurt, string cheese, nuts, and sliced meats for DD to snack on.

It's helped a lot.

Another thing you could do is give him a "Crazy Corner" and have some koosh balls and maybe a small area where he could jump up and down if he really needs to get some of his physical energy out when he's angry. Give him some alternatives to the tantrum now that he is getting older. He still needs to get those feelings out, but how can he do it more constructively?
post #7 of 15
Originally Posted by nainai0585 View Post
I do use the bedroom for inappropriate behaviour, such as yelling and hitting, and do the same as you when it comes to when ds can come back out (when your voice is calm, your body is calm, etc). Remember though to have NOTHING fun in his room though, such as toys, electronics, etc. He'll just end up playing with those items instead of following through with your directions. Leave only books in his room.
Another option would be to take away his toys when he displays certain behaviours.

Just another method to think about.
I just have to say that this method in my experience does NOTHING to solve the angry child problem.
It might be teaching them to keep their anger in. It also just teaches them to be very sneaky about doing naughty things and learn to lie better.
This in my experience does nothing but make the child feel more angry inside and desensitizes them from being sent to solitary confinement.
Taking their things away might work very rarely, but during an epsisode of anger it just turns an emotional thing into a material thing.
I dont know, I just dont think this really works. The child just keeps doing the same exact things and being sent to their room and never actually LEARNS to deal w/ the anger thing the right way.

I wish I could tell the op what definitely does work. I have an angry 7 yr old dd who is the oldest. My middle child ds is 5 and the baby is 3 mos.
My dd is the one with a BIG time anger problem that Ive been working on helping her control. Its a very hard job and sometimes I get angry too.
My only advice is to find a way to not let yourself get angry in the heat of his anger/ acting out. On the days when I say to myself Im going to deal w/ her with out letting ME get all flustered. Most of the time it really helps.
It doesnt change what she is going to do or her behavior, but it is the only control I have over the whole situation and hopefully one day she will follow my lead and control herself.
post #8 of 15
OK, first, Dierdre... big hugs from me. I totally get where you're coming from.

Second, I totally agree with Mom2happy. No offense intended, Nainai (and, welcome to MDC by the way), but my daughter's anger gets worse with these sorts of interventions. I had to learn that the things I thought would shut down the tantrum were actually escalating it, and I had to train myself to act in a manner that was, to me, counterintuitive.

Third, I know it's been said again and again on this board but Parenting Your Spirited Child by Kucinka is a worthy read.

Finally, Madskye is my heroine. I listened to her advice about sugar when DD1 started acting this way about 5 months ago (right before we had our babies, Dierdre), and it has helped immensely. She still has sugar, but I totally know by her behavior when she's had too much, and I can plan ahead to put myself in the right mindset where hopefully we won't have a tantrum and will only remain at "orange alert"--which is really really annoying, but at least doesn't involve her throwing trashcans at me.
post #9 of 15
I can identify with your anguish.

From my direct experience with this, the child isn't probably angry or the one with the problem....it's most likely a family problem. That is, he's learning angry ways from the family. This isn't an indictment of you. It happened to us because I was raised by an angry father (our whole family system was about coercion, but "gentle" wasn't even on our radar screen back then, back in the 1960's).

My son gets angry because I get angry. DH too. And I don't always mean the anger that shows. Kids have wonderful radar and can feel it when we are angry and try to stuff it. In our family we're angry because DH and I never learned correct boundaries growing up. We let ourselves get pushed and pushed and pushed and then we're walking around with all this anger and we either turn it inward or blow up outward. It just happens, no big deal, no big huge disaster or blaming going on here...we just need to learn new ways. (I *LOVE* learning new ways!!)

I have found a VERY helpful book which I highly recommend. It's called Angry Children, Worried Parents. It gives very specific tips and methods of how to identify the situations where we get angry AND ways to handle it better. We've been using their ideas and it SO, SO, SO helps!!

I am a firm believer that anger is just a symptom. When people feel they haven't been treated fairly OR when they are very afraid, it's all too easy to lash out in anger.

It seemed like a lot of these posts were about the child and what to get HIM to do so HE can "get fixed" or "behave" or whatever, but I think it's bigger than all that. Again, I speak from experience. It is a huge and great relief when someone can show you new ways of relating to one another. I hope you get the book (or a similar one) and that it helps. No one wants to be angry....not the kids and not the grownups.
post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by nainai0585 View Post
Remember though to have NOTHING fun in his room though, such as toys, electronics, etc. He'll just end up playing with those items instead of following through with your directions. Leave only books in his room.
Well, thank God, he's not an early reader.
post #11 of 15
Just to chime in on the "go to your room" thing -- I think it probably depends on the kid. We do this with our 3 year old DS sometimes, and it works really well for him. He's definitely an introvert, and sometimes he really needs some time to be by himself and calm down. We're very calm about it -- we tell him he can either go to his room and calm himself down or stay with us to calm down. We've been doing this for a few months, and now he will sometimes tell us he needs to be by himself for a little.
post #12 of 15
My daughter is 4.5 and she doesn't really have an angry problem, but she does get over wrought and teary sometimes (and lately, often). Going in her room and playing with QUIET toys helps a LOT. It's her space. She can lie down and look at books or listen to music or play with quiet toys and move her focus from being upset to doing something calm. My goal in sending her to her room is to help her calm herself. I guess if I just wanted to punish her, taking everything out would be the thing but I just want her to calm down. She is not a child that calms down with talking or being comforted, she will just get stuck and continue to work herself up and up. A few minutes by herself works wonders. SOMETIMES, someone can go with her and read to her, but sometimes she just needs to be alone.

Also, sugar? Not good for her. Totally agree with looking into that!
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone!!

I defintely think there are deeper anger issues here- hence my sadness and regret. We are definitely exploring and working on them but that is a post for another board. Thanks for the book rec--I read "when anger hurts your child" and that was helpful so I will definitely read the one you recommended.

For the immediate issue of the tantrums- i appreciate everyone's input. We don't do punishments as in "take away priviledges" unless it is directly related- ie- a sword that was used to bash his brother may be taken away for the day. I understand the impulse to withdraw stuff- when my ds starts up this way- iwant to do something ANYTHING!!! but I realize taking away toys etc is just confusing. My dh and I are constantly reminding ourselves of the goal- help ds get his anger under control. I think my main problem is not being patient- I want it to stop NOW!!

I obviously can't drag him to his room since I really hurt my back doing it- ugh. We are going to brainstorm and come up with something.

As far as sugar, sleep, exercise- We rarely eat sugar- no juice- although lke all kids he could eat less. We are a Waldorfish family so lots of routine, outdoor time, swimming, biking every day and he goes to bed every night at 7. So I wish I could change something like that to help but I think we are ok there although I do think he still needs a nap some days. Sigh.....

Thanks again everyone. Amazing how hard it is sometimes to be a good mom.
post #14 of 15
My DS1 is 5 and gets super angry, throwing stuff, yelling... if I send him to his room to calm down he will tear apart the window screen or pick paint off the walls =)

The only thing that has really worked as far as being *non-punitive* and teaching him to deal with his anger is Naomi Aldort's "SALVE" formula. In a nutshell, S is for self-talk (listen to all those "unproductive" thoughts you feel like saying, and don't say them!), A- Turn attention to your child- L- Listen to what your child is really saying, V- Validate, E- Empower.

The first three are pretty easy, the last two I've had to work on to get it right. A lot of times what he is really feeling is, turns out, very different from what I think he's upset about. And the empower part is generally nothing more than allowing him to feel the disappointment/frustration/unfairness he perceives, without changing or *fixing* it, in a way that lets him know I believe he can handle what is going on for him.

This is very hard in public though. I generally have to strap him into his carseat til he calms down because should he get into a rage at someone else's house he will run away from me and throw things/slam doors on people and freak them out (and potentially hurt someone or damage something). I've learned before we go somewhere to really zero in on things that may trigger his anger and discuss how we will handle it ahead of time... at home it is easier. And by doing this process I've learned a lot about what upsets him, and why. So now I am getting to the bottom of it and it happens less.
post #15 of 15

So I see your post was from years ago. I'm exactly where you are tonight with my 5 year old little guy. Just in tears tonight and  at least over the same anger issues with my little guy once a week if not more. He gets angry over nothing. Stomps, screams and just looses it for a few minutes. He can be so kind and loving, but for the past year it seems to only be when he wants something. His teachers continually approach me to tell me he's one of their favorites and how all the little girls are just mesmerized by him. I agree, he is a charmer, but I'm so fearful of where his charms and anger will get him down the road of life. I know I'm over analyzing... he's only 5. But his lack of respect for me and his out of control anger is too much. I am a very scheduled and routine like family. He knows what's expected of him, just doesn't seem to care. He's so entitled. Has your son outgrown any of this? My 2 year old daughter is so easy going. It's so hard not to compare them in my head and wonder what we've done differently/wrong with our son. He's soooo strong willed and incredibly smart. Help!


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