I’m looking for some new perspectives on how I’m approaching my son’s aggressive outbursts.
My DS1 (almost 6yo) is very sensitive and experiences emotions very intensly. This is generally positive as most the time he is full of beans and very enthusiastic about what he’s doing. He is also very loving and very empathetic. However, when he is frustrated he will often be aggressive, either with us or DS2 (4yo). This has improved a lot over the years, but still happens every couple of days. Typically he will try to scratch or bite. Then he laughs and starts being “bad”, saying mean things etc. When he finally calms down he is always very repentent and often cries and hugs us.
When I am calm and together I can deal with this calmly and I think that he is still learning to contain his emotions and I need to help him with that. That’s probably about 50 percent of the time. However, the other 50 percent I feel very cross and frustrated. Then, I end up shouting and telling him how angry and sad I am. This invariably makes it much worse and I end up apologising for shouting. So, I realise that a big part of the issue here is my self control and my ability to deal with the situation.
However, there is a part of me that thinks he also needs to see that his actions genuinely upset people and make them feel very bad. Also, he is big for his age and sometimes hits out at other children when frustrated, which is clearly a big issue on lots of levels.
I realise that there is a contradiction here that I can’t resolve in my mind. If he genuinely can’t control himself yet, then why should I be cross with him? Surely I just need to guide him? Yet, if he can’t appreciate how bad this makes other people (and ultimately himself) feel, then will he learn that this behaviour absolutely can’t happen?
I feel like at the moment my reactions are quite extreme. I’m either completely calm and in control or I’m acting like he did the worse thing in the world. Can anyone suggest a middle path where I can get my emotions out but in a way that is healthy for everyone and that gives a good example to him of how to deal with intense emotions.