I apologize in advance if this is long! DH and I are a little worried about our big guy and are looking for guidance on how to deal with his emotions. In a nutshell, our 6 yr old throws fits at the drop of a hat. We feel that we respect his emotional needs, are calm and thoughtful parents (most of the time at least!), do our best to offer a loving home, etc. But he's having a hard time.
He was always a very "chill" child and rarely challenged us in any way until he was about 5. Since then he's been explosively emotional. The fits (I don't know what else to call them) usually involve him screaming, crying, refusing to talk, etc. They usually last about 10 minutes and I can tell that he's making himself cry. I feel awful saying that because I know that he's genuinely upset, but it feels like he's doing it for attention. They happen quite often, sometimes several times a day. For instance he'll get upset when: he doesn't get his breakfast immediately in the morning, I ask him to help carry in his backpack from the car, he isn't served what he likes for dinner (trust me, I always make sure he has a good option for dinner), I tell him TV or computer time is over (even with warning), I ask him to pee before we leave the house... the list goes on and on. He also gets upset often with his brother, but I think that's normal. It's more the other situations that I'm worried about.
As of now, we deal with them by first trying to talk with him (usually a mistake) and then we either ignore it or send him to his room (or just upstairs) because he's being disruptive to the family, which we explain to him. I've gotten advice all over the board from friends and family. Some say it's just a phase, and that we should ignore it. Some think we should give him time-outs. I guess we do a combo of the two because we don't know what else to do. After he's calmed down we try to talk with him which usually goes well. It's just that he HATES any kind of discipline or general responsibility within the family home.
We've thought about his sleep patterns and his diet and if that has anything to do with this. He usually gets a good night's rest. However he's a very picky eater and I wonder if his diet is contributing to this-- maybe he's too "drained". This week DH and I decided to give him eggs and toast for breakfast every morning to see if that helps. I've thought about school being an issue (he's in public 1st). He absolutely loves it and is beaming when I pick him up. But maybe it's tiring for him. I check in with him often about how school is going and he nothing but great things to say. He's happy, he has friends, he likes his teacher, etc.
So I guess I'm asking how other mamas would deal with the fits. Am I doing something wrong? Is this just a phase? I don't really know where to go from here. I feel like he's shut down to me recently and I don't know how to get beyond it.