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#1 of 30 Old 11-08-2010, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I posted a while back about my 7 yr old DD.
She has a HOT temper and escalates from 0-60 in about 1 minute.
I am trying SO hard to help her figure out what to do before she makes the wrong choices. She is aware that her name calling outbursts are unacceptable.
In the heat of the moment she just really CAN NOT keep the words in.
Even if she goes off to take some time to chill, she still has to release those terrible words. Every time she comes back and apologizes and says she wishes she didn't do that.
If she doesn't get her way- she tells me she hates me (or even worse things)
If her little brother doesn't feel like playing school she unleashes on him.
I know she loves us all and wants to be with me every second, but her inability to cope with disappointment sometimes is maddening.
DH thinks she is spoiled and undisciplined. I just think this is her personality and I just haven't found the key to teaching her how to deal with it.
She is smart, creative, and most of the time fun to be with, but she takes EVERYTHING so personally and wants to control the world. I try to give her as much control over her own life as I can, but geez- a seven year old cant rule the roost. Her lack of feeling in control is what causes this. WHAT else can I do to make her feel empowered?
Things have improved since I last posted, but I'm so worried and embarrassed about this behavior. I dont even want to post some of the awful things she says. I'm worried that she wont ever learn how to control herself.
BTW - she is "the model child" at school. I am far from proud of that though.
I know it's because of her inhibited insecure nature that makes it impossible for her to let her real feelings out where she is not comfortable.
I was the same way she is with out the aggression. I understand that she might have to get out some pent up frustration at home, but I can't let her say vicious things to us.
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#2 of 30 Old 11-08-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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Some quick thoughts:
--Does her name-calling behavior get a big reaction from those who are around her? Shocked faces, immediate action, threats or punishments? Sometimes big reactions help to perpetuate things.
--Before prohibiting what things you will allow her to say, I'd work on WHY she says these things.
--The book by Haim Ginott called Between Parent and Child might be very helpful. A child has to feel heard, and if she thinks that being louder and ruder will help her be heard, maybe that is what's happening. My point being that if she feels heard (i.e. that instead of focusing on the words she is using and how she is saying (or screaming) them), listen to the emotion she is trying to express and say it back at her so she knows you understand. "You are upset by what just happened." "You wish your drawing came out better" "Sounds like you're disappointed." "I bet you feel frustrated." LATER ON, after the dust has settled, in a peaceful moment, like when you tuck her in, reflect back..."You know, when you yelled at us tonight at supper, it hurt our ears and made us feel bad, too. I understand that you were angry. What do you think you could do next time that would be more acceptable?" This won't turn around immediately but I , too, have a bright and verbal and creative, perfectionistic, dramatic child who tends to react in a volatile manner in response to certain triggers. So I can identify with what you are going through.
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#3 of 30 Old 11-11-2010, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by NellieKatz View Post

Some quick thoughts:
--Does her name-calling behavior get a big reaction from those who are around her? Shocked faces, immediate action, threats or punishments? Sometimes big reactions help to perpetuate things.
--Before prohibiting what things you will allow her to say, I'd work on WHY she says these things.
--The book by Haim Ginott called Between Parent and Child might be very helpful. A child has to feel heard, and if she thinks that being louder and ruder will help her be heard, maybe that is what's happening. My point being that if she feels heard (i.e. that instead of focusing on the words she is using and how she is saying (or screaming) them), listen to the emotion she is trying to express and say it back at her so she knows you understand. "You are upset by what just happened." "You wish your drawing came out better" "Sounds like you're disappointed." "I bet you feel frustrated." LATER ON, after the dust has settled, in a peaceful moment, like when you tuck her in, reflect back..."You know, when you yelled at us tonight at supper, it hurt our ears and made us feel bad, too. I understand that you were angry. What do you think you could do next time that would be more acceptable?" This won't turn around immediately but I , too, have a bright and verbal and creative, perfectionistic, dramatic child who tends to react in a volatile manner in response to certain triggers. So I can identify with what you are going through.


I know why she says these things. I know exactly why. She despises NOT getting her way.

I have pondered this and read about 20 books about parenting. Im always looking for some deep reason why.

It is just her personality.

I have done pretty much everything gently and always consider where she is coming from. I cant make excuses anymore.
If it was just me she was lashing out at, I wouldnt have to react. The thing is EVERY time she doesnt get her way or she thinks someone insulted her, she sees red. When she does it to her little brother constantly- how can I not react?

He just sits there with hurt feelings and knows those are not words we can use. He has the self control not to use them.

He is 5, she is 7.

How can I let her say terrible things and have outbursts hurting his feelings like that? It would be abuse.

She has a quick bad temper and I dont have to take it personally. How do I protect my son from it?

Ive been guiding both of them through their feelings through day one. I say to them "You seem angry, frustrated, sad, ..............

Let's work together on this. We have had so many talks about other things to do when she feels this overwhelming feeling.

 

This morning she thought her brother insulted a drawing of hers (which he didnt), he just tapped her drawing pad with his hand. He was just sitting eating his cereal.

She started yelling names at him. I tried to talk to her and help her with her feelings. DS said he didnt even see her picture, but knew he would like it. She then flipped her cereal bowl and continuted to call names. THis is typical (minus the cereal flipping)

Now I made her go downstairs to be alone. So, how do you not react with out putting your other children's well being aside.

Saying "that is not an okay thing to say, let's think of another way", doesnt work.

 

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#4 of 30 Old 11-11-2010, 06:04 AM
 
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Honestly, and I am NOT usually a fan of punishment, at this point I would pick something as a consequence and every time she is unable to control her words, it happens.  I remember your other thread - and from your description you've clearly parented gently to this point.  If she's able to control it at school, she can do it at home....having said that, maybe set aside 5 minutes a day for her for her to close herself in her room and shout out all the words she's feeling inside - not AT anyone, but just to get them out of her body, as you said it seems like she needs this release - like a catharsis.  If you present it to her that you understand she seems to have this need, but you absolutely cannot tolerate her verbally abusing anyone in the family, that something has to change immediately.   

 

Have you tried the option of a do over?  Like, when she unleashes like this, is she totally cool after or is she still wound up?  If she seems to unleash it and revert to normal right after, you might try something like, 'WOAH, NOT OK.  I know you can figure out a better way to say you're angry.  Try again please.'   But if she's wound up afer it, that won't help.  Whatever it is you decide to do (have her give up something, have her do something, whatever) needs to happen right after she lets loose.  This is a behavior modification flat out, and in a situation like this, I think is warranted.  I'd for sure discuss with her the fact that you know she's not intentionally being mean, but that it needs to sto pnonetheless...offer her the "free space" to let it all hang out in her room a couple times a day, and maybe the combinatio of that will get this licked. 

 

I don't remember from the last thread, but would she be amenable to going to her room if she starts this, in the middle of it to let the rest go?  "If you have to talk like that, it needs to be in your room so you're not hurting anyone with your words.  Come on back out after you've calmed down."   Or is she too ramped up in the moment? 

 

Have you asked her for her input about what could help her stop doing it?  I think she's old enough, and she might have some unusual, but effective ideas.  I'll never forget my son at 5 years old was often so absorbed in things he didn't hear me.  I was so exasperated I finally said to him, 'please, tell me what I can do to get your attention!" and he got quiet, thought fora moment, and said, "You could go  PSSSSSSSSST! "   and as ridiculous as it felt, by gum it worked - it was a really different sound that caught his attention in a way that my regular voice doesn't, and since it was his idea, obviously he was comfortable with it so it was respectful.  I'd really sit down with her and get her input on it, and not let her make excuses...be frank, and let her know if she's not able to come up with some plans then you'll be coming up with some because this just cannot continue.

 

Good, good luck.  My kids respond well to, "I KNOW you can come up with a better way to say that." Or, "WOAH, rephrase please."  or at the worst/shortest, "NO way.  Try again." (that's when they know they really crossed a line)  lol.gif


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#5 of 30 Old 11-11-2010, 06:04 AM
 
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You've hit the nail on the head as far as the problem goes, I think.  Learning that we can't always get what we want is a major part of emotional maturity.  And it isn't easy to learn.  Think about how many adults don't get that, and then get angry and belligerent when they don't get the parking spot they felt entitled to or have to wait in line somewhere.  Giving her the gift of that understanding will benefit her for the rest of her life, and I'd focus on that instead of the name calling, as name calling is just a symptom of the problem.

 

I would let her go through whatever emotions she's dealing with as she faces disappointment, as that's part of the learning process.  And I'd be empathetic, but not try to solve the problem or fix things.  Facing disappointment and getting through it is how this is learned, and if people try to solve the problems all the time, the message she's getting is that it's always possible to get what you want if you work at it hard enough.  I don't mean to never help you if it is practical to solve a problem, but when it isn't practical, which in my experience with my kids anyway is usually, just let her deal with feeling disappointed.  Don't worry so much about her showing anger, because that's a necessary part of her getting it.  Once she gets it, she won't get so upset.  It's all about having those angry feelings, being disappointed, and then in the end having everything turn out OK even though she didn't get what she wanted.  But the fact that anger doesn't solve this problem is a valuable lesson so going through that is helping her learn.

 

Also, be careful to model this in front of her.  If the adults in her life are screaming when they don't get the parking spot they want, or are cutting in line because they don't think they should have to wait, that is going to teach her something contrary to the lesson she needs to learn.  I'm not saying this is happening here, but I have a niece facing the same issue and I think the adults in her life having a sense of entitlement is part of why she isn't getting through it, so I'm just throwing that out there.  If you see people behaving like that, it might be useful to talk through it.  "That man thought he should have that parking space.  Why do you think he thought he deserved it?  I wonder if he would have been happier if he'd just parked somewhere else."  That kind of thing.

 

And then when you face this issue yourself, where you don't get what you want, talk about it to her.  "I really wanted X, but I just couldn't have it.  So I decided to do Y instead, and it ended up being great."

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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

 Don't worry so much about her showing anger, because that's a necessary part of her getting it.  Once she gets it, she won't get so upset.  It's all about having those angry feelings, being disappointed, and then in the end having everything turn out OK even though she didn't get what she wanted.  But the fact that anger doesn't solve this problem is a valuable lesson so going through that is helping her learn.

 I don't think the OP has a problem with her daughter displaying anger....I think the problem is she's unleashing her wrath AT people, instead of just in general.  To me, ti's just not OK no mtter how mad you are about something in daily life to let loose on someone.  Let loose at the universe, shout if you have to, but not AT someone, especially if they haven't even done anything.   Sometimes when things happen, I'll shout out to no one in particular, "Oh COME ON!"  or, "I'm SO ANGRY AHHHHH!"  but name calling or venemous words directed at a person are a real dealbreaker for me.  Just like physically hitting someone isn't OK to me, verbally 'hitting' them isn't either; in fact, I've heard many times from people that the physical pain of a hit is nothing compared to the emotional wounds that repeated verbal attacks can leave.  So I would definitely be nipping this in the bud by whatever means I had to, given that she's been using gentle parenting to this point, even by arbitrary punishments, which I do not typically promote at all.  

 

For instance, with the drawing/cereal thing; I would be OK with something like, "OMG that made me SO MAD!  It's my pad and my art!!!!"  (I'd prefer not having overreactions, but understand that some people are more intense than others - I have a 4-yo like this).   But a string of contemptable names coming out unleashed towards someone, not so much.  She can be mad as hell, as far as I'm concerned, and even shout or stomp her feet; to me it's not about NOT getting mad, it's about not verbally attacking someone else in the process. 

 

In fact, this is a good quesiton; OP, have you tried helping her retrain herself to unleash her anger in general, but not directed at the person?  "I'm so mad!"  Versus, "I hate you!" 

 

 

For the record, my answer would involve a lot more talking and guiding if this was a 4 yo or even a 5 yo, but a 7 yo that is able to control herself at school is in a different category to me.  Not that she doesn't deserve empathy or guidance or love through it, but that it needs to just stop and if it's become a combination of personality and habit, it needs to be broken with behavior modification like a habit is. 


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#7 of 30 Old 11-11-2010, 07:22 AM
 
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I don't punish because I don't think punishment teaches what we intend for it to teach, not because I think it's so harsh it should only be used for really serious things.  I just don't think she's going to learn what she needs to learn, that it's OK to not always get what she wants, but getting punished for having what is really a 7-year-old style tantrum.  I have told my dd when she's said something that hurts my feelings how it makes me feel when she says that to me, and I think that's a valuable thing to do, but I don't think a 7-year-olds verbal mudslinging is equivalent to physical violence.  Adults yelling at children hurts them because of the power differential, but it isn't nearly as hurtful to be yelled at by a tantruming child.

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I think this will have to be an agree to disagree kind of thing because I think a 7 yo is pretty clearly able to know they're not always going to get what they want and that's just the way things are, and that it is kind of hurtful as your kid gets older to have words that they are starting to get the meaning behind hurled at you.  Plus, I don't think the younger sibling should have to be subjected to it, because it's almost definitely hurting him, he's only 5.   The way I'm seeing this is that she knows the limits at school and is able to keep it in check there, but since home is the safe place, she's letting all the stresses from the day out there - which is fine, and I could even take if it was just at the adults in the house I suppose, but a 5-yo shouldn't have to sit and be shouted at and called names because he tapped on a notepad.  If she's able to control it at school, she's able to control it, so even if the rule is, "you can shout in your room when you're mad at your brother but not at him" or, "you can only say words like that in your bedroom" or whatever, I don't think that's unreasonable for a 7-yo.  I really don't think that she's having an issue with futility, I think it's an issue of temper, and of habit.  This is the habit she has developed to handle when she's angry, and part of it is from her personality, which is fine - offering her an accommodation and understanding that she needs a catharsis is fine - but putting up a boundary that she's not allowed to direct that catharsis AT a person is also totally reasonable at her age too, IMO.  I'm thinking of whatever the 'consequence' might be is not a punishment so much as a retraining of her brain from this old habit into a new one....and talking about the feelings and better ways to do things next time has not yielded results thus far, so it may be time to change things up.  Think of it like a "swear jar" that some adults do to motivate themselves to cut down, or other behavior modification things for issues like nailbiting or hair twirling...this is not about making her feel bad about herself, but helping her retrain her brain and gain control at home over something she has control over in other places.


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#9 of 30 Old 11-11-2010, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OP here.

Put it this way. If it was the year 1810, people would say that DD is possessed.

I have modeled how to behave and even used every day as lesson for dealing with life and feelings.

DS totally gets it. Even he asks me why his sister does these things.

DD is also pretty rational when it comes to explaining what the best way to react to a situation is.

In the heat of the moment she cant be rational though.

 

As far as punishment goes- I have to keep her away from DS when she is in these moods.

I tell her she has to be alone if she is going to treat the family this way.

Sometimes she wont stay in her room. Sometimes she becomes so defiant she'll try to hit me.

She had yet another outburst this morning. She asked me if she could have a piece of halloween candy at 10AM.

I told her maybe after lunch. She looked right at me and yelled in my face, "I hate you, you are the worst".

I then took the candy and threw it out. That was a very aggressive thing for me to do, but I'm at wits end here.

I CANT take this anymore!

She was beyond angry and screamed in blood curdling screams every way she wished I could be hurt and again how much she hates me.

I am feeling feelings I've never experienced in my life.

I have raised this child with love.

As long as all of her stars are lined up the right way, she is amazing and beautiful.

She is too old for this. It's like normal 3 year old behavior. With a 3 yr old, though, you can remove the child from the room if she/he is throwing things, being cruel to others.

She is 7 and in the 95 percentile. I HATE to get physical with her. There have been times I've had to get her off of her brother or restrain her from hitting or kicking me and it feels disgusting.

I am just so upset right now.

Every time I feel like things are getting better we have a day like this.

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#10 of 30 Old 11-11-2010, 02:25 PM
 
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Surprisingly, nobody has suggested yet that she may have blood sugar issues.  Her behavior is very reminicient of my own as a child.  I would have absolutly crazy meltdowns (through my teens) unless I was very very careful about what I ate and when.  If I got at all hungry, or I had too much sugar (or carbs) anything would make me lose it.  Something to think about.

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#11 of 30 Old 11-11-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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Oh, your story sounds so familiar to me. My oldest is 11 now, and we've struggled a lot with the verbal (and physical) aggression. She was (and sometimes still is) a "zero to blind rage in 3 seconds" kind of kid. She was a kid who "knew" better, but couldn't access that knowledge in the heat of the moment when she was upset. She was as unhappy about it as I was. It sounds, from your description, like this is an issue of your dd's skills development and not a problem with how you have parented her. It's not your fault, but you can help her do better. 

 

It sounds to me like your dd has difficulty with some vital emotional, cognitive, and/or communication skills. She sounds like my dd, who really has trouble being able to stay calm enough to engage in the communication and problem solving that would avoid the verbal aggression. My dd has difficulty being flexible--she'll have an idea how things should go and she really has difficulty when faced with a situation that isn't going according to her plan. She just can't easily shift her thinking, or come up with ways to approach a change in plans. She had trouble identifying and communicating what the problem is and how she feels. And so on. KWIM? It's not that she's a bad kid, it's more like my dd has sort of a learning disability with regard to certain emotional and cognitive skills that are necessary in order to deal with adversity without melting down. Additionally, when we sought professional help for these behavioral problems, for the aggression and horrific meltdowns, we realized she had a lot of anxiety as an underlying problem (which further reduced her ability to cope). So underlying issues are something to look at too--how's her sleep? her eating? her overall mood? what stresses her? 

 

 

Understanding this as a problem of skills that she needed help developing, rather than as a discipline problem on our end, really helped us begin to approach the problem more effectively. One part of this multi-faceted approach was using time-outs every single time she became aggressive. We simply insisted that she sit, in the same room as us, until she was calm. The whole point of this was not to punish, but to emphasize the importance of getting calm. She could not react appropriately if she could not stay calm. In order to learn how to stay calm, she had to learn both how to get to calm and the importance of calm. I really did not think she would sit in time-out (she was 8 at the time) but she did. While she was taking time-out, we were nearby but we didn't talk to her (she needed that space to get calm). We would, if needed, remind her that we would talk when she was calm. After she did calm, we would talk about what happened, what she was feeling, and ways that she could have responded differently (not "better" because she saw that as a criticism and would shut down). We also had a lot of tools around the house to help her become aware of her feelings and to give them names, so that she could begin to be aware of when she might need a break, or to walk away, or to get help *before* she lashed out or had a tantrum. We did a lot of problem-solving together with her: when problems came up we made we 1st) understood her concerns and offered empathy, 2nd) shared our concerns (not "no, you can't have candy" but "I'm concerned that if you have candy right now...."), and 3rd) invited her to solve the problem together with us. We tried to handle ongoing problems proactively, doing the problem solving outside of the moment the problem was occurring. We had a lot of tools available to her to help her calm down, lists of things she found soothing. We also did use a points system to reward progress, which she loved and which got us through a very rough time and jump-started a lot of lasting progress. 

 

Also, we found it difficult to stay positive with such a challenging child. We made a point of setting aside "special time" as many nights a week as we could. This was time she'd be with a parent, one-on-one with no interruptions, doing an activity of her choosing. She led and we followed, and we would limit ourselves to positive interaction only. I cannot tell you how important that was for both us as parents and for her, and for our relationship with her. 

 

I highly, highly recommend a book called The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children (the newest edition available, 2010 I think-it does make a difference, imo). You can get an overview of the ideas in the book here: http://www.thinkkids.org/parents/. You can get an overview of the skill areas in which a child can be lagging, leading to difficult behavior, here: http://www.thinkkids.org/docs/TSI%2010-09.pdf. That skills list can help you figure out which skills your daughter needs to work on in order to do better. What I loved and found very helpful about this book is that their view of difficult children is so compassionate, and the approach really practical (though not an easy, quick fix). You can also learn a lot about the book and approach here: http://www.livesinthebalance.org/ Another helpful book is Raising A Thinking Child, which is about helping a child develop problem-solving abilities. You might also like What To Do When Your Temper Flares, which is an anger-management workbook for kids to use with parental help. 

 

 

Just as an example of the approach to helping a child learn skills that is outlined in The Explosive Child, the candy situation you described reminded me of a situation regarding cake with my dd. I remember so clearly one morning when my dd asked for cake at around 10 am. On this day, I happened to be relaxed and paused to think before I answered. Based on past experience I knew that if I said "no," there was a solid chance she'd flip out. So instead I said, "you want cake. What's up, are you hungry?" She said, "i just want cake." I said, "You saw the cake and it looks good. You want some." She said, "yes." So I said, "That is good cake. Here's my concern: I'm afraid if you eat cake now you won't be hungry for lunch. I notice that when you go a long time without eating something healthy, you get really cranky. Then we fight. What do you think we can do so that you get cake, but you also get healthy food and don't get cranky?" And she thought for a few seconds then said, "what if I have half a sandwich now, then a piece of cake." I thought about that, had no concerns about that plan, and told her yes. What worked for her in that situation was that before I answered, I took time to let her know that I heard her. Yes, she wants cake. It's okay to want cake. Taking the time to empathize and let her know that I hear her keeps her calm. It also helps her identify and communicate the problem/her concerns and her feelings. Once she communicated her concerns and felt heard, she was able to hear my concerns. And when I present my concerns rather than just saying "no," she is able to listen *and* I'm modeling the thinking and communication skills that I want her to learn. When I ask her for ideas to solve the problem, I'm helping her learn to problem-solve *and* maintaining boundaries because any solution should address my concerns as well as hers. Does every single interaction work this well? No. Learning to work with her this way had a steep learning curve for me. And I'm still not as consistent with it as I'd like. But it really, really has helped us help her learn a lot. Is this kind of approach to problems the only thing she needed? No. But it was one very important part of the process. 

 

I've written a novel, so I'll stop. It will get better. She'll learn and she'll mature with your help. 

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OP, have you sat down with her during a calm time and had a real frank conversation about it, and asked if she had any ideas about how she might cope better, or about why it makes her so angry when she doesn't get her way right away?  Like, does she feel like people aren't taking her seriously if her plan isn't the plan that is carried out?  Is she afraid she's going to miss out on something she thought would happen if done 'her way" that might not happen if it's done someone else's way?  Does she have any warning in her body that this is going to happen to her?  Any ideas of something she could do to either short circuit it or do instead of it?


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#13 of 30 Old 11-12-2010, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh my gosh, YES!

This is what makes it extra hard. EVERY single time she has an outburst she regrets it. She knows it doesnt ever solve her problem. We have long talks every day. She has come up with a hundred ideas of what to do and just cant do them with out lashing out first.

This morning DS was talking on the phone to DH with his mouth on the receiver. DH couldnt hear him, so DD said "Move your mouth further from the phone or he cant hear you". DS didnt want to so he kept doing it. DH was saying "I cant hear you". DD told him again to take the phone off of his mouth. I was going to the bathroom when I heard this. Then I heard a smack and DS came running into the bathroom with the phone saying DD hit him. DD ran into her room. I followed her and said I know you were very frustrated because you were trying to help him. Sometimes people dont take help and hitting them will not solve the problem. I know you were angry that he wouldnt do what made sense, but hurting him is the wrong thing to do.

Then I asked her what she should have done. She said she should have said, "Fine, then Dad wont hear you!" and then walk away.

I said that would have been a very alright thing to do and she still could have gotten those feelings out.

THIS is the story of our life everyday!! It is so incredibly hard. Its like some people are born with no impulse control- but she has it in school. I know that she is incredible shy at school and can really unleash her and Im very empathetic to that, but still, I cant keep making excuses.

She is very bright and rational. In some ways she is so "adult like" that she doesnt relate to certain "childlike" thoughts but when it comes to impulse control and anger - Its literally like she is 3. She has a new arsenal of words that she learned at school (stupid, hate, idiot, ugly......)

This behavior started at 6. Its been going on for about 1.5 years. When will she learn?

To tell the truth Im scared sometimes of what our relationship will be like when she is a teenager.

 

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Honestly, you teach people how to treat you. I'd send her to her room every time she did this. You may have to hold the door closed if she won't stay on her own. Better to have this out now with her than to let it go on and on.

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OP, I am so sorry.  Honestly, at this point I think I'd figure out some kind of consequence, whether it's taking away something, or having her write an apology letter or do a chore or something for the person, and let her know you're going to start doing it, and do it every single time.  I mean, I'd even go to say it like,

"You're able to control this in school, so we know you can do it.  We just have to figure out what's different at home, and how to help you control it at home, too, so we're going to try to retrain your brain to stop for a second before you do it. We can even give you times to shout if you need to, but it must stop happening AT people in this family."  and then give a couple options of unpleasant things she'd have to do every time she does this.  Get her input on it, because I think that's important to avoid the "domineerign parent punishing child" dynamic that would likely make her more resentful.  If she's truly remorseful and wants to stop doing it, I'd think she'd welcome some help even if it was unpleasant for a while. 

 

Like, try to figure out a way for her to say to herself, even if she has to say out loud at first, or you say it right to her, " PAUSE!  THINK! " or something.  Help her learn to identify, "I'm annoyed right now.  I'm going to STOP and PAUSE.  I'm not going to go farther"  Give her like a worry stone or a rubberband or something tactile to have as a reminder, or something - I'm just throwing out ideas here to see if anything might click.  I relaly, really think this is about impulse control, temperament and habit...and "aversion therapy", framed as an unpleasant thing she has to do every time, but figured out in a cooperative way with her, might be a way to help her out of it. 

 

Or a list of mantras, posted on her bedroom wall:

I'm not brother's parent.  It's not my job.

He didn't hurt anything.  It's OK.

I'm mad about that.  But I'll get over it.

I don't like what just happened.  But I won't yell at her.

 

I think I need some of those on my wall.  lol.gif

 

Seriously, I'm just winging stuff out here because I can feel your desperation after parenting so gently to have this happening.  She needs *something* to short circuit that rage reaction, to identify the point of annoyance and stop there.  You know, I was reading a book I don't even remember which one, and it was talking about helping kids identify rage by talking about volcanoes erupting, and the stages before it gets there....there was another one with cotton balls; I have to see if I can find the book......


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#16 of 30 Old 11-12-2010, 10:11 AM
 
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Since she never does it at school my guess is that she did try it there on a few occasions and figured out quickly the consequences were severe, which helped her regulate her behavior in that environment. At home the consequences are not severe enough to suppress the impulse to indulge in the behavior and because that impulse is so very strong she gives in to it, knowing it is wrong, which makes her feel guilty/regretful. Clearly it is not easy for her to regulate this, and it seems clear that a strict environmental response helps her regulate it (otherwise she would have problems at school). So for me personally I would consider changing the home response.

 

I would look at diet, and also increase the positive connection time, and definitely have a consistent response to this every.single.time she does it at home. I suspect this will feel quite harsh at first but if it helps her control herself better then I would stick with it. Further, I would make clear what she should do instead and (in this case, because of the duration/severity of this) consider tracking every notable success so that she builds up an awareness of her success changing this behvior at home. On the FEW occassions I implimented a tracking/reward system to condition behavior with ds it worked wonderfully well. I dislike it in general but I think if used rarely it can be positive and effective in changing a behavior that is not responding to cooperative/discussion/connection approaches. For us what that looked like was that negative behavior elicited a dull and consistent response, whereas positive behavior elicited praise and rewards. Naturally this is offensive to many in the GD field but my observation has been, after many years in this forum, that it tends to be what parents do when facing a truly entrenched, distressing, behavior that is not responding to any other approach and is not age appropriate.


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Originally Posted by mom2happy View Post

I posted a while back about my 7 yr old DD.
She has a HOT temper and escalates from 0-60 in about 1 minute.
I am trying SO hard to help her figure out what to do before she makes the wrong choices. She is aware that her name calling outbursts are unacceptable.
In the heat of the moment she just really CAN NOT keep the words in.
Even if she goes off to take some time to chill, she still has to release those terrible words. Every time she comes back and apologizes and says she wishes she didn't do that.
If she doesn't get her way- she tells me she hates me (or even worse things)
If her little brother doesn't feel like playing school she unleashes on him.
I know she loves us all and wants to be with me every second, but her inability to cope with disappointment sometimes is maddening.
DH thinks she is spoiled and undisciplined. I just think this is her personality and I just haven't found the key to teaching her how to deal with it.
She is smart, creative, and most of the time fun to be with, but she takes EVERYTHING so personally and wants to control the world. I try to give her as much control over her own life as I can, but geez- a seven year old cant rule the roost. Her lack of feeling in control is what causes this. WHAT else can I do to make her feel empowered?
Things have improved since I last posted, but I'm so worried and embarrassed about this behavior. I dont even want to post some of the awful things she says. I'm worried that she wont ever learn how to control herself.
BTW - she is "the model child" at school. I am far from proud of that though.
I know it's because of her inhibited insecure nature that makes it impossible for her to let her real feelings out where she is not comfortable.
I was the same way she is with out the aggression. I understand that she might have to get out some pent up frustration at home, but I can't let her say vicious things to us.



Op I am so sorry you are still struggling. I can hear how heartbreaking this is.

I think I agree with Heartmama that she's learned somewhere along the lines that she can't do this at school but can do it at home - even if she knows it is wrong.

I am not sure more of the same is helpful and that a radical shift may be in order.

 

I was struck by something in your post about how she wants to control things and how you want to empower her more, and that she is less likely to do this in a school situation where she feels insecure. Perhaps it is the other way around. Perhaps she feels more secure with less power and tighter/clearer boundaries around what is acceptable and what isn't. It seems as though she may feel too much responsibility with that power and is angry when the power she feels she needs to assert isn't heeded (ie both the situation with her brother/phone and with the candy read this way to me).  In that context the lashing out seems like an attempt to regain the power over her family that she feels is hers.

 

I think if it were me I might start by making sure there are no underlying medical issues (food senstitivities, allergies, etc).

I think I would also consult with some kind of therapist or parenting support program.

I'd also be inclined to reign in the amount of power she has within the family.  A more authoritative approach, rather than a collaborative/GD one might be what she needs, even if it isn't what necessarily speaks to your heart at the moment.

 Please keep us posted.

best of luck

Karen 


Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#18 of 30 Old 11-13-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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Does she have a journal?  Perhaps she could channel those words into writing when the feeling hits rather than saying them outloud.


Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#19 of 30 Old 11-13-2010, 02:26 PM
 
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Quote:
I was struck by something in your post about how she wants to control things and how you want to empower her more, and that she is less likely to do this in a school situation where she feels insecure. Perhaps it is the other way around. Perhaps she feels more secure with less power and tighter/clearer boundaries around what is acceptable and what isn't.

 

This is what I thought. If she thrives in the school environment I'd consider ways to bring more structure into the home. I can think of several explosive children like this (some posted about here) who did 100% better at home once a strict and consistent discipline plan was in place. Sunmama has posted extensively about this if you want to search her posts (which also involved help from a counselor).


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#20 of 30 Old 11-13-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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Two book suggestions:

 

1. The Explosive Child by Ross Greene

2. The Challenging Child by Stanley Greenspan

 

It sounds to me like she does have a delay in self-regulation skills. At school, she solves the problem by 'shutting down'. At home, by lashing out. Neither is a really good solution for learning self-regulation.

 

I also suggest that you look into family therapy/play therapy or some sort of counseling. It's clear that what works for other kids isn't working for her, that you're doing all the 'right' things, and it's still not working, and that she's not feeling great about herself. This is usually when I begin to look for outside help.

 

For now, I would treat it as if she is not capable of controlling herself. There's a difference between not willing and not capable. Right now, she's not capable. That means when she starts to escalate, you need to step in immediately. And I agree that there needs to be an imposed consequence each and every time she flies off the handle. I would send her to her room with the admonishment that she needs to stay there until she's calmed down. I would not engage in ANY discussion until she's calmed down. Send her to calm down, comfort your son and move on. If she won't leave the room, then you and ds leave.

Quote:
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She started yelling names at him. I tried to talk to her and help her with her feelings. DS said he didnt even see her picture, but knew he would like it. She then flipped her cereal bowl and continuted to call names. THis is typical (minus the cereal flipping)


Right here, I would do things differently -- she starts yelling names, you STOP TALKING and direct her to her room. This is NOT a teachable moment. This is not a time when she can learn to deal with her feelings. She needs a much more basic step first: calm down. The room isn't punishment, it's a calm place where she can center herself without hurting those around her. As a person with a quick temper and the mother of a daughter with a quick temper (though neither of us sounds as hot as your daughter), I can tell you, once she starts to get ramped up, any sort of further input makes it worse. What you're teaching her by sending her to her room each and every time is that she can calm down by absenting herself until she's in control enough not to hurt people.

Quote:
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 Her lack of feeling in control is what causes this. WHAT else can I do to make her feel empowered?

 

I second what others have said: What she may need are much much firmer boundaries. I wonder if there's anxiety here too? If she's anxious, the only way she might be able to manage the anxiety is to control the world. (Ask me how I know hide.gif). If your inner world is out of control, the least you can do is make sure the outer world is marching to your tune!

 

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Have you tried the option of a do over?  Like, when she unleashes like this, is she totally cool after or is she still wound up?  If she seems to unleash it and revert to normal right after, you might try something like, 'WOAH, NOT OK.  I know you can figure out a better way to say you're angry.  Try again please.' 

Good, good luck.  My kids respond well to, "I KNOW you can come up with a better way to say that." Or, "WOAH, rephrase please."  or at the worst/shortest, "NO way.  Try again." (that's when they know they really crossed a line)  lol.gif

 

I like this idea.
 

 


 


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#21 of 30 Old 11-13-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Oh, and I meant to add, but forgot, in several places you've talked about her making the wrong 'choices'. I would argue that complete loss of control is not a choice. Clearly she needs some remediation in terms of how to regulate her feelings, but I think that you can't view it as her choosing to say hateful things. (You probably don't, but sometimes our word choices reveal hidden assumptions.)


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#22 of 30 Old 11-14-2010, 05:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and I meant to add, but forgot, in several places you've talked about her making the wrong 'choices'. I would argue that complete loss of control is not a choice. Clearly she needs some remediation in terms of how to regulate her feelings, but I think that you can't view it as her choosing to say hateful things. (You probably don't, but sometimes our word choices reveal hidden assumptions.)


Yeah, it's almost like it isnt a choice when she loses self control.

At 7 years old though- hitting her brother is a choice. She isnt 3 and she isnt a wild animal.

I know kids can have problems with impulse control sometimes, but this is way to frequent.
 

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#23 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 11:31 AM
 
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Quote:
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Oh, and I meant to add, but forgot, in several places you've talked about her making the wrong 'choices'. I would argue that complete loss of control is not a choice. Clearly she needs some remediation in terms of how to regulate her feelings, but I think that you can't view it as her choosing to say hateful things. (You probably don't, but sometimes our word choices reveal hidden assumptions.)


Yeah, it's almost like it isnt a choice when she loses self control.

At 7 years old though- hitting her brother is a choice. She isnt 3 and she isnt a wild animal.

I know kids can have problems with impulse control sometimes, but this is way to frequent.
 


I agree that it needs to be stopped, but right now, her impulse control skills appear to be those of a 2-3 year old when she's upset. So, what can you do to help her self-regulate? Thinking that she 'should' be over this isn't going to help, because she's not. Treating her developmentally where she's at will, eventually. But I wonder if she needs some outside help for this.


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#24 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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Have you tried role playing with her? I wonder if practicing situations that cause her to fly off the handle when she is calm could help.

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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2happy View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Oh, and I meant to add, but forgot, in several places you've talked about her making the wrong 'choices'. I would argue that complete loss of control is not a choice. Clearly she needs some remediation in terms of how to regulate her feelings, but I think that you can't view it as her choosing to say hateful things. (You probably don't, but sometimes our word choices reveal hidden assumptions.)


Yeah, it's almost like it isnt a choice when she loses self control.

At 7 years old though- hitting her brother is a choice. She isnt 3 and she isnt a wild animal.

I know kids can have problems with impulse control sometimes, but this is way to frequent.
 


I agree that it needs to be stopped, but right now, her impulse control skills appear to be those of a 2-3 year old when she's upset. So, what can you do to help her self-regulate? Thinking that she 'should' be over this isn't going to help, because she's not. Treating her developmentally where she's at will, eventually. But I wonder if she needs some outside help for this.



About 95% of the time, I do tell myself that she is unable to self regulate in her comfort zone.

There are times where I just feel like I cant deal with it anymore. That's when I lose my cool and say to her that she is 7 years old and can't act like this.

 

 

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#26 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you tried role playing with her? I wonder if practicing situations that cause her to fly off the handle when she is calm could help.



Yes, we do it with dolls all the time. She calmly and maturely deals with every problem.

She has no idea I'm role playing though, or she wouldnt participate.

For everyone else's problems she is logical.

For her's she is off the wall.

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#27 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does she have a journal?  Perhaps she could channel those words into writing when the feeling hits rather than saying them outloud.



 Yes, and it's filled with all kinds of love and hate.

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#28 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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My youngest was like this.  Bit, kicked, you name it, 2nd and third and even 5th grade.  Restraint hold if she throws things or breaks things, the stop pause redirect AS SOON AS YOU SEE IT STARTING.  I train dogs, too---and for lack of a better analogy, before 2 dogs start fighting, one of them is usually staring at the other, etc.  You need to find her equivalent pre-signal of this behaviour and interrupt it then.  Do not let it escalate.  She may start to mutter, stare, fume---whatever.  At that point, physically remove her from the area:  Go to your room until you are in control.  You may come out when and only when you can treat us with respect. 

 

It isn't a punishment.  Your goal is that eventually she will learn to remove herself from a situation if she cannot control her temper.  In the meantime, just like an untrained pup, you need to keep her from self-rewarding:  believe it or not, that explosive screaming release is very very self-reinforcing.  Identify a downstairs area, small and confined and without anything you care if it gets broken---ask me how I know it will get broken!--and take her there.  Remind her later that she can take herself if she doesn't like to be taken, but don't attempt to discuss anything with a kid so clearly over threshold.

 

BTW, the same kid is now a Marine, fine upstanding young woman who has been meritoriously promoted.  No longer any temper issues, her control is better than mine.

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#29 of 30 Old 11-16-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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Do you role play with her rather than dolls? She is old enough I think to play a role herself rather than use a third object as representation for her.

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#30 of 30 Old 11-17-2010, 05:01 AM
 
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I have ot agree with fuzzylogic - I think this mama has done everything gentle and "right" that she can, but her daughter needs flat out retraining of her brain.....not in a punishing, you're bad kind of way - I would be very, very up front with my kiddo if I was going to embark on something like this, but I thikn she's so temperamentally hardwired to do this and it has become a habit, that needs to be short circuited and talking or modeling or roleplaying is not going to help in the heat of the moment because she's 7, not an adult.  This mom has already tried getting all of it out in the open and processing it in gentle/nonpunitive ways, and thus far it's not working.  So, I'd turn to the swear jar concept.  Find something for her to either do, or give up, every time she does this, WHILE very intensively helping her identify her boiling/exploding point and trying to divert before she gets there.  There's no shame in needing to recondition yourself out of a bad reaction, and sometimes it has a lot to do with conditioning and not a lot to do with talking.  It's replacing one habit with another, and in a fairly severe case like this, I'd use an aversion-type technique to get it...nothing awful or harmful, just as a consistent, no questions asked consequence to help the cycle stop. 

 

I do not envy you, mama.  I had visions of how I was going to parent based on the kind of child I was (calm, compliant by nature).  My children turned out to be very different temperaments than I was, and need firmer boundaries than I did as a kid.  It has been hard for me to find a place where I feel like I'm being gentle enough, but they're getting enough guidance and not running roughshod.


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