Please help with my 6 year old DS - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 02-06-2011, 05:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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He breaks things every time he's mad.  So far, he's keyed a car (cost over $1000 to repaint), holes in the house we're renting (our landlord is very intense about damage, this is going to cost so much money), and now he's just broken DD's kitchen set beyond repair.  I've tried talking with him and working with him on ways to get out his anger in a productive way.  When he keyed the car (it was a neighbor's car), I took the money out of our moving fund which was to go for his new bedroom.  I don't know what to do about the holes he's made in the walls of our house. . .Help!!  I don't know what to do about DD's kitchen set (DH made it and he said he can't fix the oven door DS broke).  UGH!


Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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#2 of 6 Old 02-06-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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Oh wow, that's some expensive damage.

 

I notice in the instances you mentioned that he has only damaged OTHER people's stuff.  Is that always the case?  I'm wondering what's at the bottom of this.  Is it a matter of grabbing the first thing at hand and breaking it out of anger (ie. poor impulse control)?  Or does it seem to you like less of an impulse control issue, and more of a grab for attention?  What do you think is going on in his head? 

 

That is a hard thing to deal with.  I think I'd be having trouble keeping my cool if one of my dc was doing that.

 

Here are some thoughts off the top of my head...

 

- well, I guess there is the obvious "logical consequence" of having him pay for repairs.  I don't know if he has any of his own money, but if not maybe he could do some small jobs for you to "earn" some.

- I'm kind of on-the-fence about forced apologies, but I think in the instances you mentioned I would have him apologize in some way to the offended parties.  It might make an impression on him to see the reaction of the neighbour/landlord.  To see them face-to-face and apologize for his actions.

- this is maybe a little "out there", but I was thinking how this is (in part) an issue about stuff.  He is showing a serious lack of respect for other people's property.  In a way it seems unfair to me that he retains all of his possessions, yet because of his actions other people are losing their possessions (or having them damaged).  What if you take away one of his things every time he wrecks something that belongs to someone else?  I'm just thinking out loud here... I'm not sure quite how you would work it.  For example, his sister has lost the use of her play kitchen.  Would it be fair that he also loses the use of one of his toys (permanently or temporarily)?  Or even that something of his gets sold to pay to replace or repair something he's broken?  Like I said, I'm just thinking out loud here and haven't thought it all through, but I thought I'd throw it out there.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#3 of 6 Old 02-06-2011, 07:47 PM
 
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You can patch the walls, and he can (and should) help you. Home places have wall repair kits and they'd be a lot cheaper than having  your landlord do it. Repairing the wall, and painting over the patch will make it look pretty good.

 

Have you read the book: The Explosive Child? It might be a good place to start with your ds. Another really good book is: The Challenging Child. It has a chapter on the active/aggressive child which might help.

 

The amount of damage he's causing appears to me to be out of the ordinary. I'd start by keeping a behavior log -- when does he lose his temper? over what? what does he do? When is he calm? What does he do? That might help you see patterns. If you can't find patterns that can help you manage, a trip to a HCP might be in order.

 

I'd also take a really close look at his diet. Some children are more sensitive to sugars, additives, gluten/dairy, or other foods.

 

Finally, does he get enough sleep? If he doesn't, that would be the first thing to look at. If he does, does he snore? wake frequently? If he does, a sleep study might be in order.


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#4 of 6 Old 02-07-2011, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post

I notice in the instances you mentioned that he has only damaged OTHER people's stuff.  Is that always the case?  I'm wondering what's at the bottom of this.  Is it a matter of grabbing the first thing at hand and breaking it out of anger (ie. poor impulse control)?  Or does it seem to you like less of an impulse control issue, and more of a grab for attention?  What do you think is going on in his head? 

 

 

 

That is a hard thing to deal with.  I think I'd be having trouble keeping my cool if one of my dc was doing that.

 

Here are some thoughts off the top of my head...

 

- well, I guess there is the obvious "logical consequence" of having him pay for repairs.  I don't know if he has any of his own money, but if not maybe he could do some small jobs for you to "earn" some.

- I'm kind of on-the-fence about forced apologies, but I think in the instances you mentioned I would have him apologize in some way to the offended parties.  It might make an impression on him to see the reaction of the neighbour/landlord.  To see them face-to-face and apologize for his actions.

- this is maybe a little "out there", but I was thinking how this is (in part) an issue about stuff.  He is showing a serious lack of respect for other people's property.  In a way it seems unfair to me that he retains all of his possessions, yet because of his actions other people are losing their possessions (or having them damaged).  What if you take away one of his things every time he wrecks something that belongs to someone else?  I'm just thinking out loud here... I'm not sure quite how you would work it.  For example, his sister has lost the use of her play kitchen.  Would it be fair that he also loses the use of one of his toys (permanently or temporarily)?  Or even that something of his gets sold to pay to replace or repair something he's broken?  Like I said, I'm just thinking out loud here and haven't thought it all through, but I thought I'd throw it out there.


He always damages other people's stuff, never his own.  Usually it's because he's angry because we've asked him to do something in the house he doesn't want to do (like put something of his away) and there's been a consequence (like he can't do something else until the thing is put away).  Sometimes it's because he's hit his sister or hurt his sister so we've had to intervene (not harshly, usually just describing what is appropriate in our house) and he's feeling bad.  I'm not sure if it's a grab for attention because usually he does these things when he's alone.  Yesterday when he broke her kitchen set he was kicking it over and over again and chose to kick it in the most vulnerable spot.  He was mad at her when he broke it.

 

He doesn't have any money, we do give our kids spending money but nothing they really can save at this age. With the car, we took the money out of his room decoration money and when we went out to buy the things for DD's room and he didn't get anything. . .well, we had to explain why.  Also, with the car, we had him outside while the police were taking the report and when DH went to pay the damages to the lady, DS had to go too.  DS refused to apologize to her but DH did apologize for him.

 

We've threatened to take away DS's toys and sell them to pay for things.  He tells us to go ahead, he doesn't care.  I honestly don't think he would care. . .sure he likes his toys, but he's very creative and often finds things around the house to play with.  Yesterday I was so angry I contemplated taking one of his toys and letting DD break it (I know, bad mama moment) but when I thought about it. . .he doesn't really have a toy that's special to him. 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

You can patch the walls, and he can (and should) help you. Home places have wall repair kits and they'd be a lot cheaper than having  your landlord do it. Repairing the wall, and painting over the patch will make it look pretty good.

 

Have you read the book: The Explosive Child? It might be a good place to start with your ds. Another really good book is: The Challenging Child. It has a chapter on the active/aggressive child which might help.

 

The amount of damage he's causing appears to me to be out of the ordinary. I'd start by keeping a behavior log -- when does he lose his temper? over what? what does he do? When is he calm? What does he do? That might help you see patterns. If you can't find patterns that can help you manage, a trip to a HCP might be in order.

 

I'd also take a really close look at his diet. Some children are more sensitive to sugars, additives, gluten/dairy, or other foods.

 

Finally, does he get enough sleep? If he doesn't, that would be the first thing to look at. If he does, does he snore? wake frequently? If he does, a sleep study might be in order.

My DH knows how to patch walls :)  I'm sure DS would love to help him repair them.  He likes doing crafty things.  

 

I haven't read those books.  I'll check them out!  

 

I do know he gets very angry when he's hungry, especially in the morning before breakfast.  He also HATES it when he does something wrong and we have to talk with him about it.  He often fights with his sister. . .then he breaks her things.  When it is just the two of us (when DH is at work and DD is at school) he almost never gets mad. . .but when they get home. . .ugh!  Somedays he asks all day when DH and DD will be home, then the minute they walk in the door he's punching DD or screaming (she walks in the door and he immediately wants her attention, she's tired and just wants to sit, he gets mad and hurts her).  I know he misses her when she's gone and I try to explain this to him and to her. . .Seems I spend a lot of time trying to explain his feelings to him and appropriate ways to deal with these feelings.  He's angry/upset he breaks thing. . .I try to brainstorm other ideas for when he's upset. . .try to show him what I do and give him some other ideas. . .but, no, he just goes straight to breaking things!!

 

We're in the process of removing Gluten from our diets.  I think we all have a gluten sensitivity and I think I might have Celiac.  We eat a pretty much all whole food/organic diet.  My DD has pretty intense ADD and severe reactions to food additives (colors, artificial flavors, etc. . .).  I honestly don't think it's food related with DS. . .because it always happens after something else has happened in our house.  

 

I don't think he does get enough sleep.  He's highly gifted and has never been a big sleeper. . .he's always reading, building things, asking questions. . .  He doesn't snore, seems to sleep like a log once he's down. . .but it's hard to get him to sleep.
 


Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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#5 of 6 Old 02-07-2011, 02:51 PM
 
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I might be wrong here, but it strikes me as telling that he only ever wrecks other people's possessions.  To me that says that this is not primarily a matter of poor impulse control.  He's not just grabbing the first item at hand and smashing it, yk?  It sounds like often (esp in the case of his sister), he's deliberately breaking something that she cares about in order to show her how angry he is (maybe one could say to "get back at her").  IMO he is making choices here, and I wouldn't be adverse to imposing a consequence for his actions.  You say that selling his toys to pay for damage wouldn't really affect him.  What DOES he care about?  His sister (presumably) cares a great deal about her toy kitchen.  He wrecked the kitchen.  I don't think it's too "far out" that he should lose something that he values.  It doesn't have to be one of his possessions - It could be an outing, an extra-curricular activity, etc.  Instead of paying for him to have *whatever* (valued) experience, that money could go towards repairing or replacing whatever he's ruined.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#6 of 6 Old 02-07-2011, 03:00 PM
 
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Quote:
The amount of damage he's causing appears to me to be out of the ordinary. I'd start by keeping a behavior log -- when does he lose his temper? over what? what does he do? When is he calm? What does he do? That might help you see patterns. If you can't find patterns that can help you manage, a trip to a HCP might be in order.

 

 

This. This doesn't seem to be a discipline issue, as he's probably out of control when he does these things...

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