How can we end tantrums of 6 yr old? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-08-2011, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 6 yr old is turning 7 next month. He is still throwing tantrums! Nothing that has worked on other kids is working on him. I have tried time outs and taking away priveledges and even role playing on how he could handle things better. Any moment is a tantrum moment for him. Sometimes, if I am on the phone, I have to dash fast in to a bedroom and lock the door and go in to the closet so the person on the phone cannot hear him screaming. Unfortunately, in today's screamfest, I was sitting on my bed, trying to speak to H&R block about efilings my taxes (which I have already completed) when in comes DS and demands that I drop everything and go look to see if his chore is done so he can play computer. I try to tell him no, I am on the phone, he needs to wait. To top it off, my 1 yr old was asleep in the room. DS mounted his screaming. He wanted me to look NOW and he wanted his computer NOW. He threw himself to the ground screaming. At this point, the baby wakes up and starts crying loudly. I find myself wondering if I should skip doing taxes this year..but they owe us money! This is nuts! I cannot hear the lady from H&R block. She is hearing a bunch of screaming that sounds like I am beating my child, only I am not, because he is screaming so hard. Running to a room with a lock and hiding in the closet does not work in this case as he is already IN my room. Now the baby is in tears and his nap was cut short. So, he will be spending the evening crying, or at least the next long while. I am mad!

 

This is just a typical example too. This morning, he wanted to eat nutty bars for breakfast. I said no, he can have cereal or toast or muffins that I bought. His dad was trying to be in a meeting for work but DS decided to throw himself on the ground screaming bloody murder that he wants nutty bars!!! He wants them and he wants them now and I am trying to starve him to death! His dad comes running out and asks which bridge we would like to live under when we lose our house because he loses his job over DS's tantrums. DH wants to spank and I am losing this argument. 

 

Any help?

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Old 04-08-2011, 05:55 PM
 
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I don't know, but wanted you to know you're not alone - my 6 year old DS will be 7 in 10 days and still tantrums, and nothing works. :hug:


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Old 04-09-2011, 05:03 AM
 
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Honestly he sounds overtired to me, that's when I find my almost 7 y/o will freak out the most.  How long does he normally sleep?  Does he get outside/physical activity time?


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Old 04-09-2011, 06:31 PM
 
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Sleep could be it. I think most of us feel cranky and particularly hard done by when we are tired.

 

Have you tried increasing his protein?  (I had to look up what Nutty Bars were....yummmmy!  If those were in my house, I'd have a hard time not sneaking one for Breakfast too!) Maybe one of the reasons he is craving nutty bars is the peanut butter, and often our cravings for protein are disguised as a need for sugar, in particular chocolate.

 

I find that if DS has high carb breakfasts, like toast of muffine of waffles (his favorite) he is a total PITA all day long and it gets worse at bedtime, no matter whatelse he eats all day.  He used to have toast and jam almost every day and we would get reports about him from school about how he was emotionally high strung and never listened or cooperated and then he'd come home and was just a BEAST to be around.  But the weekends, when we almost always have these big breaksfasts with eggs and cheese and his dad makes sausages and ham for them, he was perfectly angelic and focused on activities....for a while there I thought maybe school was making him such a pain, but then I read here that protein really helped one of the moms with her kid and I tried it (it's harder getting breakfast together in the AM, but we make it work).

 

We started giving him eggs and toast or peanut butter and toast and switched from white to whole grain bread and he is a different kid.  He is his weekend self all week long.  I know that sounds weird, but it totally worked and it showed results almost immediately.  He also makes better choices about food throughout the day, recognizes thirst cues better, is more active, and goes to sleep at a reasonable hour without making a huge bruhaha. Now whenever he acts crazy the first thing I'd do, like if I had been in the scenario you described where he totally didn't even see/care I was on the phone, the baby was napping and I was doing something very very important, is I would politely ask the tax lady to hold a moment and say "Go grab a boiled egg or a peanutbutter sandwich and by the time you finish I'll be done and I'll come check your chores, I promise!"  and  hope I can keep that promise! :p

 

If the protein doesn't work, I think I would give him a release for his emotions.  There may be some hidden trauma or angst he has pent up and need to get it out before he can find a way to communicate effectively.  Sometimes having a good cathartic cry about something helps to release the angst and allow a kid to get to his true needs. 

 

FWIW, most sane people will not assume that you are beating your child non-chalantly while also trying to do taxes on the phone.  They will empathize with you and the insanity of having a six year old and an infant in the same household and probably be more than happy to take a quick 5 second break on the phone so you can diffuse the situation by checking the chores and getting him set up the computer, ya know?  I have asked IT help desks, the IRS, My student loan company, My university admissions office, even mid-interview with future employers (and they still begged me to take the job) to hold on just a second while I settled my kids.  I know this is just one instance, but if that sort of thing happens again, just ask the person to hold a moment while you settle your son into something and then go back to the call.  If they were your clients I could see why they'd be miffed, but YOU are the customer, they are on the phone to serve you, so you should feel welcome and entitled to do it comfortably.  You can even ask her to crunch the numbers and call you back.

 

I know these moments are exhausting, especially with a cranky baby, when DS wakes Emily mid-nap I seriously want to scream and punch something because it means we will all be dealing with a whiner-butt baby all night or a baby that goes down for the night at 4pm and wakes up at 3am for the day....grrrr.  I feel like making him get up and play with her.  I hate it. 

 

But the truth is even adults have tantrums sometimes.  Is this like an every day thing, or is it like a once a week thing?  If it's every day, I'd check out diet modifcations first. 


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Old 04-09-2011, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is an everyday thing. BUT, most mornings, he gets pancakes for breakfast. I will look at redoing the morning food. Any suggestions? He does not eat meat.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hakeber View Post

Sleep could be it. I think most of us feel cranky and particularly hard done by when we are tired.

 

Have you tried increasing his protein?  (I had to look up what Nutty Bars were....yummmmy!  If those were in my house, I'd have a hard time not sneaking one for Breakfast too!) Maybe one of the reasons he is craving nutty bars is the peanut butter, and often our cravings for protein are disguised as a need for sugar, in particular chocolate.

 

I find that if DS has high carb breakfasts, like toast of muffine of waffles (his favorite) he is a total PITA all day long and it gets worse at bedtime, no matter whatelse he eats all day.  He used to have toast and jam almost every day and we would get reports about him from school about how he was emotionally high strung and never listened or cooperated and then he'd come home and was just a BEAST to be around.  But the weekends, when we almost always have these big breaksfasts with eggs and cheese and his dad makes sausages and ham for them, he was perfectly angelic and focused on activities....for a while there I thought maybe school was making him such a pain, but then I read here that protein really helped one of the moms with her kid and I tried it (it's harder getting breakfast together in the AM, but we make it work).

 

We started giving him eggs and toast or peanut butter and toast and switched from white to whole grain bread and he is a different kid.  He is his weekend self all week long.  I know that sounds weird, but it totally worked and it showed results almost immediately.  He also makes better choices about food throughout the day, recognizes thirst cues better, is more active, and goes to sleep at a reasonable hour without making a huge bruhaha. Now whenever he acts crazy the first thing I'd do, like if I had been in the scenario you described where he totally didn't even see/care I was on the phone, the baby was napping and I was doing something very very important, is I would politely ask the tax lady to hold a moment and say "Go grab a boiled egg or a peanutbutter sandwich and by the time you finish I'll be done and I'll come check your chores, I promise!"  and  hope I can keep that promise! :p

 

If the protein doesn't work, I think I would give him a release for his emotions.  There may be some hidden trauma or angst he has pent up and need to get it out before he can find a way to communicate effectively.  Sometimes having a good cathartic cry about something helps to release the angst and allow a kid to get to his true needs. 

 

FWIW, most sane people will not assume that you are beating your child non-chalantly while also trying to do taxes on the phone.  They will empathize with you and the insanity of having a six year old and an infant in the same household and probably be more than happy to take a quick 5 second break on the phone so you can diffuse the situation by checking the chores and getting him set up the computer, ya know?  I have asked IT help desks, the IRS, My student loan company, My university admissions office, even mid-interview with future employers (and they still begged me to take the job) to hold on just a second while I settled my kids.  I know this is just one instance, but if that sort of thing happens again, just ask the person to hold a moment while you settle your son into something and then go back to the call.  If they were your clients I could see why they'd be miffed, but YOU are the customer, they are on the phone to serve you, so you should feel welcome and entitled to do it comfortably.  You can even ask her to crunch the numbers and call you back.

 

I know these moments are exhausting, especially with a cranky baby, when DS wakes Emily mid-nap I seriously want to scream and punch something because it means we will all be dealing with a whiner-butt baby all night or a baby that goes down for the night at 4pm and wakes up at 3am for the day....grrrr.  I feel like making him get up and play with her.  I hate it. 

 

But the truth is even adults have tantrums sometimes.  Is this like an every day thing, or is it like a once a week thing?  If it's every day, I'd check out diet modifcations first. 



 

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Old 04-09-2011, 06:53 PM
 
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He sounds a lot like my 7 year old.  Did he lose his computer privilege for screaming at you on the phone and waking the baby?  Not that it would help, I don't think it would stop my daughter.  I'd get an earful of how awful I was and how much she hated me for that, but I'm still trying the actions have consequences thing.  

 

As for breakfast suggestions, my daughter is not good at eating breakfast, because we were getting ready for school, usually.  I'll give her a banana, and avocado or string cheese or sometimes she'll eat a bowl of cereal.  Will he eat eggs?  Or a nut butter sandwich on whole grain bread?  My kids don't like whole grain bread, but they'll eat it if it's in their lunch at school, and they'll eat the sandwich thins which have 5g of fiber.

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Old 04-09-2011, 07:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

This is an everyday thing. BUT, most mornings, he gets pancakes for breakfast. I will look at redoing the morning food. Any suggestions? He does not eat meat.
 



 



Sure.  The last week DS has been on an egg strike (of course, because we just bought 30 eggs!) so we have been having peanutbutter and banana sandwiches (I assume your son eats peanut butter because of the nutty bars...no?), peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and then finally on Friday he was willing to have an egg salad sandwich if I promised not to mix the yolks in which seemed like a reasonable request since the yolks are all his little sister will eat.

 

This is easy for me, a very quick breakfast.

 

We have also done smoothies with a cup of yogurt, a 1/4 cup of powdered egg whites, a frozen banana, a handful of strawberries and a couple tbs of this childrens protein formula powder that I picked up at the healthfood store. He LOVES those, but my DH hates them because it means having to clean the blender (Breakfast dishes are his job because DS and I leave at 6:30 am for the bus).  These are particularly good for the AM though IMO because we can pop the leftovers in his sports bottle and he can finish it on the way to the bus without spilling it on his uniform.

 

Basically his menu choices are: toast (we only keep wheat and grain in the house now so he doesn't seem to notice the difference) with peanut butter and banana, honey or jam.  Eggs in any form. Rolled up ham and cheese pinwheels, or a couple of sausages (he can have my veggie ones but if DH has his in the house he always the prok ones). or a yogurt and fruit smoothie.

 

On his birthday we let him have waffles, but I made them from scratch and I snuck some of the protein powder in the mix (about 3 tbs) and into the whipped cream (1tbs) I put on them, and he totally didn't even notice because they were smothered in strawberries and cream.

 

That was sneaky, and he totally loved it, but I only have the energy to do stuff like that once or twice a year on a weekday morning. :p

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Old 04-09-2011, 07:30 PM
 
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Sounds like your child feels like he is not being heard.  He feels the need to scream and act out to get the attention he needs. You can't change another person, but you can change your self and your responses.  You were on the phone with H&R, you could have asked the person to give you a minute to respond to your child. How long would it have taken to see the chore he did?  Nobody likes waiting.  To wait graciously comes with more maturity than your child has at this time.  The adult on the phone can wait one minute.  He's already tried to jump through your hoops to do what he wants to do which is play computer.  Just when he thinks he's done it, you add more hoops for him to jump through.  I'd rather annoy the person on the phone than my child.  Trying to ignore him or put him off until later doesn't seem like it works for your family. It only made it much worse.

 

Try not to frustrate him.  Give him lots of positive attention.  Let him know you listen, hear him, try to see things from his point of view by your actions and responses to him.  He's in a habit of tantrums now to get your attention.  It takes time to change a habit so be patient with him.  There is no overnight fix or special breakfast that will undo this (although the diet suggestions are great, just not completely the answer.) You may have to change your actions and words to him for quite a while before you get the results you want.

 

You also have a baby in the house which naturally takes some attention away from him.  He can't help but feel some jealousy.  He's demanding his needs for attention are met too.  Shushing him, scolding him, taking stuff away, threats of homelessness are not stopping him but making a difficult situation worse. Your child can't feel good about the tantrums either. If he knew another way to get his point across or get his need met he would do it.  So how about just trying to give him what he needs even if he's not expressing himself the way you would prefer.  Can you make a point to spend some one on one time with him each day.  Try to do it early on in the day or whenever he needs it.  Try to be aware of when he needs it and do what you can even if it's inconvenient because the alternative (the tantrum later on) is even more inconvenient.  Help him find ways to deal with his stress.  Physical outlets like kicking around a ball with him, racing each other, or play wrestling with you or dad.

 

When he tantrums, talk calm and soft to him.  He has to quiet down to hear you.  Set your anger aside.  It won't help.  It just makes it worse.  Let your presence be calming to him.Let him know you hear him better when he speaks to you.  It's hard to understand his words when he's having a tantrum and you want to help him.  Self control takes time and maturity.  So focus on prevention of his frustrations.  Think back to the types of things that frustrate him and try to create an easier more peaceful environment for him.

 

About the breakfast situation,  If you are against sweets, don't have them in the house.  If he eats something not so healthy for breakfast make sure there are healthier options for a snack a while later or a healthier tasty  lunch. You don't want regular fights about food.  Take a deep breath and remember Stress is much harder on the body than a cookie for breakfast. He has to be in control sometimes to learn self control.  

 

 

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Old 04-09-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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i would also suggest protein!! carbs leave me feeling, cranky, tired and just a plain mess.


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Old 04-12-2011, 11:59 AM
 
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Food allergies? He sounds similar to dd(6), who still has meltdowns but are almost always due to either sleep issues or pretty bad frustrations. pre-gf diet. Does he take any supplements? If sleep is a issue melatonin might help, magnesium might help him out too. Have you looked into cell salts? They're really helping my dd, it's worth a try for you. Otherwise I try to pay attention to dd asap once I can tell she's starting to lose it a bit and we use NVC and are constantly talking about different ways to handle things, but you have to show them you can keep your composure while they meltdown(that's not always easy here)!


 


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Old 04-12-2011, 12:25 PM
 
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My daughter is also completely different when she has a protein-based breakfast than when she has a carb-based breakfast. There are plenty of options - peanutbuter toast, cheese, eggs, smoothies.

Also, kids learn things through tantrums and it's possible he simply hasn't learned what he needs to learn. Kids get past them at different ages. I'd stop looking at it as misbehavior to stop, and start looking at it as a stage to get past. What he doesn't seem to have learned is that things don't always go our way, no matter how much we want thm to, no matter how much we fuss, even no matter how much our parents want them to, and then that it's ok when things don't go how we want. Everything works out ok.

What I'd do is present yourself on his side so he stops blaming you for things not going his way. I'd briefly empathize with him to show you're on his team (You wanted that right now didn't you? It can be hard to wait.) and then I'd let him have his tantrum without getting involved and feeding the drama. Then, when he's done, I'd give him love and go on as if there hadn't been a tantrum and show that everything is ok. Be the rock that doesn't get so emotional and out of control.

I have no idea how spanking could possibly help in this situation. It might make him feel even more emotional and out of control. It might make him feel less heard. It might make him so scared to show emotion that he doesn't express it around you, but that doesn't sound at all desirable to me.
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