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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>What he is doing</strong></span></p>
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<p>My seven year old son has outrageous tantrums when we have to leave play dates.  It doesn't matter if he has been there for a weekend or an hour....he rages.  Giving him advanced notice that we will be leaving only makes it worse.  When we are ready to leave he will run and hide.  He yells at me and the hosts. He curses and says that he hates us and wants to destroy things.  I generally have to pick him up and forcibly remove him.  While I have him in my arms he hits and kicks me.  He clings to walls.  He continues cursing and shouting. My 5 year old DD ends up running after me out the door with my sons jacket and shoes in hand. Once at the car he will often refuse to stay buckled into his seat.  This leaves me so humiliated, angry, and concerned. </p>
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<p><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>Some backround</strong></span></p>
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<p>DH and I divorced when DS was 4.  He sees his dad a few times a month, but with no regularity.  After the divorce I was in a highly explosive relationship. We lived with my partner and his 4 daughters and there was often a lot of drama.  In September we moved out and the three of us (DS, DD, and myself) have started over together and have a calm, loving home now. DS has been aggressive since he could walk, but is also super emotive and loving.  He has some health issues we are dealing with.  Dark eyes circles, chronic tonsilitis and congestion which lead to sleep apnea.  I have been told I am uber patient, but I have been known to "tantrum" when I hit my breaking point. I am actively working on this.</p>
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<p><strong><span style="text-decoration:underline;">My Problem</span></strong></p>
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<p>I don't know how to handle these rages.  People stop inviting us over.  We homeschool so the socialization is important and I don't want my daughter to lose out just because of his problem.  I've talked to him about it and he really doesn't believe that his actions are inappropriate.   I've pointed out the natural  consequence that he is not welcome at certain homes anymore and he blames it on those people being stupid.  He feels "unloved" when he has to leave someplace.  It makes me sad that he has so much rage inside him.  His rages lead to me feeling angry which doesn't help anything.</p>
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<p>Any advice?</p>
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<p>Does it seem to you that his rages are getting worse or at least, not getting better? Is this the only area that he has intense rage?</p>
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<p>My sense is that he can't really control himself very well and is going to need a lot of help and motivation to control himself better. I also wonder if he might have some mental health issues that have nothing to do with his past or his current environment (you sound like a great mom) but that he might need some professional help to deal with, at some point. But you are the best person to listen to your gut about this.</p>
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<p>In the meantime, I think I would implement a system of very heavy reinforcement for leaving calmly when its time, and also give him daily opportunities to practice leaving - beginning with just staying for 30 minutes or so and working up from there. If he leaves successfully, you have a treat waiting for him in the car, and he gets that, along with the priviledge of another play date tomorrow. If he is unable to leave successfully, he doesn't get the treat and he loses tomorrow's playdate. It would work even better if you could schedule two playdates per day.</p>
 

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<p>Does it work better to have other people visit you?  Or to meet them someplace else and all leave at the same time?  I'll admit, I've always been in the habit of waiting until our friends are ready to leave the playground and then we leave, making the friend's mom do the hard part of being the first to leave since their kids were better about it.  For a while, ds really didn't like leaving places and we would borrow a toy to return next time we saw our friends.  Obviously, not all kids are willing to loan out toys, but when they were it made the leaving easier.  Having a snack waiting in the car was helpful since hunger was sometimes the problem.  And if it was something particularly yummy, it was an incentive to leave and would occupy him while buckling up.  Anyway, my ds never got downright rageful and was pretty good by the age of 7. But those things were helpful when he was 4-6.  And if your guy is chronically under rested (since you mentioned sleep apnea) he is going to act younger than he is.  After you guys are more used to your new living arrangements and you figure out how to help him be better rested, you can see if he settles down.  It's hard to judge what's "normal" with a child who is dealing with changes and not getting enough sleep...</p>
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<p>People frequently recommend The Explosive Child so it must be good though I haven't read it.  There is also that book about sleep which talks about how so many behavioral problems are rooted in lack of sleep...  I think it's Sleepless in America.  Yes: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSleepless-America-Child-Misbehaving-Missing%2Fdp%2F0060736011" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Sleepless-America-Child-Misbehaving-Missing/dp/0060736011</a></p>
 

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<p>I would honestly suggest seeking a family counselor to see if they can get to the bottom of his rage and help you find ways to teach him to cope with his emotions.  7 seems awful old to have that little control over his emotions, plus his size is going to start becoming an issue.  Anger is typical, tantrums should be rare, but what you are describing sounds more like rage. My 7 yr. old used to have horrible rages, but after we started getting help, she started making progress.  She still has some tantrums, but usually gets control quickly now.  It took help for us to get to this point and if his behavior is disruptive enough to cause him to be unwelcome in some people's homes it sounds like you have gotten to that point.  At least, if I were in your place, at this point I would choose to seek help.</p>
 

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<p>Ugh, been there, done that! My advice (just my 2 cents) from my own experience:</p>
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<p>When my oldest was growing up (and being homeschooled), she would throw temper tantrums. I finally figured out why, and found the name for it. I started calling it SRB (spoiled rotten brat) syndrome. I know that sounds harsh, but it's the truth. When I stopped spoiling her, and told her she was not going to get away with negative behavior, she stopped throwing tantrums. By continuing the playdates, you are letting him know that it's OK to behave like that. </p>
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<p>I would immediately stop playdates (all of them). That is the natural consequence to that behavior. Explain the reason to your ds, and explain that the playdates stop now. It is not going to harm him (not socializing for a month). He throws the tantrum because he is having fun, and doesn't want the fun to stop. He wants what he wants when he wants it. Trust me, this behavior goes on well into the teen years. If you don't stop it now, it will get worse, and he will be bigger. Plus, don't think it's because of the divorce; I've been married for 18 years, and my daughter had them. It's really a simple fix; stop spoiling him. If he doesn't already, he should be doing chores around the house (emptying the dishwasher, dusting, vacuuming, taking out the trash). I've found that responsibility helps. This advice is from my experience, and yours could be totally different. I hope it helps a little. </p>
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<p>I'd consider at least a few drop-off playdates for your dd while you sort out your ds's sleep and other factors.</p>
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<p>In addition to getting him more sleep, have you experimented with food sensitivities? Sleep troubles, dark under eye circles, congestion, and rage are all symptoms of a number of sensitivities such as to milk or wheat or corn or soy or red dye or all of the above. A number of MDC families have had success with the Feingold program. I particularly think you should investigate food sensitivities since he's been aggressive since he could walk.</p>
 

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<p><br>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Petie1104</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1287987/7-year-old-raging-when-it-is-time-to-leave#post_16147454"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I would honestly suggest seeking a family counselor to see if they can get to the bottom of his rage and help you find ways to teach him to cope with his emotions. </p>
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That was my first thought, too.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>sublimeliving</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1287987/7-year-old-raging-when-it-is-time-to-leave#post_16147473"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>When my oldest was growing up (and being homeschooled), she would throw temper tantrums. I finally figured out why, and found the name for it. I started calling it SRB (spoiled rotten brat) syndrome. I know that sounds harsh, but it's the truth. When I stopped spoiling her, and told her she was not going to get away with negative behavior, she stopped throwing tantrums. By continuing the playdates, you are letting him know that it's OK to behave like that. </p>
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...assuming you haven't tried that ^.  You've done the talking about it but what have you actually done as far as consequences? My 4.5 year old had a fit leaving a playdate the other day, hit me and everything.  I wound up crying on the way home (v. rare for me) and that upset him.  Then he lost his movie time. Had to spend some time alone in his room.  Got a long talk from me. Another one from his daddy.  And the next day when we went out we went over and over what was expected and what the consequence would be if acted that way this time.  "What's going to happen if you freak out when we're leave?"  and he could answer it for me.  He heard over and over that it was unacceptable behavior and would not be tolerated.  </p>
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<p>Now if I did all that and it continued and it seemed that he really could NOT control it... then it's definitely intervention time.  I agree that by 7 this is really atypical and hopefully it is just a simple disciplinary issue.  GL!</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>Thanks so much for all of your replies.  My gut tells me that the solution will be a combination of many of the suggestions given.  We will be starting an elimination diet next week. I do believe that both of my children have food sensitivities that must be dealt with. I think that will help, but I think there is more going on than just that.  The "spoiled brat" post  resonated with me as well.  I have a lot of mommy guilt and probably let him get away with way too much.  Last week was the first time he got a consequence for one of his rages and it  did seem to make an impression on him.  And lastly I think counseling is a great idea.  I could use some, too!b</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>septmommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1287987/7-year-old-raging-when-it-is-time-to-leave#post_16147707"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Thanks so much for all of your replies.  My gut tells me that the solution will be a combination of many of the suggestions given.  We will be starting an elimination diet next week. I do believe that both of my children have food sensitivities that must be dealt with. I think that will help, but I think there is more going on than just that.  The "spoiled brat" post  resonated with me as well.  I have a lot of mommy guilt and probably let him get away with way too much.  <strong>Last week was the first time he got a consequence for one of his rages</strong> and it  did seem to make an impression on him.  And lastly I think counseling is a great idea.  I could use some, too!b</p>
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If he's never had a consequence for his rages them that speaks volumes to me!  I couldn't understand in your OP when you said that he thought his behavior was appropriate.  Now it makes sense.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<p>You know, until I wrote that there had been no consequences I didn't even realize it.  I would get so upset, lecture him in the car, and then kind of be over it by the time we got home. I had such an extremely strict mother that I often lean too far the other way. I tend to just use natural consequences (such as not being invited back over) and am often at a loss as to what appropriate consequences are.  I went to a therapist a while back when DS kept hitting DD.  She told me to give him an early bedtime for a week, no dessert for a week, and that he had to give me his $40 birthday money.  She said it had to be harsh enough to really teach him the lesson that hurting his sister was not okay.  It seemed like such a severe punishment to me that I didn't follow through.  I think I need some guidance as to what acceptable consequences are. My own gauge is too skewed.</p>
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<p>As I read what I just wrote I realize how responsible I am for allowing this behavior to continue.  Time to start taking back some control!</p>
 

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<p>i dunno, id start with the diet and add supplements and see i there is a change. then do counseling. i know for my rages as a kid (and boy did i rage) the punishments did not help, it was diet change that really made a difference and i needed help to deal with my emotions. i do agree with natural consequences though, perhaps back off on the play dates for awhile so he can focus on self control. again when i was in the rage i wasn't doing it for attention or because i was "spoiled" jmo.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
<p>lookatreestar~ Do you have any suggestions on what supplements to give while doing the elimination diet?  I don't think the rages have to do with him being spoiled either.  I don't think he is spoiled. I do think that he is craving some boundries and structure, though, and I am too lax about that.  My parenting style works well for DD, but I think it is too relaxed for him.  He doesn't self regulate well and I have not done a great job of providing him outside limits. When I say time to take back control, I don't want to be punitive, I just want him to know there are boundries and expectations and perhaps it will be comforting to him?</p>
 

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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>septmommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1287987/7-year-old-raging-when-it-is-time-to-leave#post_16147845"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>You know, until I wrote that there had been no consequences I didn't even realize it.  I would get so upset, lecture him in the car, and then kind of be over it by the time we got home. I had such an extremely strict mother that I often lean too far the other way. I tend to just use natural consequences (such as not being invited back over) and am often at a loss as to what appropriate consequences are.  I went to a therapist a while back when DS kept hitting DD.  She told me to give him an early bedtime for a week, no dessert for a week, and that he had to give me his $40 birthday money.  She said it had to be harsh enough to really teach him the lesson that hurting his sister was not okay.  It seemed like such a severe punishment to me that I didn't follow through.  I think I need some guidance as to what acceptable consequences are. My own gauge is too skewed.</p>
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<p>As I read what I just wrote I realize how responsible I am for allowing this behavior to continue.  Time to start taking back some control!</p>
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<p>I agree that all 3 of those consequences she suggested together is too much.  </p>
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<p>I like the idea of natural consequences and use them where appropriate with my kids.  But IME it's really, really  harsh to have a child lose friends over their behavior.  What a sad lesson for a kid that might have been learned by the parent just taking control of the situation, you know?  I think you're on the right track.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>lookatreestar</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1287987/7-year-old-raging-when-it-is-time-to-leave#post_16148059"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>i dunno, id start with the diet and add supplements and see i there is a change. then do counseling. i know for my rages as a kid (and boy did i rage) the punishments did not help, it was diet change that really made a difference and i needed help to deal with my emotions. i do agree with natural consequences though, perhaps back off on the play dates for awhile so he can focus on self control. again when i was in the rage i wasn't doing it for attention or because i was "spoiled" jmo.</p>
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<br><div>Punishments always made my ds behave worse, too.  The more people tried to be authoritarian or controlling with my ds, the worse he got.  Natural consequences were fine and I'd have no hesitation about taking a break from playdates until we sorted some things out.  I wouldn't hesitate to tell him that we weren't going to go to someone's house for a while because he needs to come peacefully when it's time to go and we needed to figure out a way for that to happen.</div>
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<div>If he is having health issues, lack of sleep or food sensitivities, or can't control himself for another reason, it is simply mean to punish him.  If he can control himself, talking with him and fostering your connecting with him should work fine.  <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Unconditional Parentin</span>g is a good read and a good way to get your parenting head in the right place, imho. </div>
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<div>My ds had a real problem with realizing when he was hungry and tired, not good with naturally self regulating at all.  I had to be pretty proactive about making sure he ate frequently and got enough sleep.  Sleep was tricky because he always was a poor sleeper.  And food was tricky because he has some oral aversions.  But he was like a different kid when he was well rested and not hungry.  </div>
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
<p>Punishment always feels wrong to me as well.  But then he has behavior like this and I feel like I'm an idiot for not being stricter,  My gut has always told me that punishment will make things worse.  His bad behavior is usually based in anger and I always feel that punishment will just make him angrier.  My kids are with their dad today and I have done a ton of soul searching. I realize that I have really been wishing his behavior away and doing nothing proactive about it.  I am going to make some big changes over the next month and see if I can help lessen his overall anger instead of focusing on just the tantrums.  Here is what I have decided to do:</p>
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<p>Focus on food and sleep (Start the elimination diet and implement a bed time)</p>
<p>Be more present (Limit my web surfing and long phone calls)</p>
<p>Get us out of the house and active (Hiking, sledding, or just long walks with the dog)</p>
<p>Limit screen time</p>
<p>Get down on his level and play legos, board games, etc</p>
<p>Adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards violence towards his sister....not sure what the consequence should be when he hurts her.  Any ideas?</p>
 

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<p>i think those are all great changes that you should see some improvement in overall mood. you should check out <span style="text-decoration:underline;">raising our children, raising ourselves</span>. i know a lot of folks even in the gd forum are not sure about naomi aldort and that is fine. this book spoke volumes to me, having been the "problem child" not that long ago this stuff makes so much sense. and it just goes well with my personal parenting style/ideals. hth! (in the back i just looked up all the passages she had regarding "rage" and they would really really help you on your/dc parenting journey)</p>
 

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<p><br>
 </p>
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>septmommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1287987/7-year-old-raging-when-it-is-time-to-leave#post_16148682"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>Punishment always feels wrong to me as well.  But then he has behavior like this and I feel like I'm an idiot for not being stricter,  My gut has always told me that punishment will make things worse.  His bad behavior is usually based in anger and I always feel that punishment will just make him angrier.  My kids are with their dad today and I have done a ton of soul searching. I realize that I have really been wishing his behavior away and doing nothing proactive about it.  I am going to make some big changes over the next month and see if I can help lessen his overall anger instead of focusing on just the tantrums.  Here is what I have decided to do:</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Focus on food and sleep (Start the elimination diet and implement a bed time)</p>
<p>Be more present (Limit my web surfing and long phone calls)</p>
<p>Get us out of the house and active (Hiking, sledding, or just long walks with the dog)</p>
<p>Limit screen time</p>
<p>Get down on his level and play legos, board games, etc</p>
<p>Adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards violence towards his sister....not sure what the consequence should be when he hurts her.  Any ideas?</p>
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<p>Kudos to you, these all sound excellent.  I really identify with a lot of your resolutions here.  I use web surfing to escape.  I let my kids watch too much TV so I can escape and not have to deal. I have problems being 'present'.</p>
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<p>About his relationship with his sister, I really recommend "Siblings Without Rivalry" by Faber and Mazlish.   I don't have specific advice. But for your daughter's sake, if he is violent with her you absolutely must respond immediately and firmly, every time.  Get in his face and take him physically away from her if circumstances allow.   </p>
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<p>I wish you the very best!</p>
 

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<p>Re: violence towards his sister, watch him more closely for a time and catch him BEFORE he hurts her.</p>
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<p>E.g. something happens that's typically a trigger for him, his hand comes up, you catch his hand, "are you upset at something? do you need help dealing with your anger?", work through whatever process you've got.</p>
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<p>The goal being to break change the reaction from violence to the coping process. And it saves you the trouble of consequences. The only consequence is that as long as he's being violent he gets you supervising closely.</p>
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<p>In a kid who was only doing violence occasionally, I'd just act like they were about to do something nice. "You want to give sis a high five? Can I have one too??"</p>
 

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<p>yup, mine are younger but my ds is usually the hitter/biter so i just have to supervise as much as possible sometimes. catch him before the action because he literally has no other way to get his point across (well screeching, he does that too!) other days they play together and get along great.</p>
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<p>i love the way you think sapphirechan</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
<p>I'm too tired to write a long reply at the moment, but I wanted to say how appreciative I am of all the support and advice. Adding extra supervision to the list!</p>
 
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