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I'm at a loss. It's just not working. We talk and we model and we talk and we talk some more. But the first time ds1 gets angry or irritated he does something he shouldn't - he shoves ds2, he throws a book, he spits, etc. I'm just done with it. We have tried not punishing but it's not working. We tell him it's unacceptable. We discuss other ways to express his anger. But it's the same thing every time. I'm tired of everyone's day being ruined by this.<br><br>
Then after an entire morning of this, complete with ds2 screaming and clinging to my leg the whole time, I finally lose it. Then I'm the one apologizing when it's been ds1 who has been acting like a complete out of control brat all morning.<br><br>
It's a bad cycle that's got to stop. I was punished as a child for acting like this. Plenty of well adjusted kids with attached loving parents are punished for acting like this. I'm really losing faith in the whole non punishment thing.
 

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Oh, I feel for you!<br><br>
There's much more gentle discipline than not punishing! There's also more to it than modeling and talking (though those do play a part).<br><br>
My DH used to say "I'm going to be the world's greatest parent - all I have to do is the opposite of what my parents did". Unfortunately, knowing what NOT to do is not the same as knowing what TO do.<br><br>
I encourage you to read some of the resources at the top of this page. tell us a bit more specifically about what you are doing with your son, and perhaps we can offer solutions.
 

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((Hugs))) a few things<br><br>
1) non punish does not equal no conquences we have rules and "conquences" for certain actions we have you hit you sit rules things like leaving well is part of comming again we send a spitter to the bathroom to spit in the sink "potty talk" also goes there. We do use occasional modified timeout (but not all here will support it)<br><br>
2) these above conquences and even punishment do NOT address the underlining issue they set tangiable boundries that kids do need and crave but they alone will not change behavior. What they do is provide the oppunuity to discipline to model and teach<br><br>
3) GD does not equal good kids punitive parenting doesn't equal good kids, truth is a 5 year old will always bea five year old and a 2 year old a two year old togeher can be intresting. We do GD because its the right thing not because its the easiest<br><br>
4) punishments can work.. Truth is they can often with faster results its human nature to avoid pain and the body and mind will adapt to avoid such pain. I'd ask yourself if the simple avoiding of pain is what you want to teach though.<br><br>
5) GD works it takes work it takes boundries and giving your words meanings. It includes the words like No, and I will not allow you to do that, hurt another or act in that manner.
 

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I agree with the pp - there are definitely consequences to actions, and there's a range of opinions on this board as to what acceptable consequences are. For hitting, I personally am of the "take them to their room to calm down" school. Yes, it's a time out. You know what, I"m OK with that. If ds is hitting, he's out of control and needs to be separated from dd until he can regain control.<br><br>
If my kids throw books or toys that aren't meant to be thrown (or throw even balls after we've asked them to take them outside), then the toy gets put up for a while until the child has calmed down and/or they can assure me they will use them appropriately.<br><br>
We haven't had spitting - but I agree, tell him to go to the bathroom. If he won't, I'd escort him.<br><br>
For rude language, I tell ds "that was rude, please ask me politely." We've had some major go-rounds where he refused to say something politely until AFTER I got him whatever he wanted, and I told him that's not how it works. I told him quite clearly that I don't like to be talked to that way, and I don't get things for people who are rude to me.<br><br>
When he's CALM, talk about acceptable ways to express anger. You can even have him 'practice' - that really worked with our ds at about age 5. We practiced stomping his feet and it WORKED.<br><br>
I'd also set up an area for him where he can go if he's feeling overwhelmed. When does he get irritated and/or angry? Is there a way you can predict this and maybe intervene before he flies off the handle? It might take some detective work. I can tell you that our ds will fly off the handle (a) before mealtimes (b) when he's tired and (c) when he gets home from school and his little sister doesn't leave him alone. He's an introvert and needs time to recover. The LAST thing he wants to do is play with his sister when he gets home. Alas, she's more of an extrovert and has been home with just dad all day and is dying for some kid interaction!<br><br>
I would also suggest reading: Kids, Parents & Power Struggles. I found it an excellent book, and depsite the title, about more than just Power Struggles.
 

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I personally think there is a difference between punishment and consequences. If my 5 yr old was hitting, he would not be allowed to be around the people he was hurting. That might mean he has to play in his room by himself. If he is spitting, he needs to clean it up and/or be in a room that you dont care if he spits in (like his room.) Its not like, "YOu are going to your room bedcause you are being a bad boy." Its more like "You will have to go to your room and play by yourself because I cannot let you around other people right now. Its not ok to hurt someone."<br><br>
If he's throwing toys, then he's not really wanting to play with them right now, is he? "You obviously are not interested in playing with your blocks (or whatever) right now so I am going to put them up. Its not ok to throw toys, they can break." ANd then put them in the trunk of your car or somewhere so he cannot get them back. IF he starts screaming about it tell him he needs to scream in his room because its hurting your ears and you cant talk to anyone else when he is that noisy.<br><br>
I do not feel like this is "punishment" its just a result from his choice in behavior.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies.<br><br>
I'm just very frustrated because I feel like I'm just going in circles. We talk during calm moments quite a bit, we talk about alternative ways to express anger, we role play what that would look like. But then it all goes out the window the moment he is angry.<br><br>
He walks into the front bedroom/office and sees ds2 playing with a cdrom. Ds2 picks it up, yells "YOU SCRATCHED IT" and then shoves ds2. I have told him a thousand times that we do not push. He knows this.<br><br>
I have him go into the bedroom to cool off. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Today it didn't. It just continued. He called me in to talk to him, which I did. It was an entirely ridiculous and whiny talk, and of course ds2 is crying at my legs at some point when I'm trying to have this talk. I get ds2 set up in a different room, come back, and ds1 starts the climbing all over me whiny thing again. I finally tell him that he hasn't brushed his teeth yet and his breath smells, so until he does that I can't have him breathing in my face. He refuses and throws a book at me. I take the book and leave the room.<br><br>
Later on he comes out, and asks for a banana. I give him one. He peels it, and instead of eating it proceeds to screw around while holding it, and a few minutes later the top half falls onto the ground. Ds1 wants a new banana. We have gone through the freaking banana thing so many times. I tell him that I will be happy to rinse it off (it wasn't at all dirty) but we aren't going to waste it by opening another banana. He then stares at me while he squishes it in his hand and spreads it on the table. I could go on, but it was just more of the same of this.<br><br>
But even when he does go cool off and we talk calmly it doesn't change the fact that the next time he gets angry at ds2 he shoves him or screams at him. There are times he is terrorizing ds2 and while I am standing there telling him to stop and he just ignores me and continues. Not until I scream or grab him will he stop chasing ds2 or throwing something at him or whatever. And then he's staring at me with his angry shut down look and we start the stupid cycle all over again.
 

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yea...im right there with you. there are times just about every day when i nearly about flip my lid. I have no advice. i am right there with you.
 

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Hows his diet I hear a lot of organic food sensivity issues in what you describe.
 

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((Hugs))) a few things<br><br><br>
2) these above conquences and even punishment do NOT address the underlining issue they set tangiable boundries that kids do need and crave but they alone will not change behavior. What they do is provide the oppunuity to discipline to model and teach<br><br>
I agree with Octobermom. Whatever the course of action the underlying issue is not addressed. Do you think there is something deeper that is bothering him that is CAUSING him to act out. On some days it may be a bad day, but consistently, I don't know- it may be something else. Can you go back (in your head) to what was happening right before his first act of anger today. What was going on? What was the conversation like? Who was talking, who were they talking to? What was being said? What exactly ticked him off this morning. The banana incident is a continuation of his initial reaction, so I don't know if it's helpful to examine that incident. What was happening this morning when he got mad the first time? This may help us help you parse this out...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8118495"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But even when he does go cool off and we talk calmly it doesn't change the fact that the next time he gets angry at ds2 he shoves him or screams at him. There are times he is terrorizing ds2 and while I am standing there telling him to stop and he just ignores me and continues. Not until I scream or grab him will he stop chasing ds2 or throwing something at him or whatever. And then he's staring at me with his angry shut down look and we start the stupid cycle all over again.</div>
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We've been through cycles like this with our ds too.<br><br>
What's helped is:<br>
1. Not engaging in discussions. Saying 'no' once, or explaining once and leaving it. Our son is fully capable about whining about the SAME thing over and over and over again for hours. So, for the banana incident, I would have given him a dish rag to clean it up, taken the rest of the banana and said nothing more.<br>
2. Intervening when he STARTS to snatch/push his sister. Ideally, before he makes contact, but I'm not in a position to do that always. But, treating it more like a 2 year old issue -- where I'm more in prevention mode.<br>
3. Some mom and son special time where he determines what we do DOES help a lot too.<br>
4. More SLEEP.<br>
5. Regular SNACKS.<br>
6. Time AWAY from ds for me.
 

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At 5, he's still learning to control his emotions. He can barely define them articulately, how can he be counted upon to control them? You mentioned the "cycle", and that's totally what it is. Until some aspect of the cycle changes, it will continue to spiral down. Just like with any other relationship, you can't <i>make</i> a person, even a little one, <i>change</i>. All you have the capability to change is your <i>own</i> reactions.<br><br>
What kind of limitations can you set about pushing? Counting it out may be a good tactic. Infractions like hitting or spitting or banana-squishing get counted to 3, and at "That's three." there's a predictable consequence. A certain toy or game or other privaledge becomes unavailable for a day or something. "Where's my Spider-man?"..."When you hit you chose to hit your brother you lost the privaledge of having Spider-Man for a day."<br><br>
Also a good deal of this sounds like he might be feeling like he needs to act out for some reason. Sometimes at this age, as they transition into a more peer-oriented less mama-dependant phaze, they still need you just as much if not more, but they push you away, so there's a push-pull thing happening, and parents can get caught up in that... if you're a reader, take a look at:<a href="http://www.curledupkids.com/raissecu.htm" target="_blank">Raising a Secure Child: Creating Emotional Availability Between Parents and your Children by Zeynep Biringen, PhD</a>. It has a ton of ways to re-evaluate and maintain a parent's emotional availability.
 

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Oh, I really feel for you! My dd has issues with anger and rudeness and I have felt similarly frustrated. We have talked and modeled until we are blue in the face, we have searched for underlying problems, all of it. At some point (and I'm only talking about older children here) there is the issue of motivation i.e. the child knows exactly what they should do, and is capable of it, but the motivation is just not there.<br><br>
One thing that I finally resorted to that helped was a point system. Yeah, bad bad bad, I know. Except I also firmly believe that you gotta do what works with your particular kid (while being gentle, of course). So I gave her 8 points a week, and every time she did the behavior we were focusing on (we just picked one behavior to keep it simple, so we were working on rudeness) she lost one point. If by the end of the week she was down to zero, she lost a privelege. So basically she could slip up once every day and still not lose her privelege.<br><br>
At the same time, I tried to set her up for success. We started meditation classes to help her learn to calm herself. We talked about it alot. Etc etc.<br><br>
She never has lost that privelege, and her behavior has improved.<br><br>
I disagree with those who might say I have only taught my daughter to behave out of fear. Because while applying this measure, I am also doing all the other stuff too, talking, sympathizing, helping her understand where her anger and rudeness comes from. I consider this measure to be a bandaid only, to motivate her to stop the behavior in the short term. The other stuff will help her to deal with it in the long term.<br><br>
It'll only work with kids that are old enough to understand longer term cause and effect, though, don't know if your son is old enough yet? But I think it is totally valid to use loss of priveleges to motivate him to change his behavior while still working with him to find out why he is behaving that way.
 

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I have to agree with Thao. Sometimes I get very frustrated too, because we have been and are very patient wit him and give him all the privileges, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, you name it. And then he still acts angry and upset many times.<br><br>
Many times it seems to me like the children of all the punished, spanked children are so happy, well-adjusted and secure.<br><br>
While I wouldn't do those things, I have resorted to rewards VERY occasionally.. with great success. I enjoy working for rewards, and working towards goals is something that everyone does in life.<br><br>
Hugs to oceanbaby -- all I can say is -- hang in there. It IS possible to be gentle and guide your children and watch those children turn out beautifully. It's just a rocky road, and most likely you'll have moments of agony and ecstasy like all of us.
 

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Oh mama! I want to hand my kids over to someone else today...I just downed a shot of southern comfort and feel a little better <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">:.<br><br>
Our grocery bills have gone up lately. Every night about 5:30 I pour a glass of wine, and another about 6:30. Seriously it is helping me <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">.....not that I'm suggesting that I'm just saying find a way to not let it get to the core of you. I actually have to displace myself lately and just make sure they are physically ok at times because I have nothing else for them. Find someone to give you a break.<br><br>
And I agree with some here. Punishments and consequences for absolutely unnaceptable behaviours are different things entirely.
 

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Oceanbaby, I've been reading your posts about this child of yours for just about his whole life, I think! He is most certainly a handful.<br><br>
You know what I think? He is a handful -- and he will be a handful no matter what discipline method you choose. He is one of those kids that old ladies look tired just reminiscing about, long after they've finished raising them. My grandmother had 5 kids, and the youngest was like this, and she still gets a wiped out look on her face thinking about his childhood. (He has grandchildren now.)<br><br>
Let me ask you this -- if you decided to break with your ideals and choose a method that involved punishment -- what would you do? What options do you hold in the back of your head as last resort options?<br><br>
Do you want to spank him? Is that in the back of your head?<br><br>
Do you want to institute a points system?<br><br>
Do you want to start taking toys and privilages away?<br><br>
Here is my honest to goodness thought on the matter: With the exception of spanking (and I actually don't even think you really want to resort to spanking) I think it would be within the realm of reasonable to institute a behavioral type system on a trial basis and <i>see what happens.</i> Set a time limit. See if it helps. Because honestly -- I think you have consequences and punishments in the back of your head as last resort options -- and you won't be able to let go of the possibility until you know they won't help.<br><br>
Six weeks on a points system isn't going to kill him. Six weeks of having toys confiscated isn't going to kill him. I don't really think it will help --- and I predict that it will make things worse --- but you know -- if you want to try -- then I'll stand behind you.<br><br>
But if nothing helps, then please try to remind yourself that lots of parents are tormented in this way by extremely spirited children! You are not alone, and this is what we all risk when we decide to be parents. Whether we GD or not.
 

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As someone who gets into this dynamic occasionally with dd, I would say it seems to me like you're really, really irritated and mad at him, and he really, really notices. That might be stating the obvious, but what you're describing sounds to me like he's feeling insecure, resentful, and hurt because he can tell he's driving you up the wall. And since he doesn't know what to do about it, he's pushing all your buttons as hard as he can. And he also sounds mad at his brother, probably resentful of him, too, because he knows you're not annoyed with him.<br><br>
This happens at my house. It makes my dd totally obnoxious. I know I don't hide my irritation very well, and some days she just drives me crazy. And then, of course, she's just more obnoxious.<br><br>
So I guess my advice is, drop the explanations. Stop reliving the bad behavior, and focus on the good. You're right, you have spent enough time talking about how to properly express your anger, about acceptable alternatives, yada yada yada. I'd just try to prevent it when you can, quickly deal with it if you can't (and I agree with removal for hitting), and spend more time on the qualities you enjoy in your ds. I might even ignore a few minor pushes/shoves, especially if ds2 doesn't actually get hurt. Or maybe try to assume the best more often. Like in the CD example you could say, "Ds1, you really didn't want him to ruin that CD! Next time, just tell him without shoving him."<br><br>
And, even though I think ds1 sometimes gets the short end of the stick, it's much, much better for their overall relationship if dh and I stay out of it. Are you able to do that most of the time?
 

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Oceanbaby, it does get better. It really does. I have thought of punishing dd1 for her behaviour towards dd2 and towards me from when she was 1 and a half till when she was at least 5 and a half. 6 for us is the age of reason. She has her moments, we all do, but the cycle you are describing, that we lived through and through, that's gone. She has needed a long, long time to realize that the birth of dd2 did not change my love for her. I will not say that throughout this I was the perfect mom, because I was not. I did yell. I did lay guilty trips on her. I did say things like "I am too exhausted, I just cannot handle the two of you" which I regretted, I wish I had not said, and that I apologized for. But no, I haven't punished. Whatever consequences there were, were just natural. Like - if you take an hour to brush teeth and put pajamas on there is no time left for stories. If you take your sweet time to get ready in the morning, when we get to preschool there will be no time to show me your drawings. In the example of the banana, not eating the banana is a natural consequence of wasting it. I know it is hard, but really try to just love him up. Hug him, and kiss him and make him feel loved above all people and things. Especially when he behaves like that.<br>
I know what you mean when you say that punished and spanked kids seem to be more obedient. My dh tells me that every day. Yes, it may be so, although I would have to agree with mamaduck that their behaviour a lot has to do with personality, as well as to several circumstances of our family life, which to be honest, are not ideal (me working full time, dad gone for 4 days a week, no family around us...).<br>
Yet, for all their bad behaviour, I know the depth of my relationship with my dds. We've been through a lot. We've found ways. We've developed ideas. Yes, there will be a lot of challenges. But there will be a time when I would not be able (even if I ever wanted to) to spank or remove any privileges. At that time, I will have something to rely on, and that is just the skills we have developed of problem solving things together and the depth of our love.
 

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BTW, I just wanted to chime in and say I agree with the posters who say that much of a kid's behavior is determined by thier inborn personality. Oceanbaby, you are not doing anything wrong. Your son is who he is in all his glory. Every quality he has that is driving you nuts, properly directed, can become an asset for him in his adult life. I really believe that. Like my dd has a very rigid sense of justice and will yell rudely at her friends if she thinks they aren't being fair -- but on the flip side, I could totally see that same sense of justice motivating her to become a crusader for some wonderful cause when she is older.<br><br>
So we've just got to work with what nature gave us, and that means there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Be creative. You know what makes your son tick more than anyone else. If you think a method might help, try it. Like mamaduck said, 6 weeks of just about any gentle method is not going to harm him. As long as you are still being the loving, interested, sympathetic mom that you are, your bond with him will still be strong.<br><br>
That my humble opinion anyway.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sagira</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8122909"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have to agree with Thao. Sometimes I get very frustrated too, because we have been and are very patient wit him and give him all the privileges, co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, you name it. And then he still acts angry and upset many times.<br><br>
Many times it seems to me like the children of all the punished, spanked children are so happy, well-adjusted and secure.</div>
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I was spanked and definitely did not feel happy well adjusted or secure. I felt scared of my father and didn't understand why he wanted to hurt me and why nobody stopped him. I figured it was because that's all I deserved.<br><br>
I can also tell you that I know spanked kids who became violent, aggressive troubled adults and I think there is a direct correlation.<br><br>
Don't listen to that voice in your head that says non-violence is for wimps. You obviously have the strength of a mama tiger to do what you're doing. That doesn't make you perfect. No one is perfect.<br><br>
And what Thao said:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">BTW, I just wanted to chime in and say I agree with the posters who say that much of a kid's behavior is determined by thier inborn personality. Oceanbaby, you are not doing anything wrong. Your son is who he is in all his glory. Every quality he has that is driving you nuts, properly directed, can become an asset for him in his adult life. I really believe that. Like my dd has a very rigid sense of justice and will yell rudely at her friends if she thinks they aren't being fair -- but on the flip side, I could totally see that same sense of justice motivating her to become a crusader for some wonderful cause when she is older.<br><br>
So we've just got to work with what nature gave us, and that means there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Be creative. You know what makes your son tick more than anyone else. If you think a method might help, try it. Like mamaduck said, 6 weeks of just about any gentle method is not going to harm him. As long as you are still being the loving, interested, sympathetic mom that you are, your bond with him will still be strong.<br><br>
That my humble opinion anyway.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/innocent.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shy"></td>
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Oceanbaby, when I read your post I thought of something I heard at a workshop (and maybe read in <i>The Explosive Child</i>-it was a Parenting the Explosive Child workshop). To paraphrase, some people have a very rapid and intense emotional reaction when things don't go "their way," and when that happens they often reach for the very first thing in their "what to do when my brother is doing something I don't like" file-and that first thing might be shoving, hitting, spitting, etc. So in order to do better, these people need to learn to stay more calm and to replace hitting/spitting/whatever with something else as their first reaction. Learning to remain calm is so important, and has to come first, because it's much harder to access the more acceptable/effective behaviors when we're very upset. We all have those experiences at some point in life when we're so upset/scared/nervous/angry that we simply can't think as well and can't access our better skills well. While for some of us this is a rare thing, for others it happens much of the time. For kids who have trouble with this, as they learn to stay calm they will be better able to replace their less acceptable behaviors with more acceptable ones as their first reaction. And there can be many other reasons for this type of behavior.<br><br>
I have a child who for years hit, screamed, threw things when she got angry. This was her first, immediate reaction much of the time-she went from calm to screaming then to hitting in mere seconds, multiple times a day. We tried it all-variations of time out, reward charts, reminders, talking when she was calm, etc. We just weren't getting anywhere, and we learned that motivation wasn't her problem though we had often assumed it was. What finally did help (she isn't hitting or throwing anymore, and screaming is on its way out), was to recognize that although she did know that those things were wrong, she was having a lot of trouble staying calm enough to do better-she got so upset so fast that she really had enormous difficulty accessing her better skills. We had to step in (often phsyically) at the <i>very first</i> indication that there might be a problem and help her stay calm and problem solve. We had to be familiar enough with her triggers to anticipate problems, we had to work on solutions to recurrent problems at calm times (sometimes we didn't find a solution first try, so we had to work on another one), we had to work with her during times that problems weren't occuring to help her learn to relax and to identify and manage her emotions.<br><br>
I highly recommend reading <i>The Explosive Child</i>.
 
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