Mothering Forum banner
1 - 2 of 2 Posts

· Registered
4,195 Posts
He sounds really really challenging. I don't have much advice, really, and you are probably light-years ahead of me since he's your fifth child and I am only on my first, but maybe it would help if we could get a better picture of what kinds of things set him off.

Related to food:

Does he have tantrums most often before meals, when his blood sugar might be low? Or after meals? Or neither, are they just spread out and don't seem food related?

Does he get cow's milk/dairy, and if so, have you noticed any change in his behavior when he doesn't get it, or if he gets more than usual? Does he have the same foods for breakfast each day, if so, what does he have? Does anyone else in your biological family have any food allergies?

Is there a particular time of day when he is more likely to be unable to control himself/ is cranky and irritable / is more likely to tantrum?

Possibly related to low tolerance for frustration/sensitivity to sensory stimuli:

Are there clothes he hates to wear? Does he pull at the tags on the back of his shirt?

Does he need to rock or jump more than your other children did? Does he need to be in constant motion? Does he like roughhousing alot, rolling/swinging/wanting to be picked up and swung?

Does he get hot or cold easily and complain about it? Is he especially picky about food?

If the room is noisy, are the problem behaviors more likely to occur?

Related to tantrums:

Can you identify particular triggers that always set him off? Are there things people do that are especially distressing for him, like other children not playing "correctly" (e.g. not playing with the cars right, stacking the blocks wrong, etc).

I found the book "The Explosive Child" helpful for some children who have low tolerance for feeling out of sorts or being unable to adapt easily to things in their environment that aren't "just so" (and the just so is sometimes hard to figure out and the child can't tell you). If it seems to you he may have more difficulty dealing with minor stresses than your other children did, this book might be helpful.

Its hard to know what might help without knowing what his triggers are. You might consider keeping a log for a few days, noting what happened immediately before the tantrum, also noting what happened after, and maybe a food journal as well. If you can predict the tantrums then you can work on seeing if there are things you can do to make it easier for him to get through the day.

· Registered
4,195 Posts
"He just wants everything to be his at all times."

Sounds like he has a powerful "Wanter." When he sees something interesting, he MUST have it, or he risks a meltdown, is that right?

And also probably has problems with delaying getting what he wants, when he wants something, he must have it NOW, or he risks a meltdown, does that seem right?

If these seem right to you, you might consider working with him in several short sessions each day to target these issues. Maybe you could enlist the participation of your other children in helping him to learn. He can't help his "wanting" emotions and when he wants something, he can't help but want it so wholeheartedly it takes over his whole being.

For dealing with wanting everything, you could try to teach "giving" instead of "getting." It won't completely eliminate the strong need to have everything that is interesting, but it will give him another way of relating to objects besides just possessing them. To do this, you would want to ask him to give the "X" (some desired object he has in his hand) to you or another child. When he does, immediately say thank you, hugs and kisses, and give the object back. Try to extend the time that he allows the object to be held by someone else. Over time, try giving him another object that he likes equally well or better instead of giving him the original toy back. This will help teach him to take his attention off that original toy. Being able to refocus his attention on something else is very helpful in learning to deal with frustration. Then eventually (quite a ways down the road) when there is something he can't have, he might be able to accept "You can't have X right now because Sally is playing with it, but you can have Y."

Its important that you don't tell him what you are going to do in advance, such as "If you give me X, I'll give it right back" or "If you give me the truck, I'll give you this ice cream cone." That's because you would be teaching something else (exchange) rather than tolerating giving something up. It needs to be unexpected, that you give the toy back, or give another toy.

For teaching him to delay getting something he wants, request that he demonstrate calmness before giving it to him. "You can have X, but first you need to show me you are calm and can ask for it nicely." If he escalates, you can offer empathy ("boy it sure is frustrating to not get this right now") or just wait it out. Once he can be calm for about five seconds, you could try extending the time, eventually to a fairly long period ("We can play with the crayons after dinner" etc).
1 - 2 of 2 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.