I have an amazing 6 year old boy who is really smart (does really well in school), he's very sweet and very compassionate. But over the last year his tantrums are getting worse and worse. He can go from being calm and relaxed to a crazy screaming fit in the matter of minutes. It doesn't matter if he was just told to do something or told no he will stomp his feet and start to throw his body around. He will scream at the top of his lungs. Some times these tantrums will last on and off all day, like he's re-starting where he left off from the last tantrum. Also, it doesn't seem like I can bring him back down after he's started. It doesn't matter if Im yelling, ignoring the
tantrum, or trying to calmly talk to him face to face, nothing seems to calm him down. He gets very defiant during these times and will flat out tell me no or smirk/giggle while Im trying to talk to him. Its really frustrating. Sometimes it"s not just screaming fits but giggling fits too.. These behaviors are almost a complete 180 from his "normal" behavior. Im really torn with what to do, any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Does he ever have these tantrums in school or out in the general public (in a store, etc)?
And does this always tend to happen only when he is told to do something or told "no"? What happens at school when he is told "no"?
At the beginning of the yr. the teacher said he was really chatty and constantly playing in hiis desk, or with his sweater, etc... But we seem to have gotten that under control. He has thrown the tantrums out in public, but it's definately more common at home. Also it's not just when being told no, or to do something, it's any time his wants aren't met immediately. If I say yes, just as soon as Im done with this.. he'll throw a tantrum. I spend a large portion of my day saying "the way you are acting is why we aren't (insert whatever activity here)" and he doesn't seem to get that...
Thanks for the info. Thats kind of what I expected. I will get back to you as this is not all that uncommon. But the post will be a bit long and its really late here. Just wanted you to know that I read and appreciate the extra info. I will be getting back to you.
Because of the length - this will take two posts.
I am sure that at school he gets told "no" and apparently doesn't throw tantrums. So, he does have the ability to control himself. Unfortunately, he has kind of "learned" that his tantrums work for him. This is not that unusual for smart kids. Fortunately, they can usually pretty quickly figure out when things are not going there way - and try something else.
And a 6 year old boy can be a force of nature. I always thought my kindergarten/first grade teachers were absolute Saints for dealing with them.
Oh, do you have any younger kids (say around 2 or 3)? Sometimes these things start as attention getting and escalate. If so, there are a few additional things you can do.
So - do realize that possibly that some of the things you want him to do maybe aren't real easy for a 6 year old. So cut back just a bit (not a lot) on the do's and don't list. Try and redirect when possible.
But mainly don't, "spend a large portion of my day saying "the way you are acting is why we aren't (insert whatever activity here)" and he doesn't seem to get that... " Talking to him just will not work. And talking to him when he is having a tantrum - won't work.
The rule is that when he starts a tantrum - he gets a short timeout. And the timeout does not start until the tantrum stops. He will go nuts for a while. Just keep repeating - "as soon as you choose to stop your tantrum, the timeout will start and 2 min later you can ..." Do not try to reason with him or talk with him while he is yelling. You are just playing into his hands.
to be continued
Essentially, the rules for behavior modification are that there must be immediate, short, consistent consequences. Do not expect overnight miracles. It has taken him awhile to get to this point and it will take a while to relearn control. But he will.
I would also look into buying "Cool down and work through anger" or "When I feel angry". This is part of a series of books aimed at 4 to 7 year olds and meant to be read to them at night (several times) and then practiced. Kids do need to be taught how to deal with anger. You do not try and use these techniques while he is screaming. But once he stops or later on in the day - you can refer back to them or pull the books back out.
You can find them here - http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Through-Anger-Learning-Along/dp/1575423464/ref=pd_sim_b_5
Hope this helps - it should:) Oh, and do let me know if he has any younger siblings. Best wishes.
Thank you so much for your input and helpful suggestions! I am going to look into those books too. We have a very crazy house.. I have 3 boys (9, 6, and 4) and over the last 2 years we have also had 4 foster children added. I understand that his outbursts have alot to do with getting attention I just worry when he gets in so deep and can't seem to pull himself out.. i can't wait to read those books, and again, thanks for your help!!
Well, it may be a kind of crazy house, but it sounds like a very loving house!
Kind of thought (hoped) that there were other kids involved. I do understand your concerns about him getting in so deep. But if its "He gets very defiant during these times and will flat out tell me no or smirk/giggle while Im trying to talk to him." Then he actually does have some control as compared to the kids who just scream and scream and scream.
By the way, my ideas for dealing with his tantrums come from a book called "Raising Lions", by Joe Newman. If you go to his web site and subscribe to his newsletter you can get $3.00 off the book. The site is http://raisinglions.com/. I think (hope) he is dealing with kids much more severe then your own son, but it does make for interesting reading.
I think that once he gets over this way of making his point. Remember it won't happen overnight and he will go nuts for awhile. Then you might want to check out the book - Love and Logic by Fay and Cline. I think it works really well through the age spectrum. Best wishes.
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