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7 year old tantrums with physical aggression
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7 year old tantrums with physical aggression

This evening my son stole his sisters battery operated car outside & we asked him to give it back to her and he lost it. His grandparents were over & we usually keep the cars at their house & they brought them to us so the kids could use them at home. He ran over to his sister and pushed her so I immediately reacted and took both motorized cars & began putting them back on the truck to take back to my in-laws house. He started screaming a high pitched scream, bawling uncontrollably, running back and forth, jumping up & down, & throwing other toys. When we finally got them back on the truck he jumped on the back and tried to throw them off the side. My husband got him down & he jumped inside, grabbed the keys and ran away. My father in-law ran after him and got the keys but then he jumped on the roof and stood up as the truck was in motion. It took 2 of us to get him down & hold him back while my in-laws could drive out of the driveway. After they left we carried him in the house & asked him to get in the bathtub; still having a fit he refused and went as far as spitting in his Father's face. I immediately physically took him to the bathroom and put him in the tub but he pulled my hair, kicked me in the stomach and kicked & pulled the shower curtain off. I had to walk away. Not once was he sorry for the fit, no compassion for other people's feelings, no remorse for being physically & verbally aggressive. He often blames other people for his actions- it's ALWAYS our fault if he acts this way. He can never see that he was in the wrong and WHY he was being punished for something. NOW with saying all of this I need to mention that he WILL NOT do this in public. He accepts the word no in stores & doesn't make a scene at all. He IS one of the best behaved kids in his class. His last report card was amazing; straight A's & his teacher even wrote that he was one of the best kids she has ever taught.
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You are wise to note that the emotional and behavioral dyscontrol occurs only in the context of the parent/child relationship. He will change to the extent that you can change. Your description of the upsetting episode with the motorized vehicles was helpful because it illustrates how you need help managing behavior. Your attenmtop to have him get in the tub was doomed to failure. There should have been a long time of clam before that was attempted. He was in no state to cooperate with your expecttaions. Take a look at Lynn Calrk's book SOS Help for Parents (see www.sosprograms.com) and folow his guidelines.
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Question continued:

This is a regular occurance in our house. Approx. 5 times a month this type of behavior occurs and usually over mild disciplinary actions like tonights  situation with taking the battery operated cars back.
It scares me that he doesn't have any remorse for his actions or the fact that he blames other people for acting that way and truly can't see he was in the wrong.
I forgot to mention that he is an active child. He plays soccer & hockey & is quite athletic with a lot of energy.
We are at our wits end with him...
We ground him, take things away, won't go somewhere special if he's acted up. We don't spank our kids (even when we want to in times like tonight!).
HELP!!! This behavior can't be ignored... and in action I can't walk away when he is putting himself in dangerous situations or spitting in his fathers face! So disrespectful and wrong on so many levels. I would NEVER have gotten away with that as a child and I wouldn't even go that far as a kid!
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Hi there. i can definitely sympathize with you. my 6 year old is the same but I've had fewer episodes nowadays. His father and i have issues and I think that has something to do with it. He was also diagnosed with sleep apnea and a month ago had an operation so I'm hoping better sleep will result with a better behaved child. i have talked with him and he tells me he has trouble controlling himself which is pretty obvious. i think he feels overwhelmed and like the walls are closing in so instead I've learned not to discipline in that moment but to cuddle him tightly while hes upset and hysterical until he calms down. it always works. He has had major meltdowns trashing things and getting aggressive and physical towards me. His screaming was so bad one night he frightened his little brother and cousin and they ended up in tears. We have talked many times about it where something sets the ball going and then he feels like everyone is against him and it escalates and it gets to a point where its hard to snap out of it so i have learned just to love him and hold him and don't let go, eventually he surrenders and calms down then we talk about it and decide what action we'll take against the behaviour. children don't always understand what they're feeling or even why they feel the way they do. so i just try to comfort my son through it until it passes because you can't really discipline a child in that state when they're hysterical, you could shut him in his room where he'll probably trash it. I think my son feels rejected when i do this which adds to his meltdown. We talk about the feeling of anger being a 'monster' in his tummy and to blow the monster away and out with big deep breaths and counting to 10 before it grows bigger and gets out of control. Its helped him realise that you can beat the anger by trying not to let the angry little monster take over you, we liken it to the hulk i suppose. Crazy i know but we've found this to help.
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