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Impulse Control
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Impulse Control

We have a 7-year old son who has tantrums that have escalated over the past year to the point where he is nearly frothing at the mouth.  Tantrums are initiated by the need to stop an activity to get into the car, go somewhere, get ready for bed etc.  It could also be needing to take a bath, come to dinner or come in from outside.  He will immediately start stomping, jumping up and down, screaming how much he hates us, wants to leave this awful family etc.  It gets so volatile and loud that he, as I mentioned, almost starts to drool.  He clenches his teeth, growls his words and his eyes start to bug out.  He is so completely out-of-control that he can't begin to hear a thing we might be saying to him.  We have had to, at times, physically move him out of a room to get him into his bedroom where he is taken to calm down.  He will then start to tear up his room, throwing things at the doors and scream.  It's making our lives hell.  We have a 13-year old who has grown just as exhausted from this as we have.  Our son will come out of the tantrum well past 1/2 hour of angst having experienced some sort of cartharsis.  The rest of us at that point are exhausted and want nothing to do with him.

His behavior is good at school.  Nearly straght 'A's". Model student.

His hearing has been checked and it is fine.

We need help because our home feels like a battleground.


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535822_tn?1389452880
Your statements 'the behavior at school is good tells you the problem is at home, possibly you have a child/parent interaction problem in younger children Tantrums are a Normal part of development frustration and as language skills increase the tantrums decrease.Try to avoid them in the first place, give him choices instead of demands, instead of telling/demanding he takes a bath .get ready for bed and expecting him to jump to it immediatly, say to him, would you like to take a bath now or wait till after supper, if you say take a bath now inevitably the answer will be No.Do not feed into any of his behavior, it is possibly getting him attention,so avoid distract , do not feed into,Is his older brother kind to him, what is his behavior like does any teasing go on .The book I mention has helped many parents .Good luck
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Avatar_n_tn
First of all thank you for your comments.  

Avoiding the conflict is something with choices isn't something we've done.  In fact I think we are now so used to the conflicts that we come out with 'what we need' with a certain energy we've already built up because of the response we expect.  That's a hard pattern to turn around.  

My husband and I, with the barrage of complaints, tantrums etc. I will honestly say that are problem-solving skills have gone by the wayside a bit.  We're worn down and tired.

His older brother is another dynamic.  Because he has had to deal with these outbursts that have often affected what he gets to do and not do he has developed a resentment towards our younger son that is understandable.  Because he is nearly 13 and our youngest is 7, he will find times to act-out in response to this that is surprising and yet understandable.  I find that my husband and I then get terribly frustrated with him because we expect him to act his age, which in long run we are putting very adult expectations on him really, and a bad pattern forms.

His older brother has taken to, yes, teasing him now and is very unkind.  The younger brother provokes him as well.  Quite honestly it gets near to impossible to figure out where one starts the other begins.  

We, as parents, need to be the leaders here on this and we're honestly struggling.  We want to get the older brother on-board to help the younger with positive behavior changes but there is so little incentive for him.  Certainly it would make his life easier but 12-year olds are not necessarily driven by that being the outcome.  

You didn't mention a book by name in your post and I would welcome it.  

I feel a certain sadness that we recognize that the dynamic is at-home.  We need to pick ourselves up and make changes through our sadness.



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535822_tn?1389452880
I am sorry my thoughts were racing ahead thinking of your problem,the book is Lyn Clarks' SOS Help for Parents , it has given a lot of help to families.I asked you in my post how your elder boy got on with his brother,this is often where it comes from originally , if he was jealous of the younger child when he was born this could have been an ongoing issue,and very common., you say he teases him, it is possible that some family counseling would be good as you are battling with the dynamics going on here, it would be good to step outside the box and see how your younger child is feeling especially as you say your elder son is very unkind, how about you start there and stop the unkind behavior which may have been going on when the younger child was small..
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Avatar_n_tn
I just read "the kazdin method for the defiant child"  it's pretty great and worth a shot.  if not for your 7 year old, then maybe the 13 year old.

good luck, I wish I had better advice to give.

:)
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your book suggestion.  I will go looking for it.

Unfortunately I think the issue has very little to with his older brother.  Their relationship dynamic was formed by the difficulties of the younger.  Our oldest went into babydom as a 5-year old that was really excited about it. He remained helpful with getting things for me etc.  Our youngest didn't take to him or anyone, frankly, besides me. This has since changed. To this day his older brother loves babies.  He wants to open a daycare for kids 0 - 1 because he is smitten with infants.  He loves to babysit.  He showed typical signs of jealousy throughout that baby time but not a lot quite honestly.  

We have contacted a counselor that we will be seeing next week.  We had a small series of family sessions with another counselor that kind of trailed off due to it not being quite the right fit.  This counselor is specifically for kids.  We, at his suggestion, will only be working with our youngest son and ourselves.  I am interested to see if or when the older comes into the equation.

I honestly believe the issue lay flatly on the shoulders of our youngest.  There is something he brings to the table that pushes us away and yet wants us at the same time.  We have dealt with terrible guilt, my husband and I, and I will then also remind us that we have an older son who was easy, functions in the world well, doesn't walk around damaged etc.  There is a dynamic and wiring of the younger that is just different.  Certainly our reactions to it at this point I would guess if there was a fly on the wall of our home aren't what we want them to be as time as moved forward.  We're tired.  We've kind of run out of charts, stickers etc.  It seems so byzantine after a while.  

I look forward to to help because we want a happy home for all of us.

I so appreciate the time and thought you have shared.  If anything else comes to mind or you hear something from a friend . . . we welcome it.

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