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eight year old temper tantrums
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eight year old temper tantrums

My son is eight years old and is and is a very sensitive child.  He does not even like watching carttons that have abad guy in it.  He feels things very intensely.  He has a good relationship with his friends and has many friends but lately has had conflicts with them when he feels he is not being treated fairly (even if it is obvious to everyone else that it is not the case).  For example, he'll throw a snowball at someone and when they throw one back and hit him he gets upset and very angry.  He also has always had many tantrums at home (never any with his teachers or coaches) and though the consequences for misbehaving are clearly posted he yells, stomps his feet and lashes out when we try to enforce them.  Something as minor as asking him to hand up his jacket or clear off his dish can trigger a tantrum.  He has also started, in the last six months, to pick at scabs until they bleed.  He continues to do this so that the subsequent cut is worse than the initial one.  He then makes sure that he tells me he has done this.  Of course, in the beginning I would get upset but lately I've just acted matter of factly about it to not give him negative attention.  We thought that as he got older  he would learn to express himself differently.  We try not to get upset and deal with him calmly but he escalates the behaviour until neither I nor my husband can refrain from yelling.  It has gotten to a point where I am afraid to leave him with a sitter to go to work because of this behaviour.  We have tried to talk to him to find the root of the problem to no avail.  He gets alot of quality and quantity time with us.  He did have four seizures between the ages of  two and four due to benign rolandic epilepsy but all EEG and MRI have shown that his brain is perfectly normal.  He also does very well at school.  We are not sure if this behavior is because he is a very sensitve child who feels things intensely and thus is not maturing emotionally at the same rate as others.  What can we do?
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I suspect your son is suffering from some form of anxiety.  Children with anxiety are often overly sensitive.  They also tend to behave in social situations but in comfortable places they release their frustrations via temper tantrums.  I doubt if your son knows why he is unable to self-regulate - some feel it is an underdeveloped emotional system which the child has not yet learned how to control.

A book you might wish to read is "the highly sensitive child" by Elaine N. Aron which might help.  You might wish to discuss these issues with your family doctor but it appears as if your son is still able to function in the school setting.  This is not something the parents "caused"; but is an inherited trait (perhaps tied to his in-born temperament).  Hope this helps ...
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