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9 year old anger issues
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9 year old anger issues

My 9 year old has lived with his father since he was 4 1/2. When his father and I were together, he had anger issues and was mentally abusive. His father managed to get primary custody, even though we have joint custody, because at the time I couldn't afford an attorney and long story short, I was confused by the papers. (You'd have to see them to understand what I mean.) But either way, he lives with his father and visits a few times a year. We live in separate states.

Every time I pick my son up to visit, he has horrible anger issues. He tells his brother that he's going to hurt him, will actually hit or scratch him. If something doesn't go his way, he throws a fit or gets extremely angry. I think that his father basically lets him do whatever he wants. He plays video-games 24/7 (which I do NOT allow in my house). He doesn't like to read, color or do things that I would think that even at the age of 9, he might still enjoy. He says his father doesn't read to him every night. His grammar is not that great, to be quite honest.

He doesn't listen when you tell him to do something. I will say that yesterday, when he threw a fit (he was in trouble) and turned over the little table and started throwing things in the boys room that I marched him into my room and as he started to ball his fists up at me and growl, I smacked him right on the mouth and calmly told him in an extremely firm voice that he doesn't EVER do things like that and he doesn't EVER ball his fists up at me. That it was NOT the way to handle being angry.

Now, he is upset in the room because I sent them to the room for fighting with each other. Then I separated them because they were fighting some more, so he started crying in the room, wanting to go back to his dads. (I placed my 5 year old on the floor with his nose on the wall).

I just don't know what to do. Please help. My 5 year old has his own issues(possible ADHD?), which I'll post separately. Thank you.

Crystal
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Perhaps when he is in a calmer state of mind you can ask him what is making him so angry. Kids are only going to copy what they see, if you as parent's loose your temper quickly they will too.
It can't be easy for him to see you only 2-3 times a year. Maybe he is jealous of his 5 year old brother and that is why he takes out his aggressions on him. Perhaps you and your Ex have to sit down together and discuss the custody issue that is causing problems. You say you have joint custody, perhaps you as parents need to make some sacrifices to live closer to each other for your son's sake. He is obviously reaching out for help. He just doesn't know how to express it.
Both children could very well be ADHD. Trust me hitting is not the answer when it comes to them. It doesn't work. You can hit them until your hand falls off and they will ask are you done yet. You and your Ex. have to be on the same wave length when it comes to discipline. Again another thing you guys could discuss and come to terms as ADULTS. Set the rules and live by them. Your children will appreciate it more than you know and that will help with the hatred.
Kids need guidelines just like we need lines on a newly paved road, when it's dark and raining and we can't find our way. Lines on the road are a major comfort, so can rules to a child.
This is all just advice, I am not a Dr. but I am a parent. I hope that you all can find peace and comfort soon. Especially your son.
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I agree that hitting doesn't solve anything. That's why I pretty much gave up on spanking. Taking things and priveleges away seems to work better. But at that moment, when he balled his fists up at me, the smack was more for shock value. I wasn't angry when I did it. I didn't lose control. I maintained an even voice. I have hardly ever hit my 9 year old. He is very helpful and well-behaved for the most part. My 5 year old is more likely to misbehave than my 9 year old. And he is the one that will laugh if he gets smacked or a spanking. I gave that up a long time ago with him. It never worked. You have to take priveleges away or use reverse psychology with my 5 year old.  

I believe that when they get together, my 5 year old instigates a lot of things. Things that he finds to be funny, my 9 year old does not and becomes angry. Even this morning, I had to remind him that when his brother does something that he doesn't like and he doesn't listen the first time he tells him to stop that he shouldn't get angry and hurt his brother. I told him to come to me and I would deal with his brother. This way, his brother ends up in "trouble" and my 9 year old doesn't. I think over the next week or so, things will calm down. I'm working on it every time something happens, which isn't a lot.

I am fairly even tempered and keep a steady voice usually. But, with a background in theater and cheering my entire life, sometimes my voice projects, even when I don't mean for it to. So, I have to keep my voice level in check.  

And yes, for a couple of years I was very angry with his father for tricking me as he had when it came to the divorce papers. A part of me still is. But, we have been trying to work together a little more. Even though, my ex's father is easier to work with than he is. My plan is to move closer, once I finish my Master's degree. When he is 13, he is legally able to choose the parent he wants to be with. And growing up with divorced parents myself, I understand what he is going through. The distance we lived apart is the same as it is now.

I am putting them in summer camp so they will have some time to do their own activities during the day for a few hours. I don't think they like being with each other or me all day long, as I work at home and only attend school two days a week. It will be good for them to get out around other children. I don't know, maybe I'm just over-reacting. I just can't help but feel he needs at least a little help.  
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