May 14, 2009,
M.L. asks from Upland, CA on May 11, 2009
Any Anger Management Techniques for 5 Year Old Boy?
My 5 year old can get SO angry! He then screams, seeths, crys, throws stuff and sometimes hits others. How can I help him? This morning he wanted to play on the computer and all heck broke out when I said that was fine but he needed to get dressed first. He was angry for about an hour, refused to get dressed - I finally took him to pre-school in his pj's and dressed him there in the van. I stayed calm and firm, but how can I can help him? I want to get this behavior eliminated! It can only get worse as he gets older, I'm afraid.
J.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 11, 2009
Excellent responses from SH and Deanna.I will only add: Its important to pick your battles. You don't have to walk on egg shells around your child,however, making a big deal out of smaller issues,can create more attitude problems down the road. Constant orders,and demands,sound somewhat bullying and tiresome for children.especially,when they are at an age where they are trying to spread their wings and exercise some independence. A parents main objective,is to guide and train,not RULE. Your requests,for your sons cooperation,will come across as understanding and loving,if you try what SH suggested.Try giving him some time to prepare himself to go in another direction.To abruptly stop him,with an order,makes him feel rushed, frustrated,and pushed around. Try to keep in mind,we're all entitled to our bad days.Children are no different.Permit him to have a release. He needs to be able to express his feelings ,good or bad.This is important for normal development. I wish you and your growing son the best. J. M
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D.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 11, 2009
It sounds like your son doesn't really have a grasp on his emotions or how to channel them productively. I agree with the previous poster, he needs to have some kind of outlet for that rage.
But, he also needs Mom and Dad to work with him on what he's feeling and how to deal with each phase. I started fairly early with explaining feelings to my son...you're angry, mad, frustrated or sad. Giving him other ways to work through the feeling without tantrum or hurting others. What you might want to do is start by sitting down with your son, he's old enough to understand what he's doing and when he's doing something wrong. Explain that his behavior, for exmaple the computer incident, was not acceptable and that Mommy and Daddy need him to know that from now on there will be consequences for behavior like that.
Make a chart of what the discipline levels will be with pictures and let him help you...it should increase over the weight of the incident. Like if my son uses a toy in a way that could hurt someone, I first redirect him to the right way and then if he continues the toy gets taken away from 3 minutes...we set an egg timer and the toy doesn't come out of the box until the timer goes off. If he repeats the behavior, the toy is taken away for the rest of the day. And I talk to him about what happened and why...over time he's gotten really good at knowing that it's serious if Mommy takes something away and if he has to sit on the step its super serious.
Talk to his teacher about ways that you can streamline discipline so, you can work together to be consistent. And, make sure Dad is a part of the equation so that he learns from his male figure too. I love the book and series adjacent too 'Hands are not for Hitting'. My son has really takne to them!
I wish you all the best!!
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S.H. answers from Honolulu on May 11, 2009
No child is perfect, and the "tantrum" stage can actually last until 5-6 years old. They change a lot at this age juncture.
Try the book "Your 5 Year Old" or, "Your 6 Year Old" from www.amazon.com
Anyway, my feedback is:
1) he seems to need help with "transitioning". Some kids, need more time with this than others... they do NOT like being SUDDENLY told that something else is to occur. So, some children need a LOTS of lead-time, and a forewarning, and a head's up about what is coming up "next." With my daughter, when she is engrossed in something, she does NOT like to be told to stop.... not that she is a fussy child, but that is just her personality. So "I" learned FROM her... and I KNOW that I need to adjust my way of "making" her do something... I give her a lead-time, in advance, about what the rules are or what is coming up, or what I expect of her. ie: I know you are having fun now, but in 15 minutes, I need you to start to get dressed for school. Or, if not, you will be tardy and have to get a tardy slip from the office...." or I tell her: "you can decide- do you want to be tardy or not? Mommy will take you to school when you are ready.... it's your choice....Now, I have to get dressed myself and get your brother ready.... I will be in the car waiting..." (then I DO go and get in the car with my son, and we wait.) She knows I mean business. If we are "late" then so be it.... it is a 'lesson' in life.
2) Next, I would suggest a ROUTINE with him, and more structure, maybe. "Allow" him a certain amount of time for each activity, even of his own choosing. Use an egg-timer perhaps... maybe 20-30 minutes. Then when it is time-up... let him unwind... then segue onto the "next" thing/activity/routine. THIS will help with "transition" as well. Also, kids like this, like my daughter, need time to "un-wind" from one thing to the next. A "breather" in essence.... especially when she is tired or feels "rushed." So I have learned how to "pace" my daughter, and I can totally 'read' her.... so I know how to approach her or change my tactics.
3) Some parents take their kids to school in their pajamas. I have seen that many times. The Teachers have too.
4) When he is angry... let him. Instead of "correcting" it. ie: when he is angry... tell him "If you want to yell, go in your room to do it. It is not acceptable to take it out on others. We are a family, a team. Now, go in your room, that is your safe zone..." Then if you have to, put him in his room. And when he deflates on his own, then have him come out... and talk about it. That is what we do with my daughter... we always talk about it after.... and I ask her WHY she feels like that, HOW does she feel, WHAT is wrong... and that she can tell me anything... and I will be there for her. BUT not if she is "mean."
5) Teach your son "coping skills." All children, need this... how to cope and how to problem solve. Show him other ways he can handle his moods, feelings, outbursts, hit a pillow or something....BUT THAT YOU NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT. Especially a boy... they NEED to LEARN how to communicate... and how to understand feelings.
6) Some kids get out of control/moody when they are hungry or tired.... does your son, get enough SLEEP? Or eat in the morning? This is so important... or their blood-sugar drops and they can't cope and get all moody.
For this, I don't think harsh things are necessary... I think he needs more one-on-one type of circumventing... and letting him "vent" but teaching him HOW in a constructive way. And sometimes, a child won't stop, unless they KNOW that no one will give them attention for it.
7) each child is different... CUE INTO your child... see what makes him tic and ticked-off. Then, talk with him about it... and problem solve. That is what I do with my daughter... instead of just writing her off as "another moody mood" I actually ASK her why she is acting a certain way... and her answers really enlighten me... that is how "I" learn FROM her and how to handle her, or improve things, for ALL concerned. Whenever I talk about things with my daughter, it deflates the situation and she feels better.
At other times, you literally need to tell the child "I make up the rules, not you. Now, if you don't get ready, then NO computer at all... I will lock it...I asked you nicely to get ready, respect Mommy...." Then do so & 'lock' the computer. Then let him tantrum/scream/yell and be late for school. ** A Child WILL deflate on their own...
and sometimes, when my daughter is having a hissy fit, she will actually tell me "I just need to be alone. Don't come, I'll let you know when I feel better..." and then she does.
It's all about "coping" and teaching them, and letting them, and navigating them about it.
All the best,
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C.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 11, 2009
The only thing I can think of that I know would help is get him into a martial arts class. It will be his outlet and they will teach him how to control himself. Good luck!
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K.D. answers from Los Angeles on May 12, 2009
I am right there with you. My 5 year old can get crazy at times. Good luck
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J.L. answers from San Diego on May 14, 2009
Hi M., as a mother for 25 years and a daycare provider for 12 years I believe discipline (strong discipline) for some kids, is the only wat to teach and/or train, some kids you can just talk to, some need a little firmer discipline. You can take him to seek help but with todays kind of health they will may want to put him om medication, you don't want that. He needs to know who's on charge and it;s not him, he needs rewards for good behavior, to encourage good behavior. I pray it all works out J.
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