June 23, 2011,
S.B. asks from Bristol, WI on June 21, 2011
How to Deal with 7 Year Old's Anger
My 7 y.o. daughter has a hard time with change. We've been going through a lot of changes recently. Lately, when she gets angry she will hit me or her dad. She will also refuse to do things unless we do something for her. I told her that threatening us like that will not get us to do what she wants. Today she walked between 2 people who were talking. I told her she was rude to do that. When we left the library, the 2 people were still talking and she deliberately went between them on her way out. I told her to apologize and she said 'not until you say you are stupid'. I told her she was having a time out. As we walked to the car she was getting very mouthy so I grabbed her arm and then she hit me and bit me. Later we talked about it and she said 'you started it'. Apparently me asking her to apologize was 'starting it'. She'e been a good kid basically but dealing with changes in locale hasn't been easy. Any coping strategies will be appreciated. As to the changes, I will be putting another post on that in a minute.
A.D. answers from Minneapolis on June 21, 2011
S., I'm sorry. I know how that feels. My youngest daughter has had similar behavior. There is no rationalizing with her when she is in full anger or explosion mode. "The Explosive Child" was a lifesaver book for us. I noticed the first glimmer of this behavior when she was 4. We hit rock bottom when she was 6, which is when I read the book, and we changed our approach with her. Now at 9, things are much, much better. It's not perfect. We still have a few bad days, but they are much fewer and further between than they used to be. It sounds like your daughter is a lot like mine, chronically inflexible, highly intelligent, and strong need to be in control of her own world. I've found that keeping calm and trying to be patient and knowing that her anger mood always passes helps a lot. This is not easy, and does not come naturally to me, but I've gotten better. The more I tried get all authoritative with her, feeling tremendous pressure to "nip it in the bud" during her anger and disrespectful moments, the worse things got. The collaborative problem-solving approach in "The Explosive Child" plus changing my own perspective helped us a lot.
5 moms found this helpful
C.P. answers from Provo on June 21, 2011
I find one of the most effective things a parent can do is listen to their child. It is hard for us because we have been taught that to get things accomplished we have to be in control. Not always the case and when the child feels that they are listened to and acknowledged then the mood is a little more peaceful. I have even learned to use this for the special needs children. After I put one little girl in her vest on the school bus she started throwing a major fit. I explained to her that I put her in the vest to keep her safe. She still kept throwing a fit and finally I asked, "Sweetie, how can I help you?" She told me that she could not see out the window. I praised her time after time on how wonderful it was that she told me what I could do to help her. I would have never been able to guess that was her problem since she is blind. I guess she was able to get just enough light on her face through the window. Maybe when you are having quiet time with your daughter you could ask her how you can make her feel better. Stress and adjustment are not easy things to deal with but you can just let her know that you want to help her with her sad times. Good luck, I have a seven year old with an attitude and I know it can be tough.
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P.M. answers from Portland on June 21, 2011
You'll find the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish, to be a helpful resource. I've used this with my grandson since about 2.5 (he's now 5.5), and it is simply the most brilliant and effective parenting booster I've ever used.
The book teaches parents in very accessible steps how to help a child sort out and address problems, whether social, behavioral, or practical. And though we don't usually think about children in these terms. they can be creative problem solvers. Plus, kids are more invested in solutions they think of themselves, and are more likely to work at making them a success. I've helped my grandson turn around some pretty surly moods and given him new emotional tools to work with.
I dearly wish I'd had this amazing book for my own daughter. Fortunately, we never went through any rough spells. I've recommended How to Talk to a number of young families, and they've been pleased with how quickly they were able to help some pretty troubled kids.
Karen's suggestion of The Out-of-Sync Child is also excellent.
3 moms found this helpful
K.W. answers from Seattle on June 21, 2011
Check out the book "The Out-of-sync child" and see if anything looks familiar.
This sounds like she's stressed and trying to control the environment around her. Obviously she's choosing unacceptable strategies to do so! If you can figure out *why* she's having so much trouble with change, you may be able to reduce her stress level a bit.
When she's a little less "on-edge", you may find that she responds better to discipline.
1 mom found this helpful
S.S. answers from Chicago on June 23, 2011
Wow, changes or not she is kind of outstepping her boundaries. It sounds like so far you are very understand and attempt to talk things out. I think however she needs to understand there are consequences for these actions. Biting is truly not acceptable. I want to read your other post before I say more, but in the meantime begin little steps by making it very clear that there are consequences for each type of bad behavior. Real consequences, not things like 'well, if you don't hand me that pencil we won't go to Disneyworld in 2015'. She has to know that she won't be able to watch her favorite tv show, etc.etc.Good luck!
J.C. answers from Chicago on June 22, 2011
"The Explosive Child" by Dr. Bob Greene.