7 Year Old Is at His Best at School and Screams at Home

Updated on May 12, 2017
L.A. asks from Hudson, NH
15 answers

My 7 year old is the best kid in school (according to his teacher). However, when he comes back from school, he is angry and screams at his friends if they dont listen to him. When he comes home from the bus and acts up with his friends at the bus stop, and i explain him this is not good behavior, he hits me.

Once i feed him and then talk to him, he understands and his behavior totally changes.

The behavior is repeated again after 4-5 days and the same circle happens again. please help

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

That sounds incredibly normal to me. He's hungry! That's why most kids (even adults) need an afternoon snack. Low blood sugar is a real thing!

If you're concerned about his behavior before you have a chance to give him something to eat, can you pack a snack in his lunch that he can eat on the way home? My kids aren't allowed to eat on the bus, but they do get a snack as soon as they get off the bus. Maybe you could pack a little more in his lunch and then have a snack ready when he gets off the bus.

He's only 7 years old. He's not really old enough to know how to deal with low blood sugar. He needs to eat.

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

I have one who would let it allllll out at the end of the day and he would need to go to his room, not for a time out, but for some down time. Usually that's all that was needed. If he didn't have that downtime - to decompress from a busy school day - he would have a meltdown or just be nasty to the rest of us.

My child is an introvert - where being around kids all day, on a schedule, drained him. All he needed was a snack and some alone time, and he was (is) good to go.

He would save it up for me - his safety net - and just let it out. Even today, he still needs downtime when he walks in the door. If a friend calls up and asks to get together the minute he walks in door - he won't want to. Give it half a hour, he's good - whole attitude changes.

A lot of kids are like this. The hitting part is not cool. I would not let that go on. Consequences. My son had to apologize if he had spoken out of turn to the rest of us.

6 moms found this helpful
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F.B.

answers from New York on

My mother in law called it vulture food. She would put out a snack and her boys would swoop down on it like vultures. They were ready to be human after their after school feed

4 moms found this helpful

T.D.

answers from Springfield on

i would not allow anything to happen before after school snack. when my almost 7 yr old gets out of school the first thing i ask is if he was able to eat all of his lunch. if not i have him snack while were driving home or he will just start fights with his sister. try having him snack as soon as possible after schools out

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

You got a lot of good ideas already about snacks on the bus or right after schol. I'm going to add on to the low blood sugar thoughts. What does he eat for lunch? I know you can't control the timing of his lunch period but you can control what he eats. If possible, pack his lunch and make sure it contains lots of protein that keeps blood sugar stable for longer. Avoid carbs and sugars that will cause his blood sugar to spike and then crash.

3 moms found this helpful
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S.H.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Sounds like your son is very hungry at the end of the day. You may want leave a protein bar in his backpack and tell him to eat it at the end of the day.

3 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

A lot of kids react after a day of structure and rules, and let loose at home.

It's hard to say if the feeding or the talking is helping him. I'd say he could use an extra snack on the bus if there's no snack time in the afternoon at school. If it's the talking, then what he needs is some down time for "re-entry" and the ability to center himself.

And it's hard to know what you mean by "act up with his friends at the bus stop" - are they running around and being rambunctious? Totally normal (and probably a good idea) after a long day of following the rules in class and on the bus. But if it's "running out of control and into traffic" and "shoving the little kids" then of course you're right, it's not good behavior.

The hitting is absolutely not allowed. Make sure that the result of his hitting you isn't (in his mind) the reward of having your undivided attention! He needs to be brought home immediately with practically no discussion and zero engagement or attention from you.

Also, look into the recent spate of articles on what to say to kids when they come home. "What did you do today?" is more difficult for kids than "Who made you laugh today?" and so on.

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V.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

Welcome to typical childhood after a long day at school. This is what kids do. They "keep it together" all day at school, and "let loose" anything pent up when they are in their "safe" space among safe people that they know and trust. Consider it a compliment of sorts. Your son trusts that you will still love him, even when he is a brat.

Word to the wise: Take FOOD with you. Or send some for your kid to have on the bus or immediately after (on the walk home). Food makes all the difference for some kids... For some kids it's more just being alone or blowing off energy outside or in the quiet of their room for 30 minutes after school.

When I would pick up my kids after school I ALWAYS took them something to eat. A pack of peanut butter crackers, or grapes, or a granola bar... something I knew they would eat without complaint. They would be SO atrociously unhappy and grumpy with me and each other that I practically made it a rule that they couldn't talk in the car until they'd had their snack. It was like a miracle took place after the food got in them.

It isn't the talking to him that changes his behavior... it's the food. And the comfort zone of being amongst "friends" instead of the combat zone of behaving at school under rigid rules.

ETA: Sorry, meant to exclude the hitting from being normal. It's not. It's totally unacceptable. Does he hit you other times? That's the most ginormous no-no of disrespect a child can do to a parent, in my opinion, at that age anyway. Just NO. I suspect, however, that you will see a reduction in it immediately if he is supplied with food before given the opportunity to act out towards you.

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D..

answers from Miami on

I wrote you a post and the computer decided to update, or something like that, and I lost what I wrote.

Kids work really hard at school to keep it all together. But with the stress of that, being tired, being hungry, and changing environments, kids easily fall apart.

Is there a way that you can pick him up from school for a while in order to try to break the cycle? If you are close by to the school, get him home and feed him first thing. Then have him rest in his room for about 20 minutes. This will give him a chance to rest and decompress from the day. THEN he can see friends or watch TV, do homework, play outside. If you are far from the school, take food with you to have him eat in the car when you get there.

Do you have a consistent bedtime for your son? If you do not, that would really help. He should go down the same time every night. No TV for at least 2 hours before bedtime. Quiet for the last half hour, reading, maybe quiet music...

2 moms found this helpful

C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

My son was exactly like this at this age. I think packing a bus snack that he is to eat on the bus ride home every day is one step you can take. When you meet him at the bus stop, give him a snack to munch on while you walk home. As he gets older and more mature he will be able to handle his moods better. At least that is what happened with our son. Keep talking to him about the responsible way to handle a bad mood and not taking it out on others. (definitely give him consequences if he hits someone ever again...tell him beforehand what it will be and then follow through. That is not acceptable)

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

The hitting has to stop - there is no getting around a time out for that.
Maybe he needs an afternoon snack at school.
Is there something he doesn't like for lunch at school on those days?
Maybe he's not eating his lunch and then gets crabby when his blood sugar gets low.

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J.K.

answers from Wausau on

He's tired, hungry, and possibly overwhelmed. Since you know some food and rest helps, don't try to have a conversation about things until after he's had those things. Put a swift stop any danger behavior, of course, but don't bother with a bus-stop lecture. Just get home quickly and quietly.

When my kids were overwhelmed - I have one with ADD and one neruo-typical - some downtime in their room was great. It was not a punishment, it was time they needed without others in their face.

If things are typical, this is a brief stage that will pass. If it continues or escalates, especially with physical outbursts, then he may also be a good candidate for a neuropsych evaluation. Age 7 is when many issues (ADHD, high functioning ASD, etc.) start to manifest in ways that are more clearly apparent.

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R.B.

answers from San Francisco on

First, make sure he has enough food during the day at school.

If that doesn't solve the problem, watch a few episodes of Supernanny, and you will be empowered to change his behavior. Calm consequences and consistency, along with some fun, is all it usually takes.

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K.H.

answers from Detroit on

One other thing to try. I, too, have a seven year old and he is super crabby when he gets home from school and dives into snacks when he gets home. However, our schedule is such that sometimes we have 15 minutes after I pick him up from school before I have to pick up another kid. I have been letting him play on the playground before our next pick-up and that physical release seems to really help his attitude. Are you able to let him play, without siblings, for a few minutes when he gets released?

Updated

One other thing to try. I, too, have a seven year old and he is super crabby when he gets home from school and dives into snacks when he gets home. However, our schedule is such that sometimes we have 15 minutes after I pick him up from school before I have to pick up another kid. I have been letting him play on the playground before our next pick-up and that physical release seems to really help his attitude. Are you able to let him play, without siblings, for a few minutes when he gets released?

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N.P.

answers from Chicago on

oh I remember those days - it seems so long ago now that they are in high school. I know they happened, I don't remember specific times though. They take so much energy to behave during the school day that they just let loose at home, it's very common. What solved it for us was an earlier bedtime. Each time they misbehaved after school their bedtime got moved 15 minutes earlier. Because a misbehaving child must be overtired. (we pretty much blamed all misbehavior on being overtired and you know what, it seriously was almost every time.) It only took once of having to go to bed at 5:45 pm for them to know that we were serious so after that they only lost 15 minutes here or there. That age child needs 12 hours of sleep every night, after missing hours of sleep yourself are you in the best mood? Nope. So if your child is only getting 9 hours of sleep every night... Aim for a 7 pm bedtime... trust me a 7 pm bedtime is really great for so many reasons.

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