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7 1/2 year old son - very impulsive angry behavior

April 8 2008 at 11:50 PM
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Karey  (Login kareykelly)

Hi - My son is 7 1/2 and has some serious behavior issues. Tonight he was playing a game on my computer. He started to get mad at the game and said inappropriate words to the game like "you're stupid". I told him if he did that again, he couldn't play anymore. He said to the computer when he was loosing "I'm going to kill you". I came in shut off the computer and told him he couldn't play anymore. He them got up, hit me in the stomach and started to reach for anything he could grab to throw it. He hasn't hit me in a long time. He typically throws things. I tried to control him by restraining him, he got angrier, and he tried to bite me, hurt my wrist. Finally I got him in his room and then he came out to have a snack. I said no. He already had dinner and it started again. I got him in his room, he wouldn't stay there. I stood in front of the door. He got very mad and picked up various toys and though he was going to throw them at me. He grabbed a soccer ball and tried to throw it at me as I was standing in front of the door. We struggled for a minute while I told him he could not leave the room, nor was he allowed to have a snack. I can't live like this. It's been only him and I since day one. He's father lives out of state and doesn't see him very often. I don't throw things, sometimes I yell and I'm more vocal. I've been trying very hard, I initiated an appointment with a psychiatrist and I don't know what to do when he acts out like that. What should I say? I tell him to calm down. Make a smart choice. Think about what you are doing and how you will feel later. He says "I'm stupid and a bad kid". He says "he forgets to make good decisions". I've taken away all his toys (from time to time) due to bad behavior. I try to reward him with quarters when he is good. Help!! What can I do or say when this happens. And yes, from time to time I have been inconsistent with my follow through but for the most part, I'm on spot. It’s impossible for me to take a night off duty and sometimes, I’m drained after working all day. Thank you!!!

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Dr. Wilde
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Re: 7 1/2 year old son - very impulsive angry behavior

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May 1 2008, 7:22 PM 


The first thing I’d like to say is you have my complete and total respect as a single parent. My wife and I have two children and I often think how hard it is with both of us and I can’t imagine doing it alone. I’ve heard countless times that parents just get exhausted and that usually is when things don’t go well.

Looking over your description, I’d say it would be wise to “pick your battles.” By that I mean, when your son calls the computer stupid, is that really an issue that is important enough to create a potential explosive incident? As his parent, that is your call. I wouldn’t make that a big deal. Everyone has to make their own decisions but to me, that’s not a big enough problem to make a big deal out of it.

Secondly, once he is compliant, why deny him a snack? If he calmed down and the issue is basically resolved, let it be “over.” My guess is it was the denial of the snack that really made this into a full scale blow up. That goes back to the idea of “picking your battles.” This time of the year, kids are tired. They’re worn out from a long school year. I’d just try to make sure I was focusing on the really important issues.

Now, as for throwing things at you...that cannot be allowed to go unpunished. That IS a big issue because it could lead to injury but it also breaks down the barriers between adult and child. I think you handled that part of the problem fairly well. I just don’t think it needed to get to that point. Please understand I’m not being judgmental, I’m just trying to give you my honest reaction.

I do think it’s a good idea to ask a professional for some assistance. Best of luck to you and your son.


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