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Any ideas in how to handle an "explosive" child? October 09, 2004 5:26 AM

I have a 6yr.old son. Normally he's a good kid,quiet,playful,smiling all the time and friendly and easygoing. I usually talk to him, and he talks back to me about things, school, friends his thoughts etc. But once in a while...he turns into a wild animal,kicking and screaming,biting,swearing,scratching etc. on me in public. Sometimes these behaviours pop up, with no reason. I know he has a hard time dealing with change in plans. How do I tell him, that an unexpected change occured beyond my control, and we are just delayed a bit. Sometimes, he will act like that, when he is hungry, or thirsty, or we made a deal that he has to say something to me to let me know, so I can help him. That has worked. But 2 days ago, a lady from church dropped of my daughter from choir practise. My son and I were outside enjoying the day. I stopped to say Hi to the lady, at the same time my son was trying to get into her car( she sometimes takes us out), but we both told him...that he couldn't go in the car today, she had to drop off another child home. My son wasn't handling it well, so the lady offered him a ride to the other childs home and back to our place. My son stomped off and sat down and pouted. So the lady started to drive away, then he started screaming he wanted to go, he was crying. She stopped and asked him again if he wanted to come along. The moment she asked him, he sat down and pouted again. He shook his head NO. Then she pulled away again...and the scenerio repeated again. She waited and he wouldn't move, then I said, just keep driving's a game to him now. She drove away...and he ran down the street after her crying and screaming. Then for 45 mins. afterwards he turned into a wild animal. He punched his sister in the jaw, kicked and screamed, swearing while I was trying to get him inside. I put him in his room, and said he couldn't come out til he was calmed down. He kept coming out, and I kept redirecting him back. It was tough to keep him in there, but we all had to be safe from his behaviour. Anybody have any thoughts on this? I mentioned a different scenerio on another board, and I got alot of...hit him back, give him a good spanking, that he'll remember. Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child advice. I did try spanking him, but quickly saw that doesn't work, and it fact it will fuel his anger even more. I want to find out the root of it instead. There has to be a reason. At the same time...nobody needs to be hurt. Thanks  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
 October 09, 2004 5:09 PM

Well, the first thing I always recommend is reading the book _How To Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk_, because it's such a great book. But also, your description of his behavior reminds me of a lot of cases of seemingly unexplainable behavior that turned out to be triggered by certain foods in the child's diet, so that's something to look into as well.  [ send green star]
Foods.... October 12, 2004 6:22 AM

I agree with Alice, it sounds like it could be a food or environmental sensitivity. I would keep a diary of everything he eats or comes in contact with for several weeks and note in it his behavior to see if you can make any connections. It may be hard to do because some things can cause reactions up to a day latter. There's a great book called "Is This Your Child" by Doris Rapp, it's all about hidden allergies. Of course it may be something else entirely but maybe keeping a journal can help you figure that out too. Kimberly  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
hello October 19, 2004 10:22 AM

hello my instinct tells me it has not something to do with his food but as you already noticed yourself,when a change comes along. pray and god will help you,and other then telling you to keep on with the talking and explaining i would recommend also being stern with not accepting behaviour that hurts anyone,i think he will grow over it and i think it is a case of growth-stage here. but all the luck to you and a big loving hug to you both loving greet macooa  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Loving holds October 25, 2004 9:18 AM

Hi there, I have been away from Care2 for a while and fell like I am coming back to be a broken record. My apologies, but this issue sounds a lot like the Violent Child thread. I suggested two books in that one and would suggest them to you, as well (Playful Parenting and Tears and Tantrums). If you are strong enough and your boy isn't too big, I suggest holding him tightly while he gets to rage and cry may be helpful. The important thing on your part is to do this with love and attention for your son, to tell him you love him and that you WANT to hear all his anger and frustration, or whatever actual words come to mind. I said hold him tightly, but that may or may not be a necessary part of it--firm holding can help trigger tears that are being inappropriately expressed (raging child) and/or it is how you can keep everyone physically safe in the midst of an explosion. These are "Tears and Tantrums"-type suggestions. Also, your boy is old enough to talk things through, but there is a lot you can learn through creative play with him. For instance, you could role-play the situation with your friend and the car or anything else that seems to "trigger" him. The important part is to give him the "powerful" role and you play his role, making verbal guesses about his feelings and motivations. This is theory to me, since my oldest is not quite 18 months, but I think it is sound. This stuff comes from "Playful Parenting", which basically suggests that inappropriate behavior comes from "the twin towers of isolation and powerlessness" (which is why punishing misbehavior so often doesn't really solve the problems). I hope that this is somewhat helpful and wish you luck! -Kirsten  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
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