Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Anger Management

Our five-year-old son has a temper. A fierce temper. He can be a sweet, sensitive, caring boy 99% of the time.  However, if you catch him in a grumpy mood watch out! His anger can be volcanic. The temper tantrums are legendary.

(This is something we are continually working on, and our son's self control has improved dramatically over the past year.)

Last night I rushed to buckle the kids into the van. It was supper time and we were running late. (Translation: It was supper time and the kids were hungry.) Our eldest was feeling particularly moody.  He was in fine form and everything Mommy said was wrong, wrong, wrong.

"Just do up your seat belt!" I finally demanded, totally exasperated. Our five-year-old worked to fasten the buckle.  A snail could move faster. I sighed and complained, "No, not like that. The strap has to go under the arm rest."

Our boy looked at me.  He looked at the seat belt.  And he snapped.

"Mommy!"  he exclaimed, "I'm going to take you out with a weed whacker!" 

A look of horror immediately crossed my son's face.  His expression clearly said: I can't believe that just came out of my mouth.  I'm in BIG trouble now.

I stifled a laugh and put on my sternest face.  "We'll talk about this when your Daddy gets home.  You do not say mean words to Mommy."

Our son, being the sensitive kid that he is, was extremely remorseful once the words were out. Impulse control is something he still needs to work on.  (And let's face it, it's something he'll probably always need to work on.)

But a weed whacker?  My goodness.  At least I've got to give the kid points for creativity.


The Nilsen's Journey said...

Again your sharing of parenting experiences is so refreshing & helpful!!! We are experiencing a few challenges at meals if the texture isn't what G likes. Parenting can be tough work, but is rewarding. I count it an honor to call you my friend!

JoodyC said...

I'm not sure I could have stifled a laugh at the weed wacker comment. It might have defused the situation if you had discussed the visual image of someone being shredded and tossed all over the lawn or throughout the car.

Frustration, exhaustion, and hunger are huge factors in tantrums.

However, something else you may want to consider is the possibility of allergens in your son's life affecting his sleep patterns and therefore, his ability to cope with stressful situations.

As I mention in my e-book, "Temper Tantrum Common Sense Handbook," common inhalants (new carpet, nail polish, mold, pollen) and ingested (food coloring, dairy, wheat) can cause a child to be irritable, not sleep, and otherwise decrease his or her ability to handle stress.

Then, when a meal is a little late, one too many errands get on the schedule, or other interruption to a normal day comes along, a tantrum erupts.
Many doctors think to look for inhalant allergens, but not food-related ones.

Good luck!

Judy Colbert