Son has Bad attitude and glum outlook

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-20-2001
Son has Bad attitude and glum outlook
Tue, 05-01-2007 - 10:13pm

My son is 7 (will be 8 in August). He is always looking for reasons to get angry and stomp off. I can't ask him to do anything without this reaction. He has a twin brother and a sister who is 10. When we plan an outing, he has a fit doesn't want to go. Few times will he agree with anything.

He sometimes out of the blue says: "I hate my life." Today he said he wishes he had a different family. My other kids are fine, so it's not us. If he was an only child I'd say, "What am I doing wrong!!!". But that's not the case. In fact I give them too much. I am at home when they are from school. We have extracurricular activities 2 times a week for each child. We go out on weekends. What's wrong here?!?! He is always in his black moods... I can't figure it out.

Of course this goes on at school too. He is smart and gets good grades, but got a bad mark for "getting along with others" and "behaviour". He has not been making any friends because of this attitude. He starts screaming and shouting at any hint of problem. Has also gotten in trouble for hitting / kicking other kids.

I have him seeing the school counseor, but this doesn't seem to help. She suggested positive reinforcment. But we always do this too.

Any ideas? Anyone with experience in this type of attitude problem?



"Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain!"

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-13-2007
Thu, 05-03-2007 - 7:43am

Hello there! I share your pain! My daughter is 7 (turning 8 in Nov). She is melodramatic and always has been, but for the past couple months her moods have been black. Anything I ask of her, she answers "I hate my life!", and then she stomps to her room where she screams for 15 minutes about how much she hates this house, her toys, her life ... etc. Her school work hasn't been affected, so I believe the problem is at home. Just the other day she was so angry at me that she told me she was going to stab herself in the heart! Even though I know she doesn't completely understand what she is saying it still terrifies me! She has to be picking it up from somewhere, and the fact that she doesn't really understand it scares me too because then she may actually hurt herself because she doesn't know the consequences.
I have sat and explained suicide and hurting yourself to her and she says that she loves mommy, daddy and sister, but she is not happy with her life and bad words just pop out of her mouth.

I had a baby in January, but DD doesn't show any signs of being jealous - in fact she wants to hold the baby, feed baby any time she can.....

Maybe your son is having trouble with his own identity - being a twin? Is there something going on there? I have spoken with counsellors and they tell me that the melodramatic, crying stage is normal for DD age - but it still scares me!

I feel your pain - what to do????

Momma to Hallie(7) & Robin(3mos)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 05-06-2007 - 12:39pm

We've gone through this as well.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-17-2007
Mon, 05-21-2007 - 8:53pm

I thought it was just me and my kid going through this!

My daughter is almost 7. She also says the "I hate my life!" thing. When she goes through an angry crying jag, she says she wants to punch herself in the face and that she hates her body for making her cry. She dosen't have problems at school or with other kids, but she can't handle any change in her routine-it freaks her out. I am divorced, she is an only child, my ex is a "Disneyland Dad" and I can't afford to "keep up" with him -- needless to say, I blame myself for what she is going through.

I'm sorry you all are going through it too, but I sure am glad that I am not alone. To hear of others going through similar things makes me start to think it is a phase and not a direct result of parenting problems.

-Creator of the "KID in CAR" safety sticker.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-18-2004
Tue, 07-31-2007 - 5:37pm

would you say your son is a "strong" child.. always wanting to be right, knowing what's goigoing on. like in control all the time. usually controlling personalities need a plan, a routine structure.

i am wondering this abuot our SS. he's a very strong personality. fights us w/ eating everything.. the 4 yrs does occasionally but he always has to know what's for dinner or this or that. if he's not at the house and at his other home (moms') then he's asking us over the phone what changed, etc etc.. he is very nosy, needs to hear our private conversations etc. but what i am noticing, and maybe i am projecting becuase i used control as a child and into my adult life to keep things "under" control.. i always need a plan, structure, if i get any bit out of routine it does frustrate me but i have been through al ot counseling that i worked on it and do flex a lot more

i am just wondering if they get out of a routine, or NOT in a routine, like going to school everyday, having a plan.. etc.. he always has to know what are we doing today etc.. our 4 yr doesnt ask questions like that at all..

he seems to lack self esteem also and when we have visitors tries to show off etc.. but if he's had a bad day,like a meltdown he has nightmares as well- he's been telling his dad he hates him for no reason at all then admits he was out of control. he doesn't know why.. he's very emotional for 7..

so i am just wondering if this makes any sense? sometimes he can be great and listens others he is bored, and always needs to be entertained.. he also shows an angry side to him when he gets mad, and stomps off..if things don't go his way..

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2007
Tue, 08-14-2007 - 8:59pm

Hi, your son sounds like mine. My son is 7 and for the past few years he has had issues. He has seemed really depressed. He has said "I hate my life" and "I wish I was dead" very strange for small children. It broke my heart to hear him say these things. He is sensitive to everything and if things don't go his way he will lose it. He is swearing now, that is a problem that we are trying to correct.

He can get physically agressive at times. I started him in counciling and it didn't seem to help. because of his bad behavior at school, he was suspended pending a psycological evaluation. The doctor that did the evaluation was a behavioral medical doctor. He had the teachers and parents fill out a questionaire. He spent some time speaking to my son and he also did a physical examination on him. He diagnosed my son with having ADHD.

We started medication, and it was OK at first, but when the medicine wore off at the end of the day he was worse than ever. It also gave him a loss of apetite and he lost weight and kept him up late at night. His behavior had improved at school, but for some reason he stopped doing his work. We tried a different medication and still it did about the same thing. So, for now we have taken him off the medication and we are trying to just give him a lot of support.

We try not to give him too much attention to the bad behavior, and praise him for the good. It is so hard to do when he is swearing in our face, but it is working. There has been less turmoil in our home, it's still there, but it's less. One thing he needs is serious structure.

Summer has been tough, but when school comes, the routine will be a little more regular and I pray this year will be better than last. He made it through first grade by the skin of his teeth. Not because of his intelligence, but because of his behavior. Good luck with your son.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 08-19-2007 - 7:19pm

mrsshas: Have you thought about food allergies as a problem for your son? Sometimes they can cause behavior problems. Weird I know, but sometimes that is how it shows. Studies have been done about sugar, corn syrup, wheat, dairy, etc. A lot of kids being diagnosed as ADHD were actually allergic to sugar or corn even though they ate it w/o problem (or so it seemed). It takes like 2 weeks to clear their system and it can be really hard but then they realize that their days are just easier. It's a thought. My son is allergic to dairy; when I stopped it I never thought it would work/make sense but he was a different person within days. Now if he gets it, he is cranky and awful for about 3 days.

You can try an elimination diet on your own or consult his doctor/allergist/nutritionist. It might be worth a try especially if the medication seems to not work for long. The first few days are the hardest and then it really does get easier.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 08-19-2007 - 9:35pm

Sounds like you can identify with your SS. He probably does feel insecure because of his ever-changing schedule (even if it is always weekends with dad or whatever). He is probably like you and takes comfort in knowing exactly what is coming. Maybe you can help him make a chart of his week or even of his day. Be as specific as he wants. Maybe even get him a watch so he can check it? 7 am cheerios for breakfast 7:30 am off to daycare 8:30 am line up for the bus 8:45 School starts. Monday gym Tuesday library, whatever his schedule might be. My son really likes to have a routine too. It's always the same breakfast, the same lunch, no matter what I say we're having for dinner he cries and says he doesn't like it and I think it's because it changes every day. If I can tell him the night before 'tomorrow we'll have tacos for dinner' he seems to do better when I say "remember, we're having tacos?"

He might be having changing feelings about now being a permanent part of your family. Do you guys take a lot of time to reassure him you love him and think of him when he's not around? That you are glad to share him with his mother (even if that isn't quite true!). When he has a bad day, do you try to help him relax before bedtime and "let go" or "blow away" the bad things of the day? Remind him that tomorrow you all get to start over fresh? I think the nightmares come from the stress of the day and his mind still trying to work out the problems, which I think is normal for anyone. It can help to let him "overhear" you saying really positive things about him. Try to find ways to get him to do what you want, but let him think it is his idea. Choices equal control. Give him the choice at dinner, whether it is to eat x or y first, drink his milk warm or cold, with a straw or without, etc (see, he still has to drink the milk, but he gets to choose warm or cold and he is in control of that). Does he want to pack up his stuff before lunch or after? My favorite line is "you choose or I will" with my stubborn one- and he hates it when I choose! I only give him about 5 seconds to decide and if he doesn't choose I say nicely 'ok maybe next time you'll choose'. Being nice about it is the key.

Give him lots of chances to 'show off' for you. Dancing, drawing, riding his bike, playing Legos, whatever; just devote the entire 5 minutes (or longer) to only watching him. Don't let the 4 yr old interrupt, don't answer the phone, have a magazine open or anything. I've found that 10 minutes devoted gave me 30 minutes uninterrupted. Your last paragraph describing him sounds totally normal! The world still revolves heavily around them at this age. Your SS sounds like he has a need to control things to feel ok (asking over the phone about changes)so I think you should reassure him things are ok and he does not 'disappear' when he's not there.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-18-2004
Sat, 08-25-2007 - 9:19pm

Thanks for your response.. I think you gave some great advice. funny thing is i DO relate to him.. i feel i relate more then his dad does. he's a very smart little guy but also very emotional and sensitive.. he seems to come to me a lot about things. and can talk to me.. i think that is because i understand his needs.. I do get frustrated being asked what's for dinner etc but you are right he needs to have a plan because that's exactly how i am.. his dad is not like that or as detailed as i am. and his son is very detailed as well.. he will ask when he's a way what we've changed or what we've been doing. first thing in the morning he wants to know what we are doing today. funny thing is it frustrates me but then i know i am the same way. i need to know what we are going to plan for dinner days ahead but keep it to me then ask my so that morning.. and he's like i don't know and it "frustrates" me. as he will whip something up at the last minute and ineed to know ahead of time..

we are trying to give him more choices ahead of time.. it takes learning and if you don't eat your dinner, this is what happens.. we do try to give choices to like for lunch we give choice a or choice b..

but i like what you said. and i think for the most part we do have a plan for his weekly/schedule