I feel like all I've been doing is yelling at him :(
You have given some absolutely fantastic advice! Thank you! I read your first post over a few times and I'm going to start implementing your suggestions immediately! I love the idea of "stepping out of the situation - it's not all about me"....
It does sound like he is having trouble expressing his anger and frustration in a more appropriate manner.
How do you react when he starts screaming and yelling at you?
The therapist might be able to help both of you. You so you can help him work through his anger in a safe place. Him so he can come up with a better way to express himself. Not only will that help him get what he wants better but will also help him keep his friends.
My daughter Lindsay is very verbal except when she gets mad. Then she's just loud. Over the years we've been able to help her learn better ways then screaming at people when she's upset. Some days and some places she does a better job at keeping herself calm and in control. We've talked about how she can handle different situations that upset her -- other kids grabbing her stuff, people trying to help without asking if she wants help and what to do if she becomes frustrated by something she is trying to do. Because the therapist isn't directly involved in your lives, she or he might make that process a lot easier for you both.
Do you talk to her about her behavior when she isn't in trouble? Sit down with her when she isn't upset and you aren't upset. Tell her you love her. You know she can make the right choices. Let her know what your expectations are and what the consequences will be if she continues to act up. Let her know she'll get a reminder and then 3 warnings. The reminder would be given before she's done anything, right before a situation where in the past she has had trouble. Like if she throws fits when its time to leave the park. You remind her that when its time to leave the park she needs to come quietly or x will happen. Then when its time to leave and she starts to get upset give her the first warning, etc. Just make sure you follow through with what you told her the consequences would be.
I did want to ask you how control or say she has in other areas. Does she get to pick her own cereal? Does she pick out her own clothes? Give her limited choices when you can. Where you can't let her decide whether to do something or not, let her decide which order to do -- shoes on before or after your jacket? A lot of tantrums are about feeling frustrated and not having any say. When you start to give them more control when you can they stop fighting you on every little thing.
Getting a child to apologize when they don't want to is awful isn't it? Lindsay is usually very good about apologizing after she's calmed down but every now and then you can forget it. Dh told her once that she could stay in her room all day if she wouldn't tell her cousin she was sorry for taking his favorite car away. She was sorry but she was still angry about having gotten in trouble. She really doesn't like it when her dad gets upset with her. It doesn't stop her from doing things she knows not to. She gets more upset if he talks to her about it than if I do.
Thank you Julia.
You are right. It is very hard because they are our kids. We think of them as a reflection on us and our parenting and when they act up, we sometimes forget that they are their own people and they are not doing this to make us look bad but because of something that they are experiencing. I think when you are a teacher or a nanny you already have that distance and can easier see that it isn't about you at all. It is easier to see a solution if you aren't in the middle of it. When those buttons get pushed it is hard to pull yourself out of that emotional reaction and look at what is going on. Plus as my mom says "you get to send them home at the end of the school day." ;)
Wow!! Great advice! I came upon this message board as I am feeling that my DD who just turned 4 at times drives me up the wall with her growing independence, very verbal nature and some back talk has started. I too have ended up raising my voice and then feel guilty about it afterwards. Your advice is great! I love the whole idea of taking yourself out of the situation, which I think is really hard to do, but I am going to try to be more conscious of that idea. Let's face it... our kids push our buttons because they are OUR kids and we want them to be the best that they can be. I love watching the Super Nanny and other nanny type shows but the one thing I always say is that it is so much easier for them to react calmly because it's not their kid. Just like in my first grade classroom. It is much easier for me to stay calm with a student that is giving me a hard time b/c they aren't my kid.
Thanks again for the great advice! I am going to try to put it to use right away!Julia