moody son

Old 06-13-05, 12:42 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
moody son

Hi there, I'm Scarlet, mother of two boys ages 2yrs & 6yrs.

I guess I am looking for reassurance and advice that I am not screwing up royally as a Mom. My 6yr old son is incredibly moody and increasingly aggressive, and I just don't understand why.

My husband and I really do try to be patient with his moods and door-slamming but no amount of talking with him seems to help. One moment he will be perfectly content and in the next breath he will glare at me and asked why he will say something like "I'm still mad at you" and it will be over something like being sent to bed early 2 nights previously! If I laugh he gets into a rage and has recently started hitting out at me.

In the past I did spank but that was short-lived as we discovered it just made him worse and I am of the opinion if the spanking is increasing then it's not working, so we don't spank at all now. Punishment comes in the form of taking away favorite items and early bedtimes.

Sometimes I am afraid that we have been too permisive in the way we relate with our kids, too buddy-buddy and not authoritarian enough, I do know that our eldest does not respect me.

I have read countless books on communicating with your children and that sort of thing so I didn't expect to have a situation where I have no control over a 6yr old!

At this rate I absolutely dread to think what the teenage years are going to bring, but more importantly I just want to see my son happier and these moods end.

Yours in Appreciation, Scarlet
Old 06-13-05, 03:22 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 1,210
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Scarlet
I am looking for reassurance and advice that I am not screwing up royally as a Mom.
OK. You're not screwing up royally as a Mom. You're screwing up a bit, naturally, as do we all.

He wants your full empathy. Then you have to ask what he's thinking, and worse yet: when he tells you, your empathy absolutely collapses and you laugh.

It's horrible, I know, I've laughed at my own son when he looked me gravely in the eye and I wanted to kick myself for being such a cad, for ducking out. Of course he copied my example into his own social toolkit so now sometimes goofs around or pulls a face when he doesn't like my stern expression, just as I did to him.

Did you apologize to your son for laughing at him, and explain what came over you?

Of course you can't stay a step ahead of a 6-year-old or even know what's up half the time. He needs to understand that before you're forced to admit it. And I believe there are many positive ways to explain this to your son, to brighten his path.

The behaviours: glaring, hitting, closing doors between you. Just what you taught him. "I'm still mad at you"... who did he learn that from? Now you try to talk your son out of it, as you say; the message being that isn't normal behaviour he's experienced, he shouldn't reflect it back. Well, society is on your side and will help him deepfreeze certain things he's picked up until he has children of his own. Maybe in your son's teenage years there will be some incidents of him, uh... taking away favourite items or, ahem... giving people early bedtimes.

When will we ever unlearn?

Your experience sounds normal for North America. Plus I'm sure you've done many wonderful unique things for your child other parents wouldn't dream of, even things that come naturally you don't recognize. And you take parenting seriously, studiously even, and that's better than most. And you've screwed up a bit. Not too bad, in my opinion.
Old 06-13-05, 11:36 AM
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
In response

Thank you for taking the time to read and reply to my post.

I agree that laughing at my sons response was insensitive but no I didn't apologise. At the time I felt, and still do, that the way he over-reacted was ridiculous and the ensuing fit earned him a stint in his room, not an apology.

The door slamming is not something he has learned from us, we just don't act like that. We talk and laugh a lot in our family, understand that ours is for the most part a happy home which makes his moods and tantrums all the more perplexing.

I am willing to take responsibility most of my sons acting out, but what of the moods that appear from no-where? Do I make an appointment with a psycologist?

He is quite mature for his age, maybe his frustration comes from being reigned in to tight? There's on-going issues that we have regarding who he plays with and he isn't allowed on the street outside our home on his own, which we know really angers him.

I welcome any advice, observation, and yes, critisism too.

I am especially interested to know how everyone disciplines their children and what works, or doesn't work.

Yours in Appreciation, Scarlet
Old 06-13-05, 12:14 PM
majakdragon's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: N.E. Arkansas
Posts: 7,813
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I would take your son to see a counslor. Some children have feelings so strong that they are unable to handle them. Many of these feelings cause them to "lash" out without knowing why. Its kind of like a pot getting ready to boil. If you don't remove the pot from the heat it will boil over. It can not contain the actions anymore. When your son gets to the point that he can no longer contain the feelings he boils over and lashes out. He doesn't know what else to do.

A counslor that specializes in childhood behaviour problems can and will give you options that work as far as punishment for unacceptable actions go. The behaviour will not stop over night and is a long, hard road to follow.

Rule out any medical problems before trying to handle things on your own.

Spanking and time out did not work with my children either. I found out that just plain old fashioned ignoring them worked best. As long as they didn't have an audience to act before, it wasn't worth the trouble. I have taken both of my kids presently living at home to a counslor. While they are both older than your two, this will still work. I wish I had started earlier with them. Your son may also need anger managment to help him. I know mine did and still does.
Good luck
Old 06-19-05, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: USA
Posts: 15,817
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
If you can't figure out what is making the child angry, then you may need professional help for both you and your child. Sometimes all it takes is a change in the parent's attitude or communication style.

Anger can be caused by feelings of inadequacy at school or sibling rivalry or something else that is going on in the child's life. Has negative attention taken over? Often parents do not realize it, but all the focus on bad behavior and all the talk about it may cause a child to increase negative behaviors. Pay attention to those subtle, negative reinforcers like yelling, nagging, or pleading. As indicated, learning to ignore certain behaviors tends to end them because they are not getting any negative reinforcement. Learn to pick and choose your battles. Unless it is a safety issue, most behaviors can be ignored. Ignore the glares and the "I'm still mad at you." The child has obviously learned that these get some reaction out of you. Do not react.

If the child consistently acts in an angry, aggressive, or willfully destructive manner, then the behavior should be a concern. Is the behavior a problem both at home and outside the home? Or, is it just a problem at home? Is it all day or most of the day or a certain time of day? Is it every day? Is the behavior directed toward both parents or just one? In other words, try to narrow down what may be triggering the behavior. Simply make observations. Do not discuss the behavior with your husband in front of the child.

Stay calm. Say what you mean. Mean what you say. And, carry through. Door slamming is unacceptable behavior. Children who slam the door should be required to practice closing the door correctly, ten times. Running through the house requires walking slowly through the house until performed to a parent's satisfaction. Usually, having to carry through such an 'overcorrection' once or twice is all that it takes to unlearn a bad habit. This method works well for many things, such as writing a spelling word or math problem ten times. It can be used in role playing to teach a child how to share a toy. Practicing a task is how we learn. The job of parenting, stated simply, is to teach and guide our children on how to become happy, responsible, productive adults. And, it takes practice.

Also, ask yourself if your expectations are too high for the age of the child. Six year olds have boundless energy. They like to be the center of attention. And, like most kids they like to have their own way. They think they are the center of the universe.

With the two-year-old in the house, there may be some sibling rivalry issues. The older child may be acting out to get your attention, and he doesn't care how he goes about getting it. Begin by looking at your own behaviour. How do you react? Are you saying something that encourages the bad behavior? You don't want to send signals that may make the older child feel that you care more for the younger one. Even though you know that each child is special, each day the older child needs to be reassured that he is wonderful in his own special way. Pay attention to what the older child is interested in and likes and give him lots of attention in his areas of interest. Don't wait to give encouragement until the child has done something outstanding. Children need encouragement in all aspects of their lives. "I like the way you did ...." "Wow, you can really do .... well." Watch for opportunities to praise your children. Some children need more praise than others. Praise may not completely eliminate sibling rivalry, but it goes a long way toward improving family relationships. Kids need to be praised ALL the time throughout childhood and on into adult years. Encouragement is the key to producing happy, responsible, productive adults.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread