Have a question, concern or problem regarding your child's behaviors? Send me an email and I will do a blog post about it! You will always remain anonymous! tkmiller81002@yahoo.com

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

J is so angry

J is my difficult child. He didn't talk until he was 3 years old and since then he has a hard time expressing himself and M and O do not always listen to his words so he physically attacks them. I do not believe in spanking my kids and literally the only times I have ever spanked was because one of my children were putting the other child in danger - for example one time M pushed J under the water in the bath when he was a baby and without thinking I smacked her while getting J out of danger. So last night J got mad at O and was suffocating him and then tonight M didn't play the way he wanted so he choked her so he got a spanking tonight and I yelled at him pretty good and then I thought well that was genius Kim, I don't want him to hurt others when he gets upset but when I got upset I hurt him. So I started thinking about what has been going on and how I can help him resolve this issue. He has never hurt another kid outside of our family ever and I doubt he ever will, but that is not a risk I am willing to take.

After doing some serious reflecting I realized that from the time J woke up this morning until he went to bed I don't think I spent more than ten minutes focused solely on him all day, he watched TV, he played video games, he went to school, and then he came home and watched more tv and then he hurt M and then we went to a friends house and he played with friends until it was time for bed. Looking back on yesterday it was similar minus the playing with friends part and I did spend more time with him but still not a lot and I honestly feel like his aggression is a cry for attention and he feels like he isn't being listened to so here is my plan:

1. I am removing all toys from the kids bedrooms - I have noticed that it is when they are playing in their rooms unsupervised that he tends to be the most frustrated and does the most hurting, we have a playroom and so all toys are going to be in the playroom from now on and whatever doesn't fit in the playroom is getting put away for now.

2. I am banning technology! Television is nice but it is too easy for me to allow one tv show to turn in to three hours and right now we have a television with dvr in almost every room of the house so for now no more tv or video games or playing on the phone. I will wait until my kids are in school or asleep to get on the computer or watch my shows because I need to be an example to them. I will text but no more checking Facebook or blogs or forums that I hang out at all day. All of that will be done at night or while they are in school from now on.

3. I am going to spend more time one on one with J and play with them more and supervise their playing more. If this was going on in a classroom setting I would be doing a ton of observations where I note what is happening before, during and after so that is what I am going to do at home - I am going to observe and then take what I observe and teach all of my kids better ways to handle situations that come up.

4. T and I are both going to work harder at controlling our own anger. This is not easily accomplished right now since T and I are going through some pretty rough stuff as a couple and I think it bleeds over into our parenting of our kids, plus I haven't had a solid 5 hours of sleep in who knows how long so that is wearing on me and I have less patience with my kids - but it is not my children's fault for any of those things so it is my responsibility to not take it out on them.

5. I am going to talk to J more about how he is feeling - a lot of time we get angry because of cognitive distortions (that is a blog post in and of itself) so I am going to figure out what cognitive distortions he is feeling and help him redirect his way of thinking.

Some of you might be thinking that this is a little drastic and a lot of work (my hubby said it was unrealistic) but you know what I can guarantee if I do these things every day that within a month at the most J will be a completely different kid. I firmly believe that when you choose to have kids you choose to sacrifice your time and wants and desires for their sakes and waiting to teach him how to control his emotions is only going to make things worse so it is time for me to put my life on hold a bit and focus more on him and his needs. I will keep you updated on how things progress!


  1. This is good advice! How can I use this as a teacher? I have a student in my classroom who does so much better when I am working with him. However, I have 25 others students I need to be with as well. He calls out all the time. I have noticed that he does better with praise. I try to give him praise when he remembers to raise his hand or when he is working hard on a project. The other day he got in trouble because he kept calling out during a test, and he was writing on his desk. I was going to have him just stay inside for a couple minutes while he cleaned his desk, but he asked if he could clean all of the desks. He didn't even care that he missed recess. I think he enjoyed it because he just kept talking to our foster grandma and myself. Some kids are just really crying out for attention.

    Sorry that was so long!

  2. Melissa I think you nailed it on the head with your last statement that some kids are just crying out for attention. It sounds like that is exactly what this kid is doing! Here is how I would work with this kid. I am going to call him Matt

    1. If he is calling out the answers during the test then I would say, "Matt it is not appropriate for you to call out during a test, I expect you to be quiet and write the answers on your paper. The next time you call out an answer I will have to have you take the test in the hall" (I don't know if that is a feasible option for you or not - but it shows him that when he seeks out attention in a negative he will not receive any attention) Also some classes do a green/yellow/red card system and instead of acknowledging his outbursts you could say "Matt the next time you call out without raising your hand you will have to change your card." then the next time he does simply say Matt go change your card and then move on and don't talk any more about that.

    2. When you have him stay in the classroom to clean the desks do not talk to him and tell the foster grandma that she is not to talk to him either. When he tries to talk to you simply say, "Matt I am sorry but I need you to quietly clean the desks and I cannot talk to you right now"

    3. Also get rid of praise and instead use encouragement: praise is too much of a generic I don't really notice what you did but good job, kind of reward system. Where as when you are encouraging them you make comments directly related to what positive thing he is doing. For example: he finally raises his hand instead of calls out so you say, "Thank you so much for raising your hand instead of calling out the answer, I really appreciate that" or you make comments the whole class can hear to other students such as: "Oh I really like how susie is sitting quietly at her desk with her paper and pencil ready to go, thank you susie for being such a great example" the other kids will hear her getting attention and will quickly follow suit!

    4. If he really needs attention with you talk to the parents about maybe having him earn a breakfast or lunch with the teacher where when he goes a whole week without interrupting or calling out then you will go pick up McDonalds and have lunch with him in your room and you don't work on school stuff but just spend time with him.

    Good luck! And let me know if any of these suggestions work!

  3. Number 3 is what I meant by praising him. I am thinking about doing something similar to the green, yellow, red card thing, but right now I'm doing tickets. They get tickets for being good. At the end of the day I pull out a couple of tickets and those people get a prize.

    I know some teachers let their kids earn lunch with the teacher in the classroom. They seem to love it.

    I'm going to try many new things this year because I just want to become a better teacher.

    Thanks for your advice!

  4. J & L are a lot alike, I think. This reminds me so much of life at my house. This is why Ellie helps me with cooking most of the time - it's SO much messier, but if I sit her in front of the TV she either gets attitude or attention deficit. Good Luck - sounds like a lot of the guidelines I have. So far they work for Elz.


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