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Old 11-17-2006, 08:58 AM   #1
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4 year old that can't calm down

Hi all. I am new here. I have a 4 year old daughter that has anger management issues. She goes far beyond temper tantrums and once she gets wound up she can't seem to calm down. Her preschool is concerned about how she will do when she starts Kindergarden next year. As they put it "She needs to learn to deal with her anger and frustration better." I do not know how to help her. I think part of the problem is that for almost a year I had uncontrolable anger. Turns out I had PPD. I got on Lexapro and things for me are SO MUCH better. However, in that time, my daughter learned a bad example from me. How do I help her calm down when she gets mad? How do I help her find more contructive ways to vent her anger instead of hitting or throwing things or screaming uncontrolablly?

 
Old 11-17-2006, 10:49 AM   #2
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Hey mom, I know from experience what happens when your own behavior affects your children! I had to work for a year or so to undo the effects on my children of my behavior after I realized that I needed to change (I am a reformed screamer). One thing that I noticed with my oldest daughter was that my behavior made her angry. The other thing that I figured out with myself was that I wasn't respecting my children. When I was screaming I was not respecting them. I would never scream like that at anyone else! What got me to change was when I was feeling guilty over my behavior and I didn't know why. This was when I realized that I wasn't respecting them. I spent a few years repairing that damage. I still can't believe what we do unknowingly to our children! What does PPD stand for? The first thing that I think that would help when she becomes angry is for you to stay calm. Try your hardest not to get tense or angry. Next, try to get her to identify her feelings "I know that you get angry when you can't get something to work." Tell her calmly that throwing and hitting are not acceptable. Tell her that she probably learned this from you and that you are trying not to do this and that she has to try to not do it too. A few times when I saw something with my oldest daughter that I connected to my past behavior, I explained to her the connection and it helped her stop whatever it was after she understood it. Good luck to you and get professional help if you need to. Good luck. I'll keep an eye on this post in case you want to share anything else.

 
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Old 11-17-2006, 11:25 AM   #3
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Sorry PPD stands for post partum depression: For the longest time I thought that I was just stressed out from having a new baby... you know all the new responsibilities, husband that didn't help, pressures from my job... same ol story... but after 9 months and I was still angry and stressed out all the time and it was actually getting worse... I thought maybe I should talk to a Dr.

Ok last time she freaked out was earlier this week about a shirt. She wanted it... I didn't want her to have it... We were leaving daycare and she just melted down. We stood outside with her screaming and hitting me refusing to hold my hand to walk to the car (actually refusing to go to the car) for about 15 minutes. I stayed calm and I told her that I understood that she wanted the shirt etc... Well as she esculated and was getting more aggresive with hitting me etc... and my 14 month old was getting cold I took action and forcefully carried her to the car and strapped her in her car seat where she continued to hit and kick. Daycare teachers tried to come over and calm her down and that just made matters worse. I finally called my husband and after awhile he was able to get her to calm down enough that I felt it was safe to buckle her little sister in to the car seat next to her and attempt to drive home. (before that I was afraid that she would hurt her sister) what should/could I have done differently?

Yes I did YELL at my kids before the meds. (and still do some times) That was actually one of the things that opened my eyes that I had a problem... was when I noticed all my kids yelling all the time. They yelled at each other, I yell at them etc... The house was full of yelling! I see what you mean about telling her that Yes you did it but you are trying NOT to do it now and she needs to try not to do it too.. I passed a no yelling rule in our house after I got on meds. And it really helped with that but she still seems to not know how to control herself. She gets in peoples faces and talks to them thru clenched teeth when they make her mad (probably something I do and don't know it)

I guess I will really watch her reactions and honestly see if they are things that I do and talk to her about better ways to handle it. But how do I help her at daycare? She is in trouble everyday for her behavior there.

Some times she and I pretend to be each other... this helps me to see how she sees me... She will say "I am the Mommy" and then she will boss me around or be sweet and call me honey and give me kisses etc... and I pretend to be her making demands for juice and whining about wanting candy etc... This also helped me to see how I treated her.

 
Old 11-17-2006, 03:48 PM   #4
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Hi I had the same problem with both of my boys at the same time it was awful. I read a book and followed what I believe would help which was: only say something once if the child does not respond then you give them a pop on the butt. Never yelling you repeat why they got the pop and give them another. You continue to do this never yelling and always telling them why and only hard enough for it to sting not leave marks. It lets them no that you are in controll not them and that if they do wrong they have to deal with the punishment. When my cousin first gave me the book I read it and thought that is not for me. Then I spent the day running errons with her and her 5 kids, lets just say at that time I would have took her 5 over my 2. It took about a month but my kids have not had a spaking in weeks. I just have to remind myself not to slip and to be consisent. I sliped once and had to start all over. They respect me as their parent not their friend and I respect them in turn. They do not fight with other kids so it has not promoted violence. Which I know some people beileve but I think those kids have been beat not spanked and probably been mentally abused also.

 
Old 11-18-2006, 06:43 AM   #5
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Hi Mom, I like your idea about switching roles. In reference to Beachmom who uses a swat on the butt. My husband always encouraged me to spank and I tried it and it didn't work in my situation. It just made my oldest daughter angrier. Many adults have told me that spanking made them angry and was very disrespectful to them. I was never spanked. I believe that children need consequences every time for broken rules but I use sitting on the couch, taking away dessert, taking away allowance, we're not going on a planned outing, etc. And like you said, it has to be enforced every time. I feel that I get the most mileage of getting my children to behave by treating them with respect, calmly enforcing the rules, and interacting positively with them frequently. Anyway, Mom, why didn't you want her to wear the shirt? If you have certain clothes for daycare maybe seperate them out so that she chooses only from one area. Or take out two or three outfits and she chooses from them. Does she get consequences for hitting you? Yeh, everytime that I saw my children do a behavior that I didn't like I could trace it back to my behavior. I swear they learn everything from us! I wouldn't worry about daycare at this point. I think that when you get control over her behavior at home that she will behave better at daycare. She sounds very angry to me. I would just continue to tell her that speaking to people through clenched teeth is not acceptable and then tell her how she should express her wants and concerns (by verbalizing calmly what she needs). And of course try to stop modeling the behavior. I think that you can get her to change her behavior but it will just take time and patience to mold her behavior back to an acceptable way. I would have a lot of conversations about her anger and give her consequences for unacceptable behavior. Good luck to you.

 
Old 11-20-2006, 06:32 AM   #6
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Beachmom... What is the name of the book?
I get so tired of repeating myself! I think I have yelled so much that she doesn't even hear me unless I am yelling now. I ask over and over and over to get her to do stuff and now she has started just flat out refusing to do the stuff I ask her to do...

 
Old 11-20-2006, 06:53 AM   #7
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Sannah:: In ref to the shirt... she had worn it to daycare that morning. It had a tie on it and I guess she wouldn't stop messing with it so they made her change in to something else. When I got there she wanted to undress and put that shirt back on. I just wanted to go home. (in hindsite the 3 min it would have taken to let her change was much less than the 15-20 it took me to get her in to the car) BUT I also wanted to make a point that when she is punished at daycare I am not going to come and undo what her teacher has done. I feel like that would be undermining her teacher. As far as spanking goes with her some times it works sometimes it doesn't. When she is all worked up spanking has NO effect on her at all, it just makes things worse. BUT when it is done like beachomom said. Calmly with an explanation and consistently it does serve as a deterant. I find that I don't yell the first or even the second time I ask her to do something it is the 3rd plus times that make my blood boil. Taking away things like TV time or no candy do seem to work (sort of) usually they send her in to a tail spin of freaking out. As far as her hitting me goes that was really the first time that she acted THAT bad. I was so shocked that I didn't know what to do. She was in trouble and had to go to time out when she got home but that was really over the entire incident not just the hitting me part. This morning she yelled at me in the car on the way to daycare and so we talked about how it wasn't nice to yell and I asked her if some times Mommy yelled at her and how that made her feel and I told her that I was working on not yelling anymore and that she needed to work on it too. She said OK... So I will just keep talking to her like you recommended in the first place. But I would like to get her to listen the first time! That would make my house a much nicer place to be. I feel like she is the boss of ALL of us sometimes!

 
Old 11-20-2006, 07:32 AM   #8
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Hey mom, I would ask her once to do something and then the second time tell her again and add that if she doesn't do it she will sit in time out or whatever and follow through. I had to teach my children this and you get to a point where they just do it if not the first time, then with the second request and I rarely now have to tag a consequence onto it if they don't do it the first time (they just do it with the second request with no consequence attached). I have found, though, if you just once not follow through and have them do something that you have requested, that it starts the backslide and they start not listening. Sometimes I ask them to do something and then I change my mind. I actually tell them that I changed my mind so that they don't think that I am letting up and then they can stop doing what I ask! Also, I learned a little trick at one of my daughter's preschools that instead of telling them to do something say "I need you to do ....." When you say it this way they "think" that they have a choice. This helps to decrease any resistance to being told what to do. I just repeat this again as stated above with my technique if they dont' do it the first time. I see why you did what you did with the shirt. You were right, you didn't want to undo what the teachers did. But, you know, after I thought about it right now, they asked her to change her shirt because she was being disruptive at daycare by messing with it? So if you changed it after daycare it might have been okay? Sounds like she responded to your "anger talk" that you had with her. If she starts to freak out with consequences I would put her in timeout until she calmed down. Giving time outs/consequences with EVERY break of the rules works you just have to stick with it and be consistent. If you are not consistent it will not work.

Last edited by Sannah; 11-20-2006 at 07:39 AM.

 
Old 11-20-2006, 08:11 AM   #9
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Sorry to keep bugging you... But now I have a time out question.
When I tell her to go to time out she just falls apart... She yells, falls on the floor etc... Then I have to threaten a spanking just to get her to go to time out. Then she screams, cries, yells at us "No I don't want to go to time out" "you're mean" "I don't like you" etc... throws stuff (if she can get her hands on anything) or she just wont sit there. She will get up or try to scooch her butt or the chair. How do I do time outs better??? or is this how all kids act about time out? I get the impression that everyone else isn't having as much trouble as I do with time out.

 
Old 11-20-2006, 08:23 AM   #10
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Mom you are not bugging me! I love to help! The first successful time out might take an hour or two but once she knows that you mean business she will do it. First, I would put her some place where there is nothing within reach to mess with. If she yells, ignore her, just have her stay there for 4 minutes. When time is up, talk to her about what happened (she has to be calm, wait with her until she calms down. Stay calm too). I would take her to time out. If she leaves take her back. Don't have any conversation with her except that she has to stay there for 4 minutes. If you have to take her back 100 times, do it (after she knows you mean business she WILL start cooperating!) Everyone in your situation has the exact same problems.

Last edited by Sannah; 11-20-2006 at 08:24 AM.

 
Old 11-20-2006, 08:33 AM   #11
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

ok so every time I have to take her back does the time start over???
Also can she yell the whole 4 min or does she have to be quiet the 4 min?

She gets time outs a school all the time so I KNOW she knows how to do it right! She just won't do it for me!

Also they changed her teacher at daycare on Friday. They moved her to a different class. I think her teacher couldn't handle her anymore so this could be a good thing or a bad thing... She really liked her teacher but I don't think she respected her/minded her very well. Ari had a mark on her arm.... She told me that Ms Gina did it... I reported it to the office and that day when I went to pick Ari up there was a note saying that she was being moved to a different room. So maybe this is part of the problem at home too... She had improved her behavior A LOT over the last 6 months/year but just here in the last week or two she has been acting horrible at home!

 
Old 11-20-2006, 08:43 AM   #12
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

Yes, the time has to start over and she can cry the whole time but when you talk about it she has to be calm enough to have the conversation with you. Yes, this is just about you and her. Daycare timeouts don't apply. I wouldn't focus a lot on what might be going on. She needs to be able to take a timeout with you. Your authority will jump so high after this! I swear it will work, keep committed!

 
Old 11-20-2006, 08:55 AM   #13
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

So what kinds of things do you punish with time outs?
Talking back? Being mean to little sister? hitting anyone, not doing what your told the first (or second time)? What about having her face the corner for time outs instead of sitting down? If she turns facing out then time starts over?

 
Old 11-20-2006, 09:45 AM   #14
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

I really don't have to use timeouts anymore because they know that I mean business. I always kept my authority so I never really lost it. I do remember having to tell them that there will be consequences (with the second request) for probably 2 years straight (from 2 to 4 years of age). I didn't have to follow through with the consequences though because they always did it with the threat. With talking back I just say that it isn't acceptable and you can't do it (it stops). Being mean to your sister, I also tell them to stop. If it gets more frequent and they are hitting each other too frequently I will do a time out on the couch. They sit there until I tell them they can get up. I don't believe that it is realistic for siblings to never fight and hit. I just have consequences when it gets too frequent. I don't know if this is correct or not. (I always tell them to stop, however, if it gets out of control). My children only hit each other. They have never hit anyone else. I don't think that having to face the corner is a good idea. It's too controlling. I think that as long as they are in the time out area it doesn't matter what position that they are in. I think that time outs should be for disobeying you, hurting someone, destroying property on purpose. I am not fond of having too many rules. I see parents sit down in a waiting room and start nitpicking on their children to sit down. I don't feel that a parent should control too much unless they are getting into something or hurting someone or something, or they are wondering away where you cannot see them anymore. When my children were infants and toddlers I put up whatever I didn't want them into and let them freely explore. I enjoy helping so ask anything!

Last edited by Sannah; 11-20-2006 at 09:46 AM.

 
Old 11-20-2006, 10:03 AM   #15
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Re: 4 year old that can't calm down

We don't use it very often cause she freaks out so bad when you tell her to go to time out... and she says no etc... so first do I pick her up and put her down in the time out spot or what???


Ok so right now I have her sit in the foyer on the floor with her back to the door facing out in to the house. She will scooch around on the floor mat until she is almost all the way out of the foyer. If I start walking towards her she will schooch back to the door cause she is afraid of a spanking.
She is yelling and screaming the entire time... but you say to just ignore that part and when the time is up go over and comfort her calm her down and explain why she was in time out...
Do I use a timer? Like an oven timer or do I use one that she can see where she is at??? or just use my watch? Also when do I start time over?? Only when she gets/stands up?

I really need to try something new.. Spanking isn't really helping much maybe, because she seems to get spanked for everything... or at least threatened with a spanking for everything.

 
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