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  1. #1
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    Default 6 yo with anger issues

    So i'm not sure if this is the right forum or not but here goes....
    My oldest daughter (who is just over six years old) has always been a very serious child. She has her mother's personality (as a child anyway) and is shy in public until she warms up to people and usually behaves very well with friends/family, but at home she reacts to things very intensely. If she gets an answer to something that she doesn't like she whines very loudly or screams at myself or her father. We have always calmly told her that it not acceptable and given her a consequence like a time out or taking a toy away when this happens.

    Sometimes her tantrums escalate to something physical like kicking her feet or throwing her face into somebody elses and making a grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr sound as she bears her teeth and bites her jaw tight together. This can occur several times per day although the instances always happen at home.

    Recently she has begun saying things like "I can't hold the scream in any more" or "I have to kick somebody". We have always had a "hands off" policy which means an immediate time out when she gets physical in a mean way. Although my 2 year old is tough and defintely holds her own with her older sister, I still worry that one day she will hurt her when she gets into one of these rages.
    Are these tantrums normal or is it our way of dealing with them that just isn't working? She is a smart and social girl who enjoys school and playing with other kids. We have NEVER had a problem with her at school or outside of the house. Please advise!

  2. #2
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    Dear Anonymous
    The description of your daughter sounds like a temperament issue. “Temperament“ is a synonym for “personality“. It is the natural, inborn style of behaviour of each individual. We all have a temperament made up of a wonderfully complex combination of traits that makes us each unique. If you have any full blooded siblings my guess is that you are quite different from your sibs even though you came from the same gene pool, same family rules, same food, same water, etc. That's “temperament“.
    Research tells us that temperament is resistant to change and rather persistent throughout childhood and even into adulthood. Child psychologists also tell us these inborn traits allow us to observe broad categories or patterns of behaviour into which the majority of children may be classified. One of those classifications is called an “easy“ child, who manifests a positive approach to all people, quiet adaptation to new situations, regular sleep and eating patterns and a willingness to accept the rules of life without objection. Such a child is usually a delight and a joy to his or her parents and teachers.
    At the other end of the spectrum is a classification called the “difficult“ child who is characterized by negative reactions to people, intense mood swings, irregular sleep and eating patterns, frequent periods of crying and explosive temper tantrums when frustrated.
    A third category placed in the middle of these 2 extremes could be called the “slow to warm up“ or “shy“ child. Not every child fits neatly into one of these 3 categories of course, but research suggests that approximately 65% do.
    I apologize for taking the long route to answering your question but I suspect that your little girl's behaviour is resulting from “temperament“.
    Is her behaviour normal? Probably yes. She is probably bordering “difficult“ in some temperamental traits which are resulting in the behaviours that are concerning you. These behaviours are not resulting from anything you have done wrong, it is her innate make up. “Difficult“ children are hard to raise and it means that you will have to work hard to find ways to manage her behaviour.
    “Difficult“ children can make their parents feel angry, inadequate or guilty which can lead to one of the biggest problems with difficult children, that of ineffective discipline. Difficult children can create marital strain, family discord and problems with siblings.
    The solution to raising a child with a difficult temperament is effective behaviour management.
    “Life with an “easy“ child is easy - life with a “difficult child is not easy“
    A book called “The Difficult Child“ by Stanley Turecki would be a good resource for you to read. I have a copy you could borrow if you wish.

  3. #3
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    No, The difficult Child is by Dr. Stanley Turecki.
    Rick Harper
    Behavioural Management Systems

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