I have a very temperamental 9 year old. This is nothing new. He was a temperamental 2 year old, 3 year old, 4 year old, etc.
At two, people thought it was cute: “Aww, look at that! Must be the terrible twos!” At three, people I knew (and even some I didn’t) started giving me tips on how to discipline this “stage” out of him. Some of those ideas were funny, some were worth thinking about, but a lot were “omg, you’d really do that to a 3 year old?!?” By four I had begun hearing “You need to get that child help” & “I know this great pediatric psychiatrist a couple towns over.”
At six, when he was bigger but his temper was no better, our family doctor put us in touch with a pediatric anger management counsellor. It helped…for awhile. Than the hissy fits started up again. We went from one counsellor to another, one doctor to another and eventually turned down one medication suggestion after another (you wouldn’t believe the possible reactions to the drugs alone or the possible drug interactions with simple asthma medications).
About two years ago, I began to look past the anger and into the actions. You know how new babies have different cries that it seems only mom and dad can decipher? The hissy fits were the same way. There would be shouting fits, slamming fits, hitting fits, kicking fits (yes, these two ARE different), flailing fits and fuming fits, among others.
I learned pretty quick that, as you deal with different cries in different ways (feed, change, rock, cuddle, play), different hissy fit actions indicate the same thing. The actions to deal with them is also the same basics you would follow for that baby (feed, talk, time out, cuddle, play).
The anger isn’t going anywhere. The hissy fits continue and they’re not going to stop. They are part of who he is. The only difference is now I can identify which kind it is and which way to deal with it. He is now learning the same things. Reaction times are faster and more accurate, both from me and from him.
He visits the school counsellor about once a week (sometimes less), is due for another fit any day now, has really good days, has really bad days but he is himself and more self-aware.
I’m glad we decided to stay drug free…sometimes I wonder if all these “great” medications now available help us to fix symptoms instead of figure out how/what we can learn about ourselves and our kids…..
No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!