6 year meltdowns/tantrums

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by eagleswings216, Dec 29, 2015.

  1. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    So my boys turned 6 yesterday.  I'm at my wits end with DS2.  He is constantly upset and having meltdowns and tantrums over everything.  He had gotten better for awhile, and now he's back at it again.  Isn't this supposed to stop by age 6?!?
    For example, at the birthday party yesterday, he and DS1 each had a cake with a Star Wars character on it.  He had a total flip out because he liked the character on his brother's cake and not on his and wanted them reversed.  We didn't have icing to change the names, and he just lost it.  Later on, opening presents, he flipped out when he got a new quilt (Star Wars, which they LOVE) and said he wanted more presents and more toys.  At Christmas, he flipped out when his grandpa gave him clothes to open and money to spend because there were no toys.  If his brother gets the least little thing he doesn't or that he thinks is "better" it's tantrum time.  All. the. time.
    Also, several times he made really rude comments about food people had made and refused to eat it - I could deal with the not eating it, but the meanness is just uncalled for.  He really hurt some people's feelings at Christmas and his birthday both.
    We are constantly talking about being grateful, practicing what to say to people when you get something you don't want, etc.  We do lots of empathy and love, but sometimes he's just plain rude and disrespectful and we end up giving him a time out.  I just can't stand the meanness and eye rolling, and when he's having a meltdown at a family function, we end up removing him.  We spent 20 minutes in the car on Christmas day because he was yelling and crying and couldn't calm down.
    Anyway, it's just frustrating.  I really thought we were past this tantrum junk.  I could deal with being sad, jealous, frustrated.  His brother will get a little upset and say "I'm jealous" or whatever, but DS2 just can't do that and loses it.  Is this normal at this age??  I certainly don't see this with the other kids his age we are around (friends, family, church), and it's exhausting and sometimes embarrassing!!
  2. miss_bossy18

    miss_bossy18 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    I have no idea what's "normal" or not but I have a 7.5 year old who still (fairly) regularly throws tantrums. What I have noticed is that they are bigger/more frequent any time that our routine changes, when she feels disconnected from me/her dad, when she's tired, and when she's stressed about school/expectations placed on her. My approach, whenever possible, is to create a safe place for her to get it all out. I aim to find a quiet, private space and then I sit with or near her depending on what she expresses she needs from me (this usually takes the form of "GET AWAY! I HATE YOU!!" ;) ). Depending on the intensity of her emotions I may just sit quietly, or I may acknowledge/validate what she's saying ("You're really angry your sister got the cake you wanted. That is hard."). I welcome all the feelings without shifting the limit. When I'm able to do this for her (it involves a lot of breathing through my own fears and triggers and not allowing them to overcome me), usually, as the storm passes the true thing comes out - the stressor that had been simmering for however long that the "little thing" set off like a bomb trigger. And it's usually something pretty deep and intense for a 7 year old (difficulty with friends at school, her teacher was angry at her, she misses our cat that we needed to euthanize last spring, something). I love these moments of calm and connection after the storm. Sometimes we'll talk about other tools she can use to express strong emotion but usually I don't say anything. She's a smart girl and when she's able to she self regulates quite well. But when she's not able to, I trust that she's not a bad kid, there's nothing wrong with her, and she genuinely needs my support/trust/love in those moments. I know personally how scary it is to feel out of control because of strong emotions and I suspect that's how she feels in those times. I imagine myself as her anchor keeping her tethered to a safe space of love and acceptance.
    3 people like this.
  3. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    I agree with Rachel.  I have a 7.5 year old who gets upset over things and has anger issues.  I don't know that they are mature enough at that age to understand that they are being rude to people about food choices as well.  My 10 year olds are just 'getting' stuff like that now.  My son is very good at knowing his emotions and that might be a start.  You can start teaching emotions and that might be a start.  Try to teach taking deep breaths and trying to control the anger emotion.  Little and big problems. 
    Hugs.  I know how frustrating that can be!
  4. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, at least I know I'm not alone.  He does know emotions and emotional vocabulary, and when he's calm, he can talk about how he felt in the past, things he saw or read about, etc. In the moment when that switch flips, though, it just all goes out the window and he melts down instead.  We do belly breathing, but when he's upset, he refuses to try it. 
    He's definitely the emotional one of the two and has always been more intense.  He's also very loving, constantly hugging, etc., and I have to make sure he gets enough attention from me or he turns into a real grouchy bear.  The meltdowns are just exhausting some days and I never know what's going to flip that switch for him, and usually it's something small and silly and doesn't seem to lead back to something "big" that I can ever figure out. 
    I dread family events sometimes because I never know if it's going to be okay or not.
  5. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Mine just turned 8 and he still has some tantrums and it's usually because he has some idea in his head that most likely is not true:
    An example:
    1) Well, I wanted to watch Show X but I knew you would say no.  Me: You didn't ask, how are you certain I would say no?  I find with my son that reality testing helps very much, it's just we need him to do it more on his own before that trigger goes off.
    I think this is a tough age for them to use the skills they have to diffuse tantrums.  My son's therapist has given him tools and things to practice when he gets that upset and half the time I have to remind him what to do and some times he completely refuses to do it. 

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