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Preschoolers & Kindergartners What a fun time in life! Time to learn 123's and ABC's. At the same time, they're leaving that babyhood we'll miss so much!

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Old 11-02-2002, 08:34 PM
angelia's Avatar
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behavior management

I have a 16 year old daughter, and a 4 year old son. I have yet to ever have to leavea store because my daughte. Even as a toddler, she never screamed for anything.
My son is just the opposite. I had to carry hin out of K-Mart about 3 weeks ago, kicking and screaming, because I wouldn't buy him a sword from the Halloween dept. People in checkout lines were turning to look. I could have crawled out!
He has been having problems with his temper at daycare so bad that they asked me to take him out. I am in the process of taking him to a clinical psycologist that treats children under 6, but we're still in the process of elimination of what the problem could be.
In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for discipline and/or behavior modification?
I have tanned his bottom-this a far cry from beating him- but this just seems to provoke him into louder tantrums. At home, I can restrain him as the LCSW showed me, but this is something that can't be done in K-mart or Wal-mart.
Most of the time, he is a very loving boy. But when he doesn't get his way, the tantrums start and quickly escalate. Please offer your sucessful methods!
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Old 11-09-2002, 01:06 PM
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Sometimes kids have food allergies, even to very common foods, that can cause them to react like you describe. You might want to look into that possibility.

And don't be embarrassed if you have to drag him screaming from a store now and then. (Most people understand.) My son has tried that a few times--he wanted to embarrass me so I'd buy the toy to shut him up. Stick to your guns, and he will stop after awhile.

Best wishes!!!
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Old 11-09-2002, 01:10 PM
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My oldest son had a jeckyl & hyde personality. He'd throw himself on the backwards ground when he didn't get his way. But only SOMETIMES. After watching him go from sweet kid to maniac (he was about 4) I decided to see if I was sugaring him out. Found it wasn't the sugar--it was the food coloring. There would be a measurable change in his personality within half an hour or so of eating or drinking anything with red or blue food color in it. So, no more gummie bites, etc. in the car to keep him occupied. He was actually happy to go along with the change in diet as he didn't like the way he felt either.

As far as parenting techniques, the best book I've found was called "Parenting Power." It teaches you how to put the responsibility for behavior back on the kid, not as a punishment, just as responsibility.
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Old 11-09-2002, 02:03 PM
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I agree with the food allergy comments (don't be surprised if it's something you don't expect, like wheat, dairy, food coloring/jell-o, cornstarch, etc.) and also...

I TOTALLY commend you for leaving K-Mart when your son had a tantrum. Not giving in and removing him as the right thing to do and I wish I was in the parking lot to give you a thumbs-up Mom-to-Mom when you did that.

Next time you are going shopping with him, you may want to discuss it with him beforehand. "Son, are you up for coming to the store with me? I am going there to buy toilet paper and shoe polish today, not toys."

If you do have a fun part of the day, let him know. I.e. "When we are done at K-Mart, if we have a nice, calm time shopping, you will get to ride on the horsie outside."

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Old 11-09-2002, 02:04 PM
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My heart goes out to you I am going thru the same thing with my child.. she acts out does not want to get on the bus for school without yelling and screaming she has had 2 warning on the bus for her behavior plus I got a call from the teacher she had called to tell me that she was not on the bus she was having dentention and had to stay after school

I was floored and frustrated. I have always helped her in every way and when I ask what is wrong she wont talk about it. I ended up calling our case worker because she has special needs and so we are at the stage of a behavior counselor coming to the house to talk to her...She acts like a different kid she is only 8

In the mean time I had a parenting class to take that was at one of our adult classes and that gave me ideas. I got my other half to be more involved like reading to her which has helped
then we got a new bus driver and so far things were getting back on tract...
Halloween at school she didnt get to have her class party because she shoved a teacher I am still trying to get the stories straight as if she did it on purpose or accident

I have make up some 3by5 cards with things she likes to do (these are her goals) I let her pick a card and then she has to earn happy faces which are given by the bus driver am and pm and by her teacher/aide in the class room if she comes home with the card with happys she is rewarded with the cards reward on it

rewards are/ games on the computer/ new game /movie either rented or go to
this pass week I was sooooo proud we finelly had a great week with only one sad ......hang in there

Last edited by secamom; 11-09-2002 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 11-09-2002, 04:38 PM
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I can understand your frustration. Once it is determined that it isn't a food allergy or other psycological problem, I suggest you read Dr. James Dobson's book "Dare to Discipline". He has some wonderful advise for the parents of a "strong willed" child. Please read it!

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Old 11-09-2002, 07:07 PM
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Thanks everyone for your reassurance. I really appreciate all of the ideas. I will lokk into the food and dye allegies, and thank you for reminding me about James Dobson. I used to listen to him on the radio and read some of his books. I will make a trip to the library next week. Thank you all again so very much. Angelia
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Old 11-09-2002, 08:32 PM
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My son just turned 4 on November 1st. Only recently have we been able to take him to stores without tantrums. Some of his fits had been so bad that the police was called in one case at a supermarket. I mean people thought we were killing him or something.

For a time I thought I would have to get him therapy. I was so afraid that they would put him on lithium or something. I felt that it would only be as a very last resort.

Who knows what drugs do long term to kids and it seems to be a quick fix for most doctors. I didnt want that.

So I decided to try it the hard way first, and for us it has seemed to work. I will try to list them, not in any particular order.

1. We never took him to a store in the afternoon because he was tired and cranky.. even on days he had a nap.

2.Make him take naps even if he fights you on it or it doesnt fit in with your schedule. since I have been making him sleep in the day every single day he has been sooo much better. and we made his bedtime earlier. It has really made a difference

3. We balanced his sugar throughout the day. We cut out sugary cereals from his diet. Candy Or icecream pop tarts or jello or pudding he is only allowed one piece or small serving and that is midday after 12 and before 4 pm and 2-6oz glasses of chocolate milk a day. No more than that and only one in the morning and one in the evening. Never together.

4. Limit him to non commercial tv. the more commercials my son saw the more he wanted everything. I had to finally block out Nickelodeon, toon channel, even the family channel and Disney because of the commercials. and I only allow him 2 shows a day.. thats 2 half hour shows. he can watch them in the morning or the evening but never more than that. Or he can trade the 2 shows in for one video. the less he watched the better behaved he became. I have no idea why but it made a difference.

5. Grounding and taking away priveliges, even this young, it works. He was informed that if he wanted to be able to go anywhere with us, the fits would have to stop, Period. We told him that we didn't have to take him anywhere except school when he was 5. Until then we could keep him in every day, all day, and no one would say a thing about it. If he continued to throw fits when we went out, No movies on weekends. No parks. No stores of any kind. Then every time we went out, we reminded him of this. that if he wanted to continue to go out places with us, he had to behave, period. When he threw a fit. We kept him in for at least a week. Every time he asked we would remind him of why he wasnt going with us.

Of course this made it hard because one of us had to stay home with him while the other one left, but he got the message. He would cry as someone left and didnt take him along but after the week was up. We tried taking him out again and he was a whole lot better. Even after that, when we were in the store and he looked like he was going to errupt I would remind him of the week of grounding. Or I would choose an activity he would lose TV, Video tape, weekend movie. It didnt work at first but eventually he started to respond to it. He would grunt and whine a bit but the fit was essentially over. I still have to do this sometimes.

6. They have short memories so they need constant reminding. Tell him in advance that no matter what he sees in the store that he is getting nothing today, period. That if he sees something he likes we can write it down and make a list for X-mas, Hannukkah, Birthday, etc. This helped because he started to learn to anticipate things and wish for stuff, not expect it all now.

to let him also learn to wish for things I even let him circle items in the Toys R Us wish book and in newspaper ads. We cut them out one day, every toy he wanted. he had so much fun cutting out the pics I think he forgot why he was doing it eventually.

7. Be ready to leave everything in the store and walk out. I have had to do this several times. In the store I would say, I dont want to get tough on you but if I have to I will. I would rather we be nice to eachother. (always give him an alternative) but If you continue we will leave, now! do you understand! And I would look him right in the eye. Make sure you get eye contact. If they arent looking at you. You dont exist to them. If he didn't answer I would say it again. Do you understand? Till he answered me back. You have to make sure they are listening to you to. Sometimes they can only hear themselves crying.

If he continued and wouldn't answer back to me I would just walk out. Leave it all. You can always go back again later. Food, clothes, what ever. I would give him chances to get it together telling him that if he wanted to eat we had to shop. If he wanted the clothes we had to shop. if he continued to make a scene we would leave now and eat soup till I could go without him. If he didn't calm down, I would drag him out of the store screaming, appologizing to the store clerks as I passed by, and we would go home and eat soup.

If he would ask me why we were eating soup and would ask for other things to eat I would tell him we didnt have it. I would say its because we had to leave the food at the store because of your fit. and that we would go get food when we could. I think this helped him to understand that his actions really had consiquenses.

8. Talk to him about his anger help him to talk about it. sometimes I would tell him to calm himself and he would say, I cant mommy. I tryin'. I would tell him that I knew it was hard and that I was proud of him for trying. I would tell him that even adults have trouble learning how to calm down. I would ask if a hug would help and he would say yes and we would hug.

I would say, I know you want everthing now but we cant buy toys every time we go out. We just dont have that kind of money. Sometimes we start to talk about money hand how hard it is to earn. And it becomes a lesson. Dont know how much sinks in but I always try.

8.I found that I had to give my son not only reasons for staying calm, but also ways to actually do that. He didn't know how to calm down. So I would talk to him at home about his anger when he wasnt angry. Suggesting to him hitting pillows and even taught him how to deep breath when he gets mad. He found this fun cause we really exaggerate the whole thing.

Deep cleansing breath in.. WWWWWWWWHHOOOOOOOOOO!!!! all that anger out.. WHHHHOO!oooooooooo!!!!!! Our eyes bugging out as we do it... arms spreading wide on the in breath. and back down on the out. After doing that once or twice he will start to giggle.

When I see a fit coming on. I remind him of the tricks to calm down especially the breathing. I will start doing it and he will laugh at me. The point is, offer him ways to calm down. tell him its ok to be angry but not to throw fits. We are still doing these things and they help a lot.

9.I had to learn to calm myself. Not freak out when he did it, and it was really difficult not to. I had to know in my own mind what I was going to expect from him and let him see that I meant every single word. That was also hard because I didn't know what I was doing or how to deal with it. When I got my own act together, his got better too.

My son has just recently started to apologize sincerely about what he calls "taking fits". It's so hard for them at this age. They really dont want to be bad but they just want to be big and have control of thier lives and the dont. They want what they want. period. They have all these emotions and have no idea how to deal with them.

I was terrified that my son would be a monster at preschool so I kept my boy home till he worked out some of his anger. Everyone was pushing me to get him in school like i was stunting him somehow. I am so glad I waited, it really paid off. I finally put him in preschool about a month ago. He is doing great. I was shocked, to be honest.

I homeschooled him some and he is right where he should be educationally. His work is at the same level. If you are having trouble with him in school perhaps try homeschooling for awhile. It takes the pressure off of both of you to have him in school.

I did tell him though. If he wanted to go to school and have fun and make friends he couldn't hit people because if he did they would just call us and make him go home and that would be it, no more school.

I also told him to tell the teacher if he got hit or pushed and not to hit back. every day I still remind him before school every day to tell the teacher if he gets hit, not to hit anyone or hit back. Then I pray, a lot.

Sure enough, he got hit the 1st day and he told the teacher. He got pushed the second day, he told the teacher. He has pushed kids a couple of times also since then but nothing really harsh or out of the norm so far, thank god.

I think every child has his or her own time that they mature and sometimes we just have to wait it out. If I had put him in school six months ago. he would have gotten thrown out for fighting, screaming and throwing fits of rage about everything I am sure.

Sorry this is so long winded but I didnt see how to shorten it.

Dealing with what they call a spirited child is like raising satans spawn sometimes. Then you see them and they are so sweet and loving. Like every other child and you wonder why they have up so much anger. I really know what you are going through.

Now I can talk to him about things. I have been able to keep his fits to a few seconds at the most and we are all starting to feel like a normal loving family.

Frankly for awhile I thought we would never get to this point. Hang in there. They can change.
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Old 11-09-2002, 10:05 PM
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Angelia, my sister has had quite a bit of success following the Feingold diet. Her daughter would have 2-hour screaming fits, biting and scratching herself. I guess the basis for this diet is eliminating a certain preservative. It is EVERYWHERE, and following the diet for my niece has been made more difficult because my sister doesn't cook much! Still, we all saw the dramatic change in just a few weeks!!

This is an article on the diet

This is the website.

Editted to add links.
Amy Elise
Kjersten 2-29-00
Mitch 11-24-01

Last edited by amyelise; 11-09-2002 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 11-10-2002, 06:36 PM
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Great ideas everyone. Here are a few more to keep in mind.

Has your son been going to the daycare for very long? If not, maybe he is have anxiety problems due to the change. Maybe this is his way of letting you know that he needs more attention.

Or could there be any chance of some type of abuse. Kids don't always know how to tell you that something happened that shouldn't have. Their personalities may change as a result.

"Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands." ~Anne Frank
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