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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2183
Experience:  35 years experience counseling children and families
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My son 7 years old has extreme anger management issues. For

Resolved Question:

My son 7 years old has extreme anger management issues. For the smallest reasons he as wild outburts...e.g. His hot dog bud broke while he was eating and he went completely insane...

I have tried talking with him, hugging him, ignoring him, asking him to take deep breaths, count to 10...none of these are working, what can he do?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 4 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

Would you like to chat about this?

Customer :

sure

Customer :

My son who I love dearly,has frequent outbursts

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

Is this a new behavior or has he always had these?

Customer :

He has always had them

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

So he was born with an explosive temperament.

Customer :

for the most part...

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

Does there seem to be an anxiety component is he high-strung?

Customer :

I think it has gotten worse

Customer :

not really...He is normally not a high-strung child and I do not think anxiety should be an issue but I dont know anymore

Customer :

he does well in school, has friends and is typically a good child

Customer :

these outburts just come from nowhere, get violent (hits his mother, sister, brother, kicks the walls)

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

This is difficult to treat because it has to do with an inborn trait rather than a adjustment to a particular problem.

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

It could be worse though because he may be adjusting to something such as new school year.

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

These have a name in our diagnostic manual: Intermittent Explosive Disorder

Customer :

The school year here in AZ is year round.....What can I do to help him...The simplest things set him off....If I check his HW and he has 1 wrong he will argue with me that he is right...

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

You are on the right track with giving him some strategies to cope with this intense feeling.

Customer :

none of them change his behavior...I was hoping he would grow out of it

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

A therapist would have many tools to offer...relaxation, changing thought patterns, many more. Because it is an inborn trait, he will not grow out of it but will be able to find ways to control it.

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

Does he behave this way at school or relatives homes?.

Customer :

Not initially. the more comfortable he is around people the more likely the outburst

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

So he is able to control it when necessary.

Customer :

I googled the Intermittent Explosive Disorder and I saw medication as a treatment for it, i do not like the idea of medicating a 7 year old

Customer :

I am not sure he controls it or is just less diappointed when he is let down by someone he does not know as well

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

The therapy approach would be to help him notice what is going on in his body when he is angry. He would be taught to use reasonable words and behaviors when he feels this way. You do not want to squeach the anger but teach a reasonable response that is acceptable.

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

The psychiatrist I work with does not believe that meds work well for this unless it is so severe that it substantially interferes with functioning.

Customer :

Who should he be seeing? A counselor or physciatrist? Are there and near Chandler, AZ you would recommend?

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

He should see a licensed mental health professional who works with children (LPC, MSW, PhD). The psychiatrist only if you want to try meds. You can search by entering key words child therapist in Chandler, or go to findapsychologist.org or try NACBT.org. If you look for someone who says they practice Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), you will be sure to find someone who helps with the changing the thought process which causes his intense reaction (which is a good approach). PsychologyToday site also has a therapist directory by city with pictures and bios.

Customer :

anything i can do for him in the interim?


 


 


 

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

I think you need to reflect the feeling behind the reaction and accept his anger. "I can see that you are angry right now but tell me calmly with your words." The message is: "it is ok to be angry" not "stop being angry" because he can't.

Customer :

Obviously, when he gets angry and overreacts to an issue we (my wife and I ) tend to react to his reaction, is it worse to raise our voices to him than it would be to remain (or at least pretend to remain) calm.

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

Yes, you need to teach him by example. Be the role model for a calm reasonable response. "When you use your loud voice, I get upset and I would like you to use your calm, indoor voice to tell me what is bothering you."

Customer :

And I probably need to stop doing things that needle him into reacting to things that he need not get mad about

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

Definitely..

Customer :

Thank You for your time....

Dr. Bonnie Behee-Sem :

You are very welcome. If we are done, please press accept and complete the feedback form. Thank you.

Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2183
Experience: 35 years experience counseling children and families
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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie
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35 years experience counseling children and families