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DrFee
DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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My 5 year old son has been impulsively hurting other classmates

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My 5 year old son has been impulsively hurting other classmates in school and sometimes his sister at home. He is usually not angry when this happens, but excited, and unable to get any composure. It just seems like the light bulb isn't on and he doesn't understand that it's not okay to spin around and then bonk your friend in the head. I try and catch him daily and praise him emphatically when he does a great job. We have started doing short meditation tapes every night, to get him to a "calm and quiet place". It seems like he just doesn't get his strength and size. He is a wonderful, sweet, and very loving little boy. He doesn't have ANY problems sitting down and concentrating on art projects. We sit down for family dinners every night, and he is on his best behavior. This has all come up in the last week because his Pre K teacher asked to speak to me after school. I am not sure what to do, or how else to help him. Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.

DrFee :

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.


 

DrFee :

You said that it has only started in the last week? How many times has it happened, do you think?


 

DrFee :

Your statement that he doesn't understand that "it's not okay to spin around and then bonk your friend in the head," made me laugh. So, from what you say, it does sound like it's a matter of him not understanding his body size/strength and getting excited and not realizing he's losing control.


 

Customer:

He actually had similar issues, related to anger, when he was two and in preschool (birth of his sister and we got rid of our dog). This last incident of "lack of impulse control" started a few weeks ago in school. I was just notified by his teacher last Thursday...


 

Customer:

Sometimes it is about losing control, feeling frustrated. We remind him to please "use your words", which usually works well.

DrFee :

That makes sense --a new baby and loss of the dog. Yes, "use your words," is a great approach.


 


I was looking on the internet for some catchy song that he could get into his head to help him remember to "stop," when he starts getting overly excited. I found this song --it doesn't exactly fit, but maybe you and he can change the words:


 

Customer:

Yes, I've heard it! I'll work with it...

DrFee :

But, if it sticks in his head, it might work!


 

Customer:

I have been sick for about 3 months with a vestibular problem...vertigo on and off, doctor's appointments, etc. The teacher and I talked about helping him through his feelings related to that as well.

DrFee :

That's good. Vertigo is horrible, you must not be having much fun.


 

DrFee :

And, I'm sure that's affected his life too ---


 

Customer:

It's such a work in progress. I know that it's going to take some time. but, I don't like him to be in trouble at school. And when the teacher says, "that behavior won't fly in Kindergarten" I got really worried!

Customer:

It's been AWFUL! I try so hard to be "normal" even when I am having episodes of dizziness.

DrFee :

Well, not that I mean any disrespect, but teachers everywhere since the beginning of time have been scaring us about the future. I don't think I realized until a few years ago that my "permanent record," from school anymore doesn't exist. ;) Seriously, I understand that some teachers want to solve behavior problems "yesterday," but the fact of the matter is that these are real little people who have to work through their feelings, thoughts and behavior just like us adults--and sometimes it takes more than a day or week ---


 

DrFee :

That is so tough --about the dizziness. I hope that you get to the bottom of it.


 

DrFee :

Another thing to keep in mind --little kids do go through different periods of behavior that doesn't last.

DrFee :

Not every behavior or issue is going to be a long term problem.


 

Customer:

Very true! I am trying not to be so hard on myself and my son. Wanting a solution "yesterday" is exactly how I feel it should be going. He's pretty responsive, and smart, so I know this will be nipped before too long :-) I appreciate the advice and the song, however cheesy, it is just one more piece of helpful advice. Songs usually sink into kid's heads faster too. I have a book called, "loving rituals" by XXXXX XXXXX...I may have to go back through and look for some connections to do with my son.

DrFee :

Here's another song, "we don't hit our friends," but I think the first one is better.


 

Customer:

He has school again tomorrow, so I am feeling a little anxious about how his day will go. Sad thing is, kids feel that negative energy. So...meditation for me too!! :)

DrFee :

Yes, I know I am the same way when it comes to my own kids....but they are older now and in hindsight I can see how they changed over time. I think connecting with them is the most important thing, as well as relaxing ourselves!!!


 

DrFee :

You might like "The Nurtured Heart," approach by Howard Glasser too. www.difficultchild.com (your child does not have to be difficult to use this).


 

Customer:

Okay, I just had a break thru...I focus on all of the good times he has when he uses his impulse control throughout the day, but when he slips (like earlier when he threw something in the air and hit his sister in the face), I got completely frustrated! I need to control my OWN impulses. Maybe say, "oopsie! You forgot to use your impulse control. Let's really try and work on hard on not doing things that are hurtful".... I actually may be making it worse by worrying so much!!!


I will check out the book by Glasser too.


ha! Ha! I think it helps just hashing this out with someone other than my husband. I feel like I have come up with more solutions/tricks in 20 minutes than I have with my (sweet) husband in the last 4 days!!!

DrFee :

Some teachers are more patient with behavior issues than others. I wouldn't judge the situation soley based on a teacher's feedback, especially if you know that he/she runs a very tight ship.


 


Yes, you are right --we DO have to control our own emotional reactions! Glasser talks about that a lot, actually.


 

DrFee :

It sounds like you got "unstuck" then it your thinking...that's great!!!


 

DrFee :

We can make things so much worse when we get worked up over their behavior.


It's hard sometimes, though. ;)


 

Customer:

GREAT!!! I know that his teacher last year was much more relaxed, and YES...this new teacher runs a VERY tight ship. thanks so much for all of your advice!!


Off to make dinner for the family...thanks again!!! GReat advice, I am so glad I decided to do this :)

DrFee :

You are welcome!! I'm glad it was helpful to you!


 

DrFee :

Bye!


 

Customer:

Thanks!

DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience: I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
DrFee and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.
Hi Andrea,

Thank you so much for the "Excellent" rating and the bonus. Both are greatly appreciated.

I hope that you are feeling more at ease with the situation with your son and that the things we talked about are helping you.

Just remember that sometimes it takes some time for kids work through their feelings and to make changes in their behavior. It's always helpful if we are calm and can focus in on what might be behind their behavior!

Take good care,

Dr. Fee

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DrFee
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I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.