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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
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We are seeking ideas to help our 6 yr. old son with some

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We are seeking ideas to help our 6 yr. old son with some social behavioral struggles. His teacher at school reports that he gets along well with the other kids, and is well-liked by his classmates. Soccer practice and games however, are showing us a different kid. He throws tantrums when he isn't first for lines, or anything really. He has fits if someone kicks his ball, or bumps him, or looks at him sideways. He seems to take the actions and comments of others very personally and gets quite angry. Tonight, he screamed at another kid for shouting too loud and hurting his ears (even though practice is outside); he then charged the kid with his ball and threw it at him as hard as he could.
We have tried to talk him through possible situations that could occur at practice and how to navigate them. We make sure he is well-fed and well-rested before games and practices. His dad is the coach, although last year with a different coach, he would hardly participate at all. He usually ran around the perimeter of the practice field instead of participating.
Despite our attempts to help him with verbal preparation, and outlining acceptable and unacceptable behavior, and offering incentives for improvements, 5 weeks into the season, we have made no progress at practice and little progress at games.
This lack of social skills is not limited to the soccer field. We have seen these types of problems when he has friends over to play. Up until this spring, most of his playmates were at least 4 years older than him, and may have been very accomodating to his dictates. This spring, some kids his age moved into the neighborhood and that is when we started seeing his troubles with social interactions with peers.
It's important to note that we recently adopted a new baby into our home. Her arrival was very abrupt-we only had 22 hrs. notice, and although he is loving and sweet with her, we wonder if some of his anger is re-directed jealousy about her although the problems with his peers began before her arrival.
Is this typical 6 yr. old behavior? What are some ideas/techniques to help him? Will he grow out of this? Should we be concerned about a more serious issue? What are some parenting techniques we can use to help him learn social skills and manage his anger/behavior?
From what you have written it is obvious you are intelligent and conscientious parents doing a fine job.
It sounds like your son is becoming overstimulated in outdoor, physically oriented, peer interactions. Perhaps the problem occurs indoors as well if the environment is less structured. Of course the question is why? Also we are left to wonder why this is not occurring in the class room, (maybe the class room is just enough more structured than other situations to preclude him being triggered) .
A psychological evaluation with a child psychologist could help you rule out mental disorders such as, anxiety disorder, aspergers, or ?. With a more clear picture of your son's situation you will be able to better plan your response to his behavior.
Keep in mind that for various reasons, team soccer may not be the right fit for him at this stage of development.
I would recommend a psychological evaluation as your next step in seeking answers to the questions you have posted above.
Mark Manley
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you Mark. Do you have any suggestions on finding a highly qualified child psychologist? Do you think a family therepist would be qualified to evaluate our son?
Most likely, not a family therapist most are not trained to do this level of assessment.
What metropolitan area are you in or close to?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Ok, that makes sense.

We live in the Phoenix, AZ metro area in Mesa. And although we are techniquely in Mesa, we are also near Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert.


I don't have any specific referrals for you in your area so I did a google search under the heading "Child Psychological Assessments Mesa Az area", and saw some good sources to check. I suggest you do this search and make phone calls. You could use our correspondence above as a way to illustrate your situation and what you are looking for.
Sorry I don't have just the right person to recommend.
Mark Manley
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