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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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My son is turning 9 years old in one month. I'm concerned

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My son is turning 9 years old in one month. I'm concerned about my his ability to deal with his frustrations and some violent behavior. I am writing this because he just whacked his friend with a street hockey stick in the ankle... they had a disagreement, the other child threw something at him and he attacked.
We have had this problem on a smaller scale with his brothers. It is always a two way street and it's usually just some kicking each other on the sofa or a wrestle on the floor- that doesn't feel too out of the ordinary to me. But he can't seem to remove himself and control the impulsivity.
We had a very stern discussion about how dangerous and physically hurtful his actions were, about the possible consequences (what if his friend is *really* hurt and misses out on soccer?), about how retaliation is not the answer in an argument/fight... Of course, he's "grounded" and not participating in a playdate for a few days - street hockey is out of the question. But I am wondering what else I can do, at what point I should have a *real* concern about his mental health, and what steps do I need to take?
We don't have any particular stressors in our family. I don't think he is worried about school starting - he is a good student. Most of the time, he is actually very easy going - he just apparently can fly off the handle when provoked.
I try to keep violent TV and videos out of their life (although, I am pretty sure that one of his friends has some questionable video games - he will not be going back there before I speak with those parents a little more).
thank you in advance for your thoughts.
DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am sorry that your son has been exhibiting this type of behavior, I can understand why this worries you

DoctorZ :

It definitely sounds like your son was angry and has some justification for being angry because the other child threw something, although your son's response to that stimuli was not appropriate. He has to figure out a way to be assertive with his anger to express it in a healthy manner

DoctorZ :

I use this worksheet with my child and adult patients that helps a lot by practicing assertive techniques to express anger in a healthy manner

DoctorZ :

Also narrative therapy is very beneficial for children by reading a book with certain morals to them and then talking about that afterwards and helping him to apply it to his daily life.

DoctorZ :

Here are some books I have used with children about teaching empathy and coping mechanisms on anger.

Customer:

thank you, ***** ***** taking a moment to review the worksheet...

DoctorZ :

No worries, take your time

Customer:

Thank you, ***** ***** taking a moment to review the worksheet...

Customer:

would you suggest he meet with a professional or that we look for certain indicators for that step?

DoctorZ :

If you feel like it is necessary, from what you told me it seems like your son is overall a very good student and son, but has some issues with anger control, but these issues do not appear to be severe at this moment. You can try working on this Anger Decision sheet, the books, and how he responds to the negative reinforcement (by the way that was a good tactic) and see if he changes his behavior and is better at controlling his anger and frustration...or better at communicating his anger and frustration

DoctorZ :

If you feel like he is still not changing his behavior for the better, then you can see about meeting a child therapist or psychologist for more professional help for your son

Customer:

Thank you so much. I feel I have some tools to work with, here. Is this a common problem for a child his age? I feel a little bit like we should be over this. He is entering 3rd grade.

DoctorZ :

Well you mentioned this happened during street hockey, is your son into sports and being very active?

Customer:

Yes. They are active kids. The friend/neighbor too. I have two other active boys as well: 11 and 6 yrs old.

DoctorZ :

So this behavior is not unusual with boys that are very active and in elementary school, and usually this resolves on its own, but with the tools I gave you it will resolve faster and your son will learn some valuable skills to help him during adolescence and in adulthood.

Customer:

ok thanks again. this has been helpful.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am always happy to help

DoctorZ :

If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at anytime

Customer:

If I have a question in the future, is there a way to select you on this website?

DoctorZ :

Yes you can put "For DoctorZ" before writing your question or ask the question directly from my homepage

Customer:

Great. Thanks! Have a nice weekend.

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