Friday, March 23, 2012

6 year old with anger isssues

I just read your article about anger overload, and it gave me a lot of hope that maybe my six year old can get some help for his anger. Just this week my husband and I have decided that it is time to seek professional help for him since despite our concentrated efforts to be consistent with him, he has only seemed to get worse. I have made an appointment with his pediatrician since I don't know where else to start. I would love some more information.

Hi, Starting with your pediatrician is a good idea, because he will know good child psychologists in your area.  A psychologist will ask you when your son first displayed severe anger and what were the circumstances.  A first interview also includes a brief developmental history and a discussion whether other family members have had similar issues.  Your psychologist will then form a working diagnosis.  He may offer some suggestions or prefer to wait until he has met your child (the meeting with the child usually takes place after you have given him some background).

In the meantime there are things you can start to do, such as keeping track of the circumstances when your child gets angry:  what is the sequence?  Look for any patterns:  what tends to precipitate his rage?  You will not be able to predict his outbursts in some situations, but you might find some similarities some of the time.  Then you can try to prevent some of the outbursts by re-directing or reassuring your child (depending what the issue is) before he gets angry.  Once your child is in extreme overload, though, it is best not to say much of anything and wait for him to calm down (unless he is hurting himself or someone else and then you have to intervene and restrain him). 

In my upcoming manual I will offer many strategies which you can use to help limit anger overload.   I will let you know when manual is available.  In the meantime, read through the blog and you will get some ideas of things you can begin to do.  Take care, David Gottlieb, Ph.D.

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