Sunday, June 3, 2012

6 year old lashes out on school playground

Hi, I have a 6 year old he has started lashing out at kids in school in the playground.  When you ask him what happened he says he can't remember: he says his body shakes like he has no control.  He is normally a lovely little boy but when he turns it can be quite bad.   I took him docs when he was younger about tantrums but doc said if it not effecting school then don't worry.  But now it is; he does not like anything changing either.  He starts to panic.

Hi, I would suggest you mention something to his teacher and see if any adult can observe the playground activities in order to get a better "read" on what might be precipitating your son's outbursts. What happens right before he loses it?  Also, your observation that he does not like anything changing makes me wonder if your son might have some Asperger's qualities, but I cannot diagnose this online.  Maybe it is not Asperger's but some social awkwardness or anxiety.  You could consult with a mental health professional in your area.  Children with Asperger's syndrome like routines, are resistant to change, and have trouble with the nuances of social interactions, especially with peers.  Does your son get upset when the activity changes on the playground or someone changes the rules?  Or maybe your son is upset because he misunderstands something being said on the playground.  What I'm thinking is that maybe he is having trouble adjusting to the "demands" of the peer group on the playground--rules and activities can shift rapidly when six year old children are playing outside.   Activities on the playground are less structured than in the classroom, and maybe this makes it more frustrating for your son.  

In any case, you would want to look more closely at the precipitants of your son's anger and see if some adult can re-direct the interaction before your son lashes out.  Maybe your son can play with some other children who are easier for him to get along with.  Maybe also you and the teachers can help him learn to walk away when he feels himself beginning to get upset.  However, most young children have trouble recognizing the early stages of anger, and he would need an adult who is out on the playground to help point out when things are starting to go off track,  i.e. when it looks like he is getting frustrated.   Over time, your child may be able to recognize early stages of anger himself.  In my book, I explain how to help children recognize early signs of anger.  One approach is to begin to use simple labels for different stages of anger both at home and in school.  

All the best, Dr. Dave Gottlieb 

No comments:

Post a Comment