Thursday, January 21, 2016

8 yr old loses temper in school

Hi there
I have recently read your article on the above subject. I have an 8yr old boy who losses his temper and gets frustrated only at school. He was born by emergency c-section and his dominent hand is his left. Do you have any suggestions as to why this could be only happening at school. Is there any articles or books which would be useful for me to read?
Many thanks.

Hi, In volume two of my parent's manual, I have a whole section on how to apply interventions in the school setting.  I go over the strategies for each level of anger: a) prevention strategies (like changing the sequence and lowering a child's expectations), b) strategies for low levels of anger (like emotional distraction and relaxation), and c) strategies for high levels of anger,  Also I explain how schools have an advantage over home life in using rewards and consequences.  I explain how to tailor rewards and consequences for anger issues.

I would also suggest you rule out other sources of frustration in school, such as learning issues and attention deficit disorder.  If his academic work is good across the board, then learning disabilities are unlikely. If he pays good attention, then attention disorders are unlikely.  So then what I would suggest is that the teachers keep track of your child's triggers (what situations more often lead to outbursts) and use some of the above strategies for each trigger.  Sometimes it helps for parents to meet periodically with the teachers to plan strategies together.  That way you can discuss progress with your child at home after school, and then remind him in the mornings before school (using mantras) how he can deal with frustrating events in school. 

I know of no evidence that left handedness or birth by C-section relate to angry outbursts. Was the pediatrician concerned about brain abnormalities from the birth?  Has your child's development been otherwise normal?

Best, Dr. Dave Gottlieb 

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