6 year old having trouble with emotions

Darklordofdublin

Well-known member
Hi everyone. I’m normally one for a more trivial post but I am at loss as to what to do with my six year old.
He has always had problems managing his emotions. A small cut or fall in the playground at school could lead to a five hour hysterical dramas involving the school ringing me to collect him. Any attempt at parenting him isn’t with hours of hysterical crying and drama. Lockdown has been very hard and we are trying to remain calm but today I asked him to put tracksuit bottoms on because it’s cold and wet and he has spent an hour upstairs screaming that we hate him and he doesn’t want to wear them. He just can’t seem to manage any conflict at all.
No other issues with him. For context He is smart, funny and has lots of friends and does very well in school both academically and socially.
Any advice please
 

Archewell

Well-known member
Hi there - that sounds difficult for all of you. I was wondering a couple of things - has there been any kind of loss in his life recently? And have you tried kind of ignoring him when he's like this? I mean, have you tried just saying something like "I'm sorry you're feeling so upset about your tracksuit bottoms" and then just not engaging any more with his behaviour? Or do you spend a lot of time validating his feelings? If you do, that could possible be why he cannot draw a line under things and move on, so to speak.

I was also wondering if your son had had a frightening experience around an injury or accident. Maybe he ended up in A & E and that scared him. Or did someone else in the family have to go to hospital and your son realised how worried everyone was?
 

RomaniEuntDomus

Well-known member
To me this sounds like classic 'meltdown' behaviour, often associated with (but not necessarily indicative of) autistic spectrum conditions. For some reason, he can't seem to regulate his emotional response to things that he doesn't understand or can't control.

When he's in the middle of a meltdown like this, you won't be able to communicate or reason with him. All you can do is to keep him safe in calm surroundings and ensure he knows you're around and haven't disappeared. Too much attention will stoke the flames, as will leaving him entirely alone.

Some time after he has calmed down will be the time to question him gently about what he understands and can remember about the episode. Pay attention to triggers too. They're likely to be related to issues with control over his surroundings, or confusion and distress about sudden changes of routine and environment. It's not about him being spoilt or wanting things his own way. He needs to learn to navigate the unpredictable and this doesn't happen right away.

Primary schools IME are often, erm, patchy in dealing with these kinds of issues, and may even make things worse if they handle them clumsily. Don't be afraid to consult your GP if you want signposting to extra support.
 

ThistledownHair

Well-known member
@Darklordofdublin, my 6 year old can be like this. She is very sensitive emotionally and when she has an episode like this will often only really be calmed by a long hug. We’ve tried leaving her to calm down by herself but she gets more distressed - I think she perceives it as a rejection and that we no longer love her. She is more likely to behave like this if she is tired or something else is playing on her mind. Lockdown has given her a few extra anxieties as well as missing family.

Where possible, we try and keep a routine, allow her plenty of down time and exercise and time to talk to us about how she’s feeling. This helps to smooth out those bumps.
Hope you find something which works for you.
 
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Darklordofdublin

Darklordofdublin

Well-known member
Thanks for the replies. He hasn’t had an extra trauma or any death or loss recently he has just always been like This. You are right @ThistledownHair he gets even more upset when you ignore him and some of it does stem from being tired and stuck around the house all day. I am taking some parental leave for the summer so will be more available rather than constantly on my computer working. Maybe that will help. Kids are hard work😬😂🍷
 
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