Once or twice a year, there are several things I want to watch LIVE on TV. The Ohio State/M*ch*g*n game ranks at the top. As a die hard Ohio State fan, our kids understand this and join in the fun. If they don’t want to watch the game, fine, but I’m not turning it off. There are plenty of other devices throughout our house and the main TV off limits that afternoon.
My five year old wanted nothing to do with THE GAME, but couldn’t understand why I was so enthralled. He kept badgering me about wanting to watch his show, but I explained to him how it was Mommy’s time. I said, he could either go upstairs or watch his program after mine was over.
That did not fly. After telling him no at least 20 times, this was a fight he was prepared to win. He really likes to push the boundaries in our house and this time was no exception. It begins with whining which will progress to hitting and then out come the big guns.
He threatens to kill you. Seriously????
And it’s not as simple as he is going to hurt you. If he doesn’t get his way, he says he’s going to stab you with a knife. Are you kidding me right now?
This is not how we act.
Disciplining Youngest Child Differently
I’ve never had a child threaten me or any of their siblings because they didn’t get their way. Granted, he has only used this method a handful of times, but it’s very disturbing.
As a mother, you try to set the best example for your kids so they don’t become serial killers. While I understand he is in a very hyperbolic stage of life, this threatening is not something I take lightly.
Still, I stay calm to talk him down off the ledge of insanity. Who would take care of him if he killed me? He flatly says Daddy (and this coming from a bonafide Mama’s boy).
Will you miss me? No.
He was very angry with me. We spent a lot of time talking through his feelings to see where the root of this threatening comes from. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks and the flood gates opened. Sure, sometimes I’ll use the fake cry technique to garner a response from my young children, but this time it was real.
The Power of Birth Order
This act of aggression devastated me to my core. As he continued with his anger, I said how sad I was that he wanted me to die. In my head, I’m thinking, where did I go wrong with his discipline? The other kids would have never done this. Was it because he’s the youngest child and gets away with everything?
After I explained how sad I was and he saw the actual tears, he began crying, too. He started showing empathy and I realized I wasn’t raising a monster. Even still, I was concerned with the interaction we had that afternoon.
Let me preface this with the fact that 87% of the time he is a sweet little boy, who like us all, has his moments. It’s the outbursts of anger that make me check in with my disciplining style and his birth order.
Suffice it to say, I tried a different approach of discipline with him than I did with my older three. With the big kids, I was basically trying to survive each day because I had a kindergartner, preschooler, toddler and baby.
If I screamed and yelled to get my point across then so be it. There was no calming, deep breathing moments before I exploded. I was mentally and physically tired all the time.
With my youngest, I began my personal growth journey. It was finally time to start taking care of myself as a mom. I didn’t want to be the mom who yells all the time because that wasn’t who I really was. It was imperative for me to figure out how to take it down a notch and come from a rational place.
Consequences For Your Actions
Still, there is something not right with my system and it needs tweaking.
He is able to walk all over me and is becoming a brat about listening. He refuses to do chores, try new foods, whines about everything because he’s the youngest child and he’s always gotten away with everything.
On top of the threatening at home, he started extending this to not listening at school. And that doesn’t fly in my book. When you are with other adults, listen, pick up after yourself and respect your teachers.
The other day, his teacher told me how she asked him to help clean up his mess. He responded by going limp on the floor refusing to help. This is so uncharacteristic of him in a school setting.
As soon as we got in the car, we had a talk about respecting adults that are in charge at school when they ask you to help. This was a first warning, but he is aware of the consequences at home if he doesn’t comply.
The ironic thing is, on a regular basis, he does listen. But the outbursts are when all control is lost and it worries me.
How To Properly Deal With Anger
Sometimes, I think it might be easier to go back to the way I used to discipline my kids but that didn’t work either. The time is now to find the happy medium – firm but gentle. My youngest child and I have many different ways to deal with your anger like:
- Scream into your pillow
- Hit your bed
- Tell people why you are sad
- Calming down alone in your room for a bit
- Deep breaths
He’s five and there are a lot of big emotions in his life, but this is when we mold him into his future adult self. The last thing I want is for him to act out in violence when he doesn’t get his way.
He needs to deal with his feelings in a positive manner learning that sometimes people are going to do things that we don’t agree with. That doesn’t mean we hurt them or even threaten them.
I find the more he and I talk about the right way to act when we are angry, the more it starts to click with him. Will I fall back into old ways of yelling? There are days I lose my cool, but I apologize for my outbursts. This is a teaching moment for everyone.
There is no perfect way to discipline our children because everyone is different. The best thing you can do is to be the good, healthy example for them, then violence is NEVER an option.
By showing my youngest that his actions hurt others feelings’ has proven to work. He is then empowered to come up with a solution to make someone feel better after he caused them pain.
It’s a never ending cycle of learning how to create a world for our children where they can be the bigger person and not have to resort to violence when they are mad. But it’s totally worth the consistent effort!
How do you handle outburst of anger with your children? And how have you evolved as a parent?
Post Update: My aggressive 5 year old is now almost 10 and has learned how to channel his anger in a more positive way. Once we started giving him helpful outlets to express himself, he matured, learning that violence is not an appropriate response. At 5, he was still learning how release those big emotions and is now a well adjusted 3rd grader. Sure, he still has his moments when he gets angry, don’t we all, but now the reaction isn’t as serious. He knows how to deal with people in a more appropriate manner.
Original Post Date: December 2, 2018 (Updated March 7, 2023)