"Children show respect for parents by obeying them. Parents show respect for children by expecting them to obey. "

6yro pouts

Question

My 6 year old son is generally well-behaved. He does have one behavior that I‘m at a lost to correct. He pouts when he is disciplined – by pouting I mean the skin around his eyes turns red, he will blink rapidly to make tears fall, scrunch his face up and cry, sometimes silently and sometimes with vocalized noises with great gulps of air and his body wracked with shuttering sobs.

The randomness of this pouting is what makes it difficult to deal with. It can come on when I’ve lost my cool and raise my voice; it can start when I calmly remind him of rules, or when he hears what privilege he has lost due to misbehavior. The Pout will rear its ugly head for me and for my husband as well. He has also pouted while at school when he didn’t get to sit next to the friend he wanted to or when he didn’t get called on to pick a favorite song to sing. Sometimes he will pout 2 or 3 times in one day, or once a day for several days in a row, as well as the pout will stay hidden for a few weeks at a time.

Because of the randomness of its occurrence, I don’t think the tickets or strikes system would work, nor the blocks. How it is currently dealt with now is seclusion in his boring room while he gets himself under control. If the pouting is due to hearing what privilege he lost (say riding his bike), then usually another privilege is lost due to the pouting (no playing outside) as well as a trip to boring room so no one has to deal with his meltdown. I have frequently said something along the lines of “if you don’t stop, you will also lose _____”. This statement miraculously dries up the tears.

I’ve had a well-meaning family member try to tell me “he’s just sensitive”, but I really think it’s a tantrum especially since he can stop it upon hearing more consequences are coming. When he was 3, he would have knockdown, drag out screaming and crying fits when he had to go to time out. At this point he would then be sent to his room until he was done, and then taken back to time out to serve his time. We were able to stop the fits, but the pouting continues.

How should we deal with this?

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