Explosive 9 yo

Hope you are all staying safe and strong in this coronaverse.
Have been reading the posts and wanted to share about my 9 yo son’s struggles. He was diagnosed with seizure disorder when a toddler. They are controlled by medications, 🙏 grace of God.We are currently socially distanced since the last 4 months because of his disorder. He goes to Special Education for Reading, writing and math and Is in the regular class for the rest. We had virtual school from March to June. He struggled a lot. All he wanted to do was get on YouTube and watch Roblox and Minecraft videos. He would also play some Minecraft and Roblox but mostly just watch. My spouse and I both of us work full time from home due to the pandemic so it was hard to manage but I managed with an early start and working longer hours. Not the best situation so I admit I did let him watch way more than he should have. He used to struggle a lot, did not want to do his schoolwork, multiple Tantrums and meltdowns. Had to involve his teacher a few times it got so bad. Crying and whining, tearing his pages, deleting website favorites, hitting the keyboard, screaming loudly for hours.His tantrums are not only with schoolwork. If I make something he doesn’t want to eat he can throw tantrums for hours about it. He does not deal well with frustration. School is out now. I have him do some almost daily math, some online library, writing and typing practice. He throws tantrums over that too and can’t seem to figure out that he should just do the work and move on. It’s not a lot of work maybe an hour or so. He has weekends off and spends his time on Roblox and Minecraft. I would like to limit his screen time but when we have taken it away in the past he struggled because he had nothing else to do causing more tantrums and meltdowns. It is not possible for us to spend hours with him daily. I do try to play some games/do puzzles and spouse takes on a walk daily. He is going back to school in the fall corona virus situation permitting because we feel he will fall back academically and emotionally without social contact. I feel guilty about that too. Because it is a risk to his health. I have tried to get help for him but most of everything I found was autism related and they wouldn’t take him. I would like to avoid medications if possible because he is already on strong medications because of the seizure disorder. Therapy is so expensive and couldn’t find family therapy which I believe our family needs to work through this. He needs strategies to cope and we need to know how to help him. I called my insurance and got 2 names of therapists that take our insurance called multiple times and left messages but no response.Was reading the past posts and going To buy the explosive child. Thanks so much for reading this and do appreciate any ideas you might have or experience you would share.

Stay safe and healthy


Well-Known Member
Before the COVID shutdown, how was he doing socially? Did his behavior get worse after school closed? Is he going back or doing online learning this month?
Thanks for taking the time to read and the reply. My son is very friendly loves to play with other kids but have noticed his peers think he is childish and exclude him for that. He plays much better with 1-2 graders and his teachers have told me he takes really good care of the kindergarteners is very kind towards them in aftercare. He was much happier prior to COVID, still tantrums but a bit less than now. . He is competitive with my older child that is 14. My older child is very gentle and we all struggle with the tantrums. Yesterday was a bad day. I wanted him to do some writing (6-7 lines) . A book report. We use an online website. Helped him to pick out a book . He was fine with it. Then he said no is too babyish. I told him to pick out his own book. No He needs my help. So I picked out another one well that one was bad too. Then start the tantrums. He says I don’t know what to do. I told him just answer
the questions I have provided. I have 2 sets of questions 1 for fiction and one for non fiction books (very basic what who when how type) but he still asks every time I don’t know what to do. So this is already 5 times I have to leave work and see to him. All this with screaming and crying. I sent him to his room because he was getting hysterical about it. He took a nap for an hour and came back and apologized for his bad behavior. He said may I start again. I’ll be good. 10 minutes later we are in the same situation. So his sib comes in and takes him back to his room and they talk it out. He came back and proceeded to complete the task within 30 minutes. So this happens at least 3-4 times a week apart from other tantrums for he doesnt want to eat what I made,if anyone interrupts him when he is talking(he can talk at a stretch for 20 minutes or more), anytime he doesn’t want to do something. I love my son a lot. Sometimes at the end of the day tho I just yearn for a drama free peaceful life. Thanks for reading this. Stay blessed and loved and my prayers for whatever everyone is going through .
He will be going back to school in the fall but it’s not full time for now it’s going to be part in person and part online. And he is affecting all of us , my spouse, my older child . We never know when he will explode and then it takes hours for him to calm down. I’m going to call those numbers again try to get him help.


Well-Known Member
Has your boy been diagnosed with ADHD or anything else? He sounds so much like two of my grandsons. One has straight up ADHD and the other one had the severe anxiety piece.

You could be describing exactly my seven year old grandson around any requests for the least amount of school work right now. He did fine before school shut down and his mom is a kindergarten teacher, so she's very experienced. I wonder if your son is experiencing anxiety? That was a huge issue for both my grandsons (I'm raising the one, who is 14 now and he's thankfully grown out of it, but it was baaaaaad).

You may want to have a look at Doug Riley's books, The Explosive Child. The techniques in that book may not all fit your situation, but it was a good book for us to get started on understanding what happens and why and how to communicate better, pre-load expectations, and the big take away for us was "If they could do better, they would." Seeing my grandson has having underdeveloped coping skills was a better starting place for us in figuring out what to do next. Ross Greene's books are good, too. If you have a Kindle or nook e-reader, you can get them this way, or Amazon books has so many amazing books for parents and kids.

I know this struggle; many of here do. I get the exhaustion, and later, the calls from the school. And after the meltdowns (waaaay beyond tantrums), they seem fine and the family was left feeling like we had been in a train wreck. It's hard, momma.


Well-Known Member
Hi Walking, and welcome.

One thing I am not clear on is whether these tantrums/explosions happen at school. I am thinking, no. Is that correct? And I am not so clear about the extent to which they happened before Coronavirus required all of us to live like this,

These are my thoughts, which might not be helpful but I believe they are true. At least they are true for me. I think we're all going borderline nuts with this situation. Personally, I think it's impossibly hard. I know that periodically I find the isolation and restriction unbearable and feel trapped. I know that periodically I get afraid. I am afraid I will get sick, and I am afraid for the future, that this will go on and on. I can only imagine if I was 9 years old. I would resent horribly the need to do boring homework.

Even now in my own life if I felt a tantrum would help, I would try it. The only difference between your son and I is that my experience has taught me that a tantrum would only make things worse for me.

I don't know of the games you describe as my child is already well into adulthood. My sense about the games is the same as yours. While your son might self-soothe through the games, because they involve intense concentration, in the long-run, they only erode our capacity to cope. I do the same with the computer. Neither he nor I gain in flexibility or self-control, by this. It makes it worse.

The thing is, these are hard times.

What I will say here others might feel is quite wrong. But I will say it nonetheless. We're living in a once in a century pandemic that is out of control. Almost all of us are under intense pressure without normal and regular outlets to dissapate anxiety or to contain and direct our longings. In my own case I would love to travel. Get out of town. I can't. I am trapped. Your son feels trapped too.

I think that the less pressure on him, the better. These are not normal circumstances. Something has got to give. If these tantrums were not happening continuously BEFORE Coronavirus, I think it's reasonable to posit that he's reacting to a specific stressor. And his reactions are understandable. I don't think it necessarily means something is wrong with him. It's the situation that is wrong. And he's reacting to the situation. Of course, I may not have understood completely the situation and if so please discount what I say.

I have heard on TV that the great majority of students are NOT doing their schoolwork on Zoom. This doesn't make it right. Or good. But you are not in a situation where you have the time and energy to deal with the stress of doing battle with your son to force him to do what he doesn't want to do. Actually, few parents can and do win this kind of battle, over anything, I think.

I believe I would try to de-intensify the war over the homework. He's at the age where he can understand. Are there other activities that might potentially interest him, that he can do at home? Pottery, painting, drawing, starting a vegetable garden, learning a language online, making pickles, churning butter, weaving, learning calligraphy, finding an online Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, finding an online yoga class for kids, a sourdough starter, and making bread, learning an instrument online, etc. --all of these would be constructive and he would be "learning."

Is there a way to support him to introduce some other activities that would be more constructive in lieu of cutting down some of minecraft (or whatever it's called) and reducing some of the school demands? A negotiation and contract. He could propose which of the schoolwork he would do, and you could agree or not. This would give him control. It would also teach him that everything in life is done by decision and consent. And it is self-initiated. Not just minecraft.

This is what I am saying: The schoolwork is the trigger, but I can surely understand that it is not a good idea that he spend his whole life on Roblox and Minecraft. However these are not the only options available. Could you negotiate with him? By lessening the time on the homework, if he was willing to cut down on minecraft, say confine it to certain hours a day? By choosing, not being forced.

One thing that might happen, is that he reneges on the commitment, and refuses to do any other activity. I can relate to that. If that were to happen, I think I would do whatever it took to avoid the tantrum. I think I would try to spend some time to show him various options to spend his time. See if he has any interest, and help him get access. (For myself I do art, bought clay, and made a sourdough starter. Which is like having a full time job. I would not have time to do any homework.)

I would try to work with him to find some peace. It is peace that will help him calm down. Peace is antithetical to war. Tantrums are the enemy. I think the key is to support him to find calm inside of himself, and then there is the chance he will find the resources within himself to seek to do more constructive things. That is my hope for myself, too.

Finally, I don't thing you should feel one bit guilty. Geez, how can any parent do this? Working full time at home responsible to enforce schooling for kids. Nobody is being successful. If they say they are, I don't believe them.

Even if your son will not budge, I wouldn't push him. The tantrums are NOT good. They're not good for him, for you or the rest of the family. While there may be some power play and manipulation involved, i don't think this is all of it. I think he may be like so many of us. He just can't cope well with the situation and he's seeking to maximize the activity that helps him feel better and get through this. I can't tell you how much I identify with him.
Last edited: