Impulse control has gone missing!


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My difficult child has been having several very good weeks, and then, suddenly last week - boom! - it seems like what little impulse control he had has disappeared.

Every day he gets in trouble multiple times for doing something because he's just. not. thinking. Calling the teacher a name. Feeding a sock to the vacuum. Squirting his brother with Windex. It just goes on and on and on. He's 7.5 years old and has MUCH less control than his 3-year-old brother.

It's all just acting without thinking, either because he's curious, or angry, or feeling silly. In a way, it's encouraging that much of this stuff isn't deliberately oppositional. But it also worries me that impulse control can just up and disappear.

He's a little bit sick and a little bit sleep deprived. I don't *think* he's having seizures but it's not really easy to know that for sure. Anyway, his neurologist doesn't seem to think he's having seizures.

Do your difficult children ever spontaneously lose their impulse control, and if so, why? And what do you do to coax it back?!


Active Member
Yes. I just try and make his world smaller until he gets better control. It stinks and I can't figure out why it happens either.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
On a regular basis - impulse control is a much valued commodity in our household & in that of group home for wm.

Like Triple J, we reign in the areas for kt until she balances out again.

For wm, when he's in the midst of a growth spurt he is at his most impulsive.


New Member
You mentioned he's been sick. Is he on any medications for a cold? I found out the hard way that even a tiny amount of a decongestant and difficult child is through the roof hyper and impulsive. One dose of Children's Tylenol Cold formula will cancel out his other medications for the entire day.


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Wow, it feels good to know I'm not alone in experiencing this! I like the idea of making his world smaller for a bit. He is kind of doing this for himself - he's been buried in a new series of books over the past few days.

I do feel encouraged knowing this will probably pass! Thanks!


Feeding a sock to the vacuum.

I'm sure you didn't intend that to be funny, but.... :rofl:

I can't tell you how many times I've had to have a friend over to unclog the vacuum. We've told difficult child repeatedly that socks don't do well in the vacuum. Neither do whole pencils. Somehow they get sucked up in one piece, but once they get in there they won't budge.

What works for me when difficult child seems to be having issues with impulse control is stopping difficult child in her tracks repeatedly and telling her to stop and think. Eventually, it kicks in again.


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Heather, I'm happy to give you a laugh! I like your technique. There are some days that I don't say "no" to my son at all, but I probably say "think it through!" about 100 times instead!