I have, over the years when he has these outburst, pulled him aside and tried to console him and, at the same time, tried to explain that it's O.K. to have these feelings, but it's not O.K. to act out on them. I have also had good relations with all of his teachers since kindergarten and have been able to explain his "emotions" with them in hopes that if he has an outburst they can understand and help him work through them. (He has been very fortunate to have received very caring and experienced teachers.)
During parent-teacher conferences last month, his teacher informed me that she felt that his "moods" were starting to affect his relationships with his friends and other classmates. I, too, have noticed them getting more frequent.
I just don't know how to handle this anymore. I have been getting tougher with him lately (meaning, not tolerating it!) because I fear that the "harassing" from his peers will become intense if this behavior continues, but I'm not sure if it's the right way to go.
Any advice you can give me will be greatly appreciated.
I would suggest that you seek out the help of a talented child/family therapist. You, not your son, should discuss with her the blueprint for behavioral changes on your part and on the parts of other adults who deal with him (e.g. teachers). Designing a new "dance" will be the first step in introducing a more successful, consistent baseline for him to adapt to. You may also offer him the option of seeing his own therapist. Tell him there are people who can help him be happier and learn ways to keep and hold onto friends. Sound upbeat about it and show him the lead through your change of behavior.