What on earth do I do with a violent, abusive 6yo?(25 Posts)
Ds2 is 6 and he is going through a really nasty violent and abusive phase.
Is got to an all time low today when he was asked to stop kicking a football around the playground after school repeatedly.
In the end I said to him that he would be able to add to his reward jar because he had to be asked so many times and want blatantly disobeying.
Cue an almighty melt down, he attacked his brother as we were driving, punching and kicking and tearing at his hair and clothes.
I had to pull over and put DS1 in the front and DS2 in the very back seats.
Next came the screams of
"I hate you, I wish you were dead I want to kill you both right now"
I really don't know how to deal with this, if I put him on time out I'd have to physically hold him there otherwise he hits and kicks me.
I can ground him but he doesn't care.
I can put him to bed early but he won't stay there.
I can remove TV, DS etc but he doesn't care.
How is the best way to respond? I'm lost.
sounds bloody awful for all of you
i know lots of children are really suffering because it's extra hot, it's the end of term etc, but you mentioning the reward jar, how long has this been going on and has it got worse/better at all, are there any good days/worse days i mean
Some kids completely over react when threatened with punishment and can't handle it..? Try a different approach maybe like just asking to stop and why?
Hi op, some of the wording in your post suggests his behaviour has been challenging before and/or for a while. Have the school said anything? I'd probably talk to them and see what they say about how he is getting on there if they haven't broken up for summer now?
Do you have a DP? Or XP? What is his behaviour like?
Maybe a card system? if he gets two yellow cards then it's a punishment that you have discussed beforehand?
So say, you discuss with him that he should never punch another child. If he does, one yellow card = one warning. Second yellow card = second warning. If you do it again it's a red card and you that if you get a red card there is no bedtime tv tonight.
I think that if the rules are black and white, there's a better chance that he will not have a meltdown and stick to the rules.
There is no point giving warnings if nothing happens in the end, and likewise, if a parent gives a punishment without warning of it and making it very clear what will happen if there's a specific behaviour.
I do have a DP, he's great, firm but fun and co distant, both the kids love him but he's not their bio father, they see him once a week (when he can be bothered)
It's not the sort of stuff that he's heard at home at all.
He's always been good at school, he got a great report again this year. He is very shy and lacks confidence at school, he also a stammer that is a lot better than it was after some speech therapy but it does flair up after stressful days occasionally.
When he's calmed down he's lovely, funny, inquisitive and very kind, he adores his baby brother for instance and is always so gentle with him.
It's DS1 he seems to have the problem with, he gets enraged if he sees something as unfair and lashes out at DS1. DS1 has a life limiting illness so he has had a lot of my time for hospital etc but this behaviour is something that's occurred in the past couple of months.
Thank you for all the advice though.
he sounds like a really lovely lad who is struggling with something
have you talked to any other professional about him, other than SALT?
He is loved! All of them are
I haven't spoken to anyone, who would I approach if this was an on going thing? School, GP?
i know, i didn't mean you didn't love him, or favoured any of your children, i was reflecting on your description of his school reports and his way with the younger DC, sorry if it came across that way
No, I didn't think that don't worry
have you approached school before about his behaviour, spoken to his CT, as he's gone into class said 'oohhh, we've had a bit of a morning' or suchlike?
what was his/her reaction?
Have you read about love bombing? I only have a toddler, so I really know nothing about 6 year olds, but it sounds like it might be a really good thing for your son if you could wangle childcare for some time just the two of you?
I agree with rippingyarns Have you had him assessed? Is it at all possible that he has a spectrum disorder, such as PDAS or ODD?
These are spectrum disorders that aren't as easily recognised. Children with PDAS have good social skills and normal IQ.
I had similar with a 4 yo and was at my wits end. Turned out to be extreme tiredness caused by vitamin d deficiency, caused by factor 50 sun cream and an overly cautious queenmarigold. Let him have a bit of sun (45 mins without sun cream was what I was told- per day) and see if it makes a difference. Or get vitamins tabs.
Hi op, despite his difficult behaviour he sounds really capable of being lovely. My ds can be viewed as difficult. I ve had people suggest I get help but honestly I just think some kids find it difficult to manage their emotions. I doubt there's anything wrong with your child. I'm no help at all really but o do agree with one poster who said some children find punishment hard. I don't know the answer but I do think you should consider alternatives to immediate punishment. It doesn't always work.
My eldest has Autism and with it some very challenging behaviours. Including big melt downs, lashing out, threatening to kill and most recently he's been pushing back beyond what I can restrain (he's 9).
We have trialed different coping strategies over the years until we hit upon ones which work. There are two we use that spring to mind that could be worth trialing if you feel it would be appropriate. The first is at school pick up all the frustration is ready to bubble out so its quick as possible to car, i strap him in and have drink/ snack ready.
We have a 7 seater and he has his seat in the boot where his distraction on my driving is limited, his ability to hit his brother and sister is limited, he can't open a door or window. It is however a safe spot for him.
When we get home DS2 has told me about his day and runs off to play with DD and DS1 is ready to talk to me/ have a conversation rather than just exude built up frustration at me.
The second was recomended by the Ocupational therapist recently as something that works - headphones. With or without music. Just to block some of the stimulation of the world out temporarily. Its like sending him to time out without the naughty step element. 'Why not pop your headphones or for a bit darling and have some quiet time'?
The ed Psyc gave me a really good explanation of the adrenalin/ rage/ rationality curve. This is my loose interpretation...
Its a graph like a hill. As we, humans, start to get an adrenalin rush we're climbing the hill and at the same time we loose the ability to rationalise. The greater the level of adrenalin the lower the grasp on reality. In essence as we loose it, theres no point trying to rationalise with us once we're past a certain point, because the adrenalin has taken over and until it disapates we aren't available for discussion. The adrenalin can be released quickly by our primal reason for its generation - physical exertion i.e. running away from the danger, attacking the percieved danger etc or slowly over time allowing our system to return to normal.
For me excepting that DS1 is not available for discussion during an outburst, whilst looking back is bloomin obvious, means that I can except management is the answer and right now headphones and removal to a safe space work. I'd quite like to try a punch bag out too.
We originally had referals for support via school and our GP.
We have also seen some good community paediatricians who have offered good advice - accessible via the GP.
The school may be prepared to put you intouch with the Ed psyc. I find sending an email outlining any concerns is quite effective because if they think its worthy of querying they can just hit forward.
If you have concerns that there is built up resentment, even if its at a subconcious level, between your DC is there a sibling support group that could be accessible via any support groups that exist for your DS1?
I very much hope for you that its just a phase. I love that bit of parenting advice that gets bantered around 'what ever it is its a phase'.
Wow lots of replies thank you
I have mentioned to his class teacher a few times and she always says she'll have chat with him and keep an eye out..
It's such a new thing and apart from that we've never had any major worries or issues so I don't think it's likely to be a spectrum thing however I don't have any real experience with that so I could be wrong.
They both have jars that they fill up with good behaviour to get rewards, it was to combat silly things like whinging and squabbling.
I cannot get child care for any of them so I can't really do love bombing unless I can do it for 10 mins a day, it's a real shame though because I'd love to share some one on one time with him as I've never got to do that but I have with DS1 during long hospital stays when we've been hours away from home.
Sorry forgot to add I'll give those links a read tonight when the baby is asleep
let me know what you think. They might not strike a chord. My son definitely has PDAS but he can be so cute, chatty and sunny when everything's going his way. But those lists were hard for me to read.
Just picking up on what you've said about your other son's illness - is it possible that he is jealous of all the attention you (quite rightly) need to give his brother? It puts me in mind of an old friend whose sister had cancer when they were children, my friend was lovely bUt aware that she had always had a huge need for attention and put it down to the fact that her parents had to give so much of their time to her sister. Does he understand about his brother's condition? Perhaps he is afraid of what will happen and doesn't know how to express that fear?
Have you heard of a book by Ross Greene The Explosive Child?
It may be worth a read. The basic premise is that children that have these explosive outbursts are not doing it deliberately but it's just that they are lagging behind in their development in certain areas ie they are very inflexible and very easily frustrated (my DS to a tee). So in the same way that we would assist children that are struggling in other areas eg reading, then we should assist them here too. The traditional parenting route of reward/punishment and time out wont work with them because they are motivated to do well already it's just that they are truly incapable of it. So essentially you have to change your whole way of looking at their behaviour.
I've just started it so can't say if it works but it has really made me think about things and a few times I've thought he could have been talking about my child, although I would say he's not as extreme as some off the examples.
The issues with my DS have been triggered by sibling jealousy of new DS but in a sense I think it's just exaggerating a personality that was already there as he's always been quite inflexible, easily frustrated, prone to explosions and tantrums, just that he wasn't challenged in the same way as he is now having his new little brother around.
It sounds like you and your family are under a lot of pressure so I hope you manage to work something out
I would absolutely second The Explosive Child. DH picked it up off the shelf of parenting books in our library & I found it really helpful when dd was younger even though she was no-where near as extreme as most of the dc he describes. (Though having said that dd has been on and off referred to the behavioural support people through school, ed psych etc, so I guess she is outside of 'normal' in that sense.)
Lubylu sums it up very well, but the other important thing that he pointed out for me (which really is obvious when you think about it, but easy to lose in the stress of the moment) is that it is at least as horrible for your dc having a meltdown as it is for you, if not more so.
You mention a rewards jar that has to be filled before a reward is given. From what you've said there are lots of positives to be built on. It may be that the length of time before a reward is achieved for positive behaviour is too long so you may need to think about more instant rewards. Rewards don't have to be huge things with this age group - stickers are often enough - and they can be in stages i.e. so many stickers within a day leads to a special sticker. Also negotiating the reward system with your son will also give him ownership and help him start to learn how to manage his behaviour. Don't take away any reward once it has been given but you can also start to discuss consequences of undesirable behaviours once the initial 'heat' of an incident passed. Helping him to think about how others feel about his behaviour. i.e. How do you think Mummy felt when you ......., or How do you think your brother/sister felt when you ..... will also help him to start to understand such behaviours are not acceptable and follow this on with 'what could you do instead next time' will encourage him to identify coping strategies. If siblings / friends are able to they can share their thoughts direct. This is based on a 'restorative justice' approach to promoting positive behaviours which some primary schools are adopting.
Don't want to also state the obvious but always make sure clear, consistent boundaries are in place. Nothing worse for a child when they get mixed messages about what is acceptable and what is not. Sounds like you're in contact with the school and keep this up next term.
Hope these tips help.
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