Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
My ds1 and my other children(69 Posts)
Tonight my ds2 (aged 3) stood in front of me and dd (aged 5), spread his bottom cheeks and said, "Look at my butthole!"
I could have wept. His older brother (aged 7) is bringing all this disgusting language and behaviour into the house and teaching it to his siblings. Words like butt breath, constant (and I mean constant) talk of diarrhoea, poo etc.
It makes me so sad and angry that my younger dcs are losing their childhood innocence far quicker than ds1 did.
Ds1 has had huge anger and defiance issues. He's seen a counsellor for over a year now and his behaviour has improved slightly. As to whether this is him getting older or the counselling, I don't know.
He finds all this foul language hilarious and gets very giddy, hyper and silly to the extent where I look at him and wonder if he's actually sane. He won't stop it regardless of our asking him not to talk of such stuff especially to the younger dcs.
If I do anything like take a toy off him, he gets very abusive and writes stuff like "Mummy is a shit!" on the car windows.
Our relationship is pretty bad. His hostility to my every day requests like teeth cleaning, come sit down for a meal etc is pretty strong.
I can't leave him alone with the dog - the dog bombs into where I am after a few minutes alone with ds1 - or playing with the other dcs because one of them always gets hurt. I may not always see what happens but it's never ds1 hurt or crying.
He just doesn't seem bothered about his behaviour and our requests to modify it. I'm strict with removing toys or privileges but it doesn't change things in the long term. We just clash and clash because he resents my making requests of him and I detest what he brings to the family in terms of foul language and defiant, idiot behaviour. Almost every polite word from me is met with impatience, rudeness and a curled lip at best. He adores his dad who like me, condemns the poor behaviour.
He's only 7 (8 in April) but he has the air of an invincible teenager and thinks nothing of flying off into a rage. The counsellor just thinks he's an intelligent, highly emotional child who cannot handle his intense feelings yet.
I can't see things getting better and am exhausted by the constant conflict. Where does he find the energy for it? I get upset at the thought of him leaving home and never wanting to see me again. But then the thought of not having to deal with him brings me much relief too.
Is there something I'm missing? I've tried the time alone with him, going bowling, the cinema etc and if you're alone with him, it's fine. Otherwise, it's horrible.
Any ideas please?
May I ask - and I really don't want to hurt so apologies for asking - but has the councillor ruled out any SEN type issues? I'm no doctor at all, this sounds intensely distressing. I also have limited boys experience just really didn't want to read and run. I'm so sorry it's so hard and sending hugs....
Just a couple of questions How's his behaviour at school? And has this been a problem that has escalated over time or changed quickly.
My ss was very defiant. He was also very clever but stubborn with it didn't care for punishments, they just seemed make him more determined
No SEN issues identified. He's doing very very well at school - prize winning - and is very well behaved there.
It was because his behaviour is perfect at school that the GP could not refer him. We found out own counsellor who is very understanding and supportive.
It sounds very difficult for you all. As pp said, it may be worth looking at wether or not this is an SEN issue, his school should be able to help here. It might also be worth looking into some family therapy, as it sounds like his behaviour is impacting on all of you.
Hr has been prone to huge hysterics since the age of 2. We just thought it toddler rage but the drama went on and in and on.
We were so desperate after 36 hours of his rage one weekend and that's when we decided we had to tighten out belts and shell out for a counsellor ourselves. He loves her.
I fear for my other dcs thinking this is normal behaviour. They are all well behaved, occasional hissy fit but all normal and so east to manage in comparison.
I just wish he was the youngest so he couldn't influence the others.
I think I need to be clearer about what SEN actually means.
Does anyone else's dc get more and more hyper, making ape like noises and flailing at the meal table?
He does not behave like this outside of our immediate family it has to be said.
He doesn't have many friends either.
I think you need to go back to the gp, his behaviour sounds extreme. I think you should explain that he's hurting your dog, might help to make a referral
Sometimes list worked with ss, so there would be a list of expectations i.e. wash face, clean teeth, helped for a bit as the control was his.
He has been prone to huge hysterics since the age of 2 Was this before or after the birth of dd?
Around dd's birth. I also messed up BIG TIME by stopping bfing him when she was born. Counsellor thinks that has something to do with it but that his behaviour is rather extreme still.
I obviously don't know you, your family or your ds1 but I did teach a wee boy whose parents reported similar difficulties. He had an attachment disorder. He made great progress over just one year with access to a nuture base. Maybe something to consider raising with school or an Ed Psych?
Reminds me of DS1, undiagnosed behaviours, low boredom threshold, high IQ, easily frustrated, silly behaviour, defiant, attention seeking, poor sleep patterns, unable to 'get' other people/friendships. School was good until between 7 and 8.
Does he do sport etc where he can burn off energy and frustration? How does he sleep?
DS1 improved, for few years, in a prep school on a scholarship where they did an hour and half a day sport! They also had very high academic expectations.
He needed both physical challenge and intellectual stimulation and strict routine.
DS1 slipped back in his teens to pain in arse! He is now 24, still doesn't sleep well and needs constant stimulation or is a real pain. He works up to 80hrs a week or doesn't know what to do with himself!
I send my heartfelt sympathies!
Shit Midlife. Snap. He's a crap sleeper. Could go to bed at midnight and still up at 5.45am.
He thinks nothing of waking up the whole house at this hour or earlier by being really noisy or crawling into my bed from the bottom and tickling me.
He is pushed hard at school. Hes not bored there. sport every day at school plus karate 2 x per week and football on Sat am. Plus piano. If I don't get him to do extra stuff, he is just not tired.
I'm scared he will get into drugs when he's older as a two fingers up at me.. He LOVES computer games but I won't let him play those now because of the total hysterics he had when I ask him back to earth for food or bedtime.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I read the 123 Magic book and never looked back. Ds is now 6 and we use the techniques explained in the book, this book was actually recommended to us by a child behaviourist. Not for everyone granted but for us it's worked a treat!
It sounds incredibly stressful, OP.
One thing I wonder though is how does your DS1 know those words in the first place? Where does he hear language like that?
I would talk to your GP and explain how he is with the dog and the other children. I worry that his behaviour will become sexualised at a young age, too, and would hate for your other children to fall victim to that.
Are you saying that you breastfed your ds1 until he was 2yo or thereabouts and that you abruptly ceased to breastfeed him after the birth of your dd?
You've said that he's well-behaved 'outside of the immediate family'. Does your definition of 'immediate family' include dgps, aunts/uncles, cousins, or is it you/your dh and his siblings?
Is his behaviour more acceptable when his df is around or does he continue to exhibit the same level of hostility towards you?
FWIW, the 'disgusting language' you've referred to is not uncommon in children of his age, particularly boys, who can go through a phase of taking great delight in repeating words that describe bodily functions ad nauseum and showing off his 'butt hole' is par for the course.
Did you adopt a suitably unimpressed demeanour and ignore his display? If not, how did you react?
How long has he been seeing a private counsellor and what is her specialism?
Having re-read your responses, I note that he has been seeing a private counsellor for the past year. How many sessions per month does he attend? What strategies or therapy has she advised for addressing/counteracting his inappropriate behaviour?
Two additional question: have you been a sahm since ds1's birth and has his school expressed any concern about his behaviour?
I stopped bfing him 4 weeks after dd was born. It wasn't as abrupt as suddenly stopping but it was that gradual either. Say from 3 feeds per down to 1 in a week. I feel great shame about that but I was freaked out by random feeding a newborn and a toddler.
He sees his counsellor every Saturday morning. She says ignore mild bad behaviour, give warnings and then put him in his room for punishment.
I have been a SAHM all this time.
He behaves badly with me, his father and siblings. And with my parents around but not dh's. They have seen flashes of it because they've been here for a whole weekend but never the full extent. He seems to be able to control himself in certain situations.
The counsellor suggested a meeting with his teacher last year. She was astounded at the behaviours we had described to her. The counsellor wanted to keep the school in the loop. There are no problems at school for him at all. He thrives there. I mean he gets into trouble for being slow in the changing room but nothing major at all.
That's tandom, not random feeding.
He definitely tries to play off his dad and me. He has always preferred his dad even from as young as 5 months - he would only be soothed by his dad.
So we have struggled to be united - I don't think we even realised how skilfully he was dividing and ruling us. It's better now in that we have established a hierarchy of action if he misbehaves and what to do if one of us is losing our temper.
I know kids are fascinated with bodily functions but he goes on and on and on about it. I timed him once on a car journey. He was talking and sniggering about diarrhoea, butt holes etc for 118 minutes despite my asking him to stop it.
It's his influence on my younger dcs. A 3 year old saying , "Look at my butt hole," and spreading his cheeks upsets me.
What happens when ds1 hears about sex from wherever? Is he going to come home and go on and on and on about it to the others in a sniggering, tittering way?
I know I can't stop this kind of knowledge but it's that coupled with all his other behaviours, it just feels like he's not altogether there and that he really doesn't get appropriate behaviour despite our constant boundary setting.
Sometimes I just feel disgusted with him and with me because I feel it's all out of my control and I'm useless with him.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
We have labelled him as difficult, you are right.
We ignore him or put him in his room whenever he shows unacceptable behaviour. We have done this for the last two years having realised that trying to get through to him when he's in the red mist is impossible.
It's very hard to ignore a child when you are driving on the motorway and he has unbuckled his seat belt and is throwing his booster seat about, screaming until he is red in the face. Why? Because you told him that we have to go to the supermarket.
It's also very hard to ignore a child when they trash their bedroom or refuse to get ready for school or run through the house, upstairs and downstairs screaming throughout.
So, whether we have labelled him as difficult or if he is actually difficult, who knows?
We absolutely ignore where possible but the influence on the younger dcs is worrying me too.
He's attention seeking - and you are giving him negative attention - any attention to an attention seeker is good attention.
He is an attention seeker pure and simple - he can manage his behaviour for other people - ie school/GPs
By now his councellor should haved identified why he has the need to demand all your attention - and that probably comes from jealousy of your other, younger children, who take up more of your time.
My eldest was like this, although by the time he hit secondary school he gave them the ride of their life as well "sigh^, he's just coming through the other side now he's 17.
He hasn't affected the other children at all, who if anything think he's a bit of a prat.
Eventually your younger children will resent him because he takes up all of your time and they will feel marginalised.
I don't have the answers, I couldn't find them myself.
Have you tried filming him? It would be good for the counsellor (for whom he can obviously behave) to see him as he is at home. You could also record him on your phone, perhaps.
How would he respond if you said, "Right well if you don't stop that kind of talk I'm going to record you and play it back to your teacher. What do you think she'll think of this?"
Yes I've filmed him and shown the film to his counsellor. Threatened to show it to teachers too. He went beserk when I was filming him and beserk again when I said I'd show it to the teacher. And later that day, he acted up again.
I actually think he is a prat too. Infuriating prat a lot of the time, desperate for any kind of attention.
I will continue to ignore and ignore some more. And keep him busy to occupy him.
You sound like you really, really need a break. Is there any way you could have a few days away, just to get a rest from it all?
Also, finding a support network of people who are in similar situations is essential.
Dies he ever spend the night away from you ie with grandparents or aunts/uncles??
Sounds really tough. Could you afford an assesment by an ed psych?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Am I the only one who thinks it's a bit weird to be still breastfeeding older children, and at the same time as the next one? It seems to say more about the parent not being able to let go. I wonder if he got a lot of your total undivided attention before DD came along, then reacted badly to a sudden necessary withdrawal.
Best, it's called tandem feeding. I guess it could be considered unusual but if you prefer weird then that's fine.
Fwiw, it's not something I have done again since. I bf until all my dcs (I have 4) are 2 and then wean.
Tandem feeding isn't weird. I don't even think it's that unusual
Am I the only one who thinks it's a bit weird to be still breastfeeding older children, and at the same time as the next one? It seems to say more about the parent not being able to let go.
No, you're not the only one who thinks this bestsonever. Sadly. It's a misconception held by many people.
All tandem breastfeeding really seems to say is that a woman has two children who are both being breastfed. Nothing else.
Everything, every single symptom you have described sounds exactly like my DS1 who is nearly 7. He has ADHD.
Although I should add he is also difficult at school too & I understand that's a criteria for diagnosis (difficulties in at least 2 settings).
I have no advice but you haven't sympathy.
You have my sympathy that should be!
Apologies for coming back with more questions but, given that you have 4 dc of which your 7yo ds is presumably the eldest, are you saying that you breastfed your now 5yo dd until she was 2yo? If so, did you stop bfeeding her before or after the birth of your 3yo ds?
When your dd was born, you've said that you went from '3 per to one a week' with ds1. Is this 3 breastfeeds per day to one a week or 3 per week to one?
Do you wean your dc to a bottle or to a training or ordinary cup?
His behaviour sounds like ADHD which my 9 yr old daughter has been diagnosed with. She uses the most awful language. It is as if she has tourettes and can't stop saying rude words but ten minutes after she has taken her medication (low dose) she has stopped swearing. It's like flicking a switch.
However what is odd in your son's case is that he doesn't have problems in school. In my dd's case the issues were more extreme in school than at home from the age of 4.
This child's behavioural issues only manifest in his home/in the company of his immediate family.
While his behaviour as described by the OP may appear to have traits in common with ADHD, there's nothing wrong with this child's attention span as evidenced by his excellent progress in school.
Nor, again from what the OP has said, does he have any SEN that being on the G&T register can't address.
Hi again Izzy. Thanks for responding.
With my ds1, it should have read I went from 3 feeds per day to 1 per day in a week. He was upset by this but accepted it pretty quickly. He was already drinking from cups and eating very well by that stage.
I have bf'd my dd and ds2 until they were 2, yes. But because I was so uncomfortable tandem feeding with ds1 and dd and I saw that it has upset ds1 to stop when another baby is in the scene, I made sure there was no overlap in my subsequent children.
So, there is a gap of 2.5 years between them and almost 3 between ds2 and ds3 (12 weeks).
I should add that after the following week of only one feed per day, I stopped bfing him altogether.
It was abrupt. He was very upset. I was freaked out by feeding a newborn and a toddler. I was shocked by how strongly I felt.
I had researched tandem feeding and figured all would be fine doing it. I wanted to because of all the benefits still available to an older child. I feel like I ripped ds1's security away.
He'd also started nursery two sessions per week six weeks before dd was born. We felt he would enjoy it and that it would give him a separate world just for him once the baby was here. I thought it would help him adjust, confer big boy status etc.
I made a pig's ear.
My DS4 who is nearly 8 is exactly the same . ADHD has been mentioned but he mainly contains himself at school (or rather the school does not think he has a problem but seem to hand out to him a lot of yellow and red cards and he was the child in the class who had the least headteacher awards ).
Unfortunately family dynamics has a lot to play in our case, he is the youngest of 4 boys, 2 of his siblings have ASD (hence ADHD has been mentioned as it is connected to ASD), he likes to be the centre of attention etc, etc......
He is also very bright (being sent on an enrichment program by the school for maths).
Clutching at straws, I have bought Love Bombing here - I will let you know how I get on .
Good luck, you have my utmost sympathy.
I would also say that my DS is surrounded at school by DC who also have a lot of male older siblings so the language is choice at times. Even his male class teacher (who is quite young) said this particular class is the most "male", boisterous class he had ever taught and admitted he struggled at the beginning .
Are all these dcs that sound similar to mine dry at night by any chance? Ds1 still has a very full pyjama pant every morning. I wonder if there is a link. Who knows?
Love bombing is a good idea even if it doesn't improve behaviour as such. I mean, ds1 still behaves badly but I know he loves 1 on 1 time with his dad (preferably!) but he'll make do with me too.
My DS has ongoing bowel issues and is on 2 Movicol a day. He wasn't dry at night til 6.5 and we still have the occasional wet bed. The bowel issues don't appear to be linked to his diet and we are hopeful he will grow out of it (leaking etc).
I think a lot of the problem for us is the number of DCs we have (my last 3 were born within 5 years), all being boys and the fact that you really can't give them all the attention they deserve. I was one of 4 (all born within 6 yrs of each other) but being girls, we seemed happy to go off and play together so mum could get on IYSWIM (my mum had no washing machine and was washing nappies by hand so really didn't have any time).
Life is more stressful now too. I asked my mum if she could remember it being like I find it ie school runs, packed lunches, sheer amount of paper coming home from the schools, after school clubs etc. Mine are at 3 different schools so my school run takes an hour in the afternoon plus the stress of trying to park, be time etc. When we were kids, we all had school dinners (there was no choice), we all walked to school with older kids, school started at 9.00am and finished at 4.00pm (why did that change?) so mothers had more time to get everything done. I have to get my first to school by 8.30 and start the afternoon run at 2.35 just to park (and I have to use my car to get to the other schools on time, we are not on a bus route for older one and the council decided to split up the 1st & middle school which are now a mile apart ). My dad did the afternoon run with my mum the other day as we were away and nearly had a cononary! Told my mum he wouldn't want to do it too often!
My ds4 just wants attention most of the time, his older siblings don't really play with him that much or that well which doesn't help the situation. DH & I am trying to change the way we react to him as it really isn't helpful or working but DH is extremely stressed with the business and DS4 knows which buttons to press. Ds4 probably gets more attention that the others put together whether good or bad, they are clever really.
I have actually made a decision to try and cut back on stuff we do so not so much running around and spend more quality time with them so this holiday we have been doing board games in the afternoon as weather is rubbish etc and sod the housework.
Sorry for the long post.
Countingto10. Bloody hell. You are definitely under the cosh with the amount of haring about you do. You must be bracing yourself for the new term! Is there any chance of car shares/lift timetables with other parents?
In terms of games, ds1 loves battleships. Quite handy as you can play it anywhere on paper! Cars Monopoly and Guess Who also popular.
sorry to state the obvious but are you praising the good? it's great you're trying so hard to ignore the bad behaviour but the other half of that strategy is the praising the good supposedly even if it is minute things that don't feel all that impressive.
i really think you have to stop beating yourself up about the breastfeeding business and nursery etc - some kids are good at picking up on maternal guilt and playing it like a fiddle.
also if he loves one on one time so much use that as a reward - obviously you can't cut it out totally so the reward would be 'extra' one on one time. so if you had a chart that monitored stuff all week there could be mini ones for each day he does well (a game of battleships with dad or something) and the opportunity to win a big one if the whole week is good overall.
sorry no great ideas - it sounds really bloody tough but please do knock the guilt on the head and stand firm so he can't play you.
i do find the coincidence of toilet problems and behaviour problems interesting - have a nephew who was similar and heard of lots of others. from a psychotherapy perspective it's interesting that the toileting 'phase' of development is linked to behaviour and boundaries and the tension between authority v autonomy. not sure i believe in those theories mind despite studying them for years. i'm wondering more if there is a physiological link between developing healthy toilet control and emotional control - as in brain development.
We have been told by a psychologist who we are seeing re DS3's food phobia and discussed DS4 that the brain doesn't mature in these children til 8/9 and hopefully the behaviour should moderate then. She was from Eastern Europe and felt that children in this country (especially boys) start formal education for too young and before they are ready for it.
Maybe the school hours I mentioned before are something to do with it too - DS4 is always rushing his lunch to go out and play because they only have half an hour break. When I was at school we had a whole hour, half an hour hot meal and half an hour play, plus morning and afternoon break and there were certainly no kids with extreme behaviours in my school. In fact it is all probably to do with how life is lived now - the thread in chat about 70's & 80's childhoods and the freedom and control kids had over their own play and life etc, the freedom to roam etc - ok not so good in some respect but much healthier in others. I hardly ever saw my mum in the school holidays then, out with friends going everywhere with no real restrictions. I even remember at the age of 10 going on the bus to the middle of Brighton to the cinema with my 5 yr old brother to get him out of my mum's hair (2p return fare - showing my age) - would anyone contemplate letting a child to that now?
I have started the Love Bombing book and it is about letting the child have full control of the time and play so maybe freedom does have something to do with it. Even at school they do not have enough time for proper play.
I have an active 9 year old who can be a PITA, though like as bad as yours. Also he is the youngest.
Couple of things:
- he is an active boy but doesn't have many friends / emotionally immature for his age perhaps? Does he get on ok at break times at school?
- as the oldest, can you give him so more control? Chores, jobs, tidy his bedroom? Though maybe initial refusal, should get into it.
- look for places to praise - not just academic, sport but emotional skills (kind, helpful, thoughtful, funny) DS1 counsellor - said that kids with low self esteem often don't see when they themselves are being kind and in fact can be kind.
- bunker down it will get easier
- is he year 3? New school perhaps
- maybe he is working so hard to hold his emotions together at school that it explodes at home
- kinesiology / cranosacrial therapy. Kids can be so highly strung that they are unable to let go. Stress affects kids as well
I haven't forgotten you, Winky
Thank you for the clarifcation - I asked if you had been a sahm throughout because I wondered whether ds1 was in any form of childcare at the time of dd's birth or shortly thereafter.
How old was ds1 when you began toilet training and how old was he when he stayed dry throughout the day and was able to toilet himself?
In saying 'he has a full pyjama pant every morning', are you referring to excreta? If so, does he also excrete during the day? Have you established whether there is any medical cause for his lack of control at night?
Did the '36 hours of his rage one weekend' that motivated you to seek private counselling for him occur shortly after you gave birth to ds3 or were you heavily still pregnant at the time?
What was his reaction to the birth of ds2?
Umm, I agree that your labelling him has contributed to the problem. You called him a prat!
FWIW, you're overstressing about the obsession with bums & poos. It's normal for his age and no child should be expected to censor themselves in front of their siblings - do you want to add shame to his burden, and make him morally responsible to his younger sibs? He's a seven year old child. You are the adult; your responsibilities include educating all of your kids in appropriate behaviour & vocabulary.
You're clearly not doing too bad a job of it, as DS1 is good at school. It looks most likely, then, that you have unwittingly created this problem, and are prolonging it with your blame, dislike and labelling of the poor kid.
Other posters with similarly bright, energetic children have offered good advice imo. Above all, go with the love bombing. It may feel weird but will do your whole family a lot of good.
Izzy's questions are highly relevant to the possibility of an attachment disorder. If you're the kind of person who prefers to understand the theories rather than be told what to do by an old-fashioned nanny ( !), try reading up on it.
I second your recommendations for the 123-Magic and How To Talk books.
Garlic, I've done/am doing love bombing. Dh and I do mother/father-daughter/son days throughout the year where each child gets at least half a day alone with each parent. I'd say they get one each every six weeks. Obviously I have to take ds3 with me because he is 12 weeks and ebf.
You sound slightly censorious in your post. I'm am totally taking heed of other's recommendations and have been waiting with interest for Izzy's responses.
Ds1 does behave like a prat a lot of the time IMO.
I'm not saying he is morally responsible at all. What I have been saying in my posts in that I am unable to get him to behave I the way I would like. That is what makes me sad and feel i cannot make a difference to this child's behaviour and any negative influence he may have my other dcs. He does not respond to positive reward or negative punishment and is often in hysterics or anger at the slightest request I make of him.
When he is well behaved, we are SO grateful and relieved, we lavish him with praise. Lack of praise really isn't a problem here.
Hi again Izzy.
Ds1 was 2 1/2 when he refused to wear nappies in the day. He was running around naked in the garden in the summer, did a poo and was displeased by this that he demanded I take him to the loo all the time since then! It was easy apart from nighttime.
He only wees at night and sometimes so much his bed is wet even though he wears those pants for 8-15 year olds. I've tried taking him to the loo but he still needs the pyjama pants. The GP said not to worry - it's very common and to come back when he's 10.
His 36 hours of rage one weekend occurred when ds2 was 2 years and 3 months old. It was a very intense weekend with him kicking off and going mental at everything. He only has hysterics two or three times a day now at the weekend.
He seems to like ds2. They sometimes have a laugh together as he does with dd. When ds2 was born, ds1 was fine. Curious, interested, helpful. When dd was born, he would try to attack her, hitting her with toy cars etc.
I'll be in the kitchen and they will be having argy bargy in the play room and it is always one of the younger dcs who ends up crying or upset. Maybe that's because he's older/bigger. The younger two definitely do their fair share of trouble making though for which they get reprimanded.
I just don't get the hysteria that is his default reaction and his refusal to behave in an appropriate way when we ask him.
Perhaps the hysteria and refusal is the only way he's learnt (so far) to handle how he feels and he sees no value/incentive in trying to find an alternative?
You could try completely ignore the hysteria, walking away etc and then speak to him later once he's calmed down, asking him what he would have liked to happen instead etc?
Does he show any concern about his nocturnal enuresis? How do you manage it - do you, or have you at any time, become angry and/or express blame/negativity?
If he has spent overnights with others, has he wet the bed on those occasions? Does he wet the bed when/if you are on holiday or staying away from home?
Do you restrict his fluid intake before bedtime and does he urinate before going to bed?
With regard to the 36 hour period of rage, did he sleep or nap during this time and can you recall what triggered it, or what occurred immediately beforehand?
Does he require accompanying to the toilet when he is at school? What happens if you/your dh are not immediately available to take him to the toilet at home?
Yh, Random, you mean like toddler tantrum management? I'd assumed you were doing this, Winky, but does DS1 have a safe 'angry' place where he can go to punch cushions, cry, tear down Lego buildings or whatever? How does he respond to getting lots of love after a tantrum, and being given genuine listening to his worries?
He's really embarrassed about needing pyjama pants. It's tricky because he's now getting asked over on sleep overs. He's reluctant to go because of his embarrassment but he also really wants to go. I say he can get into his pyjamas in secret in the bathroom when he goes on a sleepover. He's not done it yet so I've invited friends over for him instead. He comes into my room to get ready for bed so nobody is aware of his pyjama pants.
Dd has teased him about it and she told one or two of his friends and poor ds1 was mortified. She got into big trouble. He knows we are on his side and trying to help him. He nearly went purple with embarrassment when I took him to the GP after his 7th birthday. I felt so sorry for him but we had to find out if there was a physical problem.
He does go to the loo before bed and no drinks after 6.30pm. He has lights off at 7.30am. On holiday, we do the same discreet changing into pyjamas and hiding the pyjama pants in the morning. We shared a gite with another family this summer and so we got really deft at it! He wet the bed maybe twice in 4 weeks whilst we were away.
Occasionally, I've shown annoyance about the wet bed especially if I'm tired. But generally, we are pretty neutral about it - this is the way it is, it's fine and maybe one day he'll be without the pyjama pants. I just wonder if there's a link between that and his general upset. They say children wet the bed when they're really miserable, don't they?
What triggered his rage on the weekend we decided we were/are completely out of our depth and needed help? His 36 hour rage marathon started on a Friday night after school - fair enough, tired etc. But he didn't get to sleep until gone ten because he was ranting in his bed. Then up early as usual - at that point (it was the weekend of 28th-29th February 2012 - I took notes) he was getting up at 5am.
He raged from the point he woke me up at 5am and wanted to play on the iPad (another noted trigger for his anger). I said no and he kicked off. He was sent back to his room but his rage and banging around woke up the whole house.
It didn't stop, from everything from my putting a splash of milk in his porridge to cool it down to my asking him to do his reading homework as opposed to not being allowed to watch telly for more than 1 hour. He lost one of his Hero Factory toys for that lot. He went mental at that too. Talking to him, explaining to him why the toy was confiscated just didn't work. He got warnings too.
Asking him to come to the table from his room (he'd been sent to his room 3 times by this point) for lunch angered him too. He came eventually and started yelling how disgusting the food was - roast chicken, roast spuds etc. He was sent up to his room again for that. He came down when calm and ate a bit of his lunch. He was quiet and alone at the table but not in the room as I was clearing stuff away into dishwasher etc. Dd asks for the heating on, ds1 screams he doesn't want it on.
Then we had to go and buy shoes - ds1 and dd had grown out of school shoes. He didn't want to go so dh said he'd stay home with him then but he went beserk at that prospect as well even though he adores his dad. We take dcs out to the car. He ran into the middle of the road, refused to move. I am terrified. I pull him onto the pavement, bundle him in the car, desperate to strap him in, child lock on doors so he cannot pull such a stunt again.
In the car, he started throwing his booster seat around, renting at his jumper trying to pull the buttons off in a rage. I was petrified as we were then on the motorway and he was going to hit the other kids with it. Got off the road and calmed him down. Sat him in the front so he couldn't injure anyone else. We were sweating buckets at this point.
Managed to get shoes bought and home again but not before he had kicked me and thumped my thighs in the shop, telling me he hated me and wanted a different mother, I was not his mother etc. And not before he had hidden behind a car three cars away from ours in the car park for 5 minutes. We couldn't find him.
He asked for his Hero Factory toy back at home. This was refused because of his appalling and again, he went beserk. I am in tears, the younger dcs are so distressed. We send him to his room and we go into the playroom to try and develop some calm normality for them. Ds1 in his room with dh. He is told by dh he may have his Hero Factory toys back again if he is calm and well behaved. He suddenly calms down and appears to have self control. It is now 5.30pm. We are all utterly exhausted and I feel like I am hiding from him with the other dcs.
I make supper and we manage to get through that meal without too much upset. A spot of telly whilst I tidy up then it's bath and bed. We are totally exhausted. Dcs get their stories but ds1 decided one is not enough and shouts and screams in his bed until 8.20pm (50 mins) until he falls asleep.
And the next day begins in pretty much the same vein. We explain to him what will happen if he doesn't do the small things we ask, we ask nothing that is surprising (teeth cleaning, meals, homework), we reward good behaviour and we tell him what he loses if he doesn't cooperate. We sound like Stasi officers but we do explain why he needs to do these things.
Having said all that, we haven't had a weekend quite as bad as that since he started seeing his counsellor. He will still kick off but it can be hours between each outburst so we are walking on eggshells less and less.
However, nothing seems to work long term or permanently. His room has become the area to which he is sent when misbehaving. When he comes down after his specified time in there is up, we ask him to apologise and we hug him sometimes and try to get back to normal.
He's started waking a bit later or getting out of his room a bit later in the mornings now. I greet him from my bed as he goes to the loo and I ask him to hop into bed with me for a hug. I tell him I love him and how I hate that fact he seems so angry and all churned up and can we try and have a day without shouting. He lies there, like a board listening to me but not really responding.
I know it's me. I had another child too soon and it totally rattled him and now he is venting his anger about his sense of being rejected. I'm so worried he's not going to be able to get past this, that we, his parents cannot help him.
I sound utterly self pitying - sorry. The counsellor is definitely helping but I wonder if he needs more.
No, no, you don't sound self-pitying. It's clearly a taxing way to live.
Really good to hear the counselling makes a difference Has his counsellor offered out any advice to you and DH at all?
I was wondering whether continued emphasis on 'misbehaviour' leaves him feeling invalidated. I'd be interested to know whether other posters feel it might be more constructive to refer to his anger, rage or, indeed, tantrums rather than bad behaviour or being a nuisance, etc.
When I asked about a safe place - which is his bedroom; great that he's got one - I wasn't thinking of banishment for bad behaviour, as much as somewhere safe to let off steam. When emotional overload is addressed explicitly, it's then easier to encourage the child to work through what they were feeling, what prompted it and what may helpfully happen now. Not a punishment but assistance, iyswim.
I tell him I love him and how I hate that fact he seems so angry and all churned up and can we try and have a day without shouting.
Winky, I understand this may not be an accurate representation of your morning chats, but all the same I fear it may sound like conditional love to your child. Do you have cuddles where the 'problems' aren't mentioned at all, just an interested chat about stuff in his life or a game.joke? If you do, does he lie unresponsive then too?
Thank you for your long response which has provided an informative picture of what's has been, and is, going on with your very unhappy little boy.
There are plenty of families with a 2 year or less age gap between 1st & 2nd dc where the eldest is flourishing on every level so please disabuse yourself of the notion that you had another child too soon.
When you greet him in the morning, may I suggest you make no reference to his behaviour the day before or set out any expectations of his behaviour for the day ahead as it seems to me that, in being reminded on a daily basis of falling short of your expectations, he is to some extent being set up to fail.
I would also suggest that you give consideration to not sending him to his room when he misbehaves; any child conflicted by an attachment disorder craves the security of being included, not excluded, in the family unit at all times.
As I do not advocate the use of a specified 'naughty spot', nor am I in favour of this method of teaching or reinforcing the advantages of compliancy to a child, I suggest the next time he misbehaves you simply tell him to sit where you can see him for a short period of time while he reflects on what's occurred before asking him if he is ready to apologise, and that you constantly vary where he sits according to which room you are in and which seats are available.
When he apologises always give him a hug, tell him how proud you are of him and how much you love him, and make no reference whatsoever to his behavior
I intend to write
a lot more in the coming week or so, but for the time being I would ask you to act on these two suggestions and please report back as to how he adapts to not being sent to his room.
It's expedient to organise one bedtime for dc that are close in age, but I would ask you to further consider introducing a later bedtime, say, half an hour for him. He can be bathed, dressed in pyjamas, and be told a story with his siblings but can then enjoy a further period of time alone with you before you put him to bed.
Well, do you know, I never thought of having an unconditional chat with him. You're right. Just me and him talking about anything or nothing of any consequence in the mornings before anyone else is awake. Great idea. Will try that next time.
I'm trying to think of a space where he could vent his spleen safely. His bedroom is probably the safest - we live in a 3 bed house - but then he associates that with punishment. So, are you saying, Garlic, that if we tell him he's in his room to work his anger out perhaps with his dad or me there as opposed to a punishment, it may have a different effect?
I feel like a chump fumbling for the light switch. Ds1 is far brighter than any of us!
Okay so you think he has an attachment disorder? As a child, I never let him cry for long, had him with me or dh all the time. However, when I went into hospital to have dd, my mother looked after him in our house and she said he was distraught with me or dh. I had two visits to the hospital where he was distraught - one false alarm about labour and one actual labour. Could that have been the start of it?
I'll follow the advice about not sending him to his room.
"It's expedient to organise one bedtime for dc that are close in age, but I would ask you to further consider introducing a later bedtime, say, half an hour for him. He can be bathed, dressed in pyjamas, and be told a story with his siblings but can then enjoy a further period of time alone with you before you put him to bed."
I do this already. We all go upstairs, everyone undressed and into pyjamas, all listen to first batch of stories, dd and ds2 into their bed. Ds1 into my bed with me and ds3 who is feeding whilst I read ds1 his story. He gets his 30+ minutes and he seems deeply uncomfortable whilst I am reading his story to him. I will try without the baby there.
I'm very grateful for you taking the time to help me, Izzy and Garlic. Thank you so much.
Winky, I'm delighted to hear you'll chat 'unconditionally' with him, that's great news!
As to the room, Izzy's logic makes sense too, and I look forward to reading of your experiment
Can I recommend this book, Playful Parenting. The idea is that kids act out when they feel isolated or powerless. Kids aren't adults, and because their language skills aren't great yet, they don't naturally deal with their emotions by talking about stuff. Instead, they deal with their emotions through play. By playing with your dcs in a particular way, and the book tells you what to do, you can make them feel less isolated and more powerful. Consequently, their behaviour improves. It's a very kind book. And it seems to work remarkably well. It's written by a play therapist.
I suspect a bit of 1, 2, 3 Magic may also help for when lines are actively being crossed.
Just been on the 'Look Inside' of that play book, neo. It's great!
Haven't got much experience or advice, but just wanted to mention about poo/bum hole talk. I have 4 and 6 year old boys and, although to begin with it grated, I now often join in with them! Not necessarily saying it's best practice, but I honestly think it shouldn't be a taboo. My dc know we don't talk like that with others (apart from family) but they know they can be silly at home. One mention of an arse crack and they're hysterical! You have to try to enjoy your kids
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.