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How to deal with ds (age 5) aggressive outbursts? AIBU to ask you what you would do?

(14 Posts)
ReallyReallyNearly Fri 02-Sep-16 19:23:19

I'm at the end of my tether - am I BU in how I am dealing with this - what else can I do?
DS seems to have the general response to anything he dislikes with aggression. Hitting, kicking, head butting and screaming. He can be having a lovely time, being wonderful and the smallest thing makes him explode about something. We have been very clear that ANY aggression means time out and when on time out if he is aggressive again - mainly screaming in that situ - time out starts again. Generally he can then get control of himself and all settles. We follow this with a discussion about what he has done, why, what the right thing to do in that situation would have been etc; then normally this is followed by us discussing how to make it better and doing that- i.e. apologising, clearing up whatever he may have thrown or destroyed.
He logically knows right from wrong, knows what the right thing to do is He has always been a highly strung child but generally is very thoughtful, loving and affectionate but anything outside the norm or not how he wants it and this aggression comes out. It is like he cannot self regulate or control this emotion when it happens but easily reflects afterwards why it was the wrong thing. I believe him when he says he doesn't know why he does it, he then gets really upset and will be in tears at what a 'horrible' boy he is (never our words!), how no-one can love him, everyone hates him. WE reinforce our love for him all the time and have lots of really lovely times with him. Sugar, change, tiredness and hunger are all significant triggers for this behaviour.
We are not an aggressive household, we don't do lots of shouting (though I'll admit sometimes I am just at the end of my tether and will shout), we tend to be firm and clear with boundaries (we have two young boys aged 3 and 5), consistent and calm. But honestly I'm reaching wits end, tonight he has kicked me, head butted his brother and hit my husband - all resulting from an argument with his brother that we were in the middle of solving - i.e. it was under control and then he lashed out
He is just about to go into yr1 so I wonder if this is worrying him as change is a real trigger for this behavior escalating.
Last year school raised ASD but a specialist dismissed this.
How can I help my son - it is so distressing to see him get himself into the state he does and sooner or later he going to hurt himself or his brother badly.

TooGood2BeFalse Fri 02-Sep-16 20:07:28

Watching with interest as my DS is four and very similar - although is slightly speech delayed so I do expect that causes some frustration.

However, he seems to just have a high frustration level in general, not just struggles to communicate. He can be alone in his room playing a game, if the toy breaks or he can't do something with it he'll shout and throw it.

I've just had another baby boy 7 weeks ago so I absolutely cannot relax around him when the two are in the same room in case something goes flying.

ASD also ruled out.

TooGood2BeFalse Fri 02-Sep-16 20:09:23

They sound really similar actually - my son is also incredibly affectionate and loving. He just has the rage!

Interestingly, he is perfect at school and they have never seen him tantrum. So it must be something we are doing wrong blush

fuzzyfozzy Fri 02-Sep-16 20:14:38

Does he behave differently in different situations or for different people?

mustIreally Fri 02-Sep-16 20:17:51

Slightly different for us as my DD is nearly 8 but can explode over very little. We have tried everything - time out, taken toys etc away. But I recently got a book called The Explosive Child by Ross W Greene and its been really good. Her tempers come and go but we are working together to try and help her. She is great at school and only seems to have these tantrums with us at home. I am still at a loss with what to do sometimes but reading this book helped me feel not so alone as most of the temper tantrum help seems aimed at young toddlers. Worth a shot maybe

Greydiddi Fri 02-Sep-16 20:17:52

Also watching as this is my 4.5 DS. He has always been a very intense child, I don't know if he just feels things more deeply and hasn't yet learnt enough self control.

Also at my wits end as to what the best approach is.

99littleducks Fri 02-Sep-16 20:22:37

Just based on my experience with my son aged 4 and a half, time outs made the aggressive behaviour worse. I think it's because the negative behaviour got attention he ended up doing it more.

I'm reading a book called Calmer, Happier, Easier Parenting by Noel Janis Norton. Only on the first chapter wink but there's a lot of emphasis on highlighting good behaviour and ignoring bad. One way is with "descriptive praise" I. E. Saying what you like about any good behaviour and kind of going on about how responsible/sensible etc that makes the child and also having an expectation of that good behaviour from them.

Anyway what I'm trying to get at is that my son has responded very well to this but time out really seems to drag his bad behaviour out. I know that it's really hard with aggressive behaviour, I used to immediately put him on time out for it. But after talking to his teacher (who recommended this book) she suggested a quick "No, we don't do that" and straight away distract or change the topic. Give no attention to that bad behaviour. It is really tough to not make a big deal out of it, for me!

Just to add that my son is also very affectionate and loving but easily frustrated and lashes out like he doesn't have control over it. sad Tiredness makes it worse for him so I try to make sure he gets enough sleep.

Give it a try, it may work for you, if 6its just an attention thing.

99littleducks Fri 02-Sep-16 20:23:51


TooGood2BeFalse Fri 02-Sep-16 20:43:06

I'll try that 99. Thinking about it, the more I try to send the message home that what he's done is wrong, the angrier he gets. He does love praise so probably better to try that route!

bumsexatthebingo Fri 02-Sep-16 20:56:50

My son used to struggle a bit with aggressive outbursts - though more occasionally than it sounds like with your boy. He does have a diagnosis of asd. I would separate hitting from screaming tbh. Hitting I would be reinforcing as completely unacceptable and there would be a negative consequence for that aside from a time out. For ds he was only allowed Ipad time in the evening if he was gentle all day but it will depend on what interests your son as to what will be a good carrot/stick. Alongside that I would watch carefully to see what exactly is triggering the outbursts. Is it when he's told no for eg or when someone invades his space. Once you've worked out the trigger or triggers I would do some roleplay with him when he is calm of the kind of situations he struggles with and practice appropriate responses regularly so hopefully they are at the front of his mind. And be sure to reinforce that it is some behaviour that isn't nice rather than him himself. Good luck!

ReallyReallyNearly Sat 03-Sep-16 08:59:44

Thank you, some good tips there and some good reading material

Onedaftmonkey Sat 03-Sep-16 09:43:46

I too second the Green book am halfway through it. My Ds is exactly the same except he won't listen when we try to reinforce why his behaviour isn't aceptable ect. I am wandering if he has PDA. But our school is so slow at calling the EP that weve now had 2 years of fob offs. Not this year. I am determined to know one way or another so we can be prepared for any eventuality.
Good luck op the book is an excellent reference point and quite cheap on Amazon.

WhirlwindHugs Sat 03-Sep-16 09:53:20

The fact that one specialist has says it's not ASD unfortunately doesn't mean that he definitely doesn't have it. It seems extremely common for parents to be told it's not ASD and then a few years down the line told it is.

Have a look at ASD techniques, even if he doesn't have it there is no harm in trying them.

NotYoda Sat 03-Sep-16 10:05:00

I was going to mention ASD, too

I might also look at the book The Highly Sensitive Child. I'm unsure about the validity of the concept of the HSC, because to me there seemed to be quite a lot of overlap with ASD, but the understanding and approaches were helpful to me with my oldest.

I second the advice to proceed on the basis that he may have some traits and to try to understand and deal with him accordingly

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