5 year old who hurts family(114 Posts)
Does anyone have a 5 ish year old with a spiteful temper? My daughter has started hitting out at us (her parents) and sibling. She gets really angry and overreacts to stuff and then gets violent. I fear it's getting worse. Today she has pinched me and left a huge bruise. I actually started crying it was so painful even though it's just a pinch. She is an angel at school and so I know she doesn't have a behaviour problem as she is choosing to be nasty at home. I feel I have to stamp this out now while she's little but anything I do she just screams and I have to think of the neighbours too. She is making things miserable and im not liking the school holidays much. Anyone else?
There still could be a problem at school. At home is where they feel safe to let all the bad stuff out. I would start there with her teacher and ask how things are, what she's doing at home and could they keep an eye out.
What are the consequences when she does this?
I really don't think there is a problem at school. She's doing very well, has friends and likes her teachers. She likes school. The consequences are that she's had toys taken away, outings cancelled (although this also affect she siblings) and she's been spoken to when she's calm about how the behaviour is upsetting and when she is calm she accepts this and then next time she is angry it goes out of the window. The more it continues the more 'normal' it will seem to her and the rest of the family and it needs to stop. Just don't know how to get through to her. I'm sick of the screaming and hurting people.
So she has no problems at all? No anxiety, nothing?
I know a couple of people who had anger issues (though none of them ever were violent!) due to untreated depression, but that usually goes hand in hand with other issues - anxiety, other depression symptoms, et cetera.
Since you say your daughter is reasonable when she's calm, perhaps this could be it.
How is her behaviour otherwise? Is she nasty and inconsiderate at other times, or only when she's angry?
You are right, OP - this needs to be stopped asap.
Address DD about her behaviour when she is in calm state, and ask how she feels when she decides to lash out at you. Explain that pinching, hitting etc are not acceptable and the consequences of doing so (pick something appropriate). She is old enough to understand this.
Replace the hitting with another "special sign" she can give you to express her frustration, eg picking up a certain object. Then you will do your best to help her.
Let your other dc have a later bedtime. Usually sorts my dd right out if her sis gets to stay up!
You say you have spoken when calm about how the behaviour is upsetting but have you asked her why she does it?
Can you help her come up with a plan for how to act when she starts to get angry? Give her somewhere safe to go to until she is calm?
Are you certain she isn't struggling to cope with school such that she keeps a lid on it all day and vents in the relatively safer environment at home? Quite common among children with Specific Learning Difficulties.
I recommend implementing 123 Magic by Thomas Phelan. Works great.
And agree you and she need to learn the cues of her aggression building and offer a safe space to calm down.
I was also thinking SEN children often mask it at school and then let it all out at home. Quite common.
It may be something is bothering her. It may be she has poor impulse control and a big temper. Work with her to find and recognise her triggers and signs of escalation, then to find a more acceptable way to express her anger - stamping her foot, tell you she
hates is angry with you, whatever.
With ds2 inability to control his temper is always due to incipant illness, tiredness, hunger or having fallen out with friends at school. Always.
This is my DD, even down to the description of how she is at school. However, I know what causes it (she is adopted, and has a degree of attachment issues that manifest through challenging behaviour with those she loves most - particularly me), though that doesn't stop it hurting any less.
PLease don't discount problems at school, even if it's as simple as she hates being away from home / you. Or that she wants to play up at school too (even in a small way) but tries really hard to maintain the great behaviour so it "boils over" when she gets back to a safe environment
Things that we have found helpful:
- reading books like 'When Leo said I Hate You"
- watching and discussing the film Inside Out
- shorter times at school (no breakfast club, no afterschool club)
- reassurance that we still love her, no matter what
- consequences, but ones that are easily reversible with good behaviour (eg toys get put on a high shelf, not thrown away or put out of sight)
My 5 year old doesn't hurt us but he has a shocking temper. I was actually going to post about it and ask about anger management for little ones.
He flares up so quickly and just won't listen to reason. Goes into meltdown when I try to deal with it.
Talking about it when he's calm doesn't get us anywhere.
The other day he got stung on his hand (or maybe a splinter - we're not sure). He was in actual hysterics for 2 HOURS before we managed to get him to accept a remedy for his hand - at which point the pain went and he calmed down and was happy again. But his hysterics really shocked and frightened me.
Sorry I don't have any answers but you're not alone.
I think it's really worth thinking about whether she's hiding anger about something at school or at home. At home I'd be thinking about sibling issues - new baby, newly mobile or talking baby. Relationship problems she might be picking up on - children are very sensitive to others' emotions
Triggers: tiredness and hunger
Hearing problems >> tiredness and frustration.
I think that in terms of discipline, natural consequences are the best 0 throwing a toy - toy gets taken away.
My now 16 year old had a bad temper at this age - would throw things, shout and kick. He has mild ASD traits and school was hard for him. He behaved really well there but was exhausted by it.
My 6 year old has sensory issues and gets very anxious and frustrated and hits out. I've learnt to be constantly on the watch for triggers and try to keep things as calm and unpressured as possible. Sometimes distracting her or making a game out of things that need to be done helps. I suspect that she has mild ASD but she only ever shows these behaviours at home so I see no point in pursuing a diagnosis as the school wouldn't support us.
I wonder if the child ( and others) are under undue pressure at school. This is bottled up and let out at home.
I think basic consistent rules " We are kind to each other at home"....I don't think you are " supposed" to say No hurting but personally I see nothing wrong with this.
Maybe some role play with puppets?
Regarding coping with the holidays some planned activity and some free time and absolutely no hurting others. What are the sanctions?
Screaming so the neighbours hear is quite a clever tactic on her part.
What support do you have?
No answers just letting you know you aren't alone.
My dd is 5 and when angry he would always shout "I hate you" but now it's resorted to "I'm going to kill you with a sharp knife" which is a bit worrying. Not actually lashing out though (or yet).
Parenting is tough at times
Thanks all. Def going to look over this later on and get some plans going. Tiredness and hunger are def triggers and her hearing test at school has to be done again as it showed a lack of hearing but could just be that she had a cold. No new baby or anything like that. Siblings are lovely and kind but starting to get fed up with being hit. I think she's unable to contain her anger and frustration. Maybe sen but I don't think so due to choosing when to misbehave - only at home. I may get her a stress ball type toy and try and persuade her to squeeze that when she's angry or stamp her feet as someone else said.
Another one saying you're not alone. DD is 4.5 and been doing this sometimes in the past few months when she is angry - pinching mainly. Also swearing .
She has a temper (as do DH and I) and very poor self control. In her case I think it's because she's incredibly tired a lot of the time due to a medical issue (CP) and poor sleep, but it's possible she also has some other SN. Definitely worse when tired, hungry or ill.
Staying calm myself helps the most. I try to take several deep breaths, walk away and say "I don't like being hurt" or "I'll see you when you're ready to be nice" or similar. And then talking about it in more detail when she is calmer (about consequences and what she should do instead if she's angry). As you say though, it all seems to be accepted when calm and then goes out of the window again when she's tired and angry .
The Explosive Child by Ross Greene is another excellent resource. I have no affiliation, but am a very satisfied user of his technique on family members and clients.
I've showed her my bruise and she immediately said sorry and then wouldn't look at it again. Just said sorry a few times. I can tell she's ashamed of what she's done. I've had another chat but i know next time she's angry it won't stop her. She seems to need a lot of attention lately too. I'm exhausted. She needs me to watch her do everything etc. I feel like she's almost a newborn again as she is so demanding.
She's five and her own mother calls her spiteful and nasty. Hardly surprising she is having issues with that attitude.
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