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To think that my son's behaviour isn't normal

(107 Posts)
FirTree31 Sat 23-May-20 10:00:49

Hello,
Youngest DS is 5 (he has older brother who is 9). DS2 has had behavioural problems since about 3 years old, when he was 4 the nursery threatened to expel him after he punched a member of staff in the face. He is now is Primary 1 (well not really just now).

He hits, punches, scratches, kicks and throws things. He SCREAMS. He's also incredibly funny, intelligent, interested, inquisitive, loving, chatty and friendly. He's like Jekyll and Hyde.

Just had a meltdown because it was time to go for a walk and off Nintendo Switch, we've been in the kitchen for 30 minutes while I wait for him to calm down, during which he punched me, kicked me, throw a lunch box at me, and slammed the fridge and washing machine. I just end up staring at him in disbelief. I don't even know what to do, part of my just wants to cuddle him,the other wants to put him in the garden and shut the door.

DS1 was/is never like this, he never did this to me. Youngest feels uncontrollable.

Has anyone else been through this, can this still be in normal range for a 5 year old?.

HyggeTygge Sat 23-May-20 10:10:49

Sympathies...
Have you identified what the 'triggers' are? My 5yo is lovely most of the time but gets like this to a lesser extent, usually when screen time ends (after lots of warnings, set times agreed etc) or when he clearly had fixed ideas about what he wanted to happen which didn't pan out.

pancakepatter Sat 23-May-20 10:15:19

Oh, sending so much sympathy. That sounds really really hard. If that level of violence / aggression is a regularish feature of life for you, then I wouldn't say that's healthy or 'normal' - although from experience I know you aren't alone.

It's wildly unhelpful to think about diagnoses and labels generally in this sort of context, but have you read anything about pathological demand avoidance? I'm not saying that I think your son has that, but I wonder if reading about it / some of the strategies that work well for kids with PDA might be helpful...?

Sparklingplasters Sat 23-May-20 10:24:31

You sound very passive. Is the garden secure? If so put him out there? What are his punishments for lashing out? Can you take the Nintendo away for the rest of the day?

Yerroblemom1923 Sat 23-May-20 10:25:16

Have you tried putting him in the garden and closing the door?

BilboBercow Sat 23-May-20 10:27:48

I take it he's been investigated for SEN?

CherryPavlova Sat 23-May-20 10:29:19

It not normal,but I’m not sure it’s pathological.
What are the consequences? Are you using positive parenting techniques, setting very clear boundaries, rewarding positive behaviour and imposing clear sanctions at the time?
Why are you standing in the kitchen with him? Either take home very quickly to his room or leave him and close the door. You’ve inadvertently reinforced the behaviour by tolerating and watching it. Leave him to get on with it and go to do something nice with the other child. Then once he’s calm, and apologised, move on. Not long discussion about it, no appeasements, no fuss at all. A simple message “it is not acceptable to hit, thank you for apologising, get your shoes”. No great big making up hugs and cuddles either. Keep it simple and calm.

LittleBearPad Sat 23-May-20 10:30:05

What do you do when he kicks you?

Clearly he’s different to his brother but are you dealing with them in the same way.

What are his consequences.

Ernieshere Sat 23-May-20 10:30:23

My DD was like this, she still can be, all depending on one thing for her - sleep.

If she didn't get 12 hours sleep, the next day she was absolutely vile to me.
I remember sitting with my back against the kitchen door, whilst it visibly wobbled from her kicking and rugby barging it with her shoulder.for 20 mins.

She is completely different after a good night's sleep.

I used to send her up at 18.00, let her read or have a c.d story on and she would be snoring by 19.00.

Or if I let her stay up & missed the window of opportunity, she got a second wind till late.

Neolara Sat 23-May-20 10:31:07

I would put him in the garden or somewhere else where he can be completely safe. Any violence towards others should be an absolute red line and their need to be consequences. 5 mins outside / somewhere safe to give him time to calm down. After 5 mins lets him back in, but only if he's calm. If not, back in the garden for another 5 mins. Carry on until calm. Your not abandoning him. He'll be perfectly safe. He'll just be cross. Being cross is absolutely fine. Beating the crap out of you and others is definitely not fine.

BigSandyBalls2015 Sat 23-May-20 10:31:54

What punishment does he get for behaving like that?

BigSandyBalls2015 Sat 23-May-20 10:32:50

Is his dad on the scene? How does he react to this?

Y0ubetterwerk Sat 23-May-20 10:33:47

The extremity of reaction is concerning. I've dealt with kids in the past (school senco),who have the Jekyll/Hyde reactions you describe in my school setting. We're still working with a particular pupil now and it's been a really trying year for all involved so I can't imagine how difficult it must be to have this at home all the time.

I'm not in any way suggesting additional needs, but can I ask:
How his his language development?
Have you kept a note of particular times he loses it? Is there a clear pattern or thing that sets him off?
How does he respond to daily routines?
Do you respond consistently when meltdowns happen?

ScreamingKid Sat 23-May-20 10:34:59

I think I'd put some boundaries and consequences in place with rewards for positive behaviour. I'd also suggest you keep a diary of what's going on so you can work out any patterns. Do you think there maybe any underlying cause such as ASD or ADHD? It might be worth having a read of the signs and take your time to think through if any of it applies.

user1000000000000000001 Sat 23-May-20 10:35:22

My 5 year old has SEN and is incredibly violent at times. Time in before consequences works best for her. For example she lashes out. We will go to her room where I sit by her until she calms down and I will just calmly reiterate that I am here and I can see that she's angry and when she is ready I am here. Once she is calm it will be a natural consequence. Usually being unable to do x because we no longer have time to do it.

Ernieshere Sat 23-May-20 10:36:20

Just had a meltdown because it was time to go for a walk and off Nintendo Switch

Did he know how many minutes he had left on it & did he know a walk was on the cards? I'm sure he did, but -

If not I suppose it is a bit like us snuggling down to watch a film then someone switches it off half way and tells us to leave the room?

I wonder if you had gone out for a nice walk with the thought of him going on the Nintendo when he got home, may have worked but you cant change your routine to please him plus he would have walked as quick as he could to get home quicker! wink

I know how hard it is OP.

HollowTalk Sat 23-May-20 10:36:51

How much time does he spend on screens, and does he react like this whenever his screen is taken away?

StormBaby Sat 23-May-20 10:37:03

My son has SEN and has trouble with transitions. He has to have lots of warning if we want him to switch or stop an activity.

OoohTheStatsDontLie Sat 23-May-20 10:37:12

Hi OP

I think you're going to get two sets of responses on here - one suggesting he has SEN and one suggesting your parenting isnt tough enough. Its tricky because if you apply tougher parenting and discipline and it is some form of undiagnosed SEN then that could make things worse. And it's hard for anyone to understand the full situation with information on a couple of posts.

If you have suspicions that his behaviour isnt 'normal' then I'd suggest investigating that in the first instance, is there someone at school you can talk to or the GP as a starting point?

user1000000000000000001 Sat 23-May-20 10:37:37

We use sand timers for transitions which help. Now and next boards help too.

I'm also careful not to let her start something that I will be interrupting.

SeasonallySnowyPeasant Sat 23-May-20 10:37:40

I can’t help on the normality front but do you have the Switch Parents app? That lets me set a time limit for DS’ Switch so I don’t have to physically take it away from him or negotiate.

wonderrotunda Sat 23-May-20 10:41:04

Have you kept a note of when it’s happening? Similar to the pp above re sleep I was wondering if it could be a low blood sugar issue, what would normally be minor frustration in say having to do something he wasn’t expecting, becoming an enormous issue because his blood sugar had dropped.
Maybe keep a note on the kitchen table about food/drink/sleep/possible triggers

Fleetheart Sat 23-May-20 10:49:45

It sounds like transitions are a problem. I think it would be worth investigating - in the meantime read Ross greene the explosive child that is very helpful for strategies to deal with this behaviour.

Winterlife Sat 23-May-20 10:53:10

My cousin was like this as a child until about 13. His mother used to punish him a lot but nothing worked. He just eventually grew out of it, and is a very successful adult.

I think the fact it was always made clear this behaviour was unacceptable was a key to his transformation.

Absoluteunit Sat 23-May-20 10:56:20

*OoohTheStatsDontLie

Hi OP

I think you're going to get two sets of responses on here - one suggesting he has SEN and one suggesting your parenting isnt tough enough. Its tricky because if you apply tougher parenting and discipline and it is some form of undiagnosed SEN then that could make things worse. And it's hard for anyone to understand the full situation with information on a couple of posts.

If you have suspicions that his behaviour isnt 'normal' then I'd suggest investigating that in the first instance, is there someone at school you can talk to or the GP as a starting point?*

Totally agree with this reply.

Please don't be locking him in the garden sad

This does sound pretty extreme so I'd keep an eye on what his triggers are. Maybe look at timers or something for help with transitions

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