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Just been told my son has anger management issues

(25 Posts)
mrspants Thu 16-Jun-11 19:42:35

My son is 6 and teacher has just expressed deep concern at his temper. She said he has a lovely nature, can be very kind but will go from 0 to 100 in a flash if he's not happy about something. The problem is he lashes out, throws and is generally losing friends rapidly.
He has been high maintenance from day one but home isn't awful or neglected. Things are stressful but not something I would be worried that causing him deep mental unrest.
He has a tendency to get frustrated at home but is very kind to his little sister and all the pets.
He never listens and will only do what he wants a lot of the time but I wouldn't say he was needing the mental health input they are suggesting.
I am really in need of some advice as I don't know what to do, should I seek help at 6 or hope he grows out of it?
I am concerned I am going so wrong somewhere.

ScarlettIsWalking Thu 16-Jun-11 19:45:42

I would seek help offered as early as possible. Throwing/ lashing out at 6 yo to the point where it is loosing friends I say he needs support and help.

mrspants Thu 16-Jun-11 19:51:07

Thank you. I think we will.

peanutbutterkid Thu 16-Jun-11 20:00:17

I have a hot-headed 7yo, sounds similar. I don't think he has lost friends (kids are very forgiving) so much as other parents (some) have decided to make an issue out of his outbursts (sigh).

mrspants Thu 16-Jun-11 20:03:17

So it's not just my boy? Feel so fed up. Not sure what to do?

monkoray Thu 16-Jun-11 20:23:19

Is there any damage that could come from seeking professional advice? At worse they agree with the teacher and offer a course of action, and at best they say the teacher is overreacting and he is a normal 6 year old who gets frustrated from time to time and then you can relax.

mrspants Fri 17-Jun-11 05:54:35

It is so difficult to know what is normal. It only seems to be in school. He is fine at home. I just can't face that lets look at the family bollocks. There really isn't any problem at home.
I wish I could identify a cause.
I just don't know how long I should leave it before looking into the referral process.

lljkk Fri 17-Jun-11 09:46:08

He never explodes suddenly at home or elsewhere, only at school? That suggests something very context specific, no?

snailoon Fri 17-Jun-11 10:12:39

Have you asked school what sets him off? Does he like school? Does he get fed up with sitting still etc?

snailoon Fri 17-Jun-11 10:14:33

What is he like during the holidays when he is playing with friends? Do you have a friend among his classmates problems, who could talk honestly and tactfully to you about this if you brought up the issue?

BoysAreLikeDogs Fri 17-Jun-11 11:34:56

I wouldn't leave it any time at all; you really don't want him to become disengaged from school/learning

accept any help offered

you say things are stressful at home - can you elaborate?

fightinjustice Fri 17-Jun-11 16:29:52

Presume he will get a new teacher for next school year who may have a different view so it may be worth waiting until Oct or so to see how situation is them. If the issue is only at school then I would certainly consider frustration with learning. We had the situation where we were being told our son was progressing fine at school and no issues with learning but he was actually very frustrated and angry as verbal IQ on 99th centile but achieving below average results and finding writing very hard. If school recommend help you need to follow their recommendations but expect to have your parenting questioned and please be very cautious as our situation was horrendous.

flymetoparis Fri 17-Jun-11 17:40:56

Ask to speak to the SENCO at the school and request for involvement from the behaviour support team. My son had this intervention and the behaviour support worker made detailed observations about his behaviour and was able to detect subtle changes and issues which triggered his outbursts. Often, what appears to be a sudden mood change can be linked quite clearly to antecedents. Eventually DS was diagnosed with high functioning autism but because he is bright, many issues were overlooked until it resulted in difficulties with behaviour.

It would also be worth asking for a referral to CAMHS from your GP. They can also carry out observations and assessments to rule out or identify any developmental issues which could be behind his behaviour. Early intervention is the key - it won't harm your son to have these assessments if nothing is wrong, but it could delay support if you don't seek help now.

RoseMT Sat 18-Jun-11 09:20:29

Our (normally friendly, caring) 5yo boy has just been put on special needs for the same behaviour. We're distraught. Sorry to hear about your problems mrspants. I can sympathise.

They only occur at school: violent outbursts, averaging one a month, triggered in seconds (only directed at teachers, never kids). The only reason he wasn't excluded after the last incident is because they know he's normally a nice kid.

Reassuring to hear, flymetoparis, that school intervention can be positive. All these stories about aggressive social services intervention makes me bloody nervous, and I'm sure I'm not the only person to feel like that.

peanutbutterkid Sat 18-Jun-11 13:50:51

DS was on an IEP for similar (and he got excluded for it once, too). tbh, having SS rake thru my life with a fine comb would have destroyed my self-esteem, too.
He's off the IEP for now.

cory Sat 18-Jun-11 18:05:16

tbh I think you have to face the "let's look at the family bollocks"- hopefully you will find that the questions they ask of you are quickly done with and they can then concentrate on the best way to help your ds. If there is no problem at home, they will realise this pretty quickly.

Let's face it, the school has to do something, particularly as the other children will soon start complaining and the other parents getting worried. As I see it, there are two options:

either your ds gets the support he needs and settles down


the other children learn to avoid him and he gets used to the idea of always being in trouble and starts switching off

With two children with SN, I have had my fair share of investigation and while I haven't enjoyed a single minute of it, there is no way I wouldn't have put up with it to avoid the alternative- a child who couldn't cope and felt I was doing nothing to help.

I don't see why it should mean SS anyway, more likely an Ed Psych and possibly CAHMS. Honestly, it needn't be that bad. And even if it is- if it's to help your ds...

MadameSin Sat 18-Jun-11 18:51:23

SS aren't interested in your son having anger issues .. a developmental paediatrician or child psych would be more the route. You said he's been high maintenance from day one .. in what way? If you feel his issues only manifest at school, then ask the SEN co-ordinator to get an educational psych to observe him in that environment. What does his teacher want you to do - did she suggest anything?

mrspants Sat 18-Jun-11 19:56:44

Hi, thanks for your input. He has been hard work from day one in always needing to be active, more than my friends children. It is only in the last year that he will actually sit through a whole meal time. I used to dread shopping with him as he used to just bolt if allowed, scream if I tried to put him in trolley etc. Very poor sleeper etc. But he will sit and concentrate for ages on lego or drawing so ruled out any attention disorder.
The problem is only school. His teacher says he has a real sense of injustice and intervenes quite physically if he sees someone being naughty or mistreated and that he is very intelligent and very kind natured. He is fine on play dates. He is absolutelky fine with his sister, in fact surprisingly kind for a 4 1/2 yr age gap.
I am wondering if should give it till Oct to see if a new teacher helps.
Things are stressful at home as I am in last few weeks of a masters and DH away a lot and moved house 6 months ago, ironically to be in same village as school.
Just can't think of him as this terrible angry boy she is making him out to be.

fightinjustice Sat 18-Jun-11 20:16:45

Please please be cautious, you will have to seek help if school have concerns but please keep records, take notes, attend all meetings with your husband or another adult as witness and confirm everything in writing. Be clear exactly what stress you are referring to in your home life.

You are right social services wont be first point of call but if the paediatrician has concerns/there is no obvious cause then next step may be CAMHS. Our experience of CAMHS can destroy the family. They have to find a cause and if there is nothing obvious like divorce, death etc in the family and no SN then they have to find something. We genuinely had nothing to find as no trauma and the other 2 siblings well adjusted happy children so they made their own diagnosis and nearly destroyed us all.

If a child has SN then it will be fine as there will be a reason for any behaviour. If they do not identify a SN then it can become horrendous.

Since the accusations against us I have spoken to several other mums via this forum and elsewhere who have been through very similar and several who have been unaware of full SS investigations so I can only recommend great caution.

You must seek help though as it will be far worse for you if school recommend and you refuse. Good luck

chickflick Sat 18-Jun-11 22:10:54

Another nearly 6yr old with similar issues here!The school have not mentioned it as "problem" -yet.I think some people (adults included) are short fused. I am one of them and so is my son.Hey ho.
I take an all hands on deck approach so if anyone offers me any help I say yes even if I think it won't be much use as it may turn out to be v helpful.

flymetoparis Sat 18-Jun-11 23:44:43

Some of the behaviour you describe reminds me of DS who has high functioning autism. One of the triad of impairments is rigidity of thought, which manifests itself in a strict adherence to rules - so he also has a strong sense of injustice. He also has always got on well in one-to-one situations such as playdates and with younger children (because they are socially less complex). But school tended to overwhelm him because it was noisy and socially confusing.

Of course, it's not possible for anyone to make a dx online and it could take months to get a formal dx. But I would say it's worthwhile to start reading around the subject and looking at strategies used with children with autism. Even if it turns out that he isn't or only has some traits, it won't cause any harm to try using them - I think they are helpful for many children who are just a bit more anxious or sensitive.

mrspants Sun 19-Jun-11 07:42:42

That is really interesting flyme as he has always been disturbed by noisy situations and busyness. When he started nursey at 10 months ole they always made a point of sying he was disturbed by the noise.
I think the thing is I have always avoided looking for any diagnosis or inherent problem, hoping he will just grow out of it.
He does have a lot of my character traits. bloodey mindedness and stubborn but the temper outbursts at school are more worrying. He is also a bugger for not loistening to simple instructions (come and get dressed, please eat you tea etc) which inevitably end up in confrontation of sorts.

I am very wary of CAMHS and they are so under resourced so not sure I want to go there.
I wonder if we could see a pshychologist privately?

flymetoparis Sun 19-Jun-11 09:44:07

DS has trouble following instructions too. This is because he has working memory problems and struggles to follow a sequence of instructions because he can't remember them all - very common in children with autism and attention difficulties. It may help to provide visual cues and/or a verbal breakdown of instructions. So instead of 'get dressed' you could draw a chart showing the sequence of getting dressed (top, trousers etc), or say put your t shirt on, then once he has done that, then ask to put his trousers.

The noise/busyness issue is related to sensory processing difficulties for DS. There are OTs who can help with this, but there are also some therapies that parents can do at home, like body brushing or rebound therapy. You might want to look up auditory processing disorder as well.

You can see specialists privately for dx - ask on the SN children's board for recommendations. However, they often don't provide ongoing support and it helps to be 'in the system' for accessing other support (in education/social care). So it's worth persevering with CAMHS support. They do tend to look at home circs and be very slow though.

MadameSin Sun 19-Jun-11 11:49:51

MrsPants your son is probably going through one of the many developmental phases kids have. Some are more extreme than others. I believe that stress can trigger anger, frustration and other inappropriate behaviours. It's not surprising that these can appear worse at school for some kids as school can be stressful as well as crowded and noisy. Ruling out attention disorders because your son can sit and build lego or draw for ages is however, incorrect. My son has ADHD and was a tricky toddler. I spent most of my time running behind him and being ignored by him. He is now 8 and still finds it a challenge to sit an eat a meal without getting out of his seat. He can draw, build lego, watch a dvd from start to finish without moving an inch. It's at school where my ds's problems are more prevalent. He has a dx of mild to moderate ADHD. He has a short temper and can get emotional over silly things .. everything just seems amplified to him. He has problems with short term memory and processing instructions .. they need to kept short and simple. A private assessment could cost you anything from £500-£800. We paid £750. This may be a silly question, but how is his diet? I cut out any foods with additives, artificial colours & flavours, all artificial sweeteners (found in squash) and restrict treats. Chocolate is a bad food for triggering hyper behaviour, so we don't have much of that either. The diet changes made a huge difference to my ds. Our child psych told us that many conditions 'overlap' regarding their symptoms. As great as MN is for lending an ear and sharing personal experiences, you will never find a dx on here, because of the overlaps. I think if you are worried enough to share your concerns with us, you may want to share them with your GP. A referral via them may take up to 6 months depending on the NHS trust, unfortunately the alternative is expensive. Good luck! smile

mrspants Sun 19-Jun-11 14:03:29

MadameSin, yes I agree with a lot of waht you have said. I'm not trying to jump to a diagnosis and I will see the GP next week. I have briefly looked at the various sites about adhd and autism and ds does have key features of these conditions but I am also aware of how a headache can turn into a brain tumour if you read about it enough, so not defeinitive by any means.
I suppose what I am really mixed up about is that I have always thought he was hard work and a really typical BOY in his behaviour. But having school say, well actually, no, his behaviour is not normal or acceptable is hard. For years I have thought it was my parenting, which it very well may be but his sister is so very different and placid in nature and well adjusted. Surely she would also be affected if it was coming from me?
I am just so worried about him achieving his potential and having friends.

We need to look into this now I think so it will have to be a private referral but we have private health cover as part of DH's work.
Thank you for your thoughts, it has been really helpful in thinking through this.

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