Behaviour in my 5 year old son(7 Posts)
Apologies, this is probably going to be a long post!
I'm a single parent to a (just turned) 5 year old boy. He began nursery pretty much full time around the time he turned 1 and has been in childcare of some kind since.
There have been issues with his behaviour for the past 3 years, but they only materialise when he's in larger settings. With me, his Nana and his Great-Grandparents he is kind, sweet, loving, boisterous and challenging too, but never violent or overly angry.
The issues he has had include (but are not limited to!) hitting, kicking, spitting, throwing objects at people, screaming and shouting how much he hates them. This is not just directed at other children, adults are included too.
For the past 3 years we have had outside agencies helping with strategies, he has had an IEP for a couple of years and the childcare settings seems to have tried everything they could think of.
His behaviour is not like this all the time; he can regularly go days, weeks, even a month or so without exhibiting it. Apparently when it happens he acts almost high, laughing hysterically when they tell him he's hurt someone for example. Other times he will just scream and kick and scream. He has been described as "utterly wild, completely manic." Many times he has had to be removed from the main room and isolated. The issue with this is that he then gets the 1-1 attention he thrives on and I'm worried that this reinforces that his behaviour will get him what he wants - but how else can they deal with him if he is a danger to himself and other children and adults?!
My biggest issue is that I get none of this behaviour at home. I get a few answers back and he has been known to try and wheedle his way out of tidying his toys etc, but I have nothing at all at home that I would class as unacceptable. In fact at home he is normally the nicest, most loving and caring boy. He also has a childminder who he has been going to for a couple of years now and she very rarely gets bad behaviour from him. There was one time when he had had an absolutely awful day at nursery and it carried on into his time with her, but it's not the norm.
We have had review meetings and IEP meetings for the past few years and things started to pick up at nursery, but then we went on holiday for 2 weeks and when he went back it was pretty bad again. At the suggestion of nursery and agencies involved in his IEP stuff I asked for a referral from the doctor for him to see a psychologist or similar and the doctor did refer, but the referral was rejected by the service on the grounds that it was not severe enough.
I just don't know what to do - I have no strategies to combat the behaviour directly because I don't experience it. I also don't know what I'm doing differently (and everyone else who looks after him is doing differently) to nursery and school, apart from the 1-1 or similar ratios which is obviously impossible to maintain outside of home. Nursery tried very hard to work out triggers for him but from their analysis and notes it almost seems random.
When he gets home he cries and shows remorse for what he's done during the day, but nursery and school report that he shows very little or none during his time there.
He has now started school and he has begun this behaviour there. I am completely lost about what to do - I feel so useless and like everyone expects me to be able to flick a magical switch and change his behaviour. I would do this obviously if I could! I feel like I'm constantly on trial and that both of us are being judged all the time, which makes it very hard to discuss without getting upset. I also get the feeling that no one really believes me that this behaviour is not going on at home. I think the difference is the ratio and the fact that he has never got so worked up with me because it gets headed off before it reaches anywhere near the level other people are seeing - we move on before it gets to that point. Having said this, like I mentioned, it has been reported that this can come from nowhere with no obvious provocation.
Has anyone had an issue like this, or have any advice?! I'm getting to my wits end, thinking that I just want to quit my job and have him at home where he's happy but I think this would be counter-productive as his social skills clearly need a lot of work!
Is his dad around at all? is there an inconsistent relationship with him? It is unusual for a DC to be badly behaved at school and not at home. Has he been checked for hypersensitivity or a form of autism? some DCs can't cope well in large groups as you say
I wish you both luck.
Thank you - no he doesn't know his dad, I left him when I was pregnant and there's been no contact since. His relationships with adults are generally very good and the adults he's close to are long-term if you know what I mean - me, my mum and my grandparents are the adults he's closest to.
As far as autism is concerned, it has been mentioned but anything down that route at all has been shut down because of it only happening in certain settings. It is definitely the group setting that is the big difference, but I don't know where to go from here.
how hard, I bet you want to just scoop him up and run away to the hills. To start with the bleeding obvious, have you ever managed to have a chat with him about what makes him melt down in this way? Have a read of "How to Listen so your kids will talk" before starting this chat.
I saw what you said about feeling judged and so on. I guess there's such a high risk of losing the trust between you and school.
might it be a good idea to write a letter to the school assuring them that you will do everything in your power to help him overcome this behaviour? No ifs, no buts, no excuses, just a sign of commitment? My son has had (very different) problems too. It's been my experience that If the head trusts you and you trust the head, progress becomes possible. I would do anything you can to build that trust. If that means having to put things in writing so you don't get upset, so be it.
Might the school be able to back your request for a referral to a psychologist?
Have a think about what LeninGrad said - sensory issues. Not just now, but when he was 2 or 3. Sensory issues might have been the original trigger even if now it's purely psychological. So he might have outgrown the biological problem but still have the emotional scars if you see what I mean. I have a 6 year old who is still scared of hairdryers. When he was 2, this was a biological issue that i didn't understand (sadly). Now I think he no longer has the sensory problem but he's so used to being scared of them that he just carried on being scared.
ARRRGGHHH Just spend ages typing a long post and MN crashed. Here's the summary:
Like the others have said, look at what triggers your child as there's always a trigger. It just isn't an obvious one. Is it to do with noise, light, space around your DS, what clothes he wears? Your DS has an issue/issues but it takes time to find out what this is.
The school are firstly looking to you to try to understand your DS. This is always he first point of call for a teacher. They can't go on to trigger more support without starting by talking to the parents and changing their strategies. Anyone else who is judgemental needs a judge-pants wedgie accompanied by a loud raspberry.
My DS then got IEPs; school nurse stepping in then referral to Community Paed who bounced us to CAMHS. There's also the Educational Psycologist for your DSs school whose phone number can be found on your council's website. Always worth a chat with them!
Also Surestart may have a disability action group running which again is a good support network.
Don't quit your job, that'll bring a new set of issues.
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