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What to do - difficult 5 year old son.

(8 Posts)
Biscuitsneeded Sun 20-Jan-13 22:34:56

DS 2 is 5, very nearly 6. Up until recently I would have said he was on the 'boysy' end of the spectrum, excitable, jokey and full of energy (although he is hypermobile and very clumsy so not particularly sporty) but a normal little boy. In recent weeks however he has become impossible to deal with. He just can't listen. To get his attention I have to say his name over and over, and then even the simplest instruction has to be repeated several times before he registers, and even then he may get distracted or just not bother. I have tried asking very calmly and nicely, asking him to look at me so I know he knows I am talking, getting down on his level etc - all to no avail. After several polite requests I tend to say that I will count to 5, but he's started not even responding to that, which means I get to 5 and then I don't know what to do next. Often I end up screaming at him and then he screams hysterically back at me, sobbing and all flailing arms - not good. My partner (his Dad) has exactly the same problems with him. He has had some time outs at school for not stopping silly behaviour despite his name going on the board; his after-school carer asked me for tips on how to get him to follow an instruction (sadly I had none!) and he has been in trouble for 'rudeness' with lunchtime staff. When I got to the bottom of this it seems he and his friend were playing a silly game in the lunch hall, and when asked to stop the friend had the good sense to look at the dinner ladies and acknowledge them but my DS just carried on as if they had not spoken, which they interpreted as rudeness. I have tried till I am blue in the face explaining to him that even if you are having the best and most exciting time ever you cannot ignore a grown up because they will see this as rudeness (which it is, but I think it's unintentional) but he doesn't get it. He learns fine at school; is in middle groups for everything (although DS 1 is in top groups and I personally think DS 2 is brighter but barely listening to his rather inexperienced teacher). He's a popular boy and loves to be the clown, but just never knows when to stop and is rather immature. I will readily admit that I have not handled him very well recently and have got angry rather a lot; now no day goes by without several screaming incidents and it seems his default setting is wired, mad and totally unreachable. What can I do to get him to understand about listening, and how do I reach him when he's gone into that over-excited zone where he barely even knows I am there, let alone cares what I am saying...

Biscuitsneeded Mon 21-Jan-13 12:37:15

I am just bumping this up the list a bit so it doesn't disappear. Walking to school in snow, I explained carefully to DS that he should try not to get too snowy as he would then be in wet clothes all day (sent him in with spare shoes and socks but did not think of whole outfit). No other child on route to school had any problem with this instruction. Mine lay down in the snow several times, even after I specifically told him not to. I know boys like snow, he had lots of fun in it yesterday and after school he can get as wet as he likes, but why can't he just accept my rule for 5 mins on the way to school??

SpecialCircumstances Mon 21-Jan-13 12:43:40

Hi, a few quick ideas, has he had his hearing checked recently? I taught a little boy who seemed to be ignoring me, but turned out he had glue ear!
Does he get much time outdoors to run off his energy? Has anything changed at home or school at all?
And just a thought has he ever been assessed for dyspraxia? I'm dyspraxic myself and have problems following lots of instructions if their in a big list, and I can have trouble 'hearing' if there's other noise as I find it hard to tune into one noise above the others.

WowOoo Mon 21-Jan-13 12:51:21

How about a basic start chart with rewards for good listening and doing as told?

Some consequences for not doing as told?

If ds1 doesn't do as he's told 5 mins comes off his TV/game time. He usually chooses to play Wii.
This weekend had a meltdown because he only had 10 mins due to his bad behaviour. We have a clock and I colour it in if he ignores me. What's not coloured in is the time he has left to play.
It usually works for us.

So far this week, he's been an angel. But it is only Monday...

WowOoo Mon 21-Jan-13 12:53:05

It is a print out of a clock - not an actual clock that I colour in!

Biscuitsneeded Mon 21-Jan-13 14:20:39

Thanks. We are trying a star chart but he is being his usual self and trying to negotiate stars for things that weren't even on his list of targets, and then when I say he can't have a star for going to bed nicely (because he didn't) we have the same screaming and sobbing as ever. It's also hard to know what I could use as a consequence for non-compliance. He doesn't have a Ds or Wii or anything, and TV happens when it happens but is not a reliable thing so he wouldn't perceive it as a loss if it didn't happen, if you see what I mean... He does like it when I let him on the computer so I suppose for major incidents I can say no computer until a certain day or something. I don't think he has any hearing issues; at least didn't in the past and has never had any earaches or anything. Worth checking though. The dyspraxia thing is possible, actually. I've wondered about that before because he is so clumsy and accident-prone, and then dismissed it, but I think I'll go and look it up all over again! Thanks for all input.

WowOoo Tue 22-Jan-13 10:57:28

Why don't you choose a target and let him choose one too? (ds chose putting his clothes in the laundry basket which he does anyway) confused !!

I would never suggest going to bed nicely as a target for my sons as they always seem to have a crazy half hour before bed - I think they're just letting off steam and they have a lot grin

An alternative to star chart is marble jar. I got the idea from MN and then googled it. Did it with my youngest and ds1 wanted to join in. You put a marble in when they do a good thing. So focus on the positive all the time. I might do that again. They like to see more and more marbles and get a small treat/ choose a day out whatever.

Def get his ears checked. Just in case.
My eldest is also v clumsy and I'm going to google dyspraxia again.
Deep breaths and good luck!

Biscuitsneeded Wed 23-Jan-13 10:38:13

Thanks.... He's been a bit better for the last 2 days so maybe he was particularly tired or wired last week.He likes the star chart. Will try marbles when the star chart stops being effective!! Will also book GP for hearing/dyspraxia discussion.

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