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5 year old boy behaviour wearing us down - ADVICE DESPERATELY NEEDED

(19 Posts)
Gottalottaquestions Mon 09-Dec-13 07:05:23

I love my little boy so much, and in so many ways he is just lovely, but for a while his behaviour has been getting worse. It will sound like the usual stuff, and I know people will think it's just normal but it seems so much more extreme than other children we see.

He is extremely whiny. Everything makes him whine. I can give some examples but really every day he will have a whine anything between 2 and 50 times. And by whining I mean complete over-reacting and crying and thrashing about to just whiny speaking. Of course some whining is reasonable, he's a 5 year old after all but it's all the time about everything.

We have to tell him to do something/not to do something over and over again and then he still doesn't act. Again, normal in 5 year olds, but again with us extreme.

We have answering back, obnoxious teenage type responses "I know that". Manners have completely disappeared.

Finally he is very ungrateful. We can spend all morning at a Christmas party as we did today. As we come out he his unhappy and whining because we had to miss another party on another day. He has the not unusual behaviour of wanting the biggest piece etc but unless he deems he has the biggest piece this will again bring on whining of oscar-award performance standards.

Ok, so I know there is a range of behaviour that is all normal, and children go through cycles etc. I'm not so much looking for reassurance this is ok. What I would really appreciate is how to help the behaviour improve. We know that much of a child's behaviour is a reflection of their parents' behaviour and have been speaking (DH and me) about our faults, how we act toward each other and our children and looking for ways to improve this, stay calmer etc. Any more advice in this area would be great.

With regards to helping our son develop better behaviour does anyone have any tips? Has anyone developed family rules? What consequences do you use? We try to do natural consequences but this isn't always possible. What about rewards/incentives? We've never explored this so would be grateful for advice.

Anything else?

DH and I are sitting here tonight thoroughly depressed at how things are between us and our son at the moment. Our house is not a happy house. Our son's self-esteem must be very low too at the moment from all the negativity. And DD (2) I dread to think how this is all impacting her. sad

Gottalottaquestions Mon 09-Dec-13 07:17:32

I am in North America (Brit abroad) so about to go to bed so please don't think I am rude in not replying until my tomorrow...

brettgirl2 Mon 09-Dec-13 07:20:16

My suggestion would be:
- He needs to earn the right to go to parties etc
- You need to find stuff to praise him for.

With dd(4) I find the more I go out of my way to make her happy the worse she is. If however she is expected to go on a 2 mile walk at the weekend and has the responsibility of a few chores (eg serving little sister breakfast, putting clothes away etc) then she is better behaved. It gives us something to praise her for/ that she has achieved and she is more appreciative of other stuff that we do for her.

I think the way that the world is these days leads to children feeling 'entitled' to have fun 24/7...... it is a difficult one for parents.

Gottalottaquestions Mon 09-Dec-13 07:23:11

Thanks, that's interesting. I've kind of thought the same. That we are doing too much for him. Not sure how to change it though but definitely think this is something I think we'll be tackling.

ZuluWarrior Mon 09-Dec-13 07:31:57

I have a 4.9 DS who sounds very, very similar to yours. The constant whining, answering back and failure to listen is so exhausting, isn't it?

I don't have any answers but can offer some sympathy and will watch with interest!

Things I have noticed are:

He is ten times worse when tired/coming down with something.

I think he genuinely is eager to please and enjoys praise, just gets carried away A LOT.

Yesterday we sent him to his room 100 times and he played in there happily and calmly for ages with his wee sister til we let him out again and he was a total PITA again. Not sure what this proves but thought it was interesting!

He is completely devoted to his baby brother and would sell his soul for him. We try to do masses of praise about this.

But mostly we feel we just have to be consistent and ride it out. I think this has been his personality since he was born to be honest.

Hard work flowers. Hope you find some answers on here.

Turquoiseblue Mon 09-Dec-13 07:34:46

Watching with interest our 6 yr old is similar and like you say I m worries about his self esteem as dh and I are so cross with him lately.
Have pulled out my copy of 'how to speak to chikren will listen and how to listen so children will hear ' to see if I can get some tips

msmiggins Mon 09-Dec-13 07:36:40

Positive strokes.
Go out your way to praise and make him feel good when his behaviour is pleasing. Comment on how capable/responsible/organised/thouughtful/insightful/helpful he is whenever you get the chance.
Tell him how you feel about him, how you felt when he was born- what an important member of the family he is.
Ignore the whines. they will disappear when he starts to enjoy behaving well.

Gottalottaquestions Mon 09-Dec-13 07:48:00

Thank you. His whines are often tantrumesque so hard to ignore esp if in a restaurant, with friends but I do see the sense in what you are saying.

Thanks for the empathy Zulu.

Jiltedjohnsjulie Mon 09-Dec-13 07:53:50

If you need to repeat things it might be worth getting his hearing and eyesight checked.

Is he getting enough sleep too? Our 6yo gets 12 hours so the bedtime routine starts about 6.15 and its lights out at 7pm.

You need to to the whining too. We have a zero tolerance. Whiny voices are totally blanked until they talk to us normally. Tantrums are ignored too and if they are shouting being rude etc they are offered the choice of being nice or time out.

Agree with the others on the praise, you need to praise every little thing he does that you want to encourage.

Jiltedjohnsjulie Mon 09-Dec-13 07:55:36

X posted with you there. Could you cut back on things like parties, meals out until he's calmer? It also sounds like he has a very busy life, what's his usual day like and when does he go to sleep?

Jiltedjohnsjulie Mon 09-Dec-13 10:27:50

Thought you might like this link too smile

Gottalottaquestions Mon 09-Dec-13 14:12:15

Thanks again.

He sleeps well. Probably 11 hours but we do have to be up early most week days unfortunately.

He definitely does too much at the moment. This will be hard to change in the next couple of weeks with Christmas activities and school concerts etc but we plan to cut back drastically as soon as that is over.

He just had hearing and vision checked and they are fine.

ssmile Mon 09-Dec-13 15:05:07

I definitely find this school term the hardest at school they all seem SO tired all my friends with 6yr olds have had tantrums and sullen behaviour in last few wks definitely try positive praise. Its so easy to overlook the good behaviour when you have a demanding toddler in the house. My girls are 2&6 so sympathies its hard work! We have sticker charts for both. The toddler gets stickers for brushing her teeth the older one for reading her school book. So theyboth get rewarded at bbedtime but for age approriate behaviour. Hopefully it will get easiet!!

Jiltedjohnsjulie Mon 09-Dec-13 15:42:32

Sounds like he is getting about enough sleep then. Yes its really hard just before Christmas, school seems to whip them up into a frenzy.

Hopefully a good rest over the 2 week holiday will help him. After that I'd look at how many activities he's doing out of school next term and possibly cut back.

Gottalottaquestions Tue 10-Dec-13 05:09:59

We had a really good evening today. I picked him up a little bit earlier from after school care and made a point of being positive, praising where appropriate and staying calm when necessary. I gave him a few jobs to do and he was really pleased.

He often throws a fit when I pick him up from after school care before the 5pm snack so I told him this morning that I will come when I come and even if that's before the snack he needs to come calmly and not throw a fit (paraphrasing). He said ok. This afternoon = no fit.

Baby steps and then one day at a time to get through to Christmas. Then a break, thank goodness and then we will look at his schedule.

Gottalottaquestions Tue 10-Dec-13 05:12:32

Thanks for the link Jilted.

Jiltedjohnsjulie Tue 10-Dec-13 08:27:36

Glad you had a good evening smile

msmiggins Tue 10-Dec-13 08:37:53

Sounds like you had a good evening.
Many more like that hopefully!

MERLYPUSS Tue 10-Dec-13 10:01:15

I find with my twins if I give them jobs so they can get praised it works. If only getting the cuttlery out etc. Also dont say you cant do whatever (wanted to wear new shoes today) say yes, you can do this XXX time.
I will not tollerate whinging. I say they must speak in proper voices or go to thier room until they are ready. It has only happened once in a restarant and DH put DT1 in the car until he ahd calmed down and told him the other diners did not want to hear that noise. Took less than 30 seconds but he realised it wasnt an empty threat. (and was probably a bit pissed off that me and DT2 were looking at the ice cream menu)

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