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my calm 5 year old is having tantrums. Is he just being 5?

(7 Posts)
MaisOuiMaisOui Thu 05-Feb-15 10:42:10

My DS (just 5) has always been calm and quite compliant. He had the odd outburst now and again but was generally very good. But something seems to have happened to him recently and he has started having real screamy tantrums over nothing in particular.

Take this morning, he was fine when he woke up but couldn't find his onesie and slippers. I found them and brought them downstairs with me and then he exploded in a rage screaming and shouting at me that I had to take him back upstairs and put his slippers and onesie on for him upstairs. He would normally put it on himself. Mornings are a big rush so I explained I didn't have time to do that plus his sister was still asleep and I couldn't have him making this noise upstairs and waking her. But that I could help him put them on downstairs. This didnt satisfy him, he wanted me to go back upstairs. Much screaming, rage and ranting followed (on his part - I stayed calm and didn't enter into much discussion) but it ended up with him biting my leg as I was making breakfast. I was really upset. He realised how badly he had behaved then apologised and calmed down and eventually, we had a cuddle and put it behind us but he went off to school all miserable and upset, crying in the line for school and saying he wanted to stay with me and didn't want to go to school - he is normally delighted to go. Which was pretty horrible for me, I am still worried about him now.

It's not like him at all, but these rants seem to happen all the time recently. They all seem to hinge around him wanting us to do as he wants with the threat of a tantrum if we don't. I am sick of him ordering us to "do xxx and I will stop screaming". I have always ignored tantrums or at a younger age have distracted my children out of their tantrums. So I am a bit stumped as ignoring and distraction doesn't work with him now.

Is this just a thing 5 year olds go through? And if you have any experience of this do you have any suggestions for tackling it. I want my reasonable DS back!

scouseontheinside Thu 05-Feb-15 11:17:49

Has he just started school? Any other changes lately?

It sounds pretty normal to me. They're only little and can get overwhelmed easily. It sounds like you handled it beautifully to me (much better than I have done with my lot!) - this too shall pass!

It is worth seeing if anything is bothering him at school though. Are you able to have a quiet word with the teacher?

MaisOuiMaisOui Thu 05-Feb-15 14:34:58

Thanks so much for your response scouse. You have made me feel so much better. I have felt dreadful all day thinking of him being as sad as I left him this morning.

He started school in September and has been so happy. There haven't been any other changes in his life.

I am going to try and have a quick word with his teacher when I pick him up today.

I hope it all passes soon.

Thanks again.

Jcee Thu 05-Feb-15 21:58:30

Hope it went ok with the teacher today.

I recognise this in my 5 year DD who also started school in September. We get tantrums over nothing usually when we're running late and its a rush in the morning or I'm trying to get DD to do something she doesnt want to do!

As Scouse says they get overwhelmed easily at this age. The teacher says DD is lovely at school and well behaved so I think its being at school all day and trying to control their behaviour/emotions means they explode at home when they are more relaxed and don't feel as though they need to control themselves.

My DD is definitely worse when she's tired. I do what you do and front it out with no reaction then tell DD she needs to calm down and has 5 minutes then leave her and find she either comes to me before the time is up to apologise or is contrite when I go back to her. I think its the process of learning about emotions and how to control them. I also spend a lot of time with gritted teeth thinking 'this will pass'....

MaisOuiMaisOui Fri 06-Feb-15 11:11:43

Thanks Jcee. His teacher told me everything is fine, he is a pleasure to have in the class and can be relied on to do as he is told apparently. Which is good to hear.

So as you say I guess we have to grit our teeth and get on with it.

I hope it passes soon, but then I suppose once this passes something else will come along to replace it.

Thanks again.

dancingwitch Fri 06-Feb-15 21:34:49

My otherwise delightful DD is just like this but with the added bonus of hitting & kicking me. The change which happens when she is over tired is extraordinary. She just seems unable to control herself & whatever techniques I try just don't seem to work. This is the same girl about whom strangers come up to me to compliment me on her behaviour/manners/patience etc.
My own theory on it, and I'm not sure if it has a basis to it or not, is that she is a born pacifier who wants everyone to be happy and likes to be helpful & be praised. I think, therefore, that at school she often does things she doesn't necessarily want to do as she is trying to please other people. However, at home she knows she doesn't have to do this but then goes too far the other way and then isn't sure what to do. She used to be at nursery from 8-6 so I wasn't expecting this but then she was at nursery only three days a week and never for more than two days at a time and, obviously, they were more closely supervised than at nursery.
Sometimes, I am so tempted to indulge whatever pathetic thing she is having a tantrum about but most of the time I stick to our consistent position on things as I don't think uncertainty will help.

Meerka Sun 08-Feb-15 18:19:20

We have this with our son, who is 6 not far from 7. He started them last october; year 3 here is where the real work starts, year 1 and 2 is mostly play. We were at our wits' end. (it's also become clear he has real attention problems confused).

They were much better after xmas and now, coming up to the half-term Carnival holiday he's getting bad again. I'm sure much of it is tiredness.

Dealing with it is very difficult; I don't get cross any more but stay calm, but he's bitten and scratched and kicked as well. Now I end up quite literally lying on him (very gently!) and restraining his wrists to stop him hitting, until he promises not to do it any more and not to break things. He's too strong to simply hold in a hug now.

I spoke to a professional about it as I was quite worried about both the tantrums and how to deal with them. Professional help is very easy to access in the netherlands and non-judgemental as well. She says that he won't be traumatized for life as long as we don't escalate things and keep calm. And never give in to a tantrum!! Keep talking to him and praising good behaviour, getting him to apologise for bad and giving him attention when he's behaving well.

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