5yo with difficulties(18 Posts)
Im not even sure where to start! My lovely, kind and bright DS has a really bad temper. For a long time now he will get angry when things don't go his way, and lash out- usually at me, hitting and trying to punch. This has got a lot better in the past few months but I noticed it again in the past couple of weeks; he's usually tired, not that that should be used as an excuse. Am forever trying to get him to understand his feelings, manage his temper, ... It's exhausting. It means we leave play dates early because things aren't going his way so he'll get stroppy and try to hit me. Today he was so cross he refused to come home with me at all, and started to walk the other way.
The other main issue is with a friend he has. My DS idolises this friend, but this friend obviously has other friends too, my DS is so possessive of him and only wants him to play with him, and isn't kind to the other friends that are around, dislikes them because they're taking from his time with his friend, if you see what I mean.
It's exhausting. It means he isn't making new friends as he's so set on protecting his friendship that he can't play nicely with the others.
I'm in tears this afternoon with the high drama of it- he's been trying to hit and lash out- when I write it down he seems so much worse, he's such a lovely, thoughtful, caring little boy but this is becoming a big big problem.
Can anyone tell me where to start reading, so I can help him please?
Firstly have their been any big upheavals or changes in his life in recent months? Are you and his Dad still a couple?
No, no big changes, me and Dh (his dad) happily married, he has a little sister but she's nearly 3 and they have a great relationship. The only change I suppose is that he's out of routine. He was in reception last ye and due to start Y1 next week. He's got a summer bday and is one of the youngest in the class.
Tbh the aggression is rather too much for this age
Any chance he's watching something on tv /games that he shouldn't?
How do you discipline him when he's hitting you?
Yes, the same as AnotherTime is asking...what is he watching on tv? Does he play computer games? Also, how is his language? Any delays?
If anything, he watches "younger" telly because of younger sis, occasional movies but all age appropriate. Language is really good, he's quite bright. When he hits I send him for a time out to his room. Yesterday I confiscated his favourite toy, today he is doing really well and is on course to earn it back if good behaviour continues.
May not be at all relevant but he gets v constipated and behaviour definitely plummets when a poo is due- I am tackling this separately with movicol etc, been out of synch with hols, different diet etc so it has been bad lately. Not suggesting that constipation causing aggression is normal, just possibly a factor.
Oh and no computer games. School friends do, but I feel quite strongly about not introducing too early. If I'm being self critical then probably a bit too much telly over the hols, but only because tired from lots of outdoor activities (so definitely balanced!)
Constipation may be more of a factor than you realise. Being chronically bunged up makes you feel absolutely AWFUL.
Need any Movicol advice? It's VERY effective once you figure out the right maintenance dose. My DD is nearly four and has a bowel movement every day as long as she gets her three sachets in the morning.
Ok could be he's intolerant to something in the diet hence the constipation and the aggressive mood
Maybe try to take gluten out and see how it goes?
Well done for discipline sounds great, the only think I personally would do differently is to not send him to his room, id get him to sit in a corner and think
In his room he might be chilling,playing with toys reading books, anything than sitting feeling 'punished' iykwim
Ah....what's his general diet like? Much processed foods? Drinks? One of mine reacts SO badly to anything with additives....also gets constipated and if she's hungry she doesn't seem to notice and will just get meaner and meaner.
Thank you all, very much. I will be honest and say although I thought the constipation was a factor, I probably hadn't realised it was that big a deal. I'm annoyed with myself really because I said I'd sort it this summer (movicol, star charts etc) but we've been away and various things and really haven't cracked it, and now school restarts it's just harder as can't push fluid intake. He used to be brilliant w poos, then he had a bad illness 18mknths ago, got super constipated, then fissured etc, all very terrible and traumatic and since then, poos have been a big deal. Frustrating as I thought it would resolve itself but obviously his rectum is used to being full now (sorry if that's too much!)
Re movicol, all advice welcome for sure. I usually give one sachet in the evening just tipped into normal evening drink (sugar free squash) but maybe I need to up it , clearly I do as he's only going every 3-4 days at the moment.
thehouse his diet is good- although he has a sweet tooth he will eat from one end of the fruit bowl to the other, great appetite for fruit and veg etc and treats are limited.
anothertimemaybe yes that's great advice re seat rather than room, I totally see where you're coming from. To be honest sometimes I do need him to be out of my sight (hence his room) as I have smoke coming out of my ears and I can't look at him! (This probably says more about my anger management than his!)
In his defence, today he has been brilliant, he woke acknowledging that he wasn't well behaved yest and that he would try very hard today (which he has). so his insight after the event is good, but he just can't seem to see through the rage when he is in the moment, iyswim!
Probably not a surprise to say he's done two poos today too- why did I underestimate the significance of this??!
Ok driversurpriseme ... How do you do it? Just made up two sachets to the right amount of fluid (normally I just tip it into whatever he's drinking, surreptitiously) but it was really awful tasting, even with squash, he said the squash was horrible and gone off! All tips gratefully received!
Just make the squash quite strong. It doesn't taste great, but if you let him drink through a straw or add ice cubes, that disguises it a bit. My DD is used to it, having been on it for most of her life, poor kid
If you're making it up and then adding it to whatever he's drinking, don't mix it into the required amount of water, mix it into a really tiny amount of water. Stir it well and leave to dissolve - it will end up looking kind of syrupy. You might have more success getting it into him that way, and you'll get it over with quicker too. You could also mix it into yoghurt or custard that way.
Tbh though, is just go with strong squash and try to get him to drink it quickly. Also, don't be afraid to up the dose if it isn't working. You won't do any harm. Aim to make his poo soft, like mushy peas (nice!)
Got 2 sachets in tonight.
So dispirited though. After a fantastic day he had a melt down before bed. I turned off TV as planned, he knew I was going to, and he started getting angry and thumped me, then it escalated at bed time to me screaming at him because he was hitting.
I don't need a psychologist to tell me that I am making things worse by aggressively shouting at him. But the hitting makes me so mad! In tears of frustration here- he seems to have no common sense and keeps pushing it when he's already in trouble. And now I'm wondering if I'm the problem! I need to deal with it differently- but when fave toy already taken away for tomorrow and treat cancelled, what do I have left when he keeps misbehaving, but to shout at him?? I used to be such a calm person!
Have you looked at Explosive Child? I don’t think it lists constipation as one of its underlying causes but it’s very good on dealing with kids who get angry over nothing and on kids who push things more and more when they get in trouble, and it has good ideas on how to stop a bad situation getting worse and avoiding the hitting stage.
To be honest the hitting doesn’t sound like a lack of discipline type situation, more as if he’s feeling desperate and out-of-control in himself. Think about safety rather than consequences. Walk away if you can. Maybe time out so everyone gets a chance to calm down.
Also, have you talked to the GP about his behaviour and his friendship difficulties? It sounds as if he might have some social issues which are adding to his stress levels and he might need some professional help with social and communication skills.
PS Time out is not a punishment; if he will settle and play calmly in his own room then that’s a good thing not a bad thing! Surely much better than the two of you sitting there in the same room winding each other up more and more.
Thank you Kleinzeit I downloaded that book lastnight after reading your post- am about 2/5ths through already (can you sense my desperation?!)
Initially reading it- thought, well, this doesn't really apply to DS who generally is a lovely, kind boy with occasional angry outbursts. But the more I read, the more I identify with. So... Watch this space, I'll keep reading (while dosing up with movicol )
One of the benefits of that book is that some of the kids are so extreme we can think "well at least mine's not usually that difficult"
Another one you might find useful for helping your DS deal with getting so upset/angry at playdates is The Unwritten Rules of Friendship especially the chapter on "The Short-Fused Child".
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