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Five year old tantrums

(9 Posts)
eli Tue 07-May-02 09:38:44

Does anyone else have a 5 year old who still has tantrums? My boy, usually when he is tired and/or hungry, still gets himself into a state where he cries uncontrollably and can be aggressive as well (usually directed at his older sister). Usually gentle persistence and leaving him alone to sort himself out works but I had a nasty incident last week where he actually kicked our au pair during one of these tantrums. I felt it was partly her fault because he was doing what he had been asked - sitting at the table for supper - but was still crying and she told him he was a baby which aggravated the situation. Clearly kicking her was not acceptable behaviour and I chastised him and made him apologise but when I talked about it with her later she was very adamant that this was not normal behaviour for a 5 year-old and that I should have punished him more forcefully. I accept that most children have grown out of this behaviour by 5, my daughter certainly had - but I should be reassured to hear that there are other children out there who were slow to learn to control their frustrations.

WideWebWitch Tue 07-May-02 09:53:14

Eli, my ds is four years 7 mos, so a bit younger than yours, but he does still have tantrums ocassionally. They too can be long screaming fits with aggressive behaviour and yes, they usually coincide with hunger or tiredness.

I don't know what you could have done apart from tell him off and make him apologise: what else could she possibly have expected? Just because she was adamant doesn't mean she was right! And it sounds like you did the right thing to tell him off, get him to apologise and move on swiftly.

Even though your daughter grew out of it at 5, IME some boys do seem to have this aggressive streak that comes out sometimes, so it doesn't sound abnormal at all to me. Or if it is, my ds is too! HTH

emsiewill Tue 07-May-02 14:08:59

eli, if you look back over any thread about "challenging" behaviour in 4/5 yr olds, you'll see me posting there! My (now)5 year old daughter had a real problem with controlling her frustration/anger last summer, and can still "lose it" now - although thank goodness it is getting better. I, too, worried that it wasn't "normal" (as if there's such a thing), but thanks to my good friends on mumsnet, and the passing of time, we can go for days without a screaming tantrum.
I know it's hard (impossible?!) but ignoring it as much as possible worked for us - although obviously you can't totally ignore the violent behaviour - I tried to tell her that it wasn't acceptable, and then remove her (or her younger sister - who was usually the target - if it was easier) from the situation until she (finally) calmed down.
Lots of people tried to reassure me that it's the sign of a bright child - boredom etc, and though it's nice to hear, I didn't find it particularly reassuring. So I won't say it to you. But bear it in mind, anyway

Bee Tue 07-May-02 15:29:28

Hi Eli - my 6 year old boy still throws the occasional wobbly, and it wass usually directed at the au pair, so I really sympathise. Like yours, our au pair (who has now moved on) felt that we were not strict enough with him. She may have had a point, but au pairs are there to make your life easier, not to bring additional strain into the family. What we did was to set down some pretty fixed rules about how rudeness etc were to be dealt with. Usually going up to his room was best - gave them both a chance to settle down and also removed the tension itself.

He is getting better gradually but will I think be grumpy when tired for quite a while to come. Hope this helps a little - I really feel for you.

eli Tue 07-May-02 21:36:59

Many thanks for all your messages. Really helps to know that I am not alone and (hopefully!) not entirely making wrong decisions! Re the au pair I did point out to her that family life is not perfect and - yes- sometimes mums do give in but not always and it is different from being in a job where you can leave at the end of the day. Sometimes the 24hours 7 days a week gets the better of you and you don't always make the 'correct' parenting skill decision. Interstingly though when this happened she was the one who stormed out for 2 hours leaving me to cope with all the childrens' dinners, adult dinners, homework and bedtime! Things do seem to have settled down a bit now so hopefyully we can all move on.

stopsayingmum Fri 30-Apr-10 00:02:26

Oh yes!
DD is 5 next week and has regular/extreme tantrums. She had them at school and was refered for help. Said help was not much good - no magic wand, but good to talk about it non-the-less.
I've decided that firm, clear, consistant rules/consequences are the best you can do. And develope a very thick skin for when they blow up in puplic.
You are NOT alone! Good luck and stay calm!!

kellyd1981 Sat 15-May-10 08:53:31

hi i have 3 children all boys 5, 3 and 1. my 5 year old has awful tantrums he will scream, rip his clothes, throw things, punch me, kick me and his brothers which resulted in him breaking his 3 yr old brothers arm but jumping off the sofa onto him and punching him. i am really at the end of my tether and have even considered putting him into care. i really don't know what to do. any advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks x

cory Sat 15-May-10 09:11:23

Once you had (quite rightly) made your ds apologise, you should have made the au-pair apologise too and told her that if she wants to work for you she will not taunt children by calling them babies. (would have been tempted to kick her myself)

I wouldn't listen to anything this girl/woman says about child development as she clearly knows very little about child psychology.

Ime some 5yos have tantrums and some don't. Clear boundaries are good, but will not necessarily cure the tendency straight away.

Leelu25 Wed 24-Apr-13 21:06:03

I am horrified by all the blame that is being placed on this poor nanny here. Bad behaviour is bad behaviour, provoked on not. Children need to learn resilience and by saying the nanny provoked him is irrelevant. Would you say the same thing if it was another child in the playground that called him a baby? A five year old needs to learn and understand ways to combat hurt and frustration without resorting to violence. That is what this thread is really about. Helping children channel these feelings into appropriate responses, not what the nanny did or didn't say. I have no idea why the nanny is even being discussed.
Also, never belittle the nanny's authority in front of the child by forcing them to apologise. All you are teaching the child is that you and your nanny are not equals and part of the same team. That is a whole new level of problems! If there are issues, you address them in private. If you want your children to resect the person who comes into your home to help, it starts with you.

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