Behaviour (bit long sorry)(5 Posts)
DS is now 12 years old. Up until being 4 years he was a dream no terrible twos nothing. He was the dream child.
At the age of 4 he started having outbursts/tantrums, usually if he was told off for doing something.
These have been dealt with in varying ways over the years, mainly by giving him space to calm down and then talking about it and then giving him the appropriate consequence. On occasion it has been necessary to restrain him to prevent him from hurting himself/others.
At about the age of 8 things seemed to calm down and these 'incidents' started to occur less and less.
At this point I thought (hoped) that it was to do with his maturity levels and he would grow out of it.
Unfortunately during the last summer holidays he became really angry and on his way upstairs with me following behind he back kicked me in the chest. It was at this point I sought medical help and asked for a referral to camhs. The nurse said to get a referral from school.
I know that the doctor can give a referral as I work in primary and deal with vulnerable children, but at the time, sat in the Doctors office I felt ashamed and a failure as a parent.
I had every intention of contacting his new high school come September, but school (both primary and high) have never voiced any concerns about his behaviour and every report and parents evening are positive in this regard so I never got round to doing it.
Again things calmed down and the out bursts are less than 1 every couple of months, but when they happen they are huge and often in a place where I can't be in control.
The latest happened onMonday when my sister took him to Pen-y-Ghent to do the first of the three peaks.
I received a phonecall when they were less than 1/2 a mile in - he was screaming, swearing and even hitting my sister and she didn't know what to do with him. The only advice I had was to leave him and walk on in front without him. She did this and thankfully he followed. By the time they got to the top he was fine again.
We talked about what had happened, as ever he couldn't/wouldn't tell me what the problem was and consequences were given. He has yet to apologise to my sister. I do keep mentioning this to him, but I don't see the point in making him apologise if he doesn't mean it and until he does there will be repercussions from my sister as she or her husband won't take him anywhere, which I completely agree with and back.
I feel completely at a loss as to what to do. I have made an appointment to get a referral, but camhs has at least an 18 months waiting list and even then I'm not guaranteed any long term help.
I'm not the perfect parent and do lose my temper and shout and I've even slapped his legs, but I try to stay calm, but I can't carry on with this.
Any suggestions on how to deal with this would be appreciated.
I’m really sorry TwoTeaTessie, it sounds awful. I don’t really don’t know what’s causing your DS’s outbursts. You seemed to know what started them when he was younger, and you had a way of dealing with them. Do you have any ideas about what’s triggering them now? Can your DSis tell you what happened just before your DS started shouting and screaming? It’s worth keeping a diary of these outbursts, see if you can identify any triggers. Could it be a build-up of frustration or anxiety, or something sensory like sudden touch or sounds? But it’s so hard to say.
Just to let you know where I’m coming from - and not because I think your DS has this, I honestly have no idea what's troubling him! - my own DS had such violent outbursts as a result of Asperger’s syndrome, it’s not uncommon for kids on the autism spectrum to do this. One he got going the only way to manage my DS was to give him space and leave him alone to calm himself down. In fact just getting too close to him when he was right on the verge could trigger violence. So I kept a distance - none of that Supernanny “get down on their level and talk firmly to them”, it wasn’t safe. DS doesn't do this any more (touch wood!), a mix of us learning to manage and him maturing and managing himself better.
One book to try looking at is The Explosive Child. I don’t know if it will help but a lot of us here use it especially when the usual discipline isn’t helping. It helped me when nothing else did! There are also books you can use with your child - What to Do When Your Temper Flares is one a lot of people recommend though I admit I haven’t used it myself and maybe it's pitched a bit young for him now. My DS has developed better control with age, but with some kids the stresses of teen years can bring a downturn.
I do think it’s a good idea for your DS to apologise even if he doesn’t “mean” it. Saying sorry is part of learning to feel sorry, same as saying thank you is part of learning about gratitude. It’s all about other people’s feelings. We expect kids to say thank you for presents they don’t want. Over time apologising will help him recognise that his outbursts do really upset and scared and hurt other people and that he will need to bring them under control. I remember insisting my DS had to apologise for doing something really dreadful and he was refusing and I'd mentally prepared penalties for every day he wouldn't do it, but then he wanted to know why he had to apologise and all I could say was "because you are a good boy and it is the right thing to do!" It got through to him that time though, he did it like a lamb.
Keep poking away at CAMHS. I was stuck on a waiting list for months while my DS was on the verge of being chucked out of school, so don’t be put off by the wait. Not everyone has a good experience with CAMHS but they were very good once I got to see them.
And I'm sorry he's having these outbursts. I really really hated having to deal with them and especially when I didn't know why they were happening.
PS Your DS may not be able to genuinely promise your DSis never to do it again. If none of you know what's triggering his aggression and he doesn't have it under control then don't make that part of his apology. If there is something positive he can do - like signal that he's getting angry and walk away himself - then he could promise to try to do that in future.
Thank you. His out bursts now seem to come from frustration linked with being tired or hungry.
I know what you mean about apologising, and there are consequences in place for not doing so but these just seem to cause another bad mood. I'll just have to keep plugging away.
Ive ordered the books you recommended and see if there's something there c
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