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Why does my six year old do this?

(43 Posts)
FloatyFlo Sun 11-Sep-16 10:27:49

I'm struggling at the moment with my five, days away from being six, year old.

This is an example of his behaviour that I don't know how to manage. This happened just now. I know it will probably seem like a real non issue but he can do this several times a day over the tiniest of things. And it's exhausting. So -

Nice morning. He has been in a good mood. He tipped a box of an angry birds toy set out onto the lounge floor. I reminded him, you've tipped that out, please make sure you put it away after. All fine.
20 mins later he asks to do some painting. I tell him I will go get the easel and paper ready while he puts his angry birds toy away.
A few minutes later he comes into the kitchen, and I tell him painting his ready, and ask if his toy has been put away. He says yes.
I go back into lounge and it's still on the floor. So I tell him your angry birds toy is still in the floor. You need to tidy it up before painting.

Cue half an hour of crying and shouting and whinging and stomping and refusal to put toy away.
At first he goes on and on about doing it afterwards. I just repeat - no painting until toy is away. Then he goes on and on about just doing a little bit of painting first and then tidying toy away. I say no, tidy first then painting.
He keeps repeating himself and so I say to him I'm not talking about this anymore. You know what you need to do.
When I began to ignore him he then gets louder and louder and crosser and crosser, he yells at me to listen to him then he starts to beg me to help him, then he goes back to just crying and then starts saying I'm going to hit a wall in a minute (?!?!)

So now half an hour later, I lost patience and yelled at him. Said if he didnt pick it up, i would put it in the bin. He then very slowly and begrudgingly picked the toy up. He has bloody forgotten about the painting now. Now he is in a bad mood, whinging about everything. I'm in a bad mood and feeling guilty that I can't stay calm and handle this.

Help. Why does he do this? How do I manage it? Was I too harsh giving him the painting/toy away instruction? Am I being too soft and that's why he behaves like this? He is just relentless sometimes and when he is unhappy about something he is very unreasonable and it affects the whole house.

Lunchboxlewiswillyoumarryme Sun 11-Sep-16 10:34:08

Mine nearly 7 and has just started the same thing...he's wanting to control everything and do as he pleases..I ended up yesterday grabbing his shoulders and eyeing him up closely while I shouted I wasn't putting up with his shitty behaviour any more...this was over not wanting to do homework( they do give unreasonable amounts).it ruined the whole day..I've no advice...sorry.could do with some myself to be honest

Lunchboxlewiswillyoumarryme Sun 11-Sep-16 10:38:21

I think for us it's to much time together...his siblings are nearly adults not interested in him. and dad is in the never home..just me and him battling for control..too close .no space.might not be the same for you...I've no family to ask to have him...but if you have pls do,give yourselves a and him....I think mine often needs a break from me..I need a break from me

Cakedoesntjudge Sun 11-Sep-16 10:41:47

My 6 year old has just started acting like this, it's really shocked me as, other than a bad tantrum phase when he was about 1.5, he's a really lovely, calm kid. It's bizarre.

I am assuming he's just trying to push his boundaries. I am a single mum and it doesn't help that his dad insists on telling him that ds is the 'man of the house' now hmm despite me asking him not to. I think DS is harbouring delusions of grandeur that he should be in charge!!

I just do what you did at the start, I repeat myself calmly and ignore the tantrum until I can feel myself reaching breaking point and if it still hasn't stopped I say something like "if you had just done X nicely then we could have already been doing y by now. Because you've chosen to act in such an unacceptable way you can now go to your room until you've calmed down"

It gives us both the space to just take a breather. Normally when he comes back he'll do whatever he'd been asked to do with minimal fuss.

Don't beat yourself up for snapping, happens to all of us flowers

MagikarpetRide Sun 11-Sep-16 10:50:55

My 5.5 yo has started this over the school holidays. She seems to think she control everyone and everything and goes crazy with the crying and stomping when she gets told no, these have always been the rules. Gah. The only thing I can offer is that at least we are not alone!

WowOoo Sun 11-Sep-16 10:51:01

I think you should keep telling him to tidy up one activity before another. I don't think you are being too soft either.
You just have to accept the tantrums. Don't try to discuss anything when he's angry. Wait until you are both calm and talk about it then.

Mine is going to get a shock when he gets back home from his friend's house and finds all the Lego that was all over his floor from yesterday has disappeared. He'll get it back in a day or two!

SharonfromEON Sun 11-Sep-16 10:51:32

I do remember my now 9 year old going through this phase... I can say removing to room when that level of tantrum..

I am sure I remember reading up on hormone surges at that age too..

Sounds like you handled it well. I think there is nothing wrong with threatening to throw it in the bin..

Another response is we are not negotiating I told you what I expect..Talk to me when it is done..

Dementedswan Sun 11-Sep-16 10:56:58

My 6 and 5 year old are the same. Except there's two of them and they'd rather wrestle, be silly etc. Taking the objects they've refused to help tidy up or been fighting over has no effect. They have each other to wind up angry

They seem to spend half the day in their rooms supposedly thinking about their behaviour hmm

Don't get me started on the cheek.

Watching for ideas too.

MillieMoodle Sun 11-Sep-16 10:57:32

My DS is 5.5 and this has just started over the summer holidays. We've had tantrums about tidying up and tantrums about homework. For the tidying up, we've taken either to timing him with a stopwatch to see how quickly he can do it, or saying he's got 10 minutes and anything left out after that is going in the bin. It's worked but he's generally grumpy for a bit afterwards.

With the homework, we bribed him with Haribo blush he did it beautifully eventually.

VioletBam Sun 11-Sep-16 10:58:14

I have an 8 year old the same. I think it's more likely to happen when she's feeling sick of being with me or needs to do something more physical.

I try to get her outside when she's over it....often it's a run about she needs.

FloatyFlo Sun 11-Sep-16 11:24:42

Thanks for all your kind replies.

I put him in his bedroom when he gets like this. I need the space between us if I feel like I'm am wearing thin. But he just comes straight back out. He won't stay there. It's not a big enough consequence for him.
I dress it up as you need to go to your room to have a calm down and then we can talk. But he doesnt listen. He just wants to continue the argument.

Or sometimes he will stay in there but he will scream at the top of his voice and bang on the floor or door. We live above a shop and when he is screaming no mummy no!! And banging I dread to think what the staff below think is going on.

FloatyFlo Sun 11-Sep-16 11:27:37

Knowing that we are not alone is a huge comfort!

I think what I need most is advice on How to stay calm. When I let the anger take hold or take his behaviour personally, it escalates. And makes it worse a lot of the time.
I've tried little tactics like pretending to his teacher, to distance myself from the emotion, or pretend I have supernanny watching. It does help me stay in control for a bit but he pushes and pushes.

MarklahMarklah Sun 11-Sep-16 11:29:57

Reading your first post was like every other day at home during the school holidays with my DD, also nearly 6. I am guessing it's a part boredom, part boundaries pushing thing.

Very glad school is back as it seems to have taken the edge off.

Last time I confiscated things 'to put in the bin' (they're in the garage) she shouted and screamed a bit but hasn't asked for them at all.

It seems to be worse when she's tired. She doesn't do slowing down and yawning tired, so that you can actually tell she's tired. She does running about and being loud (but is quite often running about and being loud), so there is an element of guesswork.

Based on some ideas I saw on another thread, I've moved teatime to earlier, and started getting ready for bed earlier. It still takes ages for her to unwind, but she's less stressy doing it.

FloatyFlo Sun 11-Sep-16 19:54:56

Reading your first post was like every other day at home during the school holidays with my DD

Yep. The same. He would be fine when out but at home a nightmare. Even if we had a manic busy week, even the first day after at home, he'd would be pushing boundaries and playing up due to boredom.

Obviously I do things with him but I can't every minute of everyday but he dpest seem capable of playing by himself for just 20 mins!

Yika Sun 11-Sep-16 20:01:23

Wow, so relieved to see that there are others suffering with this. My DD is exactly the same age - just about to turn 6 - and, while she's always been feisty, the last few days have been absolutely terrible - incredibly demanding, totally ignoring what I say, hysterical tantrums about having to stop what she's playing at.... unfortunately I don't keep my cool; I keep losing my temper. I can't stand her behaviour or mine! I feel miserable and ashamed. I'm also a single parent and it's hard without a break. I assume it's the transition back to school - she's gone up to a new school, gets the bus, has long days, is probably tired and has a lot to process mentally and emotionally. sorry not to have any constructive suggestions.

MarklahMarklah Sun 11-Sep-16 20:02:10

Making mud pies in the garden kept her quiet for a bit, though there was a lot of cleaning up (Garden path, bath & hair washing, plus brushing mud off the carpet). smile

SpeckledyBanana Sun 11-Sep-16 20:08:11

DS (7) is like this. The only thing to do is to stay as calm as you can manage and firm on whatever the trigger was.

Tonight DS did not get pudding until he'd put his clean socks in his drawer. There was much yelling, mostly all him.

panad317 Sun 11-Sep-16 20:11:51

Why didn't you help him to pick them up in the first place? "Let's put these away first, I'll help you, then you can help me to get the painting stuff ready"

darthmaul Sun 11-Sep-16 20:20:16

I know sticking to your guns teaches them boundaries, but sometimes i find it easier to try and force some positivity into it. Like last poster said, help him tidy, make it fun. Tell him to pretend to be a type of animal while he tidies and you'll watch and try to guess what he is. Anything that might make it less of a chore. Then you both win. There is balance to be struck between making sure he isn't in allowed to get away with too much, and giving yourself and him a break for an easy life. If you let him off the hook sometimes, he'll learn to do that for others too. You can show him how to compromise and meet in the middle "ok since you don't want to do it, how about I help and we do half each?". I sympathise though, I'm fighting the same battles with my 7yo.

SatsukiKusakabe Sun 11-Sep-16 20:23:27

Firstly I'll say I've had lots of occasions where I've dealt with the same behaviour exactly as you have, and it's escalated the same way.

BUT it has gone much better for everyone if we do the tidying together in the first place. You are not losing a battle by doing so, you are setting him an example to follow. He is still young. I find any instructions I say from a doorway/the other room etc do not go over as well as the "come on, let's put this away, who can get them all first" type said from the floor, which often ends up in us having a laugh together and getting on.

Sometimes things seem a lot bigger to them than they actually are, and they get a bit overwhelmed at the idea. Of course, we can't always be Mary Poppins, but the idea is the right one. It is very easy to get locked into battle with children, but things go more smoothly when I remember we are actually on the same side, and they are still learning this stuff.

Yika Sun 11-Sep-16 20:26:33

I think the book 'Raising your Spirited Child' advocates this kind of win-win approach rather than digging your heels in over a discipline issue (which can end up being lose-lose as it was for me today). It definitely works, is a good sense approach and respectful of both parties. Might revisit the book this evening.

FloatyFlo Sun 11-Sep-16 21:50:19

Why didn't you help him to pick them up in the first place?

This got my back up. Because I bloody well pick up enough around this house and it was ONE toy. Is that that unreasonable?

However when written like this -

I know sticking to your guns teaches them boundaries, but sometimes i find it easier to try and force some positivity into it.

BUT it has gone much better for everyone if we do the tidying together in the first place. You are not losing a battle by doing so, you are setting him an example to follow. He is still young.

I think the book 'Raising your Spirited Child' advocates this kind of win-win approach rather than digging your heels in over a discipline issue (which can end up being lose-lose as it was for me today). It definitely works, is a good sense approach and respectful of both parties

It is constructive and helpful and I'm grateful. Thank you Darth, Satsuki and Yika.

I think that's what I need to work on. Striking a balance between being to hard on him and pandering to him and letting him get away with murder. Which at the moment I seem to flit between one to the other. When will definitely try to inject some positivity into things like this.

MarklahMarklah Sun 11-Sep-16 21:54:19

With you on the above post, Floaty. I have in the past stuck to my guns because I've done all the hoovering, cooking, washing, etc. and tided up a shit ton of crap already - so to ask my DC to put away the one bloody thing they had out shouldn't be so much hard work. But I can see the logic in the cooperative approach. Something for next time!

Today's been a good one. I only had to ask once to have something tidied and it got done without argument.

panad317 Sun 11-Sep-16 21:57:03

My bad OP, I am always straight to the point! Good luck with managing to stay calm.

FloatyFlo Sun 11-Sep-16 22:00:26


If I misread your tone, then I apologise, and thank you.

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