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How to tackle 6 year old challenging behaviour

(6 Posts)
Yeeyeelovesraaraa Wed 08-Feb-17 21:14:44

We are really struggling with 6 year old ds behaviour at the moment.

He is a very bright intelligent little boy, who is doing well at school, is quiet, listens & is well behaved in class and his teachers have no concerns about whatsoever.

At home he is generally a happy lively little boy, but for quite some time now and especially at the moment, he is constantly whining, moaning, answering back, being unkind to his sister and lashing out (throwing things/hitting himself on his arms/head) if things aren't going his way. He shouts ALL the time (i dont necessarily mean in an agressive way but more he talks/chatters constantly but at shouting volume), he constantly interrupts/talks over us when we are speaking, he makes lots of silly (almost baby like) noises/squeaks/shouts, he is constantly running around jumping & bouncing on & off chairs & spinning round. He doesnt seem to listen to anything we say - e.g. we could tell him 20 times a day to stop jumping on the chairs yet he still carries on. We try to talk calmly about his behaviour but it doesnt change & it inevitably ends in one of us shouting at him & him going for time out on the naughty step or having toys etc removed.

It feels like we have fallen into a horrible cycle of negative behaviour, shouting & punishment & we're really struggling to change things.

We feel this may all be his way of crying out for attention - possibly down to sibling rivalry as his sister grows older & wants to join in with what he is doing more. We know he is really struggling to cope with sharing with her & realise this is difficult for him after 4 years as an only child - so we are making time for him to have 1:1 with us without her present but need some more strategies as that doesnt sem to be enough on its own.

We are struggling to agree on the best course of action - I think we need to praise positive behaviour more rather than focusing on the negative behaviour but while DH agrees this is a good idea in principle he thinks we shouldnt ignore the bad behaviour e.g. ds throwing things when we have to leave the park as 'we are then not telling DS what is not acceptable & we should tell him off when he does something wrong'. So some guidance there would be appreciated on where you draw the line.

I wondered about a reward chart but we can't agree on how to reward his beaviour. DH thinks we should award stickers whenever we think he has been good but I think that's too generic - after all what does 'good' actually mean? I think we should set out exactly & specifically what behaviour is expected eg playing nicely/sharing with dd' or 'leaving the park without having a tantrum' but DH argues that if he does something positive outside of this specific list - then he won't be rewarded as its not on the list therefore the only way to do it is to reward for 'general good behaviour' whenever we see it.

I'm feeling a bit lost so would really appreciate some help or guidance on what has worked for your child.
Sorry its so long!!

Kennington Wed 08-Feb-17 21:18:34

I was like a little Duracell bunny too.
I am no expert but I would suggest lots and of exercise outside. I used to let off steam at home because I felt I could after a day at school. In the end dad would just get me to run around the garden until I was knackered. I loved it!

picklemepopcorn Wed 08-Feb-17 21:35:33

You can use positive language to promote boundaries:
Quiet voice please!
Feet on the floor!
Gentle hands!
Kind words, remember!
Grown up voice please, I can't understand that baby voice.

Also, play games which promote what you want, all the time. So to teach control of his voice and choosing the right tone, play 'ham and eggs'.

Say the phrase 'ham and eggs' in as many different ways as possible, taking it in turns to be really quiet, really excited, disgusted, pleased, surprised etc...

To teach listening skills play things like Simon says, or call out an instruction to be done only when you say 'sausages'. So when I say sausages hop three times. Then say lots of other words beginning with s instead. They mustn't hop until 'sausages'.

Gentle touching games, like massaging hand cream onto each other, tickling inside elbows etc.

Yeeyeelovesraaraa Thu 09-Feb-17 18:24:39

Kennington Duracell bunny is exactly right! We do try to exercise him after school in the park but due to the time of year thats been more difficult of late. He refuses to go out in the garden after school unless i go with him which is difficult when i'm trying to prepare dinner- hopefully with the better weather he'll get out more & as dd gets bigger she will be able to go out & play with him more. I know it does help.

picklemepopcorn thankyou for the helpful suggestions. We do already try to use positive language eg 'talk please' instead of 'dont shout' - i think we often fall down though when after 5 times of asking like that8 and its had no effect its very easy to revert to shout mode to get his attention. I hate it though so am going to make a renewed effort to try the positive language and ignore the undesirable behaviour as I think sometimes we are too quick to react to it & thats probably half the problem.

Tonight he has squawked and squealed very loudly all evening & I have ignored it and said periodically 'if you want to speak to mummy use proper words, i can't understand your noises.' So he has done it louder & more frequently & openly said he was doing it to try to get my attention. So I know thats what he's doing. I've asked DH to do the same I'm just hoping he canresist the urge to say stop it as he finds it very hard to bite his tongue!

I will also try out the games you suggested.

If anyone has any advice on the use of reward charts that would also be much appreciated. Thankyou.x

motmot Thu 09-Feb-17 22:25:14

I've never had any joy with reward charts. Mine have no interest in stickers and could never grasp the concept of working towards things in the heat of the moment. If you are going to try one though definitely keep it simple and specific. 'Being good' it's definitely too vague.

Tbh he sounds completely normal. If he's keeping it together all day at school he may just need to be loud, 'wild' etc at home in a place where he feels able to.

Kanga59 Mon 13-Feb-17 22:50:32

my nearly 6yo loves his current reward chart because it's linked to money. 5 stars equals £1! can you try something cash based?

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