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3 year old like a wild animal. is this normal

(24 Posts)
deliverdaniel Thu 23-Feb-17 18:36:55

DS is nearly 3 and a half. I feel like we are still living in an extreme version of the terrible twos.
he is apparently v well behaved at school, but at home can act like a wild animal. when he is one of his 'moods' he is almost impossible to contain. For eg he will go over to the kitchen sink, climb up, start splashing water ALL over the kitchen- I pull him down, then he'll grab the coffee pot and throw it on the floor. I turn around to clear up briefly and he'll have grabbed a toy plastic spade and will have opened the fridge and started bashing the contents with the spade and things are falling out. etc etc. He's not always like this but gets in these destructive moods (not a tantrum and not angry/ upset just totally wild.) He is also a bolter and will regularly run off as fast as he can in the opposite direction whenever we are out, which is terrifying. He runs off in the house too, if we are trying to get him dressed etc, he'll break free and sprint off.

At other times he can be very sweet and very focused (when he has our full attention on a game or similar he is much better but that isn't always possible with other DS. I think part of it is attention seeking but he just seems to have this wild energy that he and we can't contain. We've tried time outs but they just seem to make him angry and don't seem to do much. We do lots of positive reinforcement for good behaviour, and enforce consequences for bad, but none of it seems to make a blind bit of difference. He has started having tantrums too, although these seem more normal and more like his elder brother was at this age. it's the wild energy thing that really bothers me and seems different from most kids his age.

He is developing normally in other ways (I think)- learning well- taught himself all his letters, plays well at school and v engaged.

Does this sound normal to people or as though there is a problem? It's exhausting and we are totally worn out from it and it's taking so much attention away from DS6 that it's hard on him too.

deliverdaniel Sat 25-Feb-17 20:18:51

anyone? or is it just us?

BertieBotts Sat 25-Feb-17 20:21:20

DS was the same, er, no advice though I'm afraid. He grew out of it at about seven or eight shock However he didn't bolt and was generally reliable when out. He would get into those "wild" moods though during which you couldn't reach him and he'd just be completely crazy. I couldn't get him to stay in time out so I'm impressed if you've managed it!

fusspot66 Sat 25-Feb-17 20:23:21

It sounds extreme to me but mine could be a bit bonkers/ unreachable when v hungry or tired.

fusspot66 Sat 25-Feb-17 20:24:34

Maybe time out needs to be a trampoline or swing in the garden?

BornStroppy Sat 25-Feb-17 20:27:15

My son was like this. I basically incorporate a structured activity into his day - he's got loads of energy and nowhere to put it. Hes much better since i basically run it out of him - only after hes run off the energy does he have the energy to focus on reading, jigsaw etc. he gets very naughty when hes bored as well, i have to keep him going.

BottomlyP0tts Sat 25-Feb-17 20:27:37

How much exercise is he getting? Plenty of time to smash things outside would help - my kids would be feral if the couldnt go and build/break things in the garden.

deliverdaniel Sat 25-Feb-17 20:30:10

thanks v much for replies. Bertie was he really still like that all the way up to age 7? Any improvement in that time at all? It's really strange because he's not angry or anything- just has this total irrepresible energy.

Exercise definitely helps but it's not always totally practical (eg when making dinner etc and older DS has to be dragged out of the house to the park kicking and screaming so it's hard to handle both energy levels at the same time.) WE hold him on our laps for time out otherwise he wouldn't stay in it at all.

Trampoline is a great idea. But would that feel like a reward do you think?

SaltyMyDear Sat 25-Feb-17 20:31:57

Could it be something like a reaction to aspertame or Enums?

It does not sound right or normal and I don't think you should just wait for him to grow out if it.

deliverdaniel Sat 25-Feb-17 20:32:32

BornSTroppy how long did it go on for with your son?

BottomlyPits he does get exercise but probably not enough as obv demands of other DS etc. I think he's a bit cooped up at nursery and that's part of the problem so a bit stir crazy afterwards. He's much much better when he has my full attention. Sorry if this is a stupid question but what kind sof things did yoru kids build/ break in the garden? Would really welcome any specific ideas. Our garden isn't a great run around space- on lots of levels- v rocky etc. But i'm sure htere's something we could do.

deliverdaniel Sat 25-Feb-17 20:34:27

Salty he doesn't have aspartame. What are enums? I must admit, I hadn't really considered that it might be a food thing. It doesn't seem to be particularly related to what he eats (no worse after sugar for eg) but I'm not monitoring it that closely. Good suggestion though, thanks. What do you suggest I do though other than wait for him to grow out of it? (not a sarky comment btw- genuine question)

SaltyMyDear Sat 25-Feb-17 20:56:32

eNums are additives to food like red food colouring. Best book on what additives are and arent safe is 'what's really in your basket' (

Reactions to food don't always show up directly after eating. They can take time to reach the brain and cause problems. Gluten can cause problems 6 months after eating!

You really need to change his diet to find out if it's a food problem.

SaltyMyDear Sat 25-Feb-17 20:57:49

The other thing, besides diet, to look into are vitamins and supplements.

I bet he's low on zinc and magnesium. Practically all kids are low in Omega.

Turkeyneck Sat 25-Feb-17 21:07:55

My DS was like this. He was a terrible bolter too, and very fast! It was awful and I was very nervous to let family take him out without me or DH as they couldn't keep up! Super energetic, still is. Could easily hike 10 miles on our camping holidays age 4, then still want to go for a swim when we finished! Our lives have changed so much since he started school. He is so much more in control of his emotions/energy now. I'd say your DS wiĺl outgrow it by 5.5yrs. But it's hard. I think if he's well behaved at school he's probably ok. He's letting off steam once he gets home which is the right way round! Tell him when he's feeling crazy that it's OK to feel like that and to punch the cushions for 2 mins. A timer helped us a lot for do many things, I think it helps give them their focus back. Even timing him to do 30 star jumps or smthg and try to beat the clock. Just to try and get rid of that burst of energy. But i agree most times you just cant get them to snap out of that wild episode. Patience and wine!

BottomlyP0tts Sat 25-Feb-17 21:15:45

We are lucky in that we are in a farm - I let them build with firewood and sticks then they can just smash it with whatever.

Building things in the sandpit then destroying them

Playing with the hose/water play is also really fun, let them make mud piles etc

Trampolines are great just let him go in it as much as he can to burn off all that energy

Setting up sports cones is so easy and kids love to run around them etc

Can you set up a simple rope swing? Climbing frame? Anything to use his whole body?

I would work on diet and exercise first.

It's pretty hard this parenting lark huh?

deliverdaniel Sat 25-Feb-17 21:29:06

thanks - these are great suggestions. Some of the outdoor stuff in the garden might be hard in our circumstances, but the principle is really good and lots of really great ideas.

He has pretty good diet- barely eats any processed food at all, so not sure about the e-numbers thing (we don't live in the UK so prob different additives though)- could be gluten though I guess.

love the star jumps etc in the house too. think he could really go for that!

ScrapThatThen Sat 25-Feb-17 21:37:11

Maybe look up some stuff about sensory processing? Sensory seeking kids I think can love the feel of the air when they run, or the feel of throwing. Then you could introduce some things that give him the sensation (if seems like the right track).

BottomlyP0tts Sat 25-Feb-17 23:17:15

With my very hyper 5 year old I actually make it a priority to wear him out like I would a dog - after every stationary hour he has to go and run around/play outside/do yoga etc it's the only way to keep us all sane!

BertieBotts Sat 25-Feb-17 23:28:26

Dunno he actually got worse until he was about five blush BUT we did move country, immerse him in totally new language when he was 4 and I think that the huge change probably exacerbated things even though it was a good thing overall.

After 5 it got slowly better and he's great now but still incapable of sitting on a chair without falling off it confused nor does he stay still even in his sleep!

BertieBotts Sat 25-Feb-17 23:30:17

In the interests of disclosure I was diagnosed with adult ADHD last year so there's about a 50% chance he has ADHD too and the hyperactive part is more likely with boys. But his teacher doesn't think he has ADHD so who knows.

Voice0fReason Sat 25-Feb-17 23:30:42

Trampoline is a great idea. But would that feel like a reward do you think?
No, it's not a reward! He's 3, this isn't deliberate, it's a need.
Give him something acceptable to do with his energy.

Puddlet Sat 25-Feb-17 23:35:06

We used to send our DD out to run round the garden 10 times. It was a big space though.
Totally agree about the trampoline - it will really help. Our DD now does Irish dance which combines lots of exercise and fierce discipline so it's perfect for her. Possibly not the best thing for a 3 year old boy - but he might be old enough for football?

deliverdaniel Sun 26-Feb-17 03:16:46

thanks for these- all really great ideas. We don't really have the space for a full trampoline but maybe there's a small version we could get. I dont' think he could do Irish dance (although who knows!) We tried football but he was too young for the group (not technically too young but the youngest other kid was a year older and he was totally overwhelmed and just disrupted the class for everyone else, so we had to pull him out. ) It's sometimes really hard to fit in time to give him real exercise but I totally get that we need to make it a priority in whatever way we can. Also reassuring to hear that other kids are similar.

I did wonder about ADHD but when I look it up online he doesn't seem to quite fit the profile because he can also concentrate pretty well/ sit still/ focus when he wants to, these wild things are more like frequent but isolated episodes. But I could be wrong. Is he too young to be assessed for that?

BornStroppy Sun 26-Feb-17 04:29:10

He's four now - weekly he goes to football, rugby, swimming and drama twice. but, I dont work and have the time to take him to stuff and play with him outside too. I did used to notice that after a morning at nursery, if it had been raining he.d need a couple of hours in the garden to burn off some energy. I noticed a change - his intellectual development sped up and his focus improved - he can sit and work on something very intensely - no longer restless.

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