Should we get help for angry 8 year old(15 Posts)
Hi I have an 8 year old son who has always been a handful since the age of about 2. We have always found it difficult to get him to do anything he didn't want to or to stop doing something we have asked him not to. He can be extremely defiant although when he is doing something he is happy with he can be so happy loving and funny with a great sense of humour. For the last 6-8 weeks his behaviour has really taken a turn for the worse. He is extremely angry and if he doesn't agree with something we say he will just growl at us or squeal as loud as he can. He has told us (and his teachers) that he doesn't like being shouted at & it makes him feel angry. We try so so hard not to shout at him, he doesn't respond well to it. However, when we need to leave for work/school and he point blank refuses to get ready or do his teeth it is very hard not to get frustrated. He then gets angrier saying we've promised not to shout (although we are actually just asking him nicely!) I do think he is playing up on the 'being angry' sonewhat. I've had a couple of chats with his teacher and it seems he is very distracted at the moment but not displaying the anger. Since the Easter holidays things have been slightly better but then something really small could set him off. A couple of times this week he has come to me later and either apologised or said he feels bad for shouting, which is something. There have been times in the past we have wandered if we should see someone about him because of his defiance. We have wandered whether he may have ODD or be on the spectrum somewhere. When he was just over 18 months old he developed an obsession with Hoovers. Everyone thought it was funny but for me I was worried because it was overwhelmingly intense. This lasted a couple of years. Since then he has developed a keen interest in computers and electronics (something which neither myself or my husband are interested in) he has taught himself so much and is on the gifted & talented register for ICT. At one point all he was talking about was different Microsoft editions and he could name them all in order. Recently he became obsessed with toy cars (and cars in general) but he is moving back to computers again. He also likes horrible histories. He has a tablet but we do not have a PlayStation etc. He is very bright. In the 1st year he got 1s and As for everything. However, now he has gone down to 2s and bs apart from Ict and music (although still where he needs to be for everything). He seems to only put effort into the areas (of life in general) that he is interested in. He struggles with his handwriting but gets angry if anyone tries to help him with it (and says the teachers make fun of it!)
I've never considered something like adhd because until now we haven't had any problems out of the norm at school. However, apparently he has just been getting up and wandering round recently.
I'm really really worried about him. I am trying to improve things with effective parenting and I am reading the books 'the explosive child' and 'how to talk so your kids will listen....'
I don't want to get him labelled unnecessarily. I feel sometimes a label can make things worse or be used as an excuse for behaviour. However, I obviously want to do the best for him. He is ok socially he doesn't speak of certain friends all the time but you can see at school he gets on with people and he is fine with his cousins & when I meet my own friends with their children. We've always had to work to get any information from him though - he is in his own world a lot of the time.
He can bicker with his sister's a lot! My 6 year old is doing so well at school and she is sporty too. I think my son gets jealous. He has never liked losing even board games where it's all about luck.
Im not sure if this has any relevance but I've also wandered lately about his eating habits - he does not stop but does not have an ounce of fat on him!! He certainly gets angry when he is hungry!! I try to feed him healthily. He eats lots & lots of fruit & veg too. I try to limit treats in the week & he drinks no added sugar squash (I can't get him to drink water).
Any advice would be extremely appreciated because the whole household is becoming very stressed and some of his habits are running off on his younger disasters.
It does sound like you are all struggling a bit but I'm unsure what to advise as you say you don't want him labelling. I think you need to decide if you want him to go down the route of being assessed and hopefully receiving some help and to begin understanding him and his behaviour more.
He does tick a lot of boxes for being on the spectrum..Does he play with other children?
It's not that I don't want him labelled if he needs it. It's just that I don't want to rush down that route if there are things we can do at home to help. I just want to know that I've done everything else I can 1st. I don't want my son himself to think I've labelled him just by going to the doctor as he is very sensitive. He told me he was really offended because he saw I was reading the book 'the explosive child'. I dont know if there is anyone I can speak to without my son being there at 1st.
He plays nicely with his 2 cousins and during the holidays I meet with my friends and their children and he plays nicely (although unfortunately there aren't other boys his age) He doesn't have definitive best friends he has always played with whoever is playing what he wants to but he definitely gets on with people ok, I see this from playing in the playground and at clubs etc. From time to time he gets invited on play dates but unfortunately I struggle to return the favour as 2 days a week I work so have to drive to collect my youngest from nursery after the school run and only have a 4 seater so cant take anyone else and the other days the children have after school activities.
Socially when he wants to be he can be very quick witted and funny. He understands humour very well.
Instead of looking on it as getting him labelled, could you talk to him about getting him some help to make things easier for him?
I have approached the possibility with him and I said that it would be to help him where me and daddy can't but he did not like the idea of it. I just wish there was someone I could sit and talk to about it without him knowing initially.
Can you talk to his teacher or the person responsible for SENCO? What does your DH think?
DH is torn like me. Whilst speaking to his teacher recently I have said on a number of ocassion that we don't know if we should be seeking some help but the conversation has been diverted. All they have said is that they don't see the anger side at school. I briefly touched upon it with last year's teacher (who I had much more confidence in tbh) and she said 'no I don't think so' but that was before the anger side of things.
We had a serious chat last night and I explained that he can not dictate what we say to him by simply getting angry or screaming. And that whilst we will do our utmost not to get annoyed with him, he must still do what is asked of him and follow the household rules. I wander if he is acting up to it. When I mentioned needing help from a doctor if he can not control it he agreed it was an act (I don't know if he was just saying that to avoid the dr) I have decided I will no longer use the word 'anger as I don't want him to simply use that as an excuse for any behaviour.
I just wish there was someone I could sit and talk to about it without him knowing initially.
You could see the GP, talk it through and see if you can get a referral for assessments. You don't need to take your DS along to the GP. He's showing signs of difficulties at school as well as at home, different difficulties but it really sounds as if he needs some kind of help. It's not clear what the help is but the assessments will clarify where his difficulties are. You may get the clarification without the label - for example one of my friends' DS's was assessed as having some ADD qualities but nowhere near enough for a diagnosis. She was given advice on how best to manage his attention issues and on how to support him. So overall it was very helpful without any need for a "label" or medication.
You may also get referred to a parenting group while you wait for assessments. If the strategies help, that's good in itself; if they don't that's more evidence that something is up.
My own DS had more obvious problems and he did come out with a diagnosis (ASC). It was painful at the time but in the long run a huge help to him. His behaviour was very challenging in primary school but now that he is older he has friends, academic success, and many other good things, which he couldn't have achieved without his diagnosis and the understanding, adaptations and therapies that it brought.
When I mentioned needing help from a doctor if he can not control it he agreed it was an act
I'm afraid you might have to face the fact that your DS really is doing his best but cannot control himself. After all that is why you are thinking about professional help. The choice of whether he sees a specialist is not his to make, you are the parent and you will tell him when he needs to see the doctor. If he made out it is an act it is probably because he's already ashamed of his lack of control. This is one of the unexpected downsides of putting off assessments - the older a child is the more self-conscious and embarrassed he is likely to be. And that can feed into the spiral of anxiety and bad behaviour. So I would try to do it sooner rather than later - adolescence can be even worse.
Be reassured that diagnoses don't get handed out like smarties. Your DS wont get a diagnosis if he doesn't fit the criteria - and if he does fit the criteria for some condition then that diagnosis will really help him.
Thank you for all the replies. Kleinzeit that was really helpful - thankyou very much!! He's always been very strong willed but this recent behaviour is different and came on quite suddenly which is why I was wandering at 1st if it was a phase. Another mum mentioned (without me mentioning any of this at all) that she'd been having a really hard time with her daughter in the same class recently too.
I did not think I would be able to see the gp without him so thats great to know. We are away for a week in 3 weeks (I know that's bad but otherwise the children are ALWAYS in school, only been off
Ill for chicken pox & one sickness bug in 4 years) If things have not improved by then will definitely make a go appointment.
Is anyone else going through anything similar
Yes, I saw the GP on my own to ask about dd's phobia and got a referral to CAMHS on the basis of that as far as I remember.
I would be interested to hear of any advice on this thread.
My son is 8 and we are also having terrible problems at times with his anger which has been happening on and off since he was around 3 . He is very bright and a very loving, caring, empatheitc child but seems to lack self esteem quite often saying he is "stupid" and "bad". He also told me tonight he feels "he doesn't fit into our family" which made me feel really sad for him
He can be physically agressive at times and lashes out towards his younger siblings but I can tell a while after it he feels really bad and then he says he is stupid that he is so naughty.
He can be verbally very aggressive at times and shouts at family members. He also seems really anxious which I worry about. He is like a duracell bunny with energy to burn the majority of the time but can also sit for an hour or two easily engrossed in Lego or drawing etc so I don't think he falls under category for ADD.
For financial reasons Dad has to work away from home regularly (and has done since DS was a baby), he is the oldest of 3 and I am struggling to cope as our youngest is disabled so also requires additional care. Just wondering how best to manage the situation? Any advice appreciated.
Hi St1rling mum. I'm afraid I can't offer much help but your son sounds very similar to mine. also the eldest of 3. At times during these last 2 weeks off there have been great moments but unfortunately lots of difficult angry moments too. It's exhausting isn't it. As hard as we try not to he's getting lots of attention at the moment trying to calm him down etc. I feel he's playing up to it now, it's almost like it's become a habit. I'm certain that at least some of it he is putting on. After our holiday in a couple of weeks I am going to speak to someone if there is no improvement. I'm hoping the holiday will help with lots & lots of positive attention, family time and fun. Also very limited screen time which causes lots of the arguments (limited to when we are getting ready in the morning & evening only).
Good luck to you x
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