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Struggling with 5 year old

(5 Posts)
DoJo Sat 28-Oct-17 16:37:06

My son is driving me crackers - he is sweet, generous and lovely most of the time, but he can turn on a sixpence and behave in a really mean way. He will hit, kick or push if he doesn't get his own way and will laugh or smile when we tell him that it's unacceptable.

Disciplining him is hard because he 'doesn't care' about anything when it comes to removing privileges and although I try to reward positive behaviour, he often gets enraged if I praise him for being kind or doing something nice and we end up in the same position as if had been horrible in the first place.

He just karate-chopped his little brother's arm, then smirked when I removed him and told him that it wasn't acceptable. I hauled him up to his room and told him to stay there until he could be kind, but I'm not really sure if that's a reasonable 'consequence' when he's now just up there playing.

My youngest threw a bottle which hit me earlier and my older specifically told me that he found it funny that I had been hurt. I told him that was an unkind thing to say and he 'doesn't care'. He yelled 'sorry' at me angrily which I said wasn't really an apology, and he did seem bothered that I said he'd hurt my feelings, but he was soon distracted and that was the end of it really.

I do try to be positive (see above), I always make sure that we get out and get some exercise every day as he is a bundle of energy, and he has just started karate in the hope that it will provide a physical outlet for his energy alongside a bit of self-discipline, but that's not going to be an instant solution.

I am just at a loss as to what to do - I'm constantly tired as neither sleep well, and I am struggling to stay calm when some of the things he does seem so deliberately spiteful and unkind. I feel like I am failing him and I can't work out whether he needs more discipline or just a different approach. He's home educated, so there's no school to work with.

Can Health Visitors still advise for this age group? Any help or ideas of who might be able to offer us some support would be much appreciated.

Poshindevon Sat 28-Oct-17 17:20:07

Your child to see a child psychologist not a health visitor.
He obviously has difficulties empathising and could have ODD. Opositional Defiance Disorder.
Neither of your children sleep well and your youngest throws things, maybe copying your older child.
You dont say why you home school your son but I wonder how can you home school a child you cannot control?

DoJo Sat 28-Oct-17 17:31:28

Wow -thanks for responding although that's a lot more serious than I was expecting. How does one get referred to a child psychologist? Through the GP?

The lack of empathy is not consistent - he can be really thoughtful and quite insightful sometimes, but then he seems to blame his brain a lot for the unkind things he says. e.g. 'Why does my brain think it's funny you got hurt?'.

We took him out of school in part because this behaviour only started when he was at school. It did improve for a while after we withdrew him, but has deteriorated again. He is keen to learn and is doing really well in terms of his education and I'm not sure that 'controlling' him is the way to instill a love of learning in him anyway, which is what we were hoping to achieve with home ed and what was being eroded when he was at school.

Poshindevon Sat 28-Oct-17 20:32:13

I did not mean to control him by forcing him or being unkind but there has to be boundaries.A love of learning must also come with social skills
You need to see your GP for a refferal. As his parent and teacher you maybe to close to see the full problem.
I dont believe the your sons behaviour was caused by starting school your son may have problems with authority. Removing him from school may have been a mistake as you could have had support in addressing his behavior. He is 5 years old he was only in school a short time when you removed him
You need to address your sons behaviour sooner rather than later.
I wish you well

DoJo Sat 28-Oct-17 21:14:18

Thanks for clarifying - the ironic thing is that when he is learning he is at his most compliant and will happily take direction and shows far fewer signs of aggression. He was always well behaved at school and still has lots of friends who he plays with really nicely, generally. It seems that the only authority figures he really has a problem with are his parents.

Although I agree that we could have used some support from professionals with his behaviour, the fact that he never exhibited this kind of aggression while he was at school made it hard for them to really offer us many ideas even when he was there. They supported our decision to withdraw him, although they had no complaints about his behaviour, but they could see that he was struggling to stay engaged.

I will make an appointment with our GP though as I don't want his behaviours or our responses to it to become too entrenched. He clams up whenever we try to talk to him about anything that might be bothering him and school could never get anything out of him on that front either, so maybe it's time to call in the big guns.

Many thanks for your considered response and well wishes - they are much appreciated.

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