At wit's end with a 5 year old - Jekyll and Hyde

(8 Posts)
Essexwessex Wed 27-Jun-18 09:57:10

Im really struggling with DS's behaviour.
I'm not sure what to do, I can feel our relationship becoming strained and he's only 5! Any suggestions gratefully received.

He can be so good he's like a model child but then he'll be like a demon! These phases will last a few days or sometimes 2/3weeks then he'll switch back again. When he's in the "bad" phase we have every type of bad behaviour - from not listening, ignoring us, arguing, not eating proper food to running off, being rude (calling us "stupid" etc) and physical such as scratching, hitting, pulling hair. He also won't go to sleep for 2/3 hours past bedtime when like this. He'll be almost manic in his behaviour sometimes.

When he's in a "good" phase, he's no problem at all in every aspect. He's sweet, funny, helpful and behaves beautifully.

I do find if I remain calm it's better, I have snapped at times (after hours of really awful behaviour), shouted at him or spoken really crossly and that doesn't work, if you get cross he literally laughs in your face and gets worse.

We'll give him countdowns and we always follow through if we've said something. DH and I are on the same page most of the time. DH probably has less patience than me but we do give each other a break when can see one is getting to end of rope!

DS has done this behaviour with grandparents. School has said he's good there but it's not a great school to be honest, very big and don't get feeling from them they know much about him! He seems to like school - not mad about it but doesn't fuss too much about going.

I can't see any patterns to his phases but as he gets bigger it's getting harder to deal with. I have to physically restrain him when really bad to stop him hitting me or pulling hair and I don't want to have to do that. It's getting really upsetting to see him like it and frankly sometimes I don't like spending time with him as he's so frustrating and annoying. But then the other side comes back and he's just a delight to be with.

Where are we going wrong?! Any tips on staying calm would also be great, I will walk away or distract myself to stop snapping but of couse you can't always do that especially when out and about. Sometimes I can get through to him by talking calmly but not always or it only lasts a matter of minutes before we're back to bad behaviour again. It's really hard to keep calm for hours when he's constantly "acting up" - is enough to turn me to drink but luckily alcohol makes me sick or I'd be an alcoholic now I think!

OP’s posts: |
Thismummyruns Fri 29-Jun-18 18:20:59


I have no real advice or help for you but just wanted to let you know you're not on your own- I've literally just finished sobbing after a terrible few hours with my nearly 5 year old where she has taken me to the brink. Behaviour has been awful today and I feel like I can't cope.
Tomorrow is a new day but I know where you're coming from

PETRONELLAS Sat 30-Jun-18 22:41:41

I’ve no advice either but came here looking for help. So true that staying calm is the only way. In the hot weather I’ve been so much more aware of how easily I fly off the handle and just know my DS is going to not be doing the right thing. Feel such a failure that I’m already cross before he’s even done anything. Being consistent helps - I give in sometimes but not going to any more. Sorry no help to you!

Nogodsnomasters Sat 30-Jun-18 23:32:41

My ds is exactly like this except he's only 3.5yrs. I have however managed to work out that his poor behaviour phase is always down to lack of sleep, even if that is a slow deficit in the amount of sleep he needs for example losing 1hr a night for a full week will result in the end of the week him being behaving appalling until I manage to get him to "catch up" on lost sleep by adding extra time to naps etc. My son has always been a poor sleeper since birth and is really sensitive to lack of sleep (even in small doses like I say even 1hr short over the course of a week can impact him) it also causes him to have night terrors so the insane behaviour is day and night during these periods! Sometimes it's impossible to manage the sleep, for example if hes sick and up coughing half the night, he's losing sleep and I need to give him an earlier/longer nap to prevent the madness creeping in. Sorry this is so long and may not relate to your son at all but since you can't seem to find a pattern to his phases then maybe keeping a sleep diary or a food/bowel movement diary will help point you in the right direction. Good luck x

Essexwessex Sun 01-Jul-18 05:51:22

Thanks for the replies, it's good to hear not alone!

Nogods - it's not sleep with him, his behaviour at bedtime is more of a symptom, but there was often a reason - eg about to come down with a cold, was hungry or indeed tired. So usually if sat and thought about it, I could figure out what was going on - most but not all of the time.

Its a good idea to keep a diary, I might see if there's a pattern that we're missing. I just can't at the moment, this is the longest "phase" we've had yet. I'm also getting worried as summer hols are nearly upon us, the GPs had offered to have him for a week as well as a few odd days to help out but they're concerned now they're not going to cope with him - they'd not seen him behave like this to the worst level before. Its not so much the childcare, we'd just have to pay for holiday club, I know he'd be sad if didn't go - but I don't want to give them a demon child!

Any tips for teaching him impulse control maybe?

And I really feel your pain, I've sat in tears quite a few times recently at a loss as to what to do. I can see it in his face when he's in that place and it's so upsetting.

Definitely if I can keep calm it helps (but it's so hard to do after hours and hours!) - I have found recently that if he's ignoring me or being shouty, if I whisper it seems to get his attention - it's also easier to keep a "hard" tone out of your voice if whispering. The other day he whispered back and we talked like that for ages smile.

Ho but it is really hard. I just wake up each day at the moment hoping he's going to wake up as the "good" DS. Apologies for essays but it's really good to get it out flowers

OP’s posts: |
Nogodsnomasters Sun 01-Jul-18 08:06:47

No problem, just thought it was worth a shot! Since he's a bit older than my ds (and you've probably already tried this) but can you ask him outright in a calm moment why is he being naughty and mean to mummy/daddy, ask him is he upset about something or angry over something? Maybe he understands it and maybe he doesn't. Or try to explain to him in a quiet moment that he is making mummy and daddy sad with his behaviour or how he thinks it makes other people feel like gran or grandad.

Pretamum Tue 03-Jul-18 11:16:01

Is it worth maybe speaking to your GP and ask for a referral to someone that might help? I'm not clued up on who exactly could help, maybe a behavioural psychologist or child therapist - just to see if they can assess him and work out if there is anything behind this behaviour? It does sound extreme, his bad behaviour. Big hugs, it sounds like such hard work and i really feel for you.

MissesBloom Wed 04-Jul-18 17:35:22

Again not much help but am current sat in tears over my almost 6 Yr old ds.

I could have written your post word for word. My ds was the golden kid till he started school and then this attitude appeared out of nowhere. I find his behaviour is always worse towards the end of the school year, he seems to find it very tiring. He's a joy in the mornings when he's just woken up but gets worse and worse as the day goes on. He is rude to me, answers back, argues with everything I say, picks fights with his sister, won't help with chores, whines almost constantly... I am just at my wits end.

I just wanted to stay this is obviously something that is common and you most definitely aren't alone flowers

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