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No idea where my kind little boy went...(6 Posts)
Ok so this is going to be a bit of a long one im afraid. Me and DH have one DS aged 3. He's always been a lovely, kind, gentle and intelligent little boy. If I had a penny for every time ive had someone compliment me on how well mannered and well behaved he is I would be a multi-millionaire by now.
So I am really struggling right now.
Literally over night he seemed to change. For the past 2 weeks hes been angry and uptight and nasty. To the point that today he actually got yelled at by a policeman in a supermarket. There's no reasoning with him and I'm honestly at breaking point. Ive talked my DH into taking leave from work to take care of him because I cannot bear to look at him right now. I hate myself for this. Ive always been his main care giver and I feel like Ive completely failed him.
It all started 2 weeks ago when i picked him up from pre school. He pointed out another little boy whos more than 18 mo ths older than him and told me the boy had pulled his trousers down and pushed him off a slide. He had huge graze marks all up his back and bottom. It was horrible. (This was also not the first incident where hed been hurt by the same child) I took him to the park to try and cheer him up where he haooened to meet another little girl who attends the same pre school. They were playing quite happily until she turned around to him and said "your mummys realky really fat" (shes not wrong btw) i laughed it and expected DS to not even notice. Infact he did the opposite. He screamed at her not to be horrible to his mummy and punched her, full on punched, this little girl right in the nose. I was absolutely mortified. I made him apologize and took him straight home. I brought it up to the preschool the next day and they told me the same little boy who had pushed DS off the slide had been saying the same thing to him and they had shut it down by explaining its a horrible thing to say (which explains why DS thought it was horrible because for the life of me i couldnt figure iut why he associated the word fat with horrible at 3 years old. Its certainly not something i or DH have ever taught him)
Anyway, ever since this day DS just hasnt been the same child. He's acting out, hes hitting, kicking, smashing his toys up. Its been relentless. I had to remove him frim my nephews 1st birthday party last week after he pushed a much smaller child off a slide. My dad, who is recovering from Cancer surgery atm, had DSs dinner thrown at his head because DS was told to eat it before he was allowed ice cream. DS behaviour has literally spiralled out of control. Today alone he has thrown 2 bowls of cereal at me, a cup of juice and a dirty nappy he fished out the bin. All because i refused to take him to buy chocolate. This tantrum ent on for 2 hours. Eventually he started to throw stuff around my living room so i told him it was naughty and put him in his bedroom (door open) to calm down which usually works. Instead he has completely trashed his bedroom. Ripped up books. His book shelf is upside down in the middle of his floor covered with torn pages and broken toys. His toy box has been emptied. Clothes pulled out his drawers. Its disgusting. Hes never ever acted like this.
To make it worse hes started to really hit me. Not just the odd slap vut really physically lay into me. Popped to Tesco express with him earlier and he was screaming, shouting, hitting me, kicking me, pinching me. So bad that a police officer who happened to be in the store and saw i was struggling and asked if he could intervene. I let him and he told my son he needed to behave or he may get taken away from his mummy. DS literally screamed "I dont care!" And carried on kicking me. I was in floods of tears.
I dont know whats happened to him or what to do next. I really dont. Hes not spoilt, he doesnt get a lot of excess treats etc. The only solution i can come up with is to take all his toys etc to grandmas house and make him earn them back if he wont take care of them.
His behaviour has been so extreme by parents have now asked me not to bring him around anymore while my dad is recovering because its too much for them.
I feel like im failing him. I feel like I am missing something. I dont know where this anger is coming from. I really dont. Its relentless.
What am I supposed to do?
Our local SureStart children’s centre has family support workers that anyone can contact with behaviour concerns - perhaps you could see if you have this service near you?
I also did a Triple P parenting course through them which was very useful.
Something had clearly triggered your Ds’ behaviour but I wouldn’t like to speculate so it might be best to ask for advice from the above or similar?
I wonder if there could be more to the incident with the boy at nursery than you know about? Your poor little boy sounds incredibly angry and disturbed about something and has some big emotions he's clearly not able to express in a more mature way. I think it's a bit like when adults are really upset, stressed and preoccupied with a big worry and we get grumpy and snap verbally at our partner or other close loved one. We're not being "naughty", just overwhelmed by emotions.
I understand that you feel you need to take action but I think taking away his toys etc will be counter productive as he will just feel that the person who is meant to be on his side is doing something horrible to him on top of all the other stuff he is feeling.
Have you considered trying some art therapty wit him? You can both sit down and do some drawings of how you are feeling and see what he comes up with?
BTW I think what the policeman said was truly appalling and would be a deeply disturbing thing for a yyoung chidl to hear from a figure of authority. I know he said " I don't care" but I bet he really does.
Just curious as to what kind of discipline or words you are using when he hits you or throws something at you? What is your first response? You could try time outs (they say one minute for each year of life but my ds is also 3 and 1 minute is enough for him to realise that he's done something unacceptable) but you need to be consistent with it. My ds is waiting to be assessed for autism and has recently started hitting people (mostly me, his dad and his cousin same age), we're using time outs and explanation of how it hurts mummy/whoever when you hit them and it also makes me sad too because we don't hurt people we love. It's clear that his behaviour has been triggered by the influence of this older boy and his treatment by the boy so you may like to gently remind him "remember how sad you were when X hurt you by pushing you off the slide, you wouldn't like to make anyone else feel that way would you?" etc.
When he hits I always ask him why he hits me. I tell him calmly he's hurting mummy. But it goes right over his head. Ive resorted to holding his hands now when he does it and explaining if he cannot use his hands nicely then mummy will have to hold onto them until he says sorry. I try really hard to not be negative when hes doing it but frankly my patience is running extremely thin with him right now. Its only me he does this to. Not his dad. Just me. And its never one slap or kick. It will go on for hours at a time! Last year we brought in time outs of a sort... if he gets overwhelmed weve started putting him in his bedroom. We leave the door open and we live in a flat so his bedroom is directly next to the living room. We explain to him that he can come out just as soon as he calms down. This has always worked until recently. He usually takes a minute or two to calm himself down then he'll wander out for a kiss and cuddle and we have a chat about how he is feeling. However, recently instead of calming down this is making him worse. Twice yesterday he smashed up his entire room. Like, even some of the furniture is broken now. Its such extreme behaviour that Im genuinely scared for whatever is going on in his head. I cannot fathom what it is. Ive wracked and wracked my brain. Im honestly reaching a breaking point. Tomorrow DH is taking DS to stay with my MIL for a couple of days because i need a break. I'm not sleeping, im not eating. I cannot cope with it. DH works so many hours and when he comes home he likes to play the "cool dad" role. It's as if Im fighting a losing battle all on my own. I feel like a total failure if I am honest.
You 100% are not a failure. Its extremely hard when children behave this way and they don't come with a one size fits all manual, what works for some will not work for others. If the time outs are not working then you are going to have to try a different tactic. When I put my son in a time out the other day for hitting me and i leant down to his level and he used the opportunity to kick me in the mouth. I know how hard it is to stay calm and not give them a whack on the bum back! Have you tried a sticker chart? During a quiet moment get him to help you make the chart with arts and crafts and put it up on the fridge, explain to him that good behaviour gets a sticker and every time he does something nice (even small things like using manners or drinking a drink nicely without throwing it) make a huge deal of it and give him a sticker. So many stickers get whatever reward you decide will be an incentive for him (toy, day trip, sweets). Bad behaviour and he gets a sticker taken away from him with a warning first "if you keep this up you will lose a sticker for all your good behaviour". Try this for 10-14 days, if no impact change tactic again etc