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Six year old hurting pets(4 Posts)
It’s my first post here, and past 2am. I can’t sleep as I’m worried about my son’s behaviour towards our cat and dog today and also previously.
I am seeing out the last of the school holidays looking after my son at home and have caught him purposely scaring the cat on two occasions today, making nasty hissing noisies whilst waving his arms under the sofa where the cat was hiding from him. Even more concerning, I think he was hurting the dog when I was out of the room. I only know because our little dog squealed so loudly I came running in to the room to find her scuttling to her basket. I asked my son why she squealed and he said he was just trying to lift her on to the sofa.At my house, he is mostly with company when he’s around the pets. Today’s instance occurred when I was cooking in the kitchen, he was alone for around ten mins, this sort of duration isn’t that unusual as my partner and I bob about the house. Although he said he was just trying to pick the dog up, I don’t think that’s the truth. He lies very readily and seemingly easily if he thinks he will get in trouble for something.
Previously, He was caught (eventually admitted) to purposely hurting the dog about three months ago and has also hurt my Mum’s dogs on purpose two or three times in the past year or so.
The first time it happend, I explained to him about caring for animals, animal feelings, being responsible for small creatures. Honestly, at the time this felt odd to do as myself and whole family are animal lovers and consider our pets family members, I couldn’t imagine why he would behave like this. At the time I put his behaviour down to being young(er), curious, and guessed he just hadn’t got the maturity to be gentle, consistently.
When the next instance occurred, about six months ago, I heard the dog cry and eventually my son admitted to hitting the dog when I was in another room, I absolutely lost my mind at him, took all treats away and confiscated his special teddy for a full week. He seemed remorseful at the time, though I felt his tears were due to losing his teddy. He couldn’t explain why he had done what he had done.
On the opposite side of the scale, my son seems to enjoy looking after the pets. It’s his job to give out pet treats in the morning and he often strokes/brushes/cuddles/talks to them appropriately and with care and love. He’s a clever boy, enjoys school and is generally affectionate and sociable.
On reflection, I feel that the instances above seem to go hand in hand with phases of difficult behaviour. For instance he has recently (last two weeks ish) become full of attitude/backchat/disruptive/stroppy behaviour at home. This in turn brings out discipline/time outs/naughty steps etc from me, which quite frankly seem to make him worse and incredibly frustrated. I can’t just ignore it though.
I really don’t know what to do. Honestly, I’m too embarrassed to talk to my ‘Mum friends’ about this, I think everyone will think he’s a psycho in the making. I’m also scared to go the GP or school as I fear that social services will whip him away to live with his Dad (we split up when he was 1yr old). I know this is irrational but it’s my worst nightmare.
I work hard to be a good Mum, I’ve spent ages on Google and looking in kiddie behaviour books about this. I’m at a loss. Can anyone please help? Has anyone’s child shown a similar pattern of behaviour?
Thanks for reading x
working in a school and having a siste rwith masters in psychology i do know that hurting animals is a huge sign of something wrong, usually abuse, sexual abuse or physichal or mental abuse. this obviously might not be the case but wouldnt hurt to ask him a few questions.
op you sound like a lovely mum....
as you are a family of animal lovers and he has been around pets so much, it does sound odd to deliberately hurt them....
Maybe some counselling to see if there is an underlying issue?
saying it's a sign of abuse is hugely unhelpful! I have had similar issues with ds with him I was able to remove the animals and manage the behaviour that way, he has stopped but I still keep a very close eye on him. Suspecting a developmental issue here like ADHD/ autism. Has it coincided with your family going back to school? Is it too much for him?