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3 yo attacked his teachers and trashed room(8 Posts)
My son sometimes starts to get irritable and play up. And then, whether you try to ignore the behaviour or calm him down (telling him off and time outs don’t work) he always works himself up to the point where he lashes out. He will trash the room. He spits, hits, punches and kicks and will urinate (though he seems to have stopped that lately ). At home we control that kind of behaviour by restraining him and talking in a calming manner until he breaks down and cries. Then we talk about it and I get him to apologise. However he did it at nursery today and the staff seemed almost in shock - the manager said she had never seen anything like it. They were all very kind and supportive, but it was clear they thought this behaviour was pretty serious and we needed to involve someone else - the health visitor for a start. They had removed the entire class of kids to a different room as they said they were not allowed to restrain DS while he proceeded to trash the room and attack the four members of staff that were trying to control the situation. I am mortified.
He does this every three weeks or so at home, and I havent been able to pinpoint the trigger. I feel as if it’s a build up of anger over a number of days - though I can’t tell it’s happening, as he is his usual self right up until the ten minutes or so before the meltdown when he starts to play up.
The staff had tried to ask him why he was upset (between meltdowns - he had two one after the other) and he would not answer - he never does and I don’t think he understands ‘why’ questions really. They seemed most perplexed about the lack of trigger and his lack of remorse. He didn’t seem sorry and he would not apologise. Afterwards he calmed down, but he was playing as if nothing happened. When I arrived he almost was proud to describe the naughty things he had done. He always does this, deflects my questions by recounting all the naughty things he has just done as if it’s an achievement.
He has a 5 month old sibling and this behaviour started a month after the birth. It seems to convenient to link the two, especially as we have been extra attentive since DS2’s birth to DS1, and he shows no jealousy at all.
Anyone have any experience of this kind of behaviour and how did you deal with it?
Also hubby is very concerned that if we get health visitor involved we’ll have problems with social services. He says once social services are involved they’re involved forever.
Secondly, he wants to return DS to his previous nursery, which he hasn’t been to for about 6 months now. This is because DS keeps saying he doesn’t like this nursery and he doesn’t like the children or the teachers. However my heart tells me DS just dislikes the change more than anything else and he can’t really return to the previous nursery as it wouldn’t be as he remembers anyway. He would be in a different classroom with different teachers. Or would you move him if it was you? We only moved him because his last nursery was too far away, but I’d travel the extra distance if it was what he wanted.
His tantrum behaviour does sound extreme. And even if changing back to the other nursery did stop it, the question why would not go away. Even if a child is unhappy at nursery they don;t usually have tantrums that require restraint. From what you say it sounds like a build-up of stress and tension, and the immediate "trigger" might not be anything in particular it may just be whatever happens to be the last straw. You might try googling the "autistic rage cycle" as his tempers seem to follow a similar pattern - it doesn't mean he has autism but knowing the cycle might give you a bit of a handle on things. It does sound almost like a meltdown rather than a tantrum - it's unstoppable until it burns itself out. Close hugging is also something I've seen used for meltdowns in (some) children with autism, again that doesn't mean he has it. Your DS is probably far too young to explain "why" he is doing it. Not showing any jealousy at all is also unusual. Maybe his emotional regulation is a bit all over the place and this rage really is how feelings about his sibling are coming out.
The health visitor is unlikely to involve social services; she would be more likely to ask the GP to refer your DS for some developmental/psychological assessments.
Like the previous poster he might benefit from a developmental/behavioral assessment-as far as your partner not wanting to involve social services if your son had hurt a nursery worker or another pupil would that trigger social services? Does your son display remorse or apologize at other times besides the meltdowns? Has your son’s sleeping routine changed since new sibling appeared? The developmental/behavior doctors I’ve used for my boy have been kind and empathetic.
OP, I too think that you need to talk to your health visitor. She is very unlikely to involve social services in a case like this. It’s more likely that DS will be referred to an expert to assess whether he has any special needs.
You definitely need to do something, as now this has happened once at nursery I’d say it’s likely to happen again (given that it happens quite frequently at home).
Thanks everyone. Yes we talked to HV and now have a behavioural specialist coming round to visit. We feel a bit unsure about it, but mainly because we feel like we have finally realised why this might be happening. DS is very dependant on routine and has always had a deterioration in his behaviour when we deviate from the daily routine. With the birth of the new baby our routine has tended to be much more flexible and we assumed that as DS didn’t show any outward distress immediately that it was fine, especially as he was older how. However we think it has been affecting him subconsciously. So we are now making sure to keep to a routine at all times and see how things progress. When the behavioural specialist visits she can give her opinion and see if there’s anything else we can try in addition.
I am glad you are starting to get some answers and that things are getting better for your DS. The behaviour specialist may have some other helpful suggestions after she's observed your DS.
Some nurseries keep to a stricter routine than others - might your DS's temper have been aggravated by a change to the routine in nursery? You may also want to keep an eye on how dependent your DS is on routine compared to other kids his age as he grows up, because primary school reception classes can be quite a whirl.
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