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My angry angel

(20 Posts)
katyamum Wed 16-Jul-08 19:49:23

My ds will be 5 in November. He is middle child (daughter 6, younger son 2). I have been full-time mum until 2 months ago, when I went back to work 2 days a week. It gives me some much needed head space, and stops me obsessing about size of roast potatoes. The kids have been great. All fine, most of the time. But he gets angry with me over the tiniest things eg. we didn't have bran flakes this morning. And he starts saying things like 'I hate you'. I've tried to encourage him to tell me if he is cross ' Mummy, I feel cross and angry' to stop him using words like 'hate'. We have always had an intense relationship. He still ends up most nights in our bed. He is an angel most of the time, and extremely popular at school, well behaved and loving to both his siblings (with of course a normal amount of quarreling). But today we were at my daughter's assembly and I asked him to sit quietly to which he replied ' I hate you, I'm going to kill you' in front of all the teachers. I was mortified and really upset. In fact I started to cry. Sometimes I wonder if I should just be a lot firmer with him. I am a consistent parent, I use time-outs when necessary, reward schemes for good behaviour, I know I'm not perfect, but how can I help him with his anger? I give him as much one-to-one as is possible in this family and he always gets the most attention because he always shouts the loudest, If anyone is not getting enough it is my 6 year old, poor thing. Any great wosdom out there? I want him to grow up. He starts reception in September, and I'm really hoping this will be an enormous help.

Boysboysboys Wed 16-Jul-08 19:58:55

No advice but if it helps, my DS is the same, and almost exactly the same age. I am putting it down to being ready for school and testing me out. I don't think its personal, he is also very close and would love to be in my bed every night. I am guessing its just a stage.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 16-Jul-08 20:02:52

Considering he is 4, I think it is pretty impressive that he uses words to show you his anger rather than physical violence (at you or siblings or objects).

katyamum Wed 16-Jul-08 20:02:55

boysboysboys - thankyou. I think it's been a funny year for him. He was almost better and more emotionally balanced last year at pre-school than he has been this year in the school nursery. I just don't like the fact that he uses these aggressive/violent words. But he says he hears them at nursery. He certainly doesn't hear them here. The teachers must have thought ' Oh and we thought she was such a gentle mum, but obviously not....' Fingers crossed for school. Good luck with yours.

katyamum Wed 16-Jul-08 20:05:44

yes, the school say he has good use of vocabulary. I guess that's cos he has a big sister who is a chatterbox. Oddly, he hasn't ever really gone through a physically violent phase as he is really quite gentle. He can do very good suppressed screaming, which shows he is trying very hard to contain some BIG emotions. I haven't tried to stop him being violent, and I do encourage him to stamp etc if he's cross. Just wish we could get through breakfast or lunch or a school assembly without issues like this

HonoriaGlossop Wed 16-Jul-08 20:09:20

There have been a couple of threads on here about violent language from 3/4 yr old boys; if you look up 'ranting' or 'threats to kill' you should find them - honest!!

Please don't worry, it is so normal - not ALL boys do it I don't suppose but an awful lot do, it is a phase and it is nothing to worry about. It's fantasy language and they don't use it with the same understanding that an adult does so they don't MEAN it in the way that an adult would. It's letting off steam.

I used various strategies with ds - from letting him say what he pleased if it was his way of venting his anger (ignoring him of course, not getting into an argument about it) to jollying him along and asking him what he would do if he did kill me and there was no dinner ready later, to reminding him that we talk to eachother nicely - I used time out a very few times not specifically for the language but if he was ranting and tantrumming and absolutely unable to calm down with me there to be a focus for his anger.

Agree with boys; don't take it personally. And don't let your embarrassment get to you so much. Poor you - you must have felt so awful at the assembly; but teachers have heard it ALL before and if you'd said "oh well if I'm dead DS who will take you home?" I'm sure they would have had a wry smile to themselves.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 16-Jul-08 20:10:54

You say you are giving him better words to use to express his emotions. Have you tried giving him his wishes in fantasy like in the 'how to talk' book ?
'I wish the box of branflakes was a magic box that never ran out/ I wish they sold branflakes in boxes so big that it wouldn't fit in the car and we'd have to hire a truck to do the shopping etc

katyamum Wed 16-Jul-08 20:13:10

HG - thankyou! That's made me smile. I really have been so tearful all day about it. It was the way one of the teachers (who doesn't know me, or my son , or my daughter) said to me ' He's very angry ' in a sort of pseudo-psycho - babble type way, and this made me feel so useless. But she was right! Anyway, I will try the ight hearted approach tomorrow, although we did take a massive detour to buy bran flakes so at least that won't be the issue.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 16-Jul-08 20:15:52

Yes, don't take it personally. And it is not just boys, the minute I tell DD what to do or not to do she says 'you're not my friend' which is her most hurtful insult. She hasn't heard anyone say 'hate' or 'kill' they speak a different language at school.

katyamum Wed 16-Jul-08 20:16:50

OSOTC, I don't know that book, but I will look it up. He loves all that sort of talk. It's a good idea. Sometimes we do something similar in the car if he feels sick, we say ' I'm so sick it's going to fill up the whole car. then the next person has to say ' I'm so sick it's going to spill into the street and all the houses get washed away'. Is that the sort of thing??! (sorry for disgusting example)

katyamum Wed 16-Jul-08 20:18:26

We definitely had a phase of 'you're not my friend ' and 'you're not coming to my party ' between my dd and ds. But like you say, it was a phase. Must be good for them not to be picking up all those sorts of words if at foreign language school.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 16-Jul-08 20:22:32

Yes, that's exactly it. They get carried away in their imaginations and forget to be cross. It works well on the trivial things kids feel strongly about like branflakes running out.

The other language thing is great. It means I don't have to worry about them repeating it in public on the rare occasions I shout something really vile and I just pretend I don't understand when they come home with rude words they've learnt in the playground.

foxythesnowfox Wed 16-Jul-08 20:22:46

I think boysboysboys really said what I was going to.

I've noticed over the last couple of years that this is silly season. My boys (6 - going into year 2 and 5 going into year 1) have been giving me a bit of a hard time. And DD1 has gone very quiet at nursery (she is moving to the nursery school). Just as DS2 did. There's a lot going on at this time of year, plus they have a notion that something big is going to happen.

You sound like a great mum with very clear ideas on your approach. I make star-charts which are really effective, each one individualised for their particular 'thing' - so 'no hurting' on DS1s, and 'no whinging' on DS2s (amongst other things). They get a star in each box every day, except if they've been naughty when they get a sad. 4 sad and no treat on Saturday (currently a packet of blardy Crazy Bones). It does work, especially as they are competitive.

Oh, sorry, I've gone on a bit blush

Othersideofthechannel Wed 16-Jul-08 20:23:15

It's called 'how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk'

foxythesnowfox Wed 16-Jul-08 20:25:46

I second that book! Really useful.

katyamum Wed 16-Jul-08 23:23:43

thankyou everyone for your help. I love mumsnet.

lostinfrance Wed 16-Jul-08 23:34:14

Message withdrawn

ChiefFairyCakeMaker Thu 17-Jul-08 22:05:11

No it's not just boys, tonight DD(6) was really cross with me because I wouldn't take her to the park after tea because it was cold and rainy - so she said "I'm going to chop your head off for real, and the only way I'm not going to chop your head off is if you take me to the park." She's always been an angry, headstrong but sensitive child - I found the book "How to raise your spirited child" very helpful. I also find that diffusing the situation with humour works well.

katyamum Sat 19-Jul-08 22:34:02

More messages for me - thankyou! DS continues to threaten me with angry words (today at swimming lesson ' I want a twix or I'm going to smack you ' and yesterday ' I'm going to hurt you ' - I have NEVER said that to any of my children) but I feel much better about it all since mumsnet advice. So BIG thanks to all. xx

HonoriaGlossop Sun 20-Jul-08 18:34:05

katya, glad it is helpful

Ir reminds me of the time ds said in a very grown up tone "If you carry on like that, you will get a SMACK" to if he were parroting what he'd heard a million times, except I have NEVER said that and NEVER smacked him!

They really can try the patience of a saint, can't they - bless them angry grin

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