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behavioural issues or just natural 6 year old exuberance?

(44 Posts)
LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 09:51:25

DS 6 is getting increasingly hard to manage. He is completely hyperactive at all times and does everything at full tilt and full volume. Whenever he starts something he gets so giddy and carried away and usually ends up hurting either himself or my 14 mo old DD in the process as his self preservation mechanism sems to disappear. He acts up everywhere we go, to the point that taking him onto shops is a nightmare as he picks up food off the shelves and tries to throw stuff around. He never listens and although we try and speak to him calmly and rationally, after six attempts at trying to get him to calm down and listen I end up losing the plot and having to bellow at him to even get his attention. He kicks off at the slightest thing as well, usually over the slightest thing, and once he starts there is no calming him down.

We have tried everything, naughty steps, time out, sending him to his room, star charts, taking toys away, denying him pre-organised treats and nothing works.

My 14mo old DD is starting to pick up on his behaviour and thinks that shouting is normal and that it's OK to scream if you aren't getting your own way. I'm struggling with depression at the minute and am 6.5 months pregnant to boot and feel like I just can't cope with either of them any more.

DH actually asked me at the weekend whether I thought it might be something like ADHD. His schoolwork has been deteriorating and his behaviour in school is getting worse too and he had had a few full blown tantrums there too shortly before the end of term. He kicks off over the slightest thing, and I can't get him to sit and do homework at all as he starts and if he does it wrong gets himself in such a state.

There are so many things and triggers and I'm getting scared to even talk to him as I know he is going to kick off. DH works away four days a week and I am really struggling to cope with it on my own.

things have been pretty unsettled at home for a couple of years and he has had a lot of upsets, losing two grandparents, moving house twice, me having two MCs, starting school, a new baby and now another new baby on the way, as well as his Dad changing jobs and now working away and my depression. I know the effect all of this has had on me (they were my parents), and think it's probably got lots to do with all of that, but I just don't know how to handle it.

Any advice would be gratefully received.

VictorianSqualor Tue 12-Aug-08 10:02:47

How much input does DH have with him when he is home?
At this age (according to raising boys) DH needs to take over a bit, and give him a lot of time, from around the age of 6 boys testosterone has settled down a bit (I think) but they need male one-on-one attention.

Also, the 'naughty steps, time out, sending him to his room, star charts, taking toys away, denying him pre-organised treats' could be totally turned around. It's the sort of things I used to do with my eldest two but there comes a point when they just stop working!! Have you read how to talk?

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 10:25:07

Hi VS takes over completely when he is here, and they regularly go fishing and climbing together and DH always takes him to swimming lessons on a Saturday morning.

ikwym about the naughty step etc; it works for a few days and then just stops hainvg an effect.

He has just managed to push his sister off the sofa and her head has ricocheted off the floor sad. He was all apologetic and "oh, it's all my fault", but then as soon as he saw she was hurt (I think it was more of a fright than anything, although she is a bit subdued now), he started with the "it was an accident, she just fell", but I watched him shove her with all his might and she was standing right on the edge of the sofa. He is now bouncing around happily showing absolutely no remorse for it at all. That's not normal is it? I just want to sit and cry, but that isn't going to help sad

Haven't read any books, but think i might need to.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 10:25:38

oops that should read DH takes over......but ykwim!

VictorianSqualor Tue 12-Aug-08 10:31:25

Daisy, email me Fan-fkn-tastic @ hotmail .co. uk

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 10:48:33

done VS smile

He is now asking when we are going to get some new fish (ours all died when we were on holiday). Do I say No as a punishment, or just get them anyway and have him think that he gets rewarded for hurting his sister? At six is he capable of realsising about actions having consequences? Or as the fish are totally unrelated to this incident today am I being unreasonable to deny him them (we had talked about going to get some new ones "during the week")


LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 11:09:58

bumping for any more sage advice.

VictorianSqualor Tue 12-Aug-08 11:16:22

Get them anyway, it's unrelated.
How to talk ( great book!) says (in a summarised way)

1) Describe what should be done. – Dirty clothes need to be put in the dirty box
Toys belong in the toy chest.
Sofas are for sitting on.
Instead of ‘pick those clothes up’ ‘put those toys away’ ‘sit properly on the sofa’ information, not orders.

2) Acknowledge a feeling. – It can be lonely playing by yourself.
Bobby ripping your book made you sad.
It is disappointing when you have your heart set on
doing something and then you aren’t able to
Instead of ‘just go and play and stop being silly’ ‘It’s only a little rip, if you’d put it away it would never have happened’ ‘It’s not that big a deal, it’s raining you can’t go, end of’

3) Fantasise. – I wish our sofa was so strong you could jump all over it, really
strong, as strong as superman, and HUGE, like a house.
How great would it be if we had an invisible toy box, so we could
keep toys downstairs without then looking messy? Just press a
button and it’s invisible, but we’d have to remember where it was
so we didn’t trip over it!!!
Instead of ‘Stop jumping on the sofa, it will break’ ‘I don’t want toys downstairs, they look messy, put them away’

4) Explain your feelings. - When things are messy it makes me feel fed up
because I will have to tidy it all up again.
If you hurt your brother, I get sad because I love you
both very much and don’t like to think of you in pain.
Instead of ‘stop making a mess!’ ‘Don’t hurt your brother’

5) Use the written word. – Put a notice up saying “cake making, today at 2:30pm
for children with tidy rooms”
Leave a note with the washing when put in bedrooms
“This washing needs putting away”
Leave a sign on the bedroom door “I do not like to be
slammed, it makes a loud bang and could break my
hinges, Love from Your Door.
Instead of ‘tidy your room, now, if it’s not tidy you won’t be making cakes you
hear me?’ ‘Stop slamming the door’

6) Don’t punish, give natural consequences – This toy is broken, it now has
to go in the bin.
The noise you are making is
distracting me when I am
trying to work so you will have to
stay upstairs out of the way.
Fights mean people get hurt so
you are going to be separated.
You didn’t go to the toilet so you
have to get in the bath, after bath
we go to bed so we don’t get our
pyjamas dirty so you will be in bed
early tonight.

Instead of ‘You’ve broken your toy so sit on the step’ ‘You’re being really noisy when I’m trying to work so you can’t have sweets’ ‘You didn’t use the toilet so I’m taking your teddy’

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 11:39:26

Thanks VS smile

That all makes perfect sense, but I think at the minute, I'm not sleeping well due to nasty heartburn/pregnancy insomnia and everything seems like so much more of an effort. I got your email as well thanks smile. I'm going to get the book; I've lurked on a few threads about it but haven't done anything about it yet. Might buy raising boys too.

We were thinking of dosing him up with cod liver oil and see if that helps as well!

VictorianSqualor Tue 12-Aug-08 11:39:54

Oh, also, I find it's quite easy to 'taiolr' natural consequences, for example DS just asked for a banana, opened two decided he didn't want one, so I said ok, you can have it later, he didn't want to have it later as it would be 'dirty', so I said that's fine, but I'll need to replace it, so when DD goes to the shop in a minute she'll buy a new banana and not have any money left for the sweets I said you could have. DS ate the banana.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 12:01:52

lol, bribery but with a twist....I like it.

Yesterday DS wanted an action man badge (one of those little charity pins). I said yes, but he was to apy with his own money. He wanted me tpo pay for it, but I stood my ground so he decided he didn't want it. then he decided he would have it and paid with his own money (he had £3 for him in one pocket and DD in the other). when we got home, he said he still had DD's money, and then gave me £2. I said she had £3 as we hadn;t bought anything for her and he went off on one screaming and chouting that he spent his pound by accident, that he shouldn't have done it, that he used DD's pound, that she bought it for him...etc etc etc; everything but just say opps sorry mum and hand over the other pound, which DH eventually had to wrestle from him. After three mins on the step, he then changed his story to he got mixed up with whose pennies were whose hmm. Not sure how I could've handled that one differently though.

I've just bought "how to listen...", "How to Listen for learning at home and school", "Raising Boys" and "Siblings without the Rivalry", on express delivery so I should have them tomorrow.

We are going to get the fish after lunch and might even do some baking later as well. He is probably just very bored after the excitement of our holiday and the weather means we are kind of stuck indoors. I also had a huge panic attack in on Saturday in the car, and think he was horribly frightened (DH certainly was sad)

Ha, just tried "sofas are for sitting on not for jumping on, and he slid right off, no argument" <lightbulb pings on above Daisy's head>

VictorianSqualor Tue 12-Aug-08 12:20:15

I know! How amazing is it when it happens like that! I couldn't believe it when I tried it on DS (a 3yr old monster) and he was just 'ok'.hmm

The book is more in depth than what I've put on here but even those basics work.

DP ahsn't read the book but is trying it with me so we have that taped on the inside of the kitchen cupboards so he can just open it and pick a way to deal with it.

I do have to be careful not to slip back into the old ways though, and if I do, they slip right back down with me.

With the money things I'd have probably done the written word.
Saying something like this
You: DD, I knwo you pound is missing and that makes you sad, right?
DD: yes, I wanted to be able to spend it later.
You: Ok, so, DD's pound is missing, and we need to think how to get it back, as it's making her sad. Let's get a pen and paper and see how we can fix this.
Right we could? Take DS's badge back and get DD the money? I could give DD the extra pound and DS get one pound less next time?
<<encourage him to give options>>
What do you think?
DS: erm, magic one? Just not worry about her having one? She could play with my badge?
<<go through as many options as you can, even get DD to give you some if she is involved>>
DD: DS could be grounded, or be sent to his room (the sort of thing my two sayblush)
You: X isn't possible because Y, Z isn't feasible because W, etc, until you come to a conclusion that is fair and everyone is happy with.
Chances are DS would have come up with
'Oh, It was in my pocket all along!!'

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 12:50:59

sounds like a fair stab at it! His reasoning was something along the lines of DD only being 14 mo old and doesn't really need the pound anyway hmm. He did see the error of his ways eventually but was sent to the step for getting rude, stroppy and aggressive with DH and I over it.

We also have lots of aggression issues which I find hard to deal with.

And food, or the not eating of it, or the refual to use cutlery has become a huge issue recently as well.

I know he is testing the boundaries to see what he can and can't get away with and that we have got into a viscious circle of him craving attention whether it is for being naughty or good that we need to break out of.

I think he sees DD getting lots of praise for doing new things, like feeding herself with her hands and just copies it, but of course he gets in trouble. We try to explain that she is only a baby and just learning, and he has to help show her an example, but it seems to fall on deaf ears.

I know as well that the forthcoming arrival of DC3 is affecting him too. When I was pregnant with DD, he had no idea what having a sibling meant. Now he is all too aware that it means my time has to be split between them and he sees the new baby as taking more of us away from him. He is less then enthusiastic about it to say the least.

Right, off for lunch and then a trip to the pet shop.

Thanks VS smile

VictorianSqualor Tue 12-Aug-08 13:00:12

A natural consequence of not eating with cutlery could eb that he only gets something plain that can't make a mess, does he like anything messy? Stew, curry? spag bol? ketchup? etc.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 21:42:06

he thrives on messy food.

He spent tonight eating his dinner at a separate table in the kitchen as he just wouldn't eat and it was his favourite pasta with tomato and egg sauce. His bedtime was marred by the aggressive behaviour towards me when i asked him to get ready for bed and then he'd wet himself sitting watching some sport on TV (because he didn't want to miss the limpics). Today has been exhausting, especially as i have really bad digestion issues going on and am in lots of discomfort, but not as bad as it could have been.

He is off to gran and grandad's tomorrow morning until Thursday teatime, so I'll get a bit of respite from him (and feeling sad that I'm looking forward to him not being here). They called and offered, but I suspect DH might just have put them up to it.

foxythesnowfox Tue 12-Aug-08 22:17:39

<<feels terribly guilty for not sending 'how to' book to Daisy when promising to months ago>>

KTNoo Tue 12-Aug-08 22:21:46


He sounds very like my ds who is 5. I also have some concerns about adhd, although at times I don't think he's any more active than other active boys of his age. But he is very lively and goes over the top in the way you describe. He talks constantly at high volume, and is also very impulsive. You have my sympathy! I don't know yet if I should be worrying, but I've had some success in modifying his behaviour with the following:

1) Lower expectations. My ds makes a horrendous mess when he eats, no matter how much I nag gently remind him about table manners. I've now decided to focus on mealtimes being an enjoyable experience and not the fact that dd who is 2 can eat more neatly than her older brother.

2) Give up on rewards and punishments. They have had no effect. My ds still wets himself almost every day - we have tried sweets, money etc and although he is pleased if he manages to get the reward it does not change the behaviour long-term. Same goes for punishments - I have found the book "Unconditional Parenting" helpful. I do however let him experience some natural consequences such as taking away a toy if he is using it to hit someone, for example.

3) Let him have as much say as possible. My ds really wants to march to the beat of his own tune. Laying down the law just makes him angry and dig in his heels. We try to do calm negotiating as much as possible.

Also worth considering is the holidays - my ds has been awful around my parents who he has seen more than normal due to hols. They expect almost perfect behaviour and are always on his back about little things. I notice his behaviour improve when he is with people who are more comfortable with his exuberance!

Hope this helps.

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 22:39:50

thanks KTNoo, that is all useful stuff and makes perfect sense. smile

<ignores foxy> wink

no worries lovely, you have got a lot on smile. I thought it was raising boys you were going to send anyway?

foxythesnowfox Tue 12-Aug-08 22:42:18

There was an interesting thread the other day on UP. Really made me think. My DS2 was asking what his reward was for tidying his bedroom. And a 'be proud of what you've done' didn't go down too badly. I like the idea of letting go of rewards and punishments (although am a bit scared to!)

What I did think after reading the thread was to offer two alternatives, so they can make the choice and switches the responsibility over to them IYSWIM.

A while ago I decided I didn't want to live in a shouty house, so stopped. I developed a really sore jaw and spoke to the dentist about it. Realised that I'd been gritting my teeth instead of shouting. But it has definately become the norm, and if I do shout (which I do!) it makes more of a difference.

Perhaps look at the routine. Does he go to bed later then DD?

Does he need exercising every day? Boys ARE like dogs, as the name suggest wink

foxythesnowfox Tue 12-Aug-08 22:46:41

I'm not sure about Raising Boys. Its an easy read, its a lot of common sense but I think its mainly the authors perception of how to do it, rather than hard facts.

The How to book is good. I didn't particularly like the book itself and found it a bit of a trawl, but the general concept is excellent and it is definately worth the effort.

I wish I had some answers for you. All I can do is throw out some random suggestions. smile

LackaDAISYcal Tue 12-Aug-08 22:54:46

is UP unconditional parenting? I saw it but I never read it.

All random suggestions gratefully received.

I know a lot of it is to do with everything that has been going on recently, but his aggression does worry me...a lot. He took a swipe at DH yesterday shock and has recently tried to kick and elbow my bump, but I know that is a common reaction (although I thought it was in much younger children, not 6yos) in older siblings to be.

foxythesnowfox Tue 12-Aug-08 23:02:04

my 6 yo hits out a lot. Usually at his younger brother and sister - not at the baby ever.

I have a new strategy to deal with it. He now has to do what they want him to do for the rest of the day, play their games, put their shoes away if they ask that sort of thing. Secretly I don't think he really minds playing 'My Little Pony' with DD1. I have tried everything else.

KTNoo Tue 12-Aug-08 23:38:03

UP is Unconditional Parenting. The thread about it was started by me because I was so amazed by the instant difference it made that I had to share!

It's hard to break old habits and I often don't manage it. But throwing all the warnings and threats out of the window is such a relief and I feel so much more relaxed. It sounds ridiculously simple, but often I find telling ds why he should not have hit his sister/chucked a stone across the room etc etc is enough, without time-out or other punishment. I have also found that telling him to do something (e.g. put on pyjamas) then walking away produces better results than hanging around to see if he does it.

I also use the "how to talk" approach and would recommend it.

VictorianSqualor Wed 13-Aug-08 08:55:21

KTNoo, with UP I thought it would be a load of tosh to be honestblush But I am going to get the book once I've finished reading how to talk.
I've always been a very disciplinarian type parent, I want the children to do what I say when I say and I dislike bad behaviour rudeness or ill manners.
Thankfully, I have been reading how to talk and realised that no punishments doesn't mean no discipline. I love natural consequences, really love it, not only do the children see it as something that just happens rather than me being Bad Cop.
They already seem to understand that if they do something wrong then something else will happen but that it is their doing, not mine.
I also really like 'fantasise', it stops me looking like a moany old witch if I say 'I wish I could let you X, but I can't because of Y, in fact I wish X++++!!'

WRT Raising boys, I think it's a very father-son book, doesn't really have much bearing on a mother-son relationship, except for the bit where it explains how a mother can get in the way of a father-son relationship when trying to do the opposite. I also liked the facts, there wasn't really anything telling you how to deal with things, but I find it easier to understand if I know why these things are happening, like DS1's testosterone being double the amount lately explaining why he is more aggressive and needs more time to just go mad (i.e be thrown in the gardengrin) and the differences in girls/boys brains, My first DC was a daughter so I often wonder why DS1 isn't doing things like she did, but after reading Raising Boys it is a lot clearer.

foxythesnowfox Wed 13-Aug-08 09:22:47

Omega 3/6 supplements. Came to me in a flash last night. I have two friends, both mothers of, erm, lively boys shall we say. They swear they make a huge difference.

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