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I am at my wits end with my 5 year old son.

(27 Posts)
sjb2405 Sun 17-Aug-08 12:03:15

Hi, i am in need of help. My 5 year old son is driving me and my husband crazy. he can be sweet,loving and funny but this can change over nothing and he becomes aggressive, rude, calls us names, throws things, screams at us. One example: this morning everything was great and he asked me if he could have a MacDonalds for his lunch( he went to McD for the first time a couple of weks ago) i said "no, not today" and he went crazy. we have in the past stopped tv, no going on the computer, no sweets, no treats. he also started talking about dying and saying things like " i am going to kill myself". i find this totally horrifying and am sure i never acted like this as a child. I know smacking is not the answer but i am running out of ideas and i know if i ask my family for help that will be their answer. yesterday we were out with a friend of his and they started bickering (they are both as bad as each other) and they decided that they would rather get a different bus home than us! i was and still am really upset by this. i know it is not all my son's fault as he has some friends that he plays beautifully with and he is an angel at nursery. it is almost as if he wants to hurt us. He tells my husband he hates him all the time and wishes he would live in another house and he also swears.
he starts school on thursday.i could go on and on but i think i am going to start crying. i feel like the worse mother in the world.

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 17-Aug-08 12:11:30

I am sorry to hear this.

I use the ignore/distract technique a lot -

Ignore the tantrum, walk away to make a cup of tea, take away the audience IYSWIM

Or try to distract the chid if you can sense a tantrum is coming - exclaim over something - anything - to divert the child

Swearing - now you must know where DS gets the swearing from, and in order for him to stop swearing you and your family should also stop. Sorry.

Smacking is not the answer, keep on posting and we can see if we can give you more ideas.

He is still just a baby really, and with school looming you can expect more problems before things settle down again.

barnsleybelle Sun 17-Aug-08 12:20:03

This must be so hard for you right now.
I agree that smacking is not the answer. Never understood how parents can expect their children to not be aggressive but then use aggression as discipline.

i can't say i've had the same as you but when ds was naughty i would get down on his level and in a very cross tone tell him to go up to his room, as i didn't want to look at him as i was so upset and cross with his behaviour. He would sit on his toy box and cry (for himself). He was told to not even think about playing with his toys. After around ten mins i would go up and very firmly tell him why i was so upset and what his punishment would be. I usually took away a toy/s that he was really into at the time. It would go away for a few days and if the behaviour continued more toys joined them!! As the days went on, if his behaviour improved he got a toy back.

I find praise is a huge way to get my ds behaving well. Even praising simple things like playing nicely or please and thank you.

5 is a good age for a reward chart too, with maybe a treat at the weekend for good behaviour in the week.

studentkatie Sun 17-Aug-08 12:21:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LackaDAISYcal Sun 17-Aug-08 12:21:42

I have been going through a bit of this with my six year old DS and it can be very frustrating.

they have a huge testorterone surge around this age and in some ways can't help themselves, although knowing that doesn't make it any easier to deal with. At the recommendation of some MNers I have just bought "how to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk" and it is very good with exercises and suggestions of how to turn their behaviour around.

I got some great advice the other day on this thread, although I know that my depression makes things more difficult for me as I don't always react well blush. Still I bought the book, and it seems to be making a small impact already, although I'm under no illusion that we can turn this learned behaviour (his and mine wink) around overnight.

LackaDAISYcal Sun 17-Aug-08 12:25:03

I missed the starting school bit. In all likelihood he is having a few wobbles over this but just doesn't have the language to express it so it will be coming out in his behaviour. "how to talk" has some good advice on helping children to acknowledge their feelings like anger, resentment, disappointment etc and deal with them in a positive way.

collision Sun 17-Aug-08 12:30:37

You need to take away the audience and ignore most of it.

When he talks about killing or dying, just say in a quiet voice, 'I would be very sad if that happened and I do not like talking about things like that' and walk away.

The other thing is to whisper at him. It can automatically quieten him down as he cannot hear what you are saying! grin

Deffo go the reward chart. Ours love theirs. We have achieved sleeping through the night, feeding themselves, being brave and answering at school for the sake of a sticker! grin

Sawyer64 Sun 17-Aug-08 12:32:01

My DS was very similar to this at the same age.I was a single parent and felt it was all my fault.

I think some of it was.... But I also now have learned from experience that sometimes it is an individuals personality,and although to a large extent you can "change" this behaviour with lots of consistent,hard work,I think you shouldn't "blame yourself" that he is like this.It won't help you or him.

IME its a "phase" and you have to "ride the storm" and use the coping stratedgies which have/will be advised.

Try to pick the type of "discipline methods" that suit your style of parenting,and work hard with your DH to implement these and be consistent,however tired or hard it it,as it will pass.

School will make a big difference too.
Once you "take control" and use the techniques advised,you'll feel better.
Distraction is good,as is "time out" in a "naughty corner" or "step" etc. Try to always use the same "punishment" even if it doesn't appear to be working,it will work eventually.

With my DS I was guilty of inconsistency,as I gave up to soon and too easily.Try reward charts,even if you have tried them before.Make sure there is always something "positive" that can come out of each incident ie. You will sit on the naughty step for 5 minutes,but lots of praise and a kiss and cuddle at the end for sitting there well etc.

I was always advised to give my DS lots of positive praise,as they tend to be "deficient" in this ie.low self esteem which leads to this behaviour. Be quick to step in before the behaviour starts with some praise etc.

My DS is 12 now,and it has gradually improved since he was 6 I guess,we arent out of the woods yet,but he is mostly a pleasant,reliable helpful boy now. Good Luck.

MorocconOil Sun 17-Aug-08 12:38:01

Both my DSs have gone through phases like the one your DS seems to been going through.
They have both said that they want to die, and with the first I was completely freaked, and worried that we had caused him to have a deep-seated psychological problem. I over reacted by piling on reassurances. He got lots of attention for saying it, and guess what, he started to say it all the time. When DS2 said it, I acknowledged what he'd said, but gave it very little time or attention, and he stopped saying it because he got no reaction.

It's difficult dealing with the behaviour when out and about. I resort to just doing things with my DC and no-one else because I find the falling out, being nasty to other children hard to deal with. I also think with experience, it's best just to quit and go home if the behaviour gets difficult to handle.

I totally sympathise with you sjb and am sorry theres no simple remedy for dealing with this kind of behaviour.

sjb2405 Sun 17-Aug-08 12:39:28

Thanks for the advice. i do have "how to talk etc etc" although i am struggling to find it at the moment among all the other books but it is a good book. Behaviour chart-we have done in the past but i was thinking he was too old now but will do again. Chocolate- he dosn't like chocolate but i sometimes think his behaviour can be linked to being hungry or thirsty.
swearing- this is linked to 2 incidents where an idiot in a car pulled up and traffic lights and called me all sorts while son was in the car and it really upset us both and some kids at the bus stop were swearing (f word) and i asked them nicely to stop and in hindsight that was the wrong thing to do as it unleashed a torrent of words i didn't know.son thinks this is now a very good way to upset me as he has seen it in action. he doesn't say f* he says "f word". i am hoping it might be the kind of thing i can laugh at when he is 18 (unless he is expelled from school!!)
Does anyone have opinions on tv? we really try and limit what he can watch, he is too old for cbeebies but i hate everything else. any ideas on how much per day? we have banned tv in the past and his behaviour really improved.

Heated Sun 17-Aug-08 12:39:48

Books that have been well reviewed on Amazon & mentioned on here:

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (How to Help Your Child)

1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12

Raising Boys: Why Boys Are Different - And How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-balanced Men

collision Sun 17-Aug-08 12:43:17

Let him choose what he wants to watch and then turn it off.

DS(6) likes Dino King, Ben10 and Cbeebies from 6-7pm.

Let him watch DVDs and then turn it off.

LackaDAISYcal Sun 17-Aug-08 12:46:49

he has realised that the swearing pushes your buttons. Try either not reacting ot it; or explaining that it isn't acceptable and that you will ignore him until he speaks in a civilised manner.

Re TV, my DS is really into Power Rangers and stuff like that, but if he gets to watch it he turns inot a monster so it is really limited to treat days here. We now let him watch either CBeebies or educational stuff on Discovery and National Geographic which he loves as well. Jetix is his holy grail now and he will walk over hot coals to be allowed to watch it. so much so, that it's become an effective cosh into getting him to behave. It's a delicate balance though and I often get it very badly wrong.

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 17-Aug-08 12:47:41

I was wrong about the origins of the swearing.

I apologise.

sjb2405 Sun 17-Aug-08 12:49:16

Mine like Ben 10 but i get quite concerned about the amount of fighting in all of these.with the recent bad weather and the fact he is up at 6am it is hard not to resort to the tele sometimes. my husband stays at home while i work and he does everything he can to get him out of the house and away from the tv.
thanks for the tips on books.
i think reward chart is the way forward. we were going to start giving him pocket money if he had a good week (enough for a comic once a week) but it lasted one week and then became too much of an issue and an obsession so we have stopped.

MorocconOil Sun 17-Aug-08 12:51:32

I let mine watch C-Beebies and CBBC. I think they are ok and let them watch it when they want. We are lucky they can play outside in the street , so they spend hours riding their bikes. We have no electronic games as they really do make the behaviour worse. They are almost hysterical after spending time on the computer. I have also stopped computer time over the holiday.

DS1 who is 8 is now reading well and gets engrossed in a book or comic now which really helps. DS2 still can't read fluently so he tends to get more bored and difficult.

I agree about the behaviour being worse when hungry/thirsty and we keep them topped up regularly. Fizzy drinks especially coke make them go crazy. It's frightening to watch. So they are banned unless we are going on a long, long walk or bike ride and the effects can be used up by exercise. I think chocolate makes my DS's behaviour worse.

sjb2405 Sun 17-Aug-08 12:54:58

Lackadaisy-that really made me laugh. i have started saying recently "of course if you behaved nicely you could watch Jetix for a little bit" and his eyes lit up. he would also walk over hot coals for the Power Rangers. we were watching the Olympics recently and he has decided that he will win gold medal in boxing, judo, shooting, "bow and arrow", cycling or diving. i suggested we narrow it down to something he really liked and he said fighting or boxing!!!
i am thinking of taking him to Judo classes to let out his aggression.
i have never wished i had a girl instead of boy but dolls and princesses must be a bit easier!

sjb2405 Sun 17-Aug-08 12:58:53

mimizan-thanks for that. i agree with the computer. DS plays quite innocent looking games but they all ultimately seem to be about fighting. i do like the fact that he can go on a computer and knows his way around it though. Yesterday he asked if he could look at the lego website and he managed to discover fighting games on that.
i think a chat with DH and new rules will have to happen today.

MorocconOil Sun 17-Aug-08 13:01:02

I've got a girl too and although she's full of energy, she's definately easier to manage(at the moment). The DSs are 2 balls of energy, that rarely stop and seem to need more guidance and control than DD. Even when the DSs were 3 I used to take them to the park so they could run off some energy. It is like having a pair of grey-houndsgrin

LackaDAISYcal Sun 17-Aug-08 13:02:12

lol sjb. they sound like twins grin

We are also looking into martial arts of some description to give him an outlet and let him learn some discipline as he thinks it's all about fighting and no amount of DH and I expalining will convince him otherwise.

everything he plays with becomes a weapon as well.

MorocconOil Sun 17-Aug-08 13:05:35

Ah yes the lego web-site. I innocently agreed to let the DSs play on that, but discovered they were playing horrible fighting games.
Real lego is good though. They go through phases of playing with lego for hours on end, and make some fantastic models. It keeps them nice and calm, without having to spend hours in the park wink

hellywobs Mon 18-Aug-08 18:33:35

I can identify with this. My 5 year old (goes into Y1 next term so already had a year at school with some difficulties but generally ok and doing well) is a handful at the moment too. I have banned Powerrangers (as his childminder has) and ration Ben 10. He tends to watch Jolly Phonics (it's his favourite programme!) and Cbeebies as well as Primeval and Doctor Who. He has a reasonable diet with very little rubbish or additives.

He doesn't swear, but he is rude and he always always knows better and won't listen to rules. And he is so ungrateful when hey gets things, like this weekend he got a new bike. His childminder has him part of the time in he holidays and she says he likes to run away and scream for fun in her car, even though he knows it's not allowed - ie testing the boundaries to see how far he can go. Oh yes and did you know a book could become a gun? Everything can become a gun. He also liked the Olympics but likes swimming best (which he has lessons for in term-time). I might look into martial arts though - or even gymnastics and he's always doing cartwheels.

He gets to go on the computer but we have no games, he looks at Dr Who sites, Lego site and sometimes sites like Thomas. Again, that time is rationed.

He will have a strict teacher at school next term and is in a mixed Y1/Y2 class so I hope peer pressure from the older ones will make him toe the line a bit more. I don't want to crush his spirit but I do want him to realise that a degree of conformity is needed, if only for his safety and that of others. Generally he behaves nicely with other children though he sometimes does silly things which hurt them because he doesn't think about the consequences of his actions.

So all in all I don't think there are any reasons other than his personality - he's impulsive, impatient and gets excited easily - which is lovely as well as nuisance! I can't change that but I would welcome ideas as to how to get him to realise the rules are not just there for his personal inconvenience!

xxxsarahxxx Mon 18-Aug-08 18:34:23

hi i have a 5 year old son so i know how hard it can b he is so hard to deal with but a little angel when my husbands home cos my husbands strict and he knows he will get punished

hellywobs Mon 18-Aug-08 18:42:14

I should add, he's a very loving boy, very cuddly and sensitive. And he has a list of rules on his bedroom wall that he wrote out himself like "clean my teeth" and "don't be rude". Sometimes he complies with them :-)

peanutbutterkid Mon 18-Aug-08 18:48:41

5yo too old for cbeebies? hmm
I am really surprisd he picked up a bad swearing habit from 2 brief incidents. My DC would have completely not realised what was going on.

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