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Mindless shoving/hitting from DS1 (3.4) - is it really "a phase" after all this time?

(4 Posts)
MogTheForgetfulCat Sun 21-Jun-09 20:38:48

DS1 has been a shover for a loooong time now - coming up for 2 years. It has reduced at times, and then come back at others (e.g. when DS2 (1.4) was born). But it has always been there to a greater or lesser degree, and has recently come back with a vengeance. And there was me thinking the term "threenager" was nothing to worry about...

He rages at us for any little thing - this afternoon, he sneezed, DH said "God bless you" and DS1 screamed at him "Don't say that to me!" <Damian emoticon>

The casual violence has increased, also - DH brought him back from the park this morning after about 15 minutes because he shoved another little boy, for no reason. He often shoves his brother over, and the other day sat on top of him and bashed his head on the floor, busting DS2's lip sad

I have become aware that if I shout at him, it makes things worse, and it normalises shouting, so have made heroic efforts to be v calm. We do not hit in our house, either. But I am just so fed up with this now. He always gets a warning, that he will be put out in the hall or upstairs, or we will go straight home, if he does X again, and he always, always does it again, usually immediately. Then he gets upset when we follow up on what we've said, seems contrite (or maybe sorry for himself), but it ends up making absolutely no difference.

I feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall, and it is starting to affect how I feel - I feel like I'm losing connection with him, and not feeling as sorry for him as quickly as before when he is crying etc. It breaks my heart to feel like this - all I want is for him to be happy (although not at some other poor sod's expense, obviously), and he just seems so bloody miserable. I can't think of anything that has caused things to kick off again recently. He dropped his nap a while ago, and is struggling without it, as he was sleeping only 11 hours at night, and not always unbroken sleep (he sometimes seems to have nightmares sad). But we have worked hard at improving this (blackouts, earlier bedtime, keeping everything quiet and with low lights) and he is now sleeping better, and having 12 hours most nights. But no better.

I just don't know what to do. I feel like a mug sometimes for carrying on with the positive approach - we make sure he gets lots of positive attention, try to pick battles etc. It all just feels so bloody relentless and circular. And to top it all, DS2 has started to throw the odd wobbler and hit sometimes, and he is an absolute sweetheart most of the time, so I am fretting that DS1 is going to "ruin" DS2 with his behaviour.

This all came to a head last week when we went to look at a school for DS1 for September next year. I have been fretting ever since that DS1 is going to be "that nasty boy" whom parents tell their children not to play with. And I know that he can be the loveliest, merriest little thing and am just so worried that something is really wrong.

He goes to pre-school 1 day a week with no problems (will do 2 days from September), and behaves beautifully for our nanny, who has him on the other 2 days that I work.

Sorry this is so very long - just feel very despairing about it today, after a particularly relentless day. Can anyone help?

Bumblebooz Sun 21-Jun-09 23:53:17

Sorry to hear of your dispair. Are you sure he behaves well with your nanny?

What do the pre school staff say?

What is his speech like?

Do certain foods/times trigger it?

My dc were terribly behaved with my nanny, bossing her around etc but she was reluctant to complain. Dc also knew how to manipulate so dh, nanny and I used to have to have mtgs regularly to make sure dc weren't able to.

Your ds sounds jealous of other ds, and will continue to shove as it gives him attention. Sounds like you need to get him assessed not least for your own peace of mind.

It could also just be a phase.

mummypig Sun 21-Jun-09 23:55:37

Mog, this might be completely barking up the wrong tree, but my ds2 does this kind of mindless shoving/rough behaviour with no obvious trigger, and I have recently started wondering if he has Sensory Perception Disorder. Several people on the special needs boards have been mentioning it recently. Maybe have a look at the SPD checklist here and see if it describes your child. I'm thinking particularly about the 'hyposensitivity to touch' category, which includes rough play as one of the symptoms. But you may find that some of the other categories apply too.

I can understand your worries about his behaviour. My ds2 started a new school recently, and the teacher was always talking to me at pickup time, about whatever he'd been up to that day. I started to worry that she thought we condoned his behaviour somehow, or that it was arising from some situation at home. I absolutely do not condone any violence at home. He always gets put in a room on his own if he hurts anyone (and so does ds1 if he does, but it happens far less). But although this removes him from the current situation, it really doesn't seem to work in terms of preventing it happening again. It's as if his brain can't take on board the consequences of what he is doing, and he just acts on impulse. And, like your ds, he is also often very contrite about whatever has happened, but it doesn't stop him repeating it.

I also try to use a 'positive' approach - rewarding good behaviour and modelling good behaviour myself - and it works to a certain extent... But I really feel that ds2 just doesn't respond to normal behavioural modification approaches in the same way as his big brother.

Anyway take a look and see what you think. I've only just started thinking about this, so don't have lots of advice, but there may be others on mumsnet with more experience.

MogTheForgetfulCat Mon 22-Jun-09 13:51:48

Thanks for your replies.

Bumblebooz, yes I'm sure he behaves well for our nanny. She is very experienced and calm and would certainly tell me if he were behaving badly. And I dropped him at pre-school today, having changed my work days this week, and spoke to his key worker. She seemed astonished that I was raising the issue, and said he has never been violent at pre-school, that he is very placid and calm and pretty self-contained. So now I feel like I have a split personality child, and he is keeping it all in Monday-Wednesday when I'm at work, and then really lets rip on a Thursday for the rest of the week!

Mummypig, thanks for the SPD list - although some of them apply, not enough to make me think it's the answer, tbh. We are going to get his teeth looked at, as he has fingers constantly in his mouth at the moment, and sometimes says his teeth hurt. But feel like I am clutching at straws, really, as if toothache were at the root (arf) of his bad behaviour, it wouldn't be selective in the way it appears to be. So I think I am going to give my (excellent, thankfully) HV a call and see what she says. DH thinks we just have to ride it out, persist in what we're doing and just wait for him to develop some empathy, which he is certain will come. I hope so - I feel like I am hanging on by my fingertips. I just want to be able to enjoy my lovely little boy, not endure him sad

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