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Is my 4.5 yr old DS normal?

(20 Posts)
podsquash Fri 24-Jul-09 00:54:21

Hi. My MIL has recently made it clear that she thinks my son's behaviour is generally pretty unacceptable. She also used the phrase 'It isn't normal.' He's 4.5. She's a reception teacher so I kind of think she knows what she's talking about for this age group.

He is definitely hard work most of the time, but then lots of people would say, 'Aren't they all?' Some of it I think it normal but I often wonder whether he might have mild ADD or mild Aspergers - he is super restless physically, needs loads of exercise to wear him out, really annoyingly attention seeking whenever me or his dad try to have a conversation with another grown up, still has meltdowns and tantrums especially when tired or thwarted, cried for ages at the sight of blood, asks questions ALL the time, is anxious about the thought of separating from me. He also likes things with rules like road signs, doesn't like dressing up at all, etc. I mainly think he is just a real school age boy but I don't even know how to go about getting an assessment for something like 'My child is really annoying!'

I've attended a parenting class which helped me to give him stronger boundaries and clearer rules, which has helped generally but I think MIL also thinks we are just too soft on him. So I'm not really sure whether she thinks there is a developmental issue or just a crap parenting issue - she said it in the heat of the moment and I haven't wanted to have a conversation with her since. And she isn't used to being around boys so much as her other grandchildren are girls.

Any thoughts?

kitkatqueen Fri 24-Jul-09 01:20:49

Pod, You are going to run this round and round in you head filling yourself with doubts. I know health visitors get slated on here quite frequently and I admit I could tell you stories about one of mine that would make your blood curdle, However!!! Unless you get some form of "official" opinion on this its going to drive you nuts.

If your son is already at school then ask for an appt with his teacher, ditto if he's at nursery, if not opt for a chat with a hv/gp.

fwiw, my dd who is 5 could be described by 5 of the things on your list...

Treeesa Fri 24-Jul-09 01:44:26

I would say don't worry... He sounds normal to me... and does it matter what label people may want to put on him...

On reading your post I was thinking to myself 'what is normal'... Kids come with all types of personalities and quirks and there is no real normal. Experts do love to label though and this is the biggest problem IMO..

I'm a nurse - work nights - hence not being able to sleep on my nights off like today!! I've seen a lot of different people and personalities in my profession too. I have three children and my youngest son sounds very similar to yours. Constant questions with us, loads of energy, quite stubborn over routines and loved rules and guidelines (the easiest of all three to get to bed or get him to do something as he is so logical over consequences).

His Primary school questioned whether he may have Aspergers as he displayed a number of the behavioural signs though not enough for them to officially label him..
Whether he had this label or not, we did not really care as how he behaved at home with us was brilliant and as parents we knew how he responded to different things and how we could adapt our input to him so he developed as well (if not better) than his other two siblings.. He struggled all the time at that primary and we were often brought in to discuss class behaviour etc..

Cut a long story, he moved up to his next school and has been there two years. In both years he has been the most outstanding child of the year and teachers report his behavious as exemplary. Is pretty much top in every subject. Problem seemed to be in the primary he was bored and unchallenged by the school. He had bundles of energy, a really enquiring mind, and when he was faced with lack of stimulation in the classroom because he had already 'got it' then he used to irritate others around him by making stupid comments, trying to be clever, attention seeking etc.

He still has a big ego so is still attention seeking I'm sure, but his current teachers have really channeled his attention onto his work and know exactly how to challenge him to continue working hard in class and achieve so much more.

podsquash Fri 24-Jul-09 04:27:23

Thank you both so much. I have spoken to his keyworker at preschool and so on ages ago and they have not expressed any concerns. A friend has a child with ASD and she says that my DS is definitely not on that spectrum in a clinical way and I can see what she means because he can socialise, and with regards to ADD he can focus on topics he's interested in, he can sit still for things that he wants to.

I guess I kind of feel it does matter if there is a 'label' because it helps you to deal with ignorant uncompassionate intolerant people. You can just say, sorry, he has x condition, and they have to lump it. On the other hand, there are of course reasons not to want to have to go down that road.

But if I did want to go to the GP then what would I say? I guess just what I've said here....

aRLcat Fri 24-Jul-09 04:48:08

pod, his behaviours are exactly as I could describe one of my DD's (who's nearing 5 yrs) all except for 'dressing up' smile

She is of a very different character to my 3 others and costs me in sheer energy the same, if not more than the other 3 DC's put together!

The pay off is an astoundingly quick sense of humour which is at times so dry that I have contemplated if this also could be indicative of aspergers etc, i.e. maybe it's not humour as such just her stunningly astute observations on life, people and everything.

She's extremely artistic and observant and seems to carry a continuously updated mental map of our home, whereby if anything has ever been lost, she will recall where it is and if not, she'll find it.

I haven't had her assessed because within home life, I can cope with and accept her wonderful quirks as just that, although her tantruming, boundless energy and defiance are difficult and tiring and have at times been borderline impossible to manage!

She starts school in September and I am almost certain they wont recommend assessment because she is at her most settled when fully stimulated.

She is entering a class of only seven and I have a sneaking suspicion she will behave impeccably there (it's not entirely outside of her capacity to do so) and I am hoping this will have a knock on effect regarding her behaviour at home.

We'll see wink

podsquash Sat 25-Jul-09 20:58:45

Thanks again. I always find it such a relief when people with lots of kids say that just one of theirs is like my DS! And the hard work definitely has payoffs.

I am a bit more worried about my DS starting school. Like your DD he is most calm when he is being completely engaged and challenged prefereably one to one with a grown up. But in a class of 24 or whatever, how often is that going to happen? He does love playing with other kids he knows well, but I think that it could go either way in a classroom - he could either be overwhelmed and go a bit 'bouncy' and then weepy, or he could love it. He loves preschool which is a good sign.

Obvioulsy even if we did get assessed for ... whatever.... nothing would happen with schools for a year or so while things went through the system, so I'm well aware that we have to see how this year goes. But I will speak to the teacher about any concerns I have, later in the year...once she has got the measure of him a bit more!

thisisyesterday Sat 25-Jul-09 21:03:34

he sounds just like my 4.5 y old ds1.

can;t type much as nak, but i wouoldn;t worry

MollieO Sat 25-Jul-09 21:13:43

Doesn't sound dissimilar to my ds although I have no idea what his reaction would be to blood and he does like dressing up when he wants to do so. Everyone says that he's a 'live wire' and he does seem to have more energy than a lot of his friends. No one in any professional capacity has said anything that gives me cause for concern.

I've been told he isn't much good at concentrating unless he is interested but we are working on that over the summer. He likes rules and order but he also interacts well with other children. I'm no expert but don't ASD children struggle with social interaction?

Having said all that if I had a MIL who was a reception teacher and she said she had concerns about my ds then I would want to talk to someone if only to be told that his behaviour is within the normal range.

eandh Sat 25-Jul-09 21:15:49

my dd1 sounds very similar to ARL's dd she starts school in SEptember (on her 5th birthday) she can very very occasionally entertain herself but even though she constantly moves (be interesting to see if she can sit still at school without fiddling) she thrives on routine (can adapt to change as long s she knows in advance) appears very confident and chatty in public if I am there but if I go/leave she can become very anxious (that has got alot better in last few months) she continously talks non stop (but I did as a child and still do blush) has to be constantly reminded to stop butting in if peopler or talking (again huge improvement recently with this ) and loads of other things I have mainly out it down to teh fact that she is more than ready for school as she missed last years catchment by a week and lots of her preschool firends left for 'big' school in January so she feels a bit in limbo.

She didnt get into our first choice of school (maximum of 30 per year) however the school she is going to is alot bigger (3 x 30 classes so 90 children per year) but the opportunities and facilities available there will be perfect for her as they have a covered outsid eplay area so no matter what the weather they go out at least twice a day (perfect for her) plus they place a huge emphasis on letting the children know the plans for the day through picture/photo routine sheets and I know that this will be perfect for her

eandh Sat 25-Jul-09 21:17:36

oh and she has a huge social circle and loves seeing/playing with her friends (lots of different circles as preschool friends/neighbours/our friends children etc) and her favourite thing in the world is dressing up winkgrin

danthe4th Sat 25-Jul-09 21:21:51

Sounds like my son when he was that age, he's 7 now and much better.But I was convinced there was something not quite normal,I was convinced he was on the autistic
spectrum, but he isn't he is just slowly maturing. My son was also obsessed with certain things like bin lorries and seemed to play differently to other children, but he has always been quite popular with some of the other children as when he plays his games become quite intense and involved.
I honestly wouldn't worry, if your MIL can't see past the behaviour she doesn't like then she is missing the qualities that are there.

Roser Sat 25-Jul-09 21:28:56

When I read your message, it could have been about my own ds who is 4.5 too. He is full on all of the time and constantly demanding attention, asking questions, interrupting etc, etc. DH and I have talked about whether we should get him assessed, but think he's just a very bright little boy who's full of life. Has been fine at nursery, seems to play us up more, have also done parenting course etc and has helped a bit.

He starts school in Sept, had reception teacher and classroom assistant come round last week to do a home visit, he just ran round the lounge shrieking and running up and down the stairs, got v over excited and was v embarrassing. They said he was fine at settling in session, but he always seems to be more hyper with me. Anyway, I'm hoping he'll be fine at school as long as they can keep him interested, because he is exactly the same, when he is engaged and interested can concentrate really well.

Think maybe a case of so much energy and wanting to know everything and just being a lively 4 year old!

thatsnotmymonster Sat 25-Jul-09 21:37:33

My ds is exactly 4.5 and quite similar in that he has LOADS of energy, is very physical- constantly jumping, kicking, pushing, touching everything! Given half a chance he will play fight/wrestle any other little boy in the vicinity.

He needs to talk/ask questions/show or tell me things all the time, especially when I am on the phone or talking with someone.

He doesn't have tantrums but he never has had and he's ok with blood, however a friend of his who is a perfectly 'normal' 4yo (whatever that is) has massive tantrums- shrieking, screaming, irrational- that go on for ages!

I wouldn't worry too much. I think little boys behave very differnently in a classroom setting than they do when they are letting off steam at home. Your MIL doesn't have experience of all her children outside of the classroom so she shouldn't really comment!

smugmumofboys Sat 25-Jul-09 21:47:23

DS1 (almost 7) was very similar at that age. Lots of energy, very demanding, atrocious tantrums.

He did settle down after about the first term at school.

He's still has a bit of an ego and can be rather forthright in his opinions hmm but is by and large utterly delightful.

lingle Sun 26-Jul-09 16:04:51

"I kind of feel it does matter if there is a 'label' because it helps you to deal with ignorant uncompassionate intolerant people"

I think there's a term like kinetic/kinesthetic learner" (query spelling) that teachers use to mean a child who cannot learn when sitting still and has to move around. Might that be him and might that give you some ammo. with your MIL?

(maybe someone who knows can jump in and correct the spelling - it obviously comes from the word kinetic meaning movement-related....).

podsquash Mon 27-Jul-09 20:18:23

wow - you guys are all great! Thank you so so so so much for all this. I have come away from the house with my MIL to the second half of our holiday, a more child friendly house with people who are more tolerant of noise and rambunctiousness, and my confidence is back. My son is hardly acting up because he is getting what he needs, which is loads of physical activity and lots of 'jobs' and people to play with. Roll on school! I will also look into these other things when we get back from holiday but I'm feeling a lot more on top of things.

Kidz4Mation Tue 28-Jul-09 19:17:01

This might be unusual advice compared to the ones that you have received but it's worth a try as it works with who ever has tried. Just try Meditation. Sit with him in a quiet room and just close your eyes and tell him to do the same only for a minute and gradually you can increase the time. But once you open your eyes tell him what you experienced and how you felt then tell him to do the same. Whatever he says just listen and encourage and praise him for this. If you need more guidance look for a book on Amazon - beautifully illustrated book Mikey Takes A Moment and the theme is meditation and relexation. It will help a lot.

Unicorn1521 Tue 28-Jul-09 19:54:51

It is wonderfull or read all the advice here. We were begining to worry about our 4.2 DS as his behaviour is exactly the same as described here. Wow from reading here I now know his behavious is normal. Roll on school in September. Thank you

missingthemountains Tue 28-Jul-09 20:32:08

i nearly cried reading all this - My DS1 is nearly 5 and most of these behaviours - phew!

although in addition he has been having the most horrific tantrums which involve hitting, biting, kicking and throwing anything he can get his hands on - last week one went on for an hour. (Following massive fall out with DH over how to handle this DH finally allowed me to do a gentle restraint on DS1 until he has calmed down or agreed to stop attacking me. Thankfully this has worked so far)

roll on september - really hope school tires him out like everyone keeps telling me!

podsquash Thu 30-Jul-09 00:27:24

Just a quick update - it turns out my dad's new wife is a counsellor who works on parenting skills and children with ADHD. I explained the situation to her and she said with genuine surprise in her voice that it had never even crossed her mind when interacting with my son that he was anything other than a normal active 4.5 year old boy. She also said that her best advice is not to say anything to the school but let them raise any concerns with you first. I guess otherwise you risk them categorising him unnecessarrily. Hopeless typing, sorry. Anyway, she said strong boundaries, physical exercise, lots of positive stimulating attention, and patience are all necessary!

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