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Rages and violence in 6 year old - at my wits end

(15 Posts)
nearlytoolate Sat 08-May-10 19:55:29

Ok this must be about the fifth thread I've started over the last couple of years about ds2's behaviour (I am a newly name changed oldie). He is bright and extrovert and 90% of the time charming and lovely. However at home, and particularly when we spend any extended time as a family, he increasingly flies into angry violent rages when he is thwarted. these include hitting, kicking, spitting, scratching etc etc. He gets into a 'zone' and it is really hard to reach him and get him out of these moods once he is in them.
We have tried loads of different strategies. Time out, star charts, positive rewards and negative consequences, talking about it, big hugs/validation of negative feelings etc etc. It is not getting any easier and I feel I am locked in a semi-permanent confrontation with him and increasingly anxious/on edge about setting boundaries for him in case he 'kicks off'. I try really hard to be patient but he pushes my buttons so hard that I do often end up losing it with him.

Am feeling really miserable and in need of help. I love him and don't want to mess him up, right now i think I am doing sad

nearlytoolate Sat 08-May-10 20:25:44


thisisyesterday Sat 08-May-10 20:31:59

nearlytoolate, my 5 year old is exactly as you describe.

very bright, fabulous language skills, very articulate, talks to absolutely anyone... most people who meet him think he is lovely

but the rages are something else!

I have seen the GP this week and she has contacted the school nurse to try and get him assessed for (among other things) Aspergers. It's difficult because for the most part at school he copes very well, and the majority of his worst behaviour is with us at home, so we'll see how it pans out.

But I just wondered if you had considered the possibility that there could be an underlying issue causing these outbursts??

nearlytoolate Sat 08-May-10 20:36:37

Thanks for responding. Feeling particularly upset tonight as have been on my own this weekend. I don't know, sometimes I feel like we are not a normal family as we don't seem to be able to just have a day together or hang out at home without ds2 kicking off. Its really exhausting. And yet everyone who meets him thinks he is marvellous, he is getting on fantastically at school, loads of friends.
I have to say Aspergers would be the last thing I would think of, he is so sociable and charming.
I have felt for a while that we could do with some help, but have no idea where to go. And also would feel a bit of a fraud as we are certainly 'coping'.

nickschick Sat 08-May-10 20:39:04

Hes still very young and may be finding it hard to accept his feelings -sometimes children when presented with too much information become stressed and cant process it and can become quite aggressive alternatively an understimulated child can become bored and lash out.

Sometimes hunger or tiredness sets of these triggers,children can find it difficult to sort their emotions out -has someone died recently? moved away? is your ds missing what was once a part of his routine?

Im not a big lover of star charts etc I like continued reinforcement and positive praise-its not nice for your ds himself when his temper flares its quite scarey to lose control and risk hurting people you care about.

There possibly is an underlying cause and it might be helpfull to approach your GP equally it might be helpful to try and understand the triggers and help your ds come to terms with these emotions.

Good luck hope you can work it thru

cornsilk Sat 08-May-10 20:47:32

'The explosive child' is a great book - it's on Amazon.I don't think that star charts/time out etc work with all children and this may well be the case for your ds. My ds is 'explosive'.We tend to divert him a lot from potential triggers, which is time consuming but much better than dealing with his anger. When he is angry we try to be calm with him. Not easy at all. Is this happening when he comes out of school op?

nearlytoolate Sat 08-May-10 20:48:09

nickschick I just don't know how to help him cope with his emotions constructively. I can't not respond when he kicks/hits/spits.
What would you do?
Triggers - sometimes he is tired, he tends to wake early. Don't think we can do any more to encourage sleep tbh.
A lot of it is about control and also his need for attention and stimulation. He gets angry if things don't go his way. And he likes to up the emotional temperature. I can see all this, but I don't know how to behave in a way that will help him and reduce the frequency of these outbursts. Other than scheduling activities so that he never has to cope with unstructured time - he finds it very hard to do things by himself.

nearlytoolate Sat 08-May-10 20:53:06

cornsilk thanks for the book tip. I will try anything!
I have noticed that star charts/consequences aren't a great strategy - when he is in the throes of a rage, he can't make a logical choice about consequences.
I feel that to divert him from triggers would actually mean that we woudl end up allowing him to dictate all our activities - we would have to agree to do what he wants all the time, this is neither possible or desirable, or fair on ds1. OFten though I can't even remember the trigger when I look back on an episode.
I know that somehow it is about reacting in a more constructive way to his rage. We are better at this than we used to be (we used to just get angry ourselves which is obviously not v productive - it still happens but not as often). I just don't know how to do it.

cornsilk Sat 08-May-10 20:57:24

It is so hard isn't it? Dh and I argue due to ds's behaviour more than for anything else. It's knackering.

nearlytoolate Sat 08-May-10 21:16:06

Well its nice to know we are not alone! But yes we (dh and I) have had some pretty scary arguments about it. The heartbreaking this is that apart from this ds2 is absolutely fantastic - there is so much to be positive about. I just wish we could all learn to deal with this better.
Have ordered the book already! Some of the 'blurb' struck chords - low tolerance of frustration, definitely - but I am not sure about the flexibility/adaptability thing - ds2 is always 'up for anything' and loves new experiences and new people, so not sure how that stacks up.

cornsilk Sat 08-May-10 21:51:23

Hope you find somethng useful out of it then! If it's the only area of difficulty for him then it's quite possible that he'll either grow out of it or find strategies to deal with it.

nickschick Sat 08-May-10 21:55:18

What would I do?

Ermmmm as a Mum probably the same as you but as a nursery nurse I would say remind him at various points throughout the day how nice it is when hes not being cross,the second you foresee a 'tantrum' coming have a routine to break it 'i can see your feeling cross lets see why' -distraction? ohhhh when I was out I saw those biscuits you like would you like one?
talking him to him about feelings and working through a 1-2-3 process 1=getting cross 2= feeling very cross 3= out of control.

Arguing about it (although i know weve argued over dc behaviour too)wont do any good and certainly wont have a positive impact on his behaviour - so the best thing to do is to look at all the info - decide how to go about it and tell dh your plans then see what works as a team.

But you do know that no sooner will you sort this out then he will become a teen and it starts again wink.

omaoma Sat 08-May-10 22:02:35

This is a bit random as I don't have experience of exactly what you're talking about, but his behaviour reminds me of my friends' son who had terrible tantrums and was clearly v angry, linked to his dad who was having mental health probs and not really there for him - eventually mum had to leave and that exacerbated things. Things seemed to get better when the boys started karate as they worshipped the sensai and it gave them a good strong but calm male role model who taught them about dealing with aggression. I'm aware this sounds like a v trite solution to your problem and it's probably not the same situation at all... but thought would mention it anyway.

LaydeeLaLa Mon 11-Jul-11 23:00:37

Hello, looking for some comfort, help, anything and came across this thread from last year. Can't believe that there is someone out there with identical behavioural issues. My 6yo dd1 sounds like the identical twin of your ds! It makes me doubt what I'm doing and question lifestyle choices such as working full time but tbh I don't think I could cope with being at home with her full time. But you just feel guilty and wonder if it's something you've done wrong and start doubting everything.....

It sounds terrible but I think she's getting worse as she gets older. At each age / stage I am told by well-meaning friends and family that she will grow out of it but it never happens. Like you it makes me miserable and causes rows. We have so much to be happy about and I would love to actually look forward to the weekends.

Anyhow, just wondered how you're getting on a year down the road and whether you have any advice or tips to offer?

Shannaratiger Tue 12-Jul-11 12:56:27

My 4yo ds is sounding quite similar. He just loses his temper if people annoy him and instantly hits them and has ear piercing tantrums if we don't do exactly as he orders or if he makes a mistake. Apart from this he's a lovely boy with lots of friends at playschool and he copes with my and his sister's health issues really well - I have Epilepsy and me and dd have Dyspraxia and Autism Spectum Disorder.

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