Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you need professional help, please see our mental health webguide
Sorry if this is in the wrong place - is there a problem with DS or am I reading too much into it?(25 Posts)
DS is 5yo and I love him dearly. He's the sweetest, happiest little boy, affectionate and smiley and since the day he was born he's been the beat of my heart.
The trouble is that he's very lively and energetic and curious and all those other polite words people use when really what they mean is that your kid is climbing the walls while babbling nonsense words because, well, why the hell not?
Today was a typical day so let me run through it.
6am, he wakes up. No gradual stirring or shuffling around half asleep. His eyes literally ping open and that's it, he's at full speed and full volume. DH shuttles him off downstairs for breakfast while I have my turn for a lie-in. DS pops upstairs twice during this, flicking lights on and off and loudly asking if I'm getting up. The first time it was because he slipped out the room while DH was doing the cereal, the second is because he said he needed a wee (upstairs loo).
9am, he wants to play Frustration. We set it up and he can't wait his turn. He hits his paddle constantly (this rolls the dice) during other people's turns, tries to hit their paddles to take their turn for them, moves his counters a random number of spaces while very quickly counting to whatever the dice says (so quickly counting to four but moving his counter ten) even though he can count. He gets very silly, very quickly which results in carelessness. The game gets knocked over and spoiled. I make him tidy it up by himself and tell him it's not coming back out today and neither is Guess Who (he wanted to play that next).
10am, get the bus into town. As soon as the bus pulls up he dives on, pushing past other people to do so. I get him off the bus and take him to the very back of the queue, explaining that if he can't get on nicely he'll get on last. All the way to town he makes silly noises, fidgets, lies down in his seat, wriggles, etc
11 am, we take him to the museum he likes. It's an interactive museum with touch if encouraged but he's off at a mile a minute, spending literally seconds that one activity before flitting to the next and the next and then back to where he started. It's like watching a hummingbird on speed. I join in an activity with him and after a few seconds he's off again and I'm sat there on my own like a sad twat, clutching a cup of sand he's abandoned. Then he's back and he's getting silly again because he's overexcited again. Sand goes everywhere so we take him out of the sand and tell him no more sand. He's warned that if he has to be told again we will leave. Not long after this he spots something he likes and runs off into a crowd. I say stop and grab him but he slips free. DH retrieves him (he was attempting to climb an exhibit), he's told off and we leave. He doesn't want to leave so he shouts and screams. We leave anyway, he was warned.
Lunchtime, we go to a place that does 2 for 1 kids meals and is fairly quiet. The waitress tries to sit us right at the front, near the entrance. I ask for a table near the back. It's in a shopping centre and being this close to the entrance with the shops on one side and an open kitchen on the other will be too much, I will have to retrieve him from one or the other. She makes a face but gives us a table in the back corner.
He immediately scribbles all over his colouring sheet and then upsets DD by trying to mooch hers off her. He is loud. He realises his chair has one leg shorter than the others so delights in rocking it on the tile floor. I spoil this game by swapping chairs with him. I defuse the colouring issue by giving them each a few pages from the notebook I keep in the nappy bag. It's quiet for a few minutes. Then he realises his water is in an actual glass so he begins chinking it with his fork. Then chinking it harder to see if the noise gets louder. I move the water away and say he can ask for it when he wants a drink (which he does, he drinks it all). He chinks DD's water and spills it.
The food arrives. He slithers out of his chair and onto the floor. Then he's back in his chair. Then he has one bum cheek on the chair, his other foot on the floor. Then he needs the loo and off he goes before anyone can do or say anything. DH goes after him. They come back. He's on the floor again. He's clicking his fingers. He's speaking 'minion speak' (know the purple minions who shout in Despicable Me 2? Like those). He's eating with his hands. He starts getting silly and eats with no hands, direct from the dish like a dog. It culminates in him headbutting the table and giving himself a lump.
Afternoon, we leave the restaurant and he says he needs the loo again. I take him to the ones in the shopping centre. He walks with me beautifully, holding my hand, and is so well behaved. I tell him so and give him a hug. While I'm washing my hands he rolls on the floor. I say to get up and he does, then dips his hand in a sink of water that's been left, scoops some up and drinks it "because I was thirsty".
Headed home, walking along the street he suddenly drops to the floor on his tummy and begins dragging himself along with his hands. He is floor swimming. He gets up because he sees a pigeon and gets angry when he's stopped from chasing it, it's next to a busy road and I don't trust him to stop at the curb.
When the bus arrives he again shoves on as soon as it stops and I again get him off and take him to the very back of the line, again explaining that of he can't board nicely he will board last. We get on the bus home and it's the same as the journey out - rolling around, shouting, silly noises, fidgeting.
When we get home he plays with his sister and I praise him for it, they're being loud and active but there is no fighting. I join in with them. I don't know what the game is exactly but it involves carrying toy bricks from one end of the living room to the other while the other person tries to steal them. I let him have a little go on his leap pad for playing without fighting (screens are a priviledge) while DD opts to watch an episode of Peppa Pig.
Bath Time, he starting to get silly again culminating in him throwing armfuls of bath water over the side of the bath. His bath is declared over and he kicks off, screeching at me and shoving DH so he's told no story and straight to bed. Usually he had trouble dropping off but not tonight, thankfully he drops straight off. This will likely mean a 4 or 5am start tomorrow though.
I ended up in tears earlier, not in front of him, because I feel like I'm failing him. I'm trying to teach him the same basic concepts that I've been teaching him since he was a baby and they still haven't sunk in. He can't sit still. He can't focus on tasks. He shoves, he gets silly, he can't play turns, he makes careless mistakes and is constantly damaging things or hurting people by accident. It's getting where I don't want to take him out in public because I know that it'll be like it was today, and I feel like a shit mum for admitting that, but people look at me as if to say control your child and look at him like he's naughty. He's not a bad kid but it's like he can't control himself, he's like a bottle of fizzy pop all full of bubbles and then he gets too bubbly and fizzes over. He has boundaries and we're consistent with them, we're not perfect and some times we get it wrong but we follow through on what we say, like when we left the museum but none of this seems to sink in. Every time we get the bus, he shoves on, and every time it happens I take him to the back of the line and he still does it the next time and the next and the next. Every time he is told we will leave somewhere if <fill in blank> he still goes ahead and we still end up leaving. He knows the rules, he knows the consequences, but when asked he says he doesn't know why he does what he does. It's so hard to put it into words, to describe it properly. I'm having the same issues with him now that I had when he was a toddler - don't touch the oven, get off the fireplace, hold my hand, don't throw toys, get up off the ground and so on. I'm letting him down so badly and it can't go on like this.
I've been looking online and I'm worried he may have ADHD. DH thinks I'm talking nonsense.
Sorry this is is so long.
Am I going to be wasting time asking for him to be assessed?
I honestly don't think he sounds as though he has a problem at all OP. I say that as the Mother of 2...the younger is like yours. 5 is in my experience too young for board games...I know many kids of this age DO play them but lots of smaller DC (under 7) struggle with the turn taking.
The description of the bus...mine would do that at 5 too if I didn't hold her hand tightly and keep saying "Wait your turn" as the bus approached...as other get on I used to have to say "Not our turn yet...we're waiting till it's our go" and she "got it" by about 6.
The museum....not ideal behaviour but not that unusual again.
The restaurant...also not unusual....not in my experience anyway.
Have school complained about his concentration at all? Or his social skills? What's their perception?
Also...does he eat much processed food? My younger DD is SO sensitive to sugars and additives that I can tell when she's visited her Nan or even seen her for half an hour as she gives DD things I wouldn't and it affects her immediately.
He sounds active, young...as in a young 5...and energetic.
I agree with PP. I think he sounDs fairly typical! My DD is 5 (year 1) and requires pretty much the same level of management as you describe. I've never thought of her as having any difficulties as such.
I do find her very hard work, and she has a 2.5 year old brother, so life can be taxing, but I think that is just what it's like with young families.
He sounds like my ds who cannot control himself at all. I am wondering if he has ADHD and then sometimes I think it's normal 5 year old behaviour and sometimes I just think, this can't be normal. I'm constantly on my guard with him because he could literally do anything. I'm speaking to his teacher Monday to see what his behaviour is like at school. If he behaves well then I assume it's not ADHD. I don't know what the answer is for you. If you're worried can you speak to your gp?
I think if you're worried and upset enough to be posting here, then you're worried and upset enough to justify seeking outside professional help - so go and talk to your GP as a first point of call. For what it's worth I have 4 DCs and your description of your day sounds fairly alien to me. I've experienced bits of it, but not the whole thing in a single day - it sounds exhausting. He seems to have no impulse control at all.
It does sound like you're dealing with it incredibly well, though.
What do the school say? Does he struggle with focus on tasks or is he disruptive in the classroom?
sounds like my brother was at that age. how much exercise is he getting? none of the activities you did today sound very physical. sometimes young boys are like puppies and simply need to run for miles to get tired out. If you can get him outside, in a park, or swimming or kicking a football every day (regardless of the weather), that might help him be calmer.
I agree with Hassled. You are worried and stressed and want an informed opinion and maybe some tips to help you. I would start with the school.
I would definitely chat with his teacher. They have a whole class to benchmark him with and experience of many kids. It is likely they would have said something to you already had they been concerned about his behaviour.
Parietal I thought the same. Going on a bus, to a restaurant and museum are things my quieter DD would like.....my slightly loopy 6 year old would prefer a long walk and run in the park plus something on top like swimming.
I also think you should talk to his teacher can compare your child to others in the class.
My ds is currently being assessed for ADHD. Its a long process so its worth asking for advice now. If you don't have any luck with the teacher your GP can refer to a community paed.
sounds very like my 5 year old but it is exhausting and i often feel im faiĺing my dd too. i feel like i spend all day saying dont, no, stop it, we cant, you cant, thats not safe, dont do that ect ect ect. have you tried love bombing? it seems to work for us though it is hard sometimes to turn around your own mood when your constantly exhausted ive also started having an hour every night dedicated to her when my smaller daughter goes to bed (if she doesnt go to bed for some reason she stays with dh). me and dd do something like play do or colouring in or building blocks. we then read a story and have a hug that seems to have improved things a little bit as she knows she gets a small portion of time where im all hers
I can see why you're anxious about him, but tbh I do agree with posters who've suggested that the activities in the day you've described are not ideal for a 5yo boy tbh. I have 3 boys and a girl and I don't think any of my boys would have sat through a game, bus trip, museum trip & lunch out without wriggling, running, playing up etc at 5. My youngest ds is 6 and he's getting there but he still moves rapidly from one thing to another & has to be asked constantly to sit at the table, don't play with that etc etc.
Is he able to concentrate on any activity such as building a lego model for a length of time? Do you notice a difference when he's had more exercise?
You deserve all the above. You must be knackered.
You write and describe beautifully.Your son sounds like my daughter who is 4 and seems to have no impulse control whatsoever or mute button or off button. I bought a yearly pass for the local ballpool so I could try and wear her out on a daily basis. It is wearing me out instead. Feel for you. Watching with interest. I cannot get any diagnosis here til she is at least six (not uk) hopefully I won't have gagged her by then. Hugs Xxx
Please give it time. Boys have extremely high testosterone levels at age 4, and the levels subside at 5 until teenage years. I know not everyone likes them but have you tried rewards charts?
Also having survived raising a boy, I saw a lot of his friends who were REALLY lively for a time, and I can assure you that they aren't now
My son and a couple of others in his class were very similar at 5, but are completely different at 6. But I would say to trust your instincts and take action if it is concerning you. Better to do it now then regret not doing anything in 2 years time.
Sounds like you are trying really hard. Mine would have loved a day which involved games, bus rides, museum and lunch out.
He does sound a bit hyper. You must be shattered. Have you tried adjusting his diet to eliminate anything which might set him off?
OP, I feel for you, I really do. I'm not sure. What is he like if you gave a really active, outdoors day with plenty of running around? Us his behaviour different?
Has his teacher said anything? I'd chat to her, and also your gp if you're worried. Hugs.
My 3 year old son has reduced me to tears many, many times. Far too many to count & he used to do lots of random, defiant, at times, stuff. I too thought I was failing him. Turns out he's gluten & soya intolerant. Life is much harder now in many ways as I'm quite often lost as to what to feed him but he's so well behaved it's like a different child. Feel a bit of a 'fruit cake' saying this out loud but it has completely changed his personality. Worth a try?
My mother describes her brother like this - he is now heading for 70. She always says that nowadays he'd be labelled and medicated but then he was considered high-spirited and a bit wild. He was always in trouble but there are more (affectionate) stories about him than about any of his siblings. He has a very successful life (as a politician!) and is adored and remembered by all who come across him. I have actually never met him so only know him by reputation but we all love to hear the tales of my uncle (child and adult versions) because he was obviously so full of personality and life! I am sure it aged his mother but his vigour and individuality/curiosity/outlook made him a remarkable individual - the world always needs those!
I would chat to his teacher and your GP. Reading your OP, to me his impulsive and "not taking in instructions and understanding consequences" part of his behaviour sounded more like that of a younger child, say 3 than a 5 year old if you know what I mean? I agree that young boys are like dogs and need fed walked and pee stopped very very regularly! And agree with PP that he may just need more concentrated physical activity to wear him out.
But it's worth a chat, even if to just put your mind at rest - if he can sit and focus at school, then I don't think you have a major problem, just an exuberant boy who needs lots of fresh air and exercise in the morning before you try to do anything more cerebral!
As mother of 2 lively boys, the answer is exercise, exercise, exercise. Wide open space and lots of running around is the key to success. Why not see what is on offer at your local leisure centre?
Thanks everyone for your replies.
We did a lot of walking today, the bus stop alone is a good 10-15 minute walk away. He also had time outside in our garden with his scooter and the balls, and a good run around in the museum - museum sounds boring but it has a huge children's area with lots of physical activities.
Even on days where we do more physical things he is exactly the same. There's a coastal walk we regularly go on, it takes around 90 minutes there and 90 minutes back and we go to the two parks at either end too. He loves it and it's exactly like a PP described, he's like a puppy and as soon as we get there he's off - gamboling across the tops of the dunes, sticking his head in rabbit holes, and looking in the long grass for dinosaur tracks (he hasn't gotten the memo about them being extinct). He can do the entire walk and both parks without complaining he's tired and will still roll around the floor and furniture when we get home. If I could bottle whatever it is that powers him, I'd put Red Bull out of business.
In a lot of ways he is like a younger child in his assessment of risk and appropriate vs inappropriate behaviour. Some of the friends he has around to play regularly ask him "what are you doing?" in a bemused sort of way when he starts getting silly or "what are you saying?" when he starts babbling.
He will sit and play Playdoh but noisily and with little care. His style is to quickly mash it into a blob, say it's a cake/monkey/train, say he's done and then start looking for something else to do. Ditto Lego. He'll build a tower as high as he can build it then it'll be scheduled for demolition and he's onto the next thing. Colouring in involves scribbling on the colours as quickly as he can, finished, next.
He's a whirlwind.
His teacher says that he sits at school but she does find herself saying his name more than anyone else's, he's not being naughty or disruptive, he just seems to be doing stuff when he shouldn't be. His teacher last year said he was well behaved but lively. Last year was play based (EYFS) whereas this year is more sitting at a desk and working, he is definitely struggling more with school this year and often comes out on edge, quick to tantrum, and frustrated.
That is one energetic boy! I can see why you'd suspect ADHD if over 3 hours of exercise still leaves him hyper. And the gap opening up between him and his peers shows there are issues - I'd be seeking a referral to a paed via the school or your gp in your position. Unless there is someone to advise within the school, SEN CO or behavioural person? But I am mindful of what boules said and my ddad (retired senior paediatrician) - some children are just more lively than others and medicating them is not necessarily s good idea. Perhaps you could also post on the special needs board directly about your suspicious where you will find parents with similar children. I've found it to be a really supportive place, my eldest ds has Aspergers. But please please don't see this as your failure, a word that you've used a bit. He's who he is, you obviously adore him and I'm sure he's a lovely little boy.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.